When you’re hiring salespeople right out of college, you expect certain things from them. They should be hard-working, presentable, persistent, enthusiastic.
Not surprisingly, the best candidates will also have certain expectations of you and your company.
Back in the day, it was easy to assume that most of those expectations revolved around money and career advancement. But today’s college grads expect something else, according to a new study from the giant consulting firm Accenture: training.
Fully 80% expect their first employers to provide them with a formal training program, according to a survey of more than 1,000 students graduating from college in 2014.
Many of them will be sorely disappointed, the study found. Only 48% of recent grads said their employers provided training.
Big boost for sales recruiting?
We suspect that for companies recruiting new sales talent, that number would be considerably higher. Few companies would be willing to sic a raw, untrained sales recruit on actual live customers. The stakes are simply too high. (The stakes are probably just as high for many other positions, but the damage is less visible.)
And that may be a very good thing for sales recruiters. In the past, it’s been difficult to get new grads to consider a career in sales. They often saw sales as too hard, or too manipulative, or too risky — or all of the above. They wanted something more classy (what George Gilder once called “inside work with no heavy lifting”).
Those attitudes are changing fast. The survey found that today’s college kids are thinking a lot more than their predecessors about how they’ll earn a living. For example, they’re factoring in career options earlier than in the past: 75% of this year’s grads thought about job availability before they chose their major, versus 68% just a couple of years ago. And that same impulse seems to be driving the interest in training. Grads want more than a fun, cool job. They want an employer that’s willing to invest in their career development.
So if you’re looking to recruit top grads into your sales program, you’ll probably get a more sympathetic ear than you did in the past — especially if you talk up your sales training program. Wouldn’t they rather get a job where training is not only available but required? And wouldn’t they want their first employer to be one that’s willing to invest in them and teach them a marketable skill, versus one that makes big promises but then leaves them to sink or swim on their own? Sounds like a sweet deal to me.
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