Better Job Applicants through Better Job Postings (part 2)

Last month I focused on the skill set section of the job advertisement. The newsletter underscored the importance of mentioning the specific sales skills needed to succeed in your organization. Next, I would like to look at the responsibilities and requirements sections. 

When writing job advertisements, most of my clients accurately describe their company, the benefits package, and the process for applying for the open position. Often they find it difficult to clarify the responsibilities and requirements. Others omit those two areas altogether.


A responsibility involves a duty or an obligation. In addition to the selling responsibilities discussed in my last newsletter, regular responsibilities accompanying the sales position you are advertising for might include:

  • Sales software usage
  • Meeting attendance
  • Weekly / monthly / quarterly sales reporting
  • Continuing sales training

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What type of information do you ask the sales representative to enter into the sales software system?
  • How often do you meet with the entire sales staff and the individual sales representatives?
  • What do they need to bring / provide at these meetings?
  • Do they generate any of their own sales reports?
  • If so, which type and when are they due?
  • Do you provide sales training on a regular basis?
  • Is it on or offsite / daytime or evening?

The answers to these and other questions you come up with will assist you in tackling the responsibility section of the job advertisement.


A requirement differs from a responsibility in that it is a necessity or a deal breaker. Some requirements might include:

  • College degree
  • Industry experience
  • Certification
  • Organization membership

Ask yourself:

  • Is a college degree truly a necessity?
  • Does prior industry experience help a sales rep be more successful?
  • What type of certification is mandatory in your industry?
  • Do salespeople realize any benefits from joining certain organizations?

Some people throw in requirements (like a college degree) to weed people out. Make sure the prerequisite is absolutely essential. If not, it can chase good candidates away. 

The job advertisement allows companies to be specific about what they really want. You may, for instance, ask your sales representatives to turn in a bi-monthly sales forecast. In your estimation, it's a critical component of the job. If the candidate you are interviewing has never been asked to turn in a sales forecast, that could cause problems once they begin working for you. 

You may choose to hire them anyway. In every other way they may be a great fit for your open sales position. If you do make them a job offer, you'll know before they start that you need to work closely with them on their first few sales forecasts. That's valuable information to have. You'll begin your working relationship with them on a stronger footing.