Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Apprentice Week 1, ‘Fish Food’- Business Lessons Learnt

Last night saw the return of the hit BBC program ‘The Apprentice’ starring business guru Lord Alan Sugar on his search to find a new business partner. The first episode entailed the 18 candidates selling seafood products across London with ingredients sourced from Billingsgate fish market. Team Versatile in blue, led by Selena, opted to sell budget calamari and fishcakes to the general public.

On the other side, Team Connectus in yellow, headed up by food blogger April, made an expensive tuna nicoise salad and high quality fishcakes to sell to high-flying business people across the city. As per usual, some of the lines from the candidates were comic such as Joseph Valente describing himself as “the ultimate persuader of women” and the “godfather of business”, unsurprisingly this series’ applicants seems to have as many odd-balls as ever. Here are the biggest business mistakes the teams made in episode 1:

The Calamari Disaster


The biggest head-in-hands moment of this week’s episode has to go to Team Versatile getting the storage temperature of the calamari wrong. For calamari to be fit to be sold and eaten it needs to be stored at around 2°C, not the 15°C which the team in blue left it in for the majority of the day. To make matters worse, the team were aware of this before they left for the day and vowed to keep it under control! Unsurprisingly the seafood spoiled and the team had to throw away half of their stock; you would have thought if you had researched how to store calamari you would at least stick to the rules. Despite this, Team Versatile made a decent profit of £200 and managed to win the task. This begs the question of what the other team could have possibly done to perform worse and make a lower profit…

Where Was The Negotiation?


One of the biggest mistakes that Team Connectus made was buying from the first fish stall they came across at Billingsgate fish market, without negotiating. This is one of the oldest lessons in business, you have to shop-around a bit before you commit to buying a product- without doubt there would have been a cheaper source of tuna at the market, which Karren Brady picked up on. On top of this, the team failed to negotiate at all going with the first price that the vendor offered. Due to this Team Connectus had significantly higher costs than their rivals, a factor in their loss of the task.   

Failure to Adapt 


Perhaps the biggest mistake that the losing team made was not spotting that their fishcakes were going to be too large. Team Connectus set a target of making 300 fishcakes to sell from their cod, yet only managed to put together a measly 89. The person at fault for this was undoubtedly the chef for the day Brett, who was too worried with meeting the specification of the fishcake recipe rather than acting pragmatically. This is a case of where not adapting to potential issues can cause major business failure and is the key reason why the team only managed a disastrous profit of £1.87!

Lord Sugar was on his usual form as ever, shutting down Mergim’s waffle by asking him “where he was going” and “what his point was”. Our previous blog on the benefits of working for Lord Sugar might interest you, which is available here. The Apprentice is on again tonight on BBC1 at 9pm for the second episode where the candidates will have to create a new brand of shampoo.   

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Impact of Technology on the Sales Industry- Social Selling

The development of technology through time has brought many changes to the sales industry. Whether you are looking at the past decade or even longer than that, new inventions will and were always going to change how people sell their products and services. Take the invention of modern transport for example, the car brought the introduction of an outside sales team and a whole new type of sales professional. Every year a new invention changes how salespeople work and how businesses target consumers.  In more recent years however, the biggest change to the sales industry must surely have come from technology focussed around social media. I don’t think anybody can deny that we are now in a digital age, I read online recently that people now spend more time using computer technology than they spend time asleep. The rise of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook have brought both opportunities and threats for business owners and sales professionals alike, whether you like social media tools or not they deserve to be treated with respect.

The Facts


Here at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment in 2014 we conducted one of the largest surveys of sales professionals ever commissioned. In relation to how sales professionals use social media for their work, the results were interesting. Our survey of 730 salespeople found that only 42% regularly and proactively use social media for lead generation. When you compare this with another statistic we found, that 47% of the sales professionals surveyed had secured sales from LinkedIn, it suggested that salespeople are missing an opportunity to increase their revenues from social media. You have to question that if social media can be used as a tool and a resource for selling, why are less than half of salespeople not using it regularly? Full details of our 2014 survey can be found here.

Hunters vs Farmers- or even Fisherman?


The old metaphor of farmer and hunter salespeople, where the hunters go out and win new business and the farmers cultivate existing business is becoming outdated in the digital age. We suggest that seeing a sales professional as a fisherman may now be more relevant. A fisherman throws ground bait in, waits for the right moment and then strikes. He needs to strike at the right time, too early or late and someone else gets the fish. The same adage can now be compared to the modern day sales
professional, they have to be looking and waiting in the right places such as LinkedIn to know when their prospects are going to bite, then striking at exactly at the right time. With social media sites it’s possible to monitor prospects to see when they are showing interest in a product or service and that is the time to strike and secure a deal.


Opportunities


In the business-to-consumer industry many sales deals are starting without initial contact from the business who is actually selling the product or service. Businesses are doing their own research online and starting the selling process without you, because of this it’s crucial that your company is visible online and can be found. If you want to have your businesses products or services bought you have to be on the radar in the first place. Further to this, decision makers are reviewing companies or individuals credentials on sites such as LinkedIn before doing business with them, so whether you are reading this from a viewpoint of a sales professional or a business owner it’s vital to keep with the times and the digital age.   

Thursday, 10 September 2015

What Not to Include on Your CV- Funny CV Mistakes

Here at Aaron Wallis we see hundreds of CV’s every day and you’d be surprised some of the mistakes people make when they are applying for jobs. Some of the things that people choose to include can be an instant turn-off to employers and really can be the difference between getting a role and not. Here are common mistakes that people make and some funny examples we’ve seen:

Hobbies and Interests


A lot of our recruitment consultants would say that the place where people most often make mistakes is the hobbies and interests part of a CV. It’s easy to put across the wrong impression to an employer when describing what you do in your spare time. Saying you enjoy time socialising with your friends, playing darts and doing quizzes might sound like an innocent gesture but really it makes you sound like you spend all your time at the pub. Think carefully about what you put! A good tip is to tailor this part of your CV for each role, if the job requires leadership qualities maybe mention that time you were captain of a sports team or something similar.


Too Much Information


Quite often we see examples of where candidates have gone into a little too much detail about previous employment or qualifications. For example employers probably don’t want to see your bad O level results from thirty years ago, if you’ve reached the point in your career where qualifications don’t matter it may be best to leave things like this out! Also if you’ve fallen out with your boss it might be worth leaving this out as a reason for leaving a business, try to put something a bit more constructive.

