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.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

5 Things to Look for in a Cover Letter

When looking for the perfect candidate for a position that you are hiring for, the cover letter is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It is too time consuming to look through every resume that comes to you. The cover letter gives you a little peek into the people that are applying for the position. There are several things that you want to see in the cover letter.

1.      The cover letter needs a well organised appearance.

Cover letters are meant to show a little bit about the person who is presenting you with their resume. It is important for the cover letter to have a neat and organised appearance instead of jumbled and unclear. The saying “less is more” is very true in this case. If the cover letter is full of information, that makes it harder to understand and get to know the person who wrote it.  Also, having an unorganised cover letter can show you as how unorganized they may be when it comes to their job.

2.      Does the applicant have the necessary skills for the job?

Although a majority of the skills will be mentioned in the resume, it is still common for applicants to talk about what they can bring to your business. This shows a preview of the skills that they possess. If they have nothing to offer your company, there is a good chance that they do not have all the necessary skills to do their job.

3.      How does the applicant stand out?

When reviewing cover letters for potential candidates of the job you are hiring for, a good thing to look for is what makes this applicant stand out. It is a waste of time to look in detail through every resume that comes before you, so finding things that make some applicants stand out is a way to narrow down your search. Chances are those that make their cover letter and resume stand out are better candidates than those that did not.

4.      Good writing skills/ well thought out

Something else to keep in mind when looking at cover letters is how well written and well thought out it is. Hiring someone with poor writing skills or a thrown together cover letter can be an indicator of how they will behave when it comes to their job. If they are not willing to take the time to get their cover letter right, they are most likely not a good candidate for the position you are hiring for. Poorly written cover letters can be an indication of laziness.

5.      Sense of who someone is

A cover letter is like the wrapping paper on a present. It is supposed to show you a tiny peak inside the resume and let you know a little bit about the candidate. Getting to know a little bit about someone before meeting them allows you to structure your interview around each individual.

Cover letters are an essential part of hiring someone or applying for a job. They give recruiters a little taste of who the applicant is and what they can do for the company.

For more articles on how to hire the right staff into your business visit

How to Customize Interview Questions for Sales Interviews

When it comes to interviewing potential candidates for a position, it is essential to find someone that would fit well with your company. Aside from the standard questions that most interviewers ask, there are several ways that you can customize your interviews in order to find the perfect person to hire.

1.      Look at an applicant’s resume and assess what they could add to your company

The first obvious step is to take a detailed look at an applicant’s resume to determine what they have to offer your company. Taking a look at their resume ahead of time will allow you to ask them further about what they think they can add to your company. Each person will have a unique reason they believe they would be an asset to your company.

2.      Determine what you are looking for in regards to the job

Another thing you can do to customize your job interview questions is to be confident on what you are looking for in a candidate you want to hire. Knowing ahead of time what your company needs will give you a chance to determine who out of the applicants you need to fill in the gap in your company.

3.      Consider behavioural interviewing

Behavioural interviewing is a reasonably new thing in regards to finding the perfect person for the job you are hiring for. This type of interviewing focuses on asking question about candidate’s past and future behaviours that can help determine what type of an employee they would be. You should ask questions about what they have or would do in certain situations or their competence with
certain tasks.

4.      Ask questions that show what the candidate knows about your company

An important thing to find out in any interview is whether or not the candidate knows anything about your company or the position they desire. A great way to find this out is to ask questions that can allow them to show you what they know. An example of this would be to ask them what your company could do to be more competitive. This would allow you to find out whether or not they are familiar with your company and the job they want do. It also can give you some insight into their thoughts on the business in general.

Although there are standard questions that most interviewers ask, in order to really get to know a candidate for a job, tailoring each job interview for the person is a wonderful way to get to know a potential employee.

5 Questions to Ask During the Hiring Process

When it comes to hiring someone new to join a sales team, the pressure is on to select the right candidate. But having to decide from a cover letter, a CV and a few face-to-face meetings whether someone is worth taking a chance on can be a tough ask. 

