Recruitment & Selection of Sales Force

Right salesmen can help company achieve marketing objectives. Recruitment and selection are two important decisions in sales force management that concern with ensuring the right type (right qualities, right qualifications, and right experience) of sales personnel.

Problem of recruitment and selection arises when:

  1. Starting a new company
  2. Resigning and retiring of existing salesmen
  3. Death of existing salesmen
  4. Suspending of existing salesmen
  5. Growth and development of company’s operations
  6. Entering into new territories
  7. Developing and introducing new products

Note that salesman is not only employee of a company, but he is its responsible representative; he is not dealing only with selling products, but also with goodwill and reputation of company. A right salesman can create positive effect on sales volume, profitability, customer satisfaction, dealer effectiveness, company’s goodwill, promotional efforts, and so forth.

While recruiting and selecting salespersons, job analysis (consisting of job description and job specification) is to be made for better selection. Recruitment and selection are interdependent decisions. Let us discuss both terms separately.


Recruitment means searching for prospective candidates and inspiring them to apply for the post. Recruitment ends on the last day/date of receiving applications. Salesmen can be recruited through a number of sources.

Sources of Recruiting Sales Force:

Main sources, widely practiced in India, includes:

  1. Advertisement
  2. Other firms
  3. Middlemen
  4. Personal recommendations
  5. Recommendation of existing staff
  6. Special recruitment agencies
  7. Private training institutes
  8. Colleges and academic institutes, etc.

Types of sources to be used for recruiting the salesmen depend on certain criteria, like type of products to be sold, types of customers to be served, paying capacity of company and type of remuneration plans, and other relevant factors.


Selection means selecting the fixed number of suitable candidates from those who applied for the posts. Selection process starts as soon as recruitment ends. Recruitment considers all applications received in a due date while selection considers only the required number of most suitable candidates.

There is no ideal selection process that most companies can follow. Normally, for selecting salesmen, the simple and short selection process is followed. However, some companies, when more salesmen are to be selected at time, also follow lengthy and systematic selection process. Selection process depends on types of salesmen, cost and financial position of company, time available, company’s objectives, and so forth.

Steps in Selection Process:

Systematic selection process consists of following steps:

  1. Receiving applications
  2. Screening applications
  3. Preliminary interview
  4. Written tests
  5. Final interview
  6. Medical examination
  7. Final selection
  8. Appointment and induction

Important Conditions:

At the time of final selection or appointment of salesmen, following conditions must be made clear:

  1. Time to resume the duty
  2. Company’ marketing objectives, policies, and strategies
  3. Duties and restrictions
  4. Place of work
  5. Reporting system or procedure
  6. Bill collecting system
  7. Remuneration and incentives
  8. Training and expenses

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