Funny Things We’ve Seen


  • Listing your degree as a bachelorette degree
  • Unfortunate spelling mistakes- “Throughout my career I have had sex jobs”, “I took a career break in 2003 to renovate my horse”
  • Putting every word in capitals- this reads as if you have just shouted your entire career history at someone!
  • Bizarre email addresses for contact information-  kingoftheworld@googlemail.com
  • Inappropriate photo on your CV- a picture of you having a beer with your friends may actually be a nice photo, but it’s probably not the best thing to put on your application             

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sales Training vs Sales Coaching

Making the decision on whether to have your sales staff trained or coached can be difficult. The correct choice depends on a lot of factors but hopefully this blog will outline some things to think about before investing in an approach.
There is a clear difference between sales training and sales coaching but the two are often confused. The table below outlines how the two approaches to staff development differ:




Sales Coaching


For me, the main difference between coaching and training is who is actually carrying out the development programme. The best sales coaching programmes are often carried out internally, by colleagues who have more experience in sales and your business. This will help your tutees improve their sales skills significantly as well as pick up your business principles more quickly. The knock-on effect of this is that by implementing a process where more experienced staff coach the less experienced, the tutor will be refreshing their skills as well by teaching someone else. Often you only really think about and understand a process when you are trying to teach someone else.

The second thing with coaching as opposed to training is that it is an ongoing process. Regular communication between the tutor and the tutee enables the sales coach to recognise the trainee’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows for the programme to be adapted to fit more around the person being trained, which always makes for a more effective process. I believe that this is the major benefit of coaching over training, as it allows for an understanding of what an employee really needs to learn to succeed in the industry.

Sales Training


Training is often seen as the more expensive approach to staff development as it usually relies on hiring or working with an external agency. Sales training can come in a variety of different forms from motivational speaking to basic selling protocol. This investment is often worthwhile however as the trainer you work with will have expertise and may even be an expert in their field. By following the advice from leaders of the sales industry your staff may pick up some valuable hints or tips which may help them day to day. Training offers more opportunity for higher calibre salespeople compared to coaching, as it is harder to coach a person who is already very experienced in their field. Sending one of your top salespeople to a training event may make an already effective member of staff even more effective. For this reason the decision between coaching and training usually depends on the member of staff you are trying to develop. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

How to Keep Your Sales Staff Motivated

One of the main drivers of business success is retaining top staff, but perhaps even more important than this is keeping your top earners motivated and performing. The difference between a thriving business and a failing business lies with how much revenue your salespeople are bringing in each month, so ensuring they are performing at their best is vital. Keeping your staff ‘on the ball’ and busy is often more difficult than it sounds, so here are some of our thoughts on how best to approach the matter.

Rewarding Performance


A finely tuned and thought out compensation structure is one of the best ways to motivate staff, especially salespeople. Too often businesses are not representing their top performers with incentive structures to really get them going. Having a cap on earnings and bonuses may seem to make initial sense to keep business costs down, but the logic is often flawed. Once one of your employees has reached their limit of earnings what’s in it for them to work hard? Put yourself in their shoes, if you hit your annual salary cap by October you will be inclined to coast along until the start of January, as selfish as this sounds it’s how the human brain is programmed to work. As long as your bonus structure is linked to profit made for the business and not just turnover, the increased salary you pay to an employee will only be rising in relation to money they make for the business. The best way to devise a bonus structure is to form it in such a way that it is a win-win for your employee and for your business.

Secondly, a lot of sales organisations are creating disincentives for staff by rewarding both poorly performing and highly performing salespeople. Giving bonuses to staff who meet the minimum required standard you expect as an employer sends out the wrong message. For example giving pay-outs to staff who achieve less than 50% of their sales goals discourages them from hitting their peaks, and communicates to your top performers that you as a business are satisfied with mediocrity. If you are looking to rejuvenate your sales staff and attract the best talent, a strong compensation structure is probably the best place to start.     

Encourage Competition


Many businesses assume that salespeople are only motivated by money.  This isn’t always true. Everyone enjoys that rush of competing against your colleagues and as an employer if you can encourage a bit of friendly rivalry between your staff your sales revenue is very likely to increase. As sad as it sounds everybody likes to ‘get one up’ on everyone and giving prizes to the best performing staff is a good way to get the best out of everyone. These prizes or rewards do not always have to be financial, an interesting reward scheme at a business I know is that the best performing salesperson for that month receives access to the best parking space at the company. Little things like this can really boost your employees to their top level. 

Written by Andy at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

How Strong is Your LinkedIn Profile?

LinkedIn is a great tool for individuals and companies alike. The website has exploded since its creation in 2003 and now has more than 70 million members worldwide, growing by over 1 million users a month. For salespeople it allows the development and maintenance of a contact base, as well as providing a marketing platform for businesses to promote their product. Recent research shows that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, showing just how important it is to have a strong, visible online presence. But how do you come across on LinkedIn? Is your profile doing you a favour or causing you harm?


Building Your Brand


Whether you have a LinkedIn profile as an individual or a business it’s important to consider how you want your prospects, customers or colleagues to view your profile. Everything you choose to include in your profile matters, and little things can make a big difference in how people perceive you and your account. The first thing to decide when creating a LinkedIn profile is a profile picture for your account, as an individual this will likely be a photo of you, but for a business it will probably be your logo or even a picture of your staff. People often underestimate how important this picture is to your profile, as first impressions really do count and the immediate perception people create of you is heavily influenced by your picture.

For a person profile on LinkedIn it’s a good idea to try and make your picture look as professional as possible. I heard one of our recruitment consultants comment the other day how unprofessional it looks when people are drinking alcohol in their LinkedIn picture, these details can really affect how people view you. Everything from what you are wearing to the background of the picture is worth thinking about. For businesses the usual marketing techniques need to come into play, your picture should correspond to your company branding as it is an extension of your business. With the limited information and media you can include on your profile, it’s important to get things such as pictures right.

The space available underneath your name or a company name should be used carefully as it is often the first thing people read on your profile. Using keywords associated with specific roles or business sectors is a good technique to attract views to your profile, as it is one of the search tools that LinkedIn provides. This space is finite and needs to be thoroughly thought about, the same rules apply as SEO, what terms and words do you expect people to search for?

Networking


For salespeople or even any professional, LinkedIn offers opportunities to expand your career connections in a way that no other social media site can compete with. By keeping in touch with people you know and have worked with your voice will be heard by more people, and in turn what you hear on the ‘grapevine’ will increase. Both for individuals and companies the opportunities that are available to you will increase, for example many people hear about job vacancies through LinkedIn, one of my family members has been approached for his last two roles through the site.

