Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Grapevine Recruiting’s Own Generation Z Summer Intern Weighs in On What the Next Generation of Sales Pros are Seeking in Career Opportunities

By Ben McBeain


There is still a lot written about what millennials want and need in terms of career opportunities, and with good reason.  Larger even than the baby boomer generation, the millennial generation is massive.  However, it seems that most people still think that millennials are the youngest generation at work.  That’s not the case.  The oldest millennials are now in their mid-30’s.  By contrast, those of us who claim “Generation Z” status were born between the mid 1990’s and the early 2000’s, so we’re entering our 20’s.   With almost 73 million of us, we’re about to enter the work force, in force.

So, what do Generation Z employees want in a job?  Amongst my peers (graduation date May 2018), we are pretty likeminded on at least four main things, that we are looking for in our careers. Here’s a look at what matters most to Generation Z as we gear up to launch our careers.

*Opportunity to Advance

This may not be unique to Generation Z employees, as it is odd to think anyone would want a job with no opportunity for growth, but it is our priority.  We don’t expect to land our dream job right out of college, but we do want positions where there is a path to grow, advance, and develop as employees. We’re competitive and entrepreneurial, and we want our efforts to be rewarded.

*Welcoming Work Environment

We want an open door, low power-distance, and a friendly work environment where we feel comfortable talking to and going to our superiors for help. We want to be included, and feel like we’re a part of the team.  We want meaningful tasks, and we’re willing to work hard even if that means long hours.  We don’t expect to enter the work force, and coast.  We know that we’re going to have to be flexible with schedules, and that may include extra hours— particularly in the first few years of employment.  But we don’t want to do that in a totally authoritarian, environment.


We grew up in the Great Recession, and money matters to us.  We don’t expect to get something for nothing, and we know that we will have to work to advance, and to increase our earnings, but our starting salary does matter.  Keep in mind that college tuition was high for us, and we’re coming out of school with a lot of student loans, that we have to start paying back immediately.   Without a decent salary, we’re in trouble.  Earnings and earning potential matter to us.

*Interaction with Others

Yes, we’re a tech savvy generation. We will bring those skills to our employers.   We don’t know life without smart phones.  But as the result, we’re not as obsessed with our screens as the previous generation.  We’ve also learned from those who came before us, that there is too much of a good thing when it comes to social media and the like.  We don’t broadcast every aspect of our lives, in part because we know that digital footprints will follow us forever.  We’re also a very socially conscious generation, so we want face-to-face interaction and engagement, and we love to create actual communities of change.

As Generation Z gears up for fulltime employment, we’re bringing a lot to the table for employers.  We’re inquisitive, intentional, and driven to succeed.  We are eager for mentorship, and want to succeed as much as you want us to succeed.  From where I’m standing, that looks like a great recipe for success for employers and their employees.

Ben McBeain is a summer intern at Grapevine Targeting Sales Recruiting.  He is currently pursuing a business degree at St. John’s University and will be graduating in May 2018.  Born in 1996, Ben will be amongst the first Generation Z’er’s to graduate from college.


Contact Ben at or 952.856.2371



Continuing to Hire Unfit Sales Professionals? Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes When Choosing Candidates

By Shane Cotner

As a hiring manager or HR Professional, your company is counting on you to make sure that the candidates that you’re choosing to fill open sales positions, deliver on the promises they may make in their interviews. After all, the cost of training adds up, and a high turnover rate will have a significant impact on any company’s bottom line.

Even the most experienced hiring managers and HR reps will sometimes choose an unqualified candidate. When this happens, it is typically because they made one of three common mistakes during the interviewing process. Fortunately, these oversights, errors, or hasty mistakes can be easily prevented, so it doesn’t need to happen more than once. Here is a look at three common mistakes that are made that lead to unfit candidates being chosen, along with how to prevent this from happening in the future.

1. Your Interview Questions Are Predictable, Instead of Thought Provoking

One of the easiest ways to ensure that almost any sales candidate will glide through their interview, is through using generic interview questions. Any candidate seeking a sales position will be well prepared for questions such as: What are your greatest strengths? What are your weaknesses? Why are you the right person for this sales position? Do you work better as a team player or as an individual?

