Monday, 20 January 2014

The Tides They are a Changin'...


I’ve been in recruitment long enough to see several cycles of it being an ‘employer driven market’ and a ‘candidate driven market’.  We’re in a really interesting situation at the moment where employers think they ‘still hold the cards’ whereas the truth is that good candidates have a wealth of opportunities at their fingertips and truly are the ones that are ‘calling the shots’.
Particularly, in London, which let’s face it is an economy in its own right, the ‘fight for talent’ is as ferocious as it was in those heady years of 2004-2007.  We have seen candidates register on the Monday and be placed in a role before the week was out, and the majority of our candidates at a final interview stage have two or three opportunities to choose from.  In addition, we have also lost out on a couple of opportunities as employers dragged their heels in confirming the offer details in writing.

So what can employers do to ensure that they hire the best talent to their required timescales?

1) WORK TO A PLAN: A free checklist to ensure a well thought out plan is executed can be found here: http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/Recruitment-Plan-Template.aspx

2) LOOK OUTSIDE THE OBVIOUS: I’ve spent the last five years trying to educate employers that recruiting from a competitor is not a great long-term move.  Think of it logically – would you move from ‘Company A’ to ‘Company B’ for exactly the same role for perhaps a few more quid?  It’s unrealistic.  So, employers need to look once again outside of the obvious.  In sales, it’s all about ‘routes to market’ – if someone sells a product through distribution, they will be able to sell your product, with product training, through distribution.  If someone sells a product into retailers, they will, with training, be able to sell your product into retailers.  If you are willing to flex on a candidate from an aligned company, you can then look for far greater qualities like i) can they sell, ii) are they a team fit iii) do they have the potential to develop in my organisation.  Subsequently you can target candidates from a pool of several hundred rather than ten to ensure you recruit the right person for your business.
3) YOU ALSO HAVE TO SELL AT INTERVIEW: Ensure that you sell your business, your role and the opportunity to candidates at the first-stage  interview.  More advice and a video on the ‘Importance of Selling to Candidates’ can be found here: http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/how-to-not-lose-the-best-candidates.aspx
 
4) MOVE QUICKLY PART ONE: Arrange to meet your selected candidates within a few days of the CV being received.  If you meet someone at first interview that you want to move forward to the next stage then ensure that it happens within five working days.  I appreciate that everyone’s diary is busy but with the ability to Skype and so forth your director’s availability should no longer be an excuse.  If this is just an impossibility and the delay is going to be more than five days, then add an additional telephone interview stage in-between the first and second meetings.  This will keep the momentum going and ensure that the candidate remains engaged into your recruitment process.
5) MOVE QUICKLY PART TWO: Regardless of your company policy a successful applicant will expect a bullet pointed overview of the offer within two days.  Like yourself,  all sales people like decisive people!  Request that the candidate agrees in principle to the offer in writing by return.  If there is a delay in the response, you could be looking at a problem, but at least you will know about it sooner rather than later.  Then work with the recruiter, or the candidate directly, to get the start date confirmed as soon as possible and attempt to reduce the notice period to get them into your business sooner.
6) THE BIGGEST FALLACY OF ALL WHEN RECRUITING: “Well if he wasn’t prepared to wait three weeks for the final interview to meet with our very busy Managing Director then he evidently wasn’t the right candidate for our organisation”.  You can justify it to yourself all you like but good sales candidates want to work for well directed, decisive and driven organisations that know what they want, where they are going and what they need to get there.  This is now a candidate driven market again and you need to follow the above steps.
Hope that this helps to ensure that you do not lose out on the best sales talent

Friday, 27 September 2013

Absolutely Bloomin Fabulous

Every time I call one of my longstanding clients, I get an unusual, yet uplifting, answer to one of life’s most mundane and often insincere questions.  I ask him, like everyone does, almost on autopilot, “How are You?"  He always responds “I’M ABSOLUTELY BLOOMIN FABULOUS!” He says it with such zest and authenticity that it genuinely takes you by surprise, and it’s a great tonic.  

So, last week after many years of laughing and joking about it, I asked him why he responds so bombastically and the response was more insightful than I imagined. 

He said, firstly, that it made him personally feel positive, good about himself and reenergised. 

He then said that it also seemed to have a positive impact on everyone whom he came into contact with and regularly sparked conversation (like the one we were having!).  And, as a hands-on Sales Manager himself, this obviously this had a favorable impact as people remembered him. 

But the thing I found most enlightening was when he said, “look, I’ve got my health, food on the table, a roof over my head, a wife and kids who love me, and I live in a Western democracy.  I reckon I’m one of the luckiest 2% of the people in the world alive today." 

He said that every time he found himself seething that he has to wait four minutes to queue to fuel his car or that the Sauvignon Blanc is priced incorrectly in the local shop, he has to reframe his mind to say to himself “if this is the worst thing that’s happening to me at the moment, then I’m a very, very lucky man."  

I wish I could pull it off with his authenticity, but I’m going to try - “I’M ABSOLUTELY BLOOMIN’ FABULOUS!”

Oh, How Sales Has Changed, Or Has It? Have Your Say!


I conducted my first short sales survey back in 2001 around the ‘changing face of sales’ and it and came to the conclusion that a 1970s salesperson was seen as ‘gregarious, loud, a networker’; a 1980’s one was ‘brash, materialistic and a buy low-sell high type’ yet the 2000’s sales professional was ‘a solution provider that was consultative and adds value’!  If I was to run the same survey today I wonder if the sales professional of the two thousand and teenies would be ‘a connecter, a ‘forum maven’ and total tweet’!

The survey I conducted back in the heady days of 2007 was, as you would expect in boom time, tales of high performance, progression and advancing remuneration.  The subsequent survey, in 2009 was a dark mirror in contrast.  Talking to people in business it has been an interesting four years since then; a time of uncertainty and optimism but most of all change. 

It’ll be fascinating to see what stories the 2013 survey springs up and ‘d be really grateful to anyone in a sales led career if they’d take ten minutes out of their day to complete the survey.  Unlike most, I hope anyway; it's thought-provoking and doesn't have any particular agenda other than to  take a snapshot of the UK sales industry to compare  to previous years and indeed against future years. 

It is 60 questions, only five of them mandatory, completely anonymous and securely stored on the servers of one of the biggest survey providers on the planet. 

So please take part in the 2013 survey and HAVE YOUR SAY!


The survey can be accessed here or by visiting: www.survey2013.org