The groups and support networks you can join on the site are valuable areas for discussion. These groups can provide help for when you have difficult questions, but when you help someone else it will raise the profile of your account and increase the number of views it receives. Discussion with industry experts can provide your business with some good advice and potentially help with strategic thinking.

In today’s digital age it’s vital to be a part of LinkedIn as it allows for a new area of competition both for individuals and businesses. Creating a strong profile can help with business success and career development. Follow Aaron Wallis’ LinkedIn profile here.


Monday, 10 August 2015

3 Things to Think About When Training New Sales Hires

The quality of a new employees’ training and induction process is often a key determinant in how effective they are going to be for your business, especially in the first year. It’s important when making a sales hire that your new employee hits the ground running, as most businesses can’t afford to be burdened with poor performance. A survey conducted by Aaron Wallis last year found that 53% of sales people felt that they needed more training for their role, illustrating just how many businesses aren’t getting their training right. The full results of our 2014 ‘The State of Sales’ survey can befound here. Here are a few points to consider when designing or reviewing your training programme:


The Introductions


Creating a friendly environment for a new employee is a key thing to think about when devising an induction process. Positive interaction and relationships between staff is immeasurably valuable as it helps to keep your staff motivated and stress free. When welcoming a new person to your team take time to introduce them individually to each person they will be working with, including the ‘big dogs’ of the business. Too often new staff are not welcomed by the management team of the business, usually due to excuses of managers being ‘too busy’. Ensuring that a new employee is acquainted with everyone from the interns to the directors is a good start to making them feel welcome.  

At this time it might be worth giving them a quick overview of the organisational structure of your business to avoid embarrassing situations. There aren’t many things worse when joining a new business then asking the wrong person for a hand or a minute of their time. For instance a newly appointed entry level sales person would probably want to avoid inadvertently asking a director to help unpack their bags. Mix-ups such as these are easily avoided and go a long way in making sure a new person has the best chances of making a 
good impression.

Keep it Engaging


The most effective training programmes are those that identify with each new employee through customisation. Everything from a person’s previous experience to personality needs to be considered to design the perfect training process. For example a seasoned sales person will require a different training scheme than a graduate position, patronising a new employee with information they already know is never a good start. Try to gauge what a new employee is already competent at before training them, boring them early on can cause them to become disillusioned with the training.

Everyone at some point has experienced ‘death by PowerPoint’, breaking up the training through different mediums and platforms is a good way to keep employees focussed. Training new employees through the same method can prove tedious, and breaking it up by 
increasing the range of activities in the process can help to keep employees motivated.


Get Them up to Speed Quickly  


It’s worth considering which processes and programs that new employees need to know first. By getting new employees up to speed on the basic parts of their role they may be able to perform tasks early on, which can prove useful for your business. Further to this, by allowing new employees to do tasks at the same time as being in the induction process, it breaks up the training and keeps new people to the business engaged.

The Internal Recruitment Division at Parker Bridge report that 1 in 25 employees has walked out of a job within a week, citing a poor induction as their reason for leaving. It's worth trying to get the process right!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What Are The Best Degrees For The Sales Industry?

Most of the time you don’t actually need a degree to get into the sales industry, as the majority of sales positions are not always looking for graduates. In fact it is very possible to get into sales without experience or a degree, see our recently published blog ‘How to Get Into Sales without Any Experience’. However, a degree will always improve your CV and allow you to get into the sector at a higher entry level, with a potential of a higher salary. Entry level graduate sales positions have an impressive average salary of £23,000, a good reason to get into the sector! Here are the best degrees to help you get a job in the sales industry:

Business Degrees


An obvious point, but if you are looking for a sales job it’s always going to be working for a business! So why not study a business related degree? Business degrees come in a variety of different forms but perhaps the most useful courses to study come from a marketing or management perspective. Marketing degrees will develop your skills in identifying and understanding customers, and management degrees will come in handy if you are looking for a career in managing sales people.


Psychology or Sociology


It’s not always the topics that you directly learn about in your time at University that prepare you for your future career. The Washington Post conducted an interesting study in 2013 that found that only 27% of graduates were in employment that directly linked to their degree. A degree in psychology or sociology will give you some insight into how people think and behave, which can be very helpful when trying to secure sales deals or developing a sales strategy for a business.


Media or Communications


Learning about how organisations communicate and the different channels and streams they use to do it can link directly to sales. Graduate sales positions are more likely to be focussed on developing sales strategies or management of a team, and a degree that develops your knowledge of communications will increase the chances of you landing a job in the industry. This is especially relevant in B2B sales jobs, and has more significance in today’s digital age with the development of the sales sector across the internet and through other technology.


Interestingly, Harrods now offer a specialist sales degree exclusively for their staff they want to develop with the classrooms for studying being above their shop in Knightsbridge! The course lasts two years and is the first retailer that offers an honours degree in sales. Unfortunately this degree is only available for Harrods staff, but illustrates how valuable employers consider degrees! An important thing to remember is that a degree will improve your skills in critical thinking and information management, which is one of the main things employers look for in candidates. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

How to Attract Top Sales Talent to Your Business

For me, the biggest ingredient of business success is a strong and effective workforce. Having talented and effective employees working for you means that your business will prosper and develop, and ultimately make profit. The problem is that every business is looking for the very best employees, so how can you make sure that the best sales people want to work for you?

Be an Attractive Option


At the end of the day someone will only join your business if they believe it’s somewhere they would like to work, and an improvement to the position they are currently in. The role and environment you are offering has to be better than what they are being offered elsewhere. This means offering a better package than your competitors, either financially or in other ways.

Most people would agree that the primary incentive to move to a new role is money. Basic human nature means that we look for the job which will reward us the most, and the most obvious point of gratification comes financially.  For this reason attracting top sales talent requires that you have to offer at very least a competitive market salary, but a package that surpasses your competitors will give you the greatest chance of attracting the top people. A good technique to attract the very best sales candidates is to offer a package weighted towards bonus or commission earnings. Successful sales people will be confident in the belief that they can sell a large amount of a product or service, and will see that a salary structure that rewards hard work will provide the best opportunity for them. This does often mean that you will end up paying an employee more, but if they are bringing deals to your business then the reward will always outweigh the cost.     

However as Jessie J would argue, it’s not always about the money. Another key thing people think about when considering a new job is the environment they will be working in, and what day to day life could look like for them in a new role. The atmosphere and facilities in a new position are a big deal to people, as it’s something they have to deal with every day. For this reason it’s important that your business has everything from clean and tidy offices to an accessible location.