These questions are perfectly fine, they just don’t tell the whole story. Nearly all job candidates will be expecting these questions, and will therefore likely have canned responses. So, instead of asking such routine, predictable questions, ask specific questions, including how a candidate would handle a specific work related scenario.

2. Choosing a Sales Candidate Based on Numbers/Experience Over Fit with Company Culture

Company culture is of utmost importance to job seekers in today’s market-particularly millennials. In fact, having a thriving company culture is often vital to even attract the top sales candidates in the first place. In addition, having a vibrant company culture plays an integral role in retaining your top sales reps. So, ensuring that a candidate is going to fit well with your culture, is crucial. After all, sales numbers only tell part of the story.

Smart hiring managers will be sure to confirm what a candidate wants from their work environment, before offering a position based on numbers alone. The hiring manager will need to confirm with a candidate that they will be able to abide by company work hours, mandatory meetings, management style, or other company policies. In other words, having experience, and a track record of successful sales numbers is important, but only if the candidate also fits in with the overall company culture.

3. Trying to Save Time Through Offering a Short Interview Process

As a hiring manager, or HR Professional, there’s little doubt that at some point in your career, you’ll feel pressured to just fill a position, quickly. But, it’s worth remembering that more often than not, slow and steady will win the race. Trying to hurry along the

interview process leaves all kinds of room for oversights, such as neglecting reference/background checks, or not verifying important information. Although a long interview process may be off-putting to some candidates, those who truly want to be a part of your team, will show their loyalty and understand your need for a longer process.

At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we understand you need the best sales managers and sales reps on your team to achieve and exceed your monthly, quarterly and annual sales goals. In today’s ever competitive market, sales companies simply can’t afford the costs associated with hiring unfit candidates. So, remember to avoid these common mistakes when interviewing for a new sales professional, or even better, invoke the services of a professional, experienced sales recruiting company to ensure you attract and retain, top quality sales reps and sales managers.

Shane Cotner is a is a professional sales recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or email

Should You Be Looking for Sales Pros from Other Industries?  5 Reasons it May Be in Your Best Interest

businesss and office concept - two businessmen shaking hands inBy: Andy Wright

When searching for top sales talent, it can make a critical difference to think outside the box. That’s why hiring managers should not only mine their own business and industry for talent that’s worth promoting, but to also make sure that they (or their sales recruiting company partner) seek out sales pros from different industries who can meaningfully add to the value and performance of the company.

Let’s take a look at a few key reasons why outside sales hires from alternate industries sometimes makes the most sense when searching for the best sales talent.

  • Pure Talent vs. Technical Knowhow

Hiring a salesperson within your industry may seem like a good bet: existing knowledge, less training required (maybe), and what seems like a sensible choice. But a track record of sales success is a much better indicator of achievement than rote technical proficiency. Look for salespeople who lead their industry and chances are they’ll be able to translate that success at your company, too.

  • A Diversified Book of Business

Hiring a sales rep who sells a different product or service than your company—but to the same or similar customers—is an excellent way of hiring outside your industry. Not only do you land a sales pro who has a solid sales track record, but one who also has a strong book of business/database of contacts that can boost your business.

  • Positive Perception

A company that hires outside their industry shows a creativity and foresight that some of the most exciting companies swear by, including tech giants like Google and Facebook. Attracting top sales talent from other industries is all about signaling a forward-thinking, modern perspective that fosters talent wherever it’s derived.

  • A Fresh Set of Eyes

Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize inefficiency or spearhead positive change. When hiring managers seek sales talent in outside industries, they are bringing in far more than a top-performer—they’re also getting a fresh set of eyes that can offer an innovative perspective.

  • Far Fewer Limits

Though the frequent hope is that new hires from the same field might bring clients and customers with them, the legal minefield of non-compete agreements and customer block out times could hinder these types of hires. By looking outside your industry for capable sales talent, you are saving valuable time and effort in cultivating candidates who won’t bring legal woes with them.

Although there are clear benefits to hiring sales professionals from other industries, it’s imperative that only companies with a strong onboarding/training program opt to go this route.  Before hiring sales reps from outside industries, take the time to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your in-house training program in order to understand if an outside hire is right for your company. When in doubt, rely on your trusted sales recruiting company partner to help you determine your best pool of candidates.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. 

Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or