Archived Webinar

Recruiting (and Retaining) Salespeople: Re-think, Retool, Respond and Rebound


Presented by Laurie Kahn, founder and CEO, Media Staffing Network

Out of office message. While the pandemic has forced many more people to work remotely, it is only accelerating a trend. The number of people working from home has increased by 140% since 2005, and 16% of all companies hire only remote workers.

Home sweet home. There are a lot of benefits from working remotely. It’s cost-effective, and employees report they are more productive. There are strong monitoring and communications systems. And the flexibility appeals to younger workers.

Some rethinking to do now. Review job duties with a focus on how they can be performed remotely. Look at your workplace culture and how it will be adjusted for remote work.

 Who are the job seekers today? According a new survey, 48% of employees are open to a new role. Top factors in deciding on a new job: 56% is career growth; 54%, compensation; and health care and retirement, 49%.  65% say the ability to work from home is very or somewhat important in their decision.

Where are they coming from? Online job boards continue to be the most popular, but nearly one in five job seekers say they search with a mobile device. Think about having a mobile-friendly job application.

Sharing time. Job sharing will only get bigger because many millennials would rather work part-time. Laurie Kahn’s best practice: Have each person work three days, with one day in common. Also, consider teaming a newbie and a veteran on the cusp of retirement.

Laurie Kahn said it: “You can get two minds for the price of one.”

Go, team! With foreseeable turnover, having two or more people allows you to give continuous service to your clients. Their brainstorming results in better ideas. Working with a team helps new recruits ramp up and find their strength. (For more details on team structures, see Laurie Kahn’s webinar archived here [,4156123] on the America’s Newspapers website.)

Pay attention to the candidate’s experience. Have an updated website. Be sure job responsibilities  are set forth clearly. Check your online reputation and show off what your company is doing to support the community.

After the hire. Onboarding and welcoming can be done online. Be sure to have a clear action plan for growth for the new recruit. Be transparent. Especially now, employees don’t want surprises.

Laurie Kahn also said it: “Employees want to know that their company has their back.”    

Team spirit. Sponsor competitions among the team, which could extend from the most sales closes to online game tournaments like Works With Friends. Have virtual lunches or happy hours. Little things — like giving gift cards as performance rewards or financial aid — go a long way.

Market yourself. Newspapers market their products, but need to also market themselves as a good place to work. Brag about your awards, show how your advertising works, for example.

Paging a career page! Laurie Kahn notes that many newspapers have either no career page or a perfunctory one. Some good examples can be found on the website of Cherry Creek Media and Emmis Communications

Profiling. A job profile should include not just the job description, but profiles of the company, the industry, the growth potential, benefits, compensation and specific expectations. Find some good examples of profiles at “I need to hire” on the Media Staffing Network website,

No sale. Laurie Kahn recommends against labeling the job as sales. “Younger generations are scared of the word ‘sales.’” Better: Call it “business development.” 

Filling the sales funnel. Research local businesses with “sales” in their profiles, reach out to them, sharing news of your paper. Look for people who have the skills you need — not just media experience.

Got a minute? Consider cold calling prospective candidates. Ask if there’s a good time to talk, ask what they like about their position, see if they know anyone who might be looking to move on, and be patient.

Making a list. Create a list of potential candidates. Be sure to look at it regularly, and follow up with candidates.

You asked: How important is equipment in hiring remote workers? Need to have computers compatible with the home office system.

You also asked: At a time like this can you ask candidates to go 100% commission as compensation? Laurie Kahn: “I’m a big believer that when you hire someone new you have to give them a secure salary” during the onboarding time of six months to a year.

Want to follow up with Laurie Kahn? Email her at or call (480) 306-8930.


Laurie Kahn, Media Staffing Network, recruitment advertising