Make Your Vacancy Visible


For people to want to join your business, they have to be aware of who you are, and that there is an opportunity available. This means placing the information about your job role in a place where it can be seen, or on a popular job board. Alternatively you could work with a recruitment agency to search for the top talent, which may be a quicker and more effective solution. The bottom line is that if people are not informed of a vacancy at your business, they are never going to apply to it or contact you.

Secondly the very best talent in the industry want to work for the best and most well-known businesses. Creating a strong brand presence in your business sector will help you attract the strongest candidates as they are more likely to look to you if they are considering leaving a business. Another benefit of this is that if you are headhunting a senior sales person, then it will always help if they are aware of your business and what you do. A combination of an attractive job opportunity and a visible business is the only way to secure the top sales talent.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Recruiting My Dream Football Team

Occasionally it can be a struggle to persuade the right person to join your business, and you have to think of a way to get them on board. With the new football season starting soon I wondered what the best way to recruit my dream football team would be:

Joe Hart- For a lot of people the facilities that their place of work provide are very important when looking for a new job. Things that an employer can provide on a daily basis go a long way, and when looking to employ Joe Hart it’s worth stocking up on your Head and Shoulders shampoo.

Sol Campbell- Many employers would probably agree that giving someone a job title which sounds better than it actually is can be a good way of getting people on board. With someone like Sol Campbell you need to make sure they think they have an important place in the team, even if they don’t. Something like Mayor of the reserves could work.

Ferdinand- Sometimes you have to think a little bit out of the box to get someone into your team. Getting Rio to join you may include a combination of a good supply of snapback hats and an office playing rap music all day.

John Terry- The best way to recruit JT allegedly would be to offer him a deal including as many girls as he would like, or even your word as his boss that you won’t be unhappy if he gets with one of the other players’ wife.  

Sterling- With some people it’s all about the base salary. When recruiting someone like Raheem Sterling it’s important that you offer them a package with a competitive guaranteed income, something like his new £200,000 a week deal at Manchester City would suffice. Let’s just hope he’s not too tired to work.

Delph- Perhaps counterintuitively the best tactic for employing Fabian Delph would be to encourage him to commit his future to his current role. After all he’s only going to do a U-Turn anyway and join your team.

Toure- Usually it’s the little things that employers provide which make a difference for people. To keep Yaya Toure happy it’s imperative you remember his birthday, and provide him with a regular supply of birthday cakes. It’s important that candidates such as Yaya know this before you offer them a position.

Wilshere- Often when recruiting, things included in the salary package that are not just the base salary are important. Recruiting Wilshere would be as easy as offering him a job lot of fags, according to newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Mirror.

Puncheon- Similar to Joe Hart, Jason Puncheon is a man all about the facilities. Keeping your toilets clean and tidy would be a good way to keep Jason happy, as the midfielder was left red faced in a game last year when he didn't have time to make a trip.

Balotelli- One of the biggest things candidates or in this case players seek in a new job is guidance, and career development. When attempting to recruit Mario Balotelli I would ensure that he realises the new skills he could learn in his new position, such as setting off fireworks safely or putting a bib on properly.

Suarez- Support structures need to be in place for employees should they run into difficulty. In this case a dentist may be of use to keep Luis Suarez’s teeth in working order, or even a psychologist for when he loses track of his marbles.

Friday, 17 July 2015

How to Get Into Sales without Any Experience

From reading the papers or watching the television, many people believe that it is near impossible to get into sales without experience. This is simply not true, and there are a variety of ways to get into the industry:


Education


Getting yourself onto the first ‘rung of the ladder’ of the sales industry may seem challenging without relevant experience, but it is less difficult then people would have you believe. Perhaps the biggest alternative to experience on a CV is education or qualifications. Learning about the sales industry makes you a much more attractive candidate to organisations as it increases the likelihood that you will be effective in their vacant position.  This can come in many forms and does not always mean certification or accomplishment from a school or university. Higher education in the form of a degree will of course help you if you are after a graduate sales job, but there are many other alternatives.

Sales training or seminars are run by a variety of different organisations and come in many different forms that can suit you. Courses can vary from short to long term, but all of them will increase your chances of landing a sales job. A lot of this training can be found online and can be completed both cheaply and quickly, the road to your dream job may only be a Google search away! The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management offer apprenticeship NVQ courses, and this may be a good place to start.

An inexpensive way to increase your knowledge of sales and to get to grips with the jargon is to read some books on sales - 'Brilliant Selling' by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird is a good start as is 'How to Sell' by Mike le Put and 'e-selling' by Sean McPheat has some great ideas on increasing sales through social networking. Great blogs on sales are Sean's at - http://www.mtdsalestraining.com/mtdblog and Gavin Ingham's at http://www.gaviningham.com/blog

Be Creative with Your CV


When applying for any role, not just sales, it is worth catering your CV to reflect the position you are applying for. A good technique is to look at the person and job specification for the vacancy and try and pick up on some key words or terminology the employer is looking for in a candidate. For example if the person specification mentions teamwork as a key quality required in a candidate, really try to express how much of a team player you are. This can be done all the way through your CV, from previous responsibilities you have held, or even your hobbies and interests: if you have ever played a team sport this is a good example of working in a team!       

Just because your previous job didn’t have a sales focus, it doesn’t mean that the skills you acquired whilst working there are irrelevant. Any previous job that required engaging with customers is worth highlighting on your CV as it shows you have likely developed good communication skills, which is something employers look for in sales roles. More specifically, any experience of engaging with customers over the phone will definitely help if you are applying for a telesales roles.


Apply for the right jobs 


The key to getting into the sales industry is to apply for jobs that suit you. If you are at the beginning of your career applying to trainee sales jobs is probably the best way, and if you are a graduate there are entry level roles catered for you. Further to this, applying for sales jobs in a sector of which you already hold an interest will always increase the chances of you being successful as a candidate. If you have knowledge of a product, you will be far better at selling it, and employers recognise this. For example if you hold an interest in technology, selling computers may be a good fit for you: it will increase the chance of you getting the job, and increase the chance of you being good at the role! 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

How to be a Bad Negotiator- Lessons From Greece

Yesterday, a deal was agreed in principle between the Greek government and the Eurozone leaders for an €86 billion euro bailout package for Greece. Despite a referendum less than 10 days ago giving a clear majority decision from the Greek people to not accept a deal proposed by the IMF and ECB, here we stand today only a few hours away from the agreement being fully completed. This deal includes spending cuts, tax increases and privatisation that the Syriza Greek government had been voted in on the promise half a year ago to prevent. Further to this common opinion is that Greece are about to accept a deal which is worse than which they could have had only two weeks ago. How did Greece end up in this position, and how have they negotiated so badly?

