The Number One Place to Find Entry-Level Sales Recruits (You’re not looking there!)

Stoneridge Shopping Center, Pleasanton, CA Interior view of Macy's Men's Entrance from upper level

I am confident you’ve never acquired new sales talent the way I’m about to describe.   You may even be a little skeptical when you hear it.

First, let me set up the background.

My friend- we’ll call her “Susan”-  was a branch manager at the top recruiting branch of a fifteen office company who hired and managed her own successful sales force.  I was currently frustrated in finding a talented salesperson for my own company.  LinkedIn, job boards, even other recruiters couldn’t help me in the extremely competitive sales recruiting environment.

But, Susan has never once competed for her sales hires.  She has hired sales talent that has kept her office the #1 revenue producer of 15 offices consistently, every year.  She then told me her secret…

She would go shopping at the mall.  For talent.

Yes, you read that right.

Susan would head to the mall to go shopping and observe the retail sales clerks with a close eye. She’d watch how they interacted with customers.  Then, she’d carefully evaluate how they’d interact with her.

In her head, she’d go through her checklist to see if they had the qualities she was looking for in a dynamite salesperson:

  • Is this retail salesperson proactive and quick to approach you? Or do they sit back waiting for you to ask for help? Did they greet you immediately?
  • Is the salesperson talkative? Friendly? Outgoing? High energy? Or are they reserved and don’t look like they want to be there?
  • Is this salesperson helping their peers in the store? Do they hustle?
  • Wrong shoe size? Are they going out of their way to find you the right shoes so you buy something and make you a happy customer?
  • Can you see this person calling on your customers on the phone or in person?

Use the questions above as a guide for you.  If they successfully complete the criteria above, grab those newly purchased shoes they just sold you and ask them, “Would you be interested in a sales position pounding phones in a fast-paced sales environment?”

Don’t make it so easy on them.  Scare them a little bit with your question.  Read their body language.  And if they say yes, hand them your business card (You always carry your business cards on you, right?) and tell them to call you.  Then, head to the next store!

Do you see the beauty of this sales recruiting tactic?

Susan has no competition fighting for sales talent.  She doesn’t have to chase candidates.  The candidates will only call her if they are interested.   Without them knowing, these potential candidates are having their first interview.  It’s the truest form to see how they work in the real-world.  They are not trying to impress her to get a job.  They are not trying to sell themselves.  They are simply performing their job as they would every day.

Plus, she’s not wasting her time.  Susan was going to go to the mall anyway and wanted to buy those shoes.

The strategy is simple and yet unique.  Susan is going shopping at the mall for more than just clothes – she’s shopping for potential employees.

Do you have any unique talent acquisition strategies? We’d love to hear them.



Jonathan Samuels

Hey I’m Jonathan. I created The Sales Club ( and love talent acquisition! I have 20 years of recruiting experience and innovation. I like to work out, watch silly TV shows and maybe have a slice of pizza to break up my healthy eating habits. I hope you enjoy my blog page. Please share them with your friends!

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