Unreasonable Demands


The first thing we can take away from the Greek saga is to only enter into a negotiation with someone when you think your demands are achievable or realistic, otherwise you will always end up disappointed. Going into a discussion in business or elsewhere is only worthwhile if your demands can actually be met. The clampdown on tax evasion and corruption in Greece has been a long time coming. The country is notoriously bad at supervising tax incomes and preventing fraud, and the Prime Minister’s belief that their countries tax system did not need revisiting is somewhat wide-eyed. Take the example of the Greek island of Zakynthos- ‘The Island of the Blind’:

Zakynthos, the Greek island of 40,000 has a reported rate of blindness 10 times the average rate of blindness for the rest of Europe. This has left many people pondering the question, have the citizens of Zakynthos evolved in a certain way that has left them massively susceptible to being blind? Or could this just be just a ploy to acquire the badly checked and supervised €350 a month disability payments on offer? It would seem the norm to commit benefit fraud on this island, with people from all trades claiming the payment, the Telegraphed recently interviewed a ‘blind’ 35 year old taxi-driver who had been receiving the disability payments at the same time as driving tourists around the island. Thankfully the mayor of the island may be coming to his senses after going on record conceding that “out of the 650 blind people on the island, we estimate that 600 of these are actually not blind”. In today’s world, particularly in developed countries, it should have been obvious to Greece that tax collection needed reform, and it was not worth negotiating otherwise.


Know a Good Deal When You See It


The second thing to learn from how the Greek government approached the talks is to know your ‘walk-away’ point and what you can expect from the negotiations. Greece did not anticipate what the best deal they could hope to get would be, and this has left them in a position where they have had to accept a deal worse than what they could have received two weeks ago.  As a business or as an individual it's useful to think about every possibility from different scenarios of negotiation, and come to a clear decision on at which point you would accept an offer and at which point you would ‘walk away’.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is on the verge of completing a deal with arrangements of
higher spending cuts and tax levels that were offered before the referendum. Further to this a senior EU official put the cost of the last two weeks of disruption at between 25 to 30 billion euros to the Greek economy, perhaps suggesting that it would have been best for the country to take the deal offered two weeks ago.

As a business when trying to reach a deal, you should do your homework on what you can achieve to make sure the conversation is productive, as well as knowing when a deal is right to accept!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Would you rather work for Alan Sugar or Richard Branson?

Lord Sugar and Sir Richard Branson are perhaps some of the UK’s best examples of starting at the bottom and making it to the top. Both from humble backgrounds, Sugar grew up in a council flat in Hackney starting his business from the back of a van, with Branson setting up his first record shop in an old church.  Despite similar beginnings for these two entrepreneurs their management styles struggle to be more contradictory, so the question to be raised is who would you rather work for?

Lord Sugar

Alan Sugar’s credentials cannot be contested, as a billionaire and the 101st richest man in the UK he runs the company Amstrad, and has also owned Tottenham Hotspur in the past. Sugar is an international household name following his success with the television show The Apprentice which averages over 7 million views per episode. Lord Sugar is not without his critics however, the Daily Mail has labelled him a “model of bad management” and even compared his rule by fear approach as similar to Joseph Stalin.

Sugar’s authoritative style is easy to see through The Apprentice, his approach in the boardroom not only makes for good TV but goes viral on social media. The internet is full of Lord Sugar’s greatest put downs, including telling Tre Azam “I have an imaginary remote control in my hand- and you’re on pause”. However, cynically it is easy to wonder whether his persona is all a front for the show, as Sugar has a reputation for being fair and must be doing something right to be granted the title of Lord. It is very hard to judge what Lord Sugar is really like in business of the real world, but if you are someone who prefers working under a ‘tell it how it is’ figure then Sugar may be the boss for you.  

An image of Lord Sugar from The Apprentice.The past winners of The Apprentice have gone on to have mixed success. Series One’s (2005) winner Tim Campbell has hit heights working as a head for a recruitment firm and as an ambassador for London Mayor Boris Johnston. On the other side of the spectrum 2010 winner Stella English quit her role at Lord Sugar’s business Viglen claiming that she was just an “overpaid lackey”. The jury on how good it is to work under Lord Sugar is still out, but having him as your boss may not be as good as it sounds.

Sir Richard Branson

One of the only people who can surpass Lord Sugar’s business achievements is Sir Richard Branson with a net worth of over £3 billion which puts him as the seventh richest person in the UK. Branson started with a single music shop in 1972 and now stands as the owner of Virgin Galactic, Atlantic, Mobile and Hotels respectively. Branson is famed for his laid-back management approach and a nurturing and innovative style, very different from Lord Sugar.  
Picture of Richard Branson and staff at Virgin.

Richard Branson comes across very much as a free-sprit, owning Necker Island which is visited regularly by celebrities for indulgent holidays without the paparazzi, a week’s stay will cost you over £280,000. He also stars in Virgin adverts with Usain Bolt, and has a reputation of charisma.  The business man follows a philosophy of caring for his workers as he argues “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers”.

Branson claims that one of the benefits of working for him is that there is no policy for holidays, ultimately you can have as much time off as you want. Again this is one of those things that probably sounds a lot better than it really is, in reality taking an unlimited holiday will probably not put you in your boss’s good books, and for career driven people the policy will hold no value. Branson himself is even quoted as saying that the policy relies on the assumption that “their absence will not in any way damage the business”.  


There is obviously more to working Lord Sugar and Branson than appears at the surface level, but maybe there are a few questions to ask yourself before picking your dream boss. Could you survive the boardroom? Is working for Branson as fun as it is portrayed? Which boss would further your career more? Let us know your thoughts. 

Written by Andy Boyle at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, an avid watcher of The Apprentice and an admirer of Sir Richard Branson. All things considered I would prefer to work for Richard Branson, as the opportunity to visit his island would be a great company perk!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

5 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Interviews From Your CV

Sending out numerous applications to employers without response can be disheartening, but it probably has more to do with your CV than you as a candidate. If your CV isn’t up to scratch, then you won’t get calls to interview, so here are 5 of the common errors where people go wrong:


Spelling Mistakes and Grammatical Errors

One of the biggest turn-offs to recruiters are simple mistakes in grammar and spelling. There is no excuse for errors, as it portrays laziness and a lack of focus, meaning your chances of getting to the next stage in the recruitment process drop significantly. Getting another person such as a family member or a friend to proofread it is a good technique, as it can be hard to spot your own errors.


It’s Too Generic

It’s a bad idea to send out the same CV and cover letter to each job vacancy that you apply for. It’s easy for employers to spot a generic application, and they won’t be impressed.  Getting the most out of your CV through personalisation to the role you are applying for is crucial to securing an interview. It’s important to tailor each application to the role that you apply for and highlight the skills, qualifications and experience that are most relevant to the job. Changing your objective or summary to link directly to the vacancy is a good way to grab employers’ attention and engage them.


It’s Not Fit For the Digital Age

Modern technology allows employers and recruiters alike to search through thousands of applications in a click of a button. New software searches through CV’s looking at buzzwords or keywords to find strong candidates. These new developments mean that you need to update your CV to contain the keywords recruiters are looking for, which are often specific to the role. A guide on getting your CV ready for modern technology and identifying the keywords to put in your application can be found in our career tools section, details below.


It’s Too Long

A CV that is three or more pages long is unlikely to get the full attention of a recruiter, people are busy, and they don’t have the time to wade through an essay. Recruiters want a concise, succinct document that is easy to extract information out of. Using bullet points and subheadings is a good tool to break up your CV and make it more readable for employers. Equally your application should not include absolutely everything that you have done, for example your first job at a car garage has little to do with the position of sales representative for a large corporation, so don’t list it!


You Don’t Sell Yourself

Your CV shouldn’t just list your experience, skills and qualifications, but it should also include your accomplishments. When discussing a previous role, don’t just talk about your duties, but talk about what you accomplished in this role too. This gives you the chance to show off your job skills, and it also gives the recruiter a better picture of what you are like in the workplace. Don’t be afraid to go into specifics about things you have achieved in your career, as it is a good way to show that you are the right candidate for the role.

For more advice on getting your CV up to scratch visit our section dedicated to this subject in the career tools section on our website 


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sales Training – Does It Form Part Of Your Selection Criteria When Recruiting Sales Staff?

The next time that you are recruiting sales staff to fill an important sales job, just spare a few moments to look at your proposition through the eyes of a candidate.

A serious candidate will already have done some basic research about your organisation and the products or services that you supply but there may still be many questions that remain unanswered right up until the time the interview takes place.

Increasingly, these days, one of the main subjects of interest is the way in which you develop your sales staff over time. Are the good prospects for advancement if performance is good?, is the salary/commission package fair and inspiring, and, more and more, is there regular product and sales training?

Product knowledge and sales training are often confused. Almost everyone in the organisation, to some extent, needs some product knowledge and some of course need in-depth knowledge of the products you sell. Salespeople need to be able to answer customer’s questions up to a point and to have a support structure in place if they are asked very technical or complex questions.

That is product knowledge and most salespeople will acquire a good deal of it as they go on.
Sales training, however, is something quite different. Yes, of course your sales force need to know the product but they do not necessarily need to be experts if you have a good sales support team in place who can provide answers to those slightly stickier questions.

What the salesperson does need is how to position your products when approaching a prospect, where you stand in relation to your competitors and their products, unique selling points, (USPs) and so on.

Then there are the sales skills themselves which are also the focus of a lot of sales training, for example:

How much discount can they give or need to give in order to compete with main competitors?
Upselling and cross selling – what are the available options?
Selling add-on and incremental products & services, e.g. maintenance contracts, warranties, etc.
What are the benefits to the customer of buying your new product, what problems is it going to solve for them?

These are typical elements of a sales training program for any organisation with a dynamic product range and should be made available to all sales people on a regular basis, either as part of an induction for a new employee or as a top-up course for existing salespeople.

Sales is a profession just like any other and those who work within it, on the whole, take their level of professionalism very seriously. Those organisations that provide ongoing training for all of their staff, not just sales staff, will find that attrition rates are lower and performance is higher.

As the UK’s leading specialist sales recruitment agency, Aaron Wallis provides an impressive array of sales training material on our website so if you are looking for a sales job, or an employer seeking to find someone to fill a sales job – take a look at what Aaron Wallis has to offer when it comes to sales training.

Friday, 6 March 2015

What are the bad habits to look out for when recruiting salespeople? - and how a specialist sales recruitment agency can help.


The fact is, we all have bad habits! Yes, even me, and probably you too. 

The habits I’m referring to are things we do in our professional lives in order to make the day go faster, easier and involve less work. So what are the bad habits to look out for when you have a sales job available and you are recruiting sales staff?

Administration

Lots of salespeople dislike administration. They tend not to do it properly because it cuts into their selling time. They perceive it to be non-productive so they avoid doing it, always leaving it “until tomorrow.”
The problem is, as we all know, tomorrow never comes and the poor sales guy end up with a pile of incomplete “paperwork”, which nowadays probably doesn't involve paper at all, cluttering up his desk – and his brain.

The result? Things don’t get done, or they get done too late, colleagues are not kept up-to-date with what is going on in the salesperson’s world and things start to break up.

How to spot it at an interview – ask a question like “tell me about your typical day, how do you divide up your time?” If there's no mention of the "a" word, you might want to move onto the next candidate.

Good sales “PR”

Although salespeople frequently operate out in the field, they tend to forget that their colleagues, or at least the office-based ones, do not. Whereas a good field salesperson could, and should, be out and about when the customer has requested to see them, or when there is a good chance of catching someone, the staff that support them back in the office usually work to “normal” office hours.

If you start the day at 6am in order to get to a client for an early meeting because that’s the only time he or she could see you, which is very much the case in a lot of sales jobs, then you could be forgiven for taking a breakfast break after that meeting and then making your way into the office.

Your colleagues, however, may simply see that as “the salespeople here do as they want, turn up when they can be bothered,” being unaware of the actual facts or choosing to ignore them.

The salesperson should always ensure that at least one other person in the office knows their diary, where they are and when they have to be there – this information will percolate around the business and, as a result, colleagues will be aware of the schedule the salesperson has to keep and will think more highly of them although I wouldn't over egg that particular pudding.

How to spot it at an interview – “do you keep a diary, do you share it with colleagues?” “Is it an online diary or the old fashioned paper type?”

Is he or she a team player?

If you ask whether someone is a team player they will probably say that they are, because that's the way many organisations think that work should be structured, but are they really?

Most sales jobs actually involve a team, even if the business does not have a formal team structure.

The marketing department generates leads, the salesman follows those leads up and closes the business, probably after a demonstration by the sales support people, then the production staff, or the buyers, warehouse people and so on, all move in to play their part.

It’s almost always a team effort of one sort or another.

So, when recruiting sales staff and sitting in front of the latest candidate for your sales job, it’s important to know how he or she will fit into the overall structure of the business.

If the salesperson takes a disproportionate amount of the “credit” for the sale it can cause bad feeling and work against the interests of the business so try to nip it in the bud before it happens.

How to spot it at an interview - at an interview, spot the “Lone Rangers” by asking questions like “in your current sales job, how many people are involved in the average sale, from enquiry to delivery, and who are they, (roles, not names)?”

If the answer is “one” or “just me” then proceed with caution.

OK, I know these aren't really bad habits like some I could, but won’t, mention, but they are potential problem pits just waiting to open up and swallow up your time and resources if you are not careful.

When you need to recruit sales staff and be confident that you are talking to candidates that will really fit in with your business culture, always contact a specialist sales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis. We can pre-screen candidates for your sales jobs and save you time today – and problems further down the line.






Saturday, 28 February 2015

Whether Recruiting Sales Staff, Looking for a sales Job or selling a car – does anyone use newspaper classified ads anymore?

It’s Thursday, it’s roughly lunchtime and it’s job advertising day in my local newspaper. I make up an excuse and take an early lunch so that I can make a bee line to the nearest newsagent and pick up a copy. Then it’s off to the canteen to browse the pages of job ads, all presented under the somewhat grandiose title of “situations vacant.”

OK, now that was thirty or so years ago and let me make it clear that I am fully aware that lots of local, and indeed national, newspaper still run ads for job vacancies. My argument is that they are much less common and the number of jobs advertised is smaller.
This can be attributed to a number of factors of which, of course, the main one is probably that the decline in sales of newspapers in the UK is currently happening at around 8% per year. This is often blamed entirely on the Internet and online news sources being more attractive to the consumer but that is only partially correct.

A long, slow decline

In fact, newspaper sales have been declining steadily since the early 1980’s, well before the World Wide Web took its hold over our lives and presented us with so many options and choices that it can sometimes be overwhelming.
On the other hand, some newspapers have survived by changing to a free issue model, London’s Evening Standard, which became free in October 2009, being a well-known case in point, and anyone who has traveled on a train will have been given the option of reading The Metro, completely free of charge, and paid for by advertising revenue – some of which is recruitment advertising.
As an employer, wishing to recruit staff, the number of choices is also mind-boggling. There are still print adverts to be had, locally and nationally, and no doubt this will continue to be the case for years to come.

Classifed job ads live on, but they're less likely to be of the printed variety

The alternative means of advertising for sales staff, technical staff and everything in-between is to go with one or more of the online recruitment websites. There you will find advertisements for everything from cleaners to cooks, shop assistants to secretaries, mechanics to managers and everything in-between. The range of vacancies on offer can be bewildering and, for that reason, sometimes wrong decisions can be made.
When it comes to recruiting staff for specialist jobs, such as IT sales staff, software sales staff or electrical sales staff then there is a case for moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach of many of the big job websites and looking towards more specialist recruitment agencies for a solution.
This is a tried and tested approach that has its history in the classified ads that were run in Industry Specific publication titles that serve a particular market. Many industries had, and still have, their own newspapers and magazines which carry news that is relevant to that industry but of little interest to anyone outside of it. It is to those publications that employers seeking to recruit specialist staff turn because they know that they will be read by those in the industry or who wish to become involved in that industry.
Similarly, if you are wanting to recruit sales staff, perhaps specialist financial sales staff, medical sales staff and so on, then it also pays dividends to stick to the specialists. Aaron Wallis are a specialist sales recruitment agency and work tirelessly to find the best candidates for their client’s vacant sales jobs.

Do whatever it takes to find the right person for your vacant sales jobs

Your next new member of the sales team probably won’t find you by way of a newspaper classified ad, but if he or she has access to email, the Internet or a smartphone or tablet, then if they don’t find you, we will almost certainly be able to find them for you.
We maintain a database of candidates who have been carefully screened and assessed so that we know exactly who to recommend them to when the right sales job becomes available.

Online ads, specialist recruitment websites, networking and social media websites and dedicated people just like us, have made it much easier to recruit the right sales staff for your sales jobs, all over the UK and beyond.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Now that we all interact with each other in different ways, thanks to technology, what new qualities should you look for when recruiting sales staff?

My kind of salesman, my kind of sales job

One of my favourite episodes of my all-time favourite comedy show, Dad's Army, was the one in which Captain Mainwairing's "twin" brother shows up to discredit his bank manager sibling by claiming that he had stolen a watch left to him by their deceased father.

When asked by one of the soldiers, what he did for a living, the somewhat sozzled brother replied that he was a salesman - actually what he said was that he "travelled in novelties," (meaning that he sold jokes and cheap toys), and then produced a few joke-shop tricks to show to the men in the regiment.

Although by today's standards, swigging from a hip flask, dressed in a flamboyant but slightly unkempt way and visiting his customers almost as if it was a social occasion and not a business appointment would be strictly non-acceptable behaviour for a sales person, in those days, it wasn't.

I'm not suggesting that people tolerated drunkenness in the workplace of course, the character was exaggerated for comedy effect, but the underlying point stands. Field sales jobs were almost entirely a male territory and salespeople were expected to be personalities, taking clients to lunches that lasted most of the afternoon and doing deals on the shake of a hand and without a shred of due diligence or a credit check in sight.

Product knowledge was important but not in an obsessive way, the social skills of a salesperson outweighed the product knowledge in terms of importance, by a long chalk.

The saying, "people buy people" was certainly true then, as it is now, but for different reasons.

So, back to the point - what qualities do you need to look for in a candidate when recruiting a salesperson to fill one of your sales jobs and how do they differ from just a few years ago let alone from the days when Captain Mainwairing and his army of geriatric heroes saved us all from the threat of the Hun?

It's time to be sociable - again

The answer, I would suggest, is not so great as you might think. Thanks to technology, we've learned to be sociable again, but in a totally different way and the line between personal interaction with friends and with business associates has been blurred. It can all be blamed on Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and, of course, LinkedIn.

Many of us reveal a lot more about ourselves than we realise when we take part in social media exchanges. We know much more about our customers before we contact them, or call on them, because they voluntarily make that information available on their websites and on social media sites.

A canny salesperson, who knows how to use and manipulate LinkedIn Groups and to deep-dive into the demographic data on Facebook and Twitter, is at a distinct advantage when picking up the telephone to speak to those prospective clients.

If he or she has access to a carefully maintained CRM and prospect database then a much greater depth of knowledge can be gained about the person he or she is going to interact with in the hope of landing some business.

Not only that, but there are so many more ways of interacting with those people than there ever were before. Mainwairing's brother packed his whole business into a kit bag and carted it around with him. Now, that is rarely necessary - in most sales jobs a few videos and a slide deck and the job is done.

More to think about when recruiting for sales jobs

So now we should be thinking in terms of recruiting sales staff who have a good understanding of how their customers and prospective customers tick by way of their understanding of how social media ticks.

Nowadays, the winners are the ones who can pick up on a Tweet that indicates someone may be in the market for your product or service, or intercept and interact with a conversation about your product or others like it in a LinkedIn thread or a Facebook post. Wherever this "Buzz", as it is called, its taking place your sales staff should be aware of it and interacting with it, creating opportunities, creating sales.

So at your next sales recruitment interview, along with all the "usual" questions, remember to ask a few to establish how at home the candidate is with the art of being sociable and interacting with people, online and off.

Specialist sales recruitment agencies like Aaron Wallis will provide you with all the right questions to ask when recruiting sales staff, having already screened the candidates to include only those with genuine potential to add value to your business. Contact us today and discuss the sales jobs you may with to recruit for - we're always happy to help.







                                                                                                                                                                                   

Monday, 23 February 2015

Recruiting Sales Staff in London – How to Stand Out in a Crowd and Attract the Best.

Finding the right people for your sales jobs in London.

Recruiting sales staff in London ought to be the same as recruiting talented individuals anywhere in the UK and, to a large extent, it is.
There are, however, some subtle differences which makes it even more important for the employer seeking to recruit sales staff in the capital to make use of the specialist services of a sales recruitment agency.

Accommodating their accommodation requirements

First of all, for those seeking sales jobs in London, there are considerations of accommodation availability and cost. With the average price of property in London being in excess of £464,000, (this does depend on your definition of London in terms of distance from the city and, of course, on the size and type of accommodation that is required), and an average one-bedroomed flat costing in excess of £1200 per month to rent, this basic human need will be a major factor for your candidates to consider and for you to bear in mind when recruiting sales staff.

Underground, Overground & the cost of congestion

Add to this, the cost of getting around and bearing in mind that, in many London locations, parking is next to impossible or prohibitively expensive, for many, public transport is the only way to get in to work and back home again.
A weekly London travelcard covering zones 1-4 would cost some £46 and this cost also has to be taken into account. Although the cost of public transport in London could be considered to be a fair deal when compared to the cost of using a private car in and around the city where congestion charges will also apply.
A good sales recruitment agency will make sure that candidates are aware of the costs of moving to London or another large city or, if they plan to commute, they will make sure that they are aware of the cost and strain of potentially long commutes.
The salary and other remuneration will of course have to reflect all of the above and those working in the capital do expect, and need, to be paid at a higher rate than elsewhere.

The home option - more viable now than ever before

If it is possible for your sales staff to work from home at least part of the time then this should be made known from the outset as many people looking for sales jobs in London will consider this to be a considerable bonus and maybe even a deciding factor.
Low-cost, high-speed Internet connections are widely available now in most parts of London and for the mobile user, 4G coverage is excellent. This situation is very different outside of the capital and the 4G roll-out is far from complete nationally but an acceptable speed for Internet connectivity should be available in most areas. I myself worked from a farmhouse in the Peak district until quite recently and, although there was little or nothing in the way of 3G, let alone 4G, there was good voice and data provision over the old fashioned cable network.

Don't underestimate the competition

Then, there is the matter of competition. There are more sales jobs available in London than anywhere else in the UK with many aspiring high-flyers thinking that they need to make the move in order to work for the bigger players and make their name in the industry they have chosen. This is especially true in Finance, Media, Marketing and Retail, with most of the major brand leaders being based in, or close to, the capital.

Many of those seeking sales jobs in London will look at hundreds, apply for dozens and get interviews for a few - it's important to ensure that they are aware of your sales recruitment activities when they are looking for a change of employer.

As an employer seeking to recruit sales staff in London your best advice is to contact a specialist sales recruitment agency such as Aaron Wallis who will only offer you potential candidates who are willing, able and in fact eager to face up to all of the challenges that working in such a sprawling, busy, overcrowded, exciting and vibrant place will throw at them.

Let Aaron Wallis introduce you to those who are seeking sales jobs in London and who fit your employee profile exactly.

Aaron Wallis - specialist sales recruitment experts finding the right people for your sales jobs in London.




Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Interview Nightmares: From Common Mistakes to the Very, Very Strange....


As a Recruiter we get feedback from interviews on a daily basis, in many cases you get some very interesting comments and stories, with the occasional strange ones. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the interview nightmares that candidates can get themselves into.

Candidate Interview Nightmares:

Body Odour – It doesn't happen too often but I have had clients mention a candidate’s hygiene in their feedback.  If people can smell you before they see you then you are not getting the job!

Not knowing the Job Role – There can be no excuse for not reading the interview preparation and job specification prior to attending the interview; one candidate described a completely different position when asked what makes them right for the role.

Looking at your Mobile Phone – Mobile phones have no place in a job interview, it’s inappropriate and very rude to acknowledge your mobile phone whilst speaking to someone directly, let alone in an interview where you are being critiqued from the first second.

Smelling of Cigarettes – This is a popular comment among clients as a lot of smokers tend to have a cigarette prior to an interview to calm their nerves; this is totally acceptable to do so as long as you have given yourself plenty of time to freshen up afterwards. It can be a very off-putting for the interviewer who may not smoke themselves.

Drinking prior to an interview – everyone likes a little Dutch courage when their nervous and of course an interview can certainly be that but know where to draw the line.  

Inappropriately Dressed – When you dress for interview it is imperative you turn up looking professional and polished. We once had a client tell us of a candidate that turned up wearing a woolly hat.

Weird and Very Inappropriate - All of the above should be basics to understand when you’re going into a job interview but happen more than you would think, however they don’t come close to the following Interview Nightmares.

We had a candidate ask one of our clients out on a date which didn't go down too well as the client was happily married.

Even stranger than that was a candidate trying to switch the process around and ask the client why they should hire him and having been told at the end it would  not be going any further, proceeding to tell the client that the company were not a good fit for him.

And Finally….

Although most interview nightmares are candidate led, we do come across the occasional feedback regarding a client’s odd behaviour.

We had one recent example of an employer interviewing a candidate with their feet on the desk and texting on their phone whilst the candidate presented to them!  It came across as completely disrespectful and of course put the candidate off working for the company.


Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 4 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.