At Aaron Wallis, we know that recruitment is all about asking the right questions. When you’re interviewing someone for a role, asking the right questions can coax the interviewee into giving the answers you really want to hear – the answers that will tell you if they’re right for the job. We’ve come up with a selection of five great questions to ask during the interview process that will help you to narrow it down and choose the best candidate for your business.

1.     What previous work experience have you had to prepare you for this position?
Forget generic questions like, “Why are you a good fit for this position?” Instead, try to encourage the candidate to come up with specific examples and reasons why they’d be suitable for the job. Not only do they have to think on their feet, they also have to provide you with some insight into their work experience in order to answer the question. Two birds with one stone! Their answer should give you a clearer picture of the candidate’s working background, and whether or not their experience is suited to the position they’re applying for.

2.     From what you have learned about our company and this role, how could you make a contribution?
This question will help you discover whether your candidate is a serious contender for a role. Great candidates will have done their research on your company before the interview, and will know how they can make a valuable contribution to your business. The answer to this question should be bursting with enthusiasm, and must demonstrate some prior knowledge of your company. Watch out for generic answers – they’ll come from unsuitable candidates.

3.     Where do you see yourself in five years?
Want to gauge how ambitious and driven an individual is? Ask them this question. Pay attention not only to their vocal answer, but also to their body language as they respond. A truly ambitious, committed and motivated person will appear animated and passionate when talking about their hopes for the future. This is the kind of person you want representing your company.

4.     Give me an example of a time that you had to go above and beyond to get the job done or accomplish a task?
Their answer to this question will give you a sense of how dedicated the candidate is to their career. If they can’t think of any examples at all, it speaks volumes about their levels of commitment and overall attitude to their job.

5.     Do you have any questions?
This is a fairly standard interview technique – and for good reason. This question can speak volumes about a person, and it gives you more of an insight into their overall personality. If the candidate answers ‘no’ to this question, it’s more likely (though not certain) that they’re a passive person who lacks initiative. If the person asks self-centred questions about their pay or benefits, they’re more engaged but perhaps not a team player. The perfect candidate asks questions about the job itself, the role, the company and the expectations of them as a potential employee.

So you see, asking the right questions can tell you all you need to know about a potential recruit for your team. 

For more articles to help you recruit for your sales team visit:

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Do Yourself a Favour – When Looking For Sales Jobs, Choose a Specialist Sales Recruitment Agency.

Go to a supermarket to buy sausages, or whatever product you care to choose, and you will have to walk past a vast number of other products that you don’t want, or need, in order to get to them.
That’s how the system works, you see things that you didn't even think you wanted, or needed, but now you do – and you will probably buy at least some of them.

Some recruitment websites and agencies are rather like that. They are the recruitment equivalent of a supermarket. Once you are on their books they’ll show you jobs that may not be a good fit for your skills, because it’s in their interest to do so - after all, they’ll receive a commission if you, their candidate, succeeds in obtaining the job in question. It may be that the jobs that they show you are not even sales jobs at all.

By dealing with a specialist sales recruitment agency you will get to see only sales jobs. If the agency is a good one then they will drill down into your skill set, qualifications and training in order to make sure that they only put you forward for roles where you are likely to be a great fit.

This doesn't mean that you can’t change track with regard to the things you sell or the way that you want to do that selling. For example, someone with telesales experience may want to move into field sales or perhaps an experienced car salesperson might decide to go into selling computers or software services.

What’s important here is to demonstrate that you have experience in the sales process and not place too much emphasis on the product knowledge. There used to be a popular trick in sales interviews where the interviewer would hand the candidate a pen and say “sell me that pen.”

Although this is a bit of a cliché nowadays, I stopped doing it years ago, but in principle it does demonstrate the view, that many people have, which is that a good salesperson should be able to sell anything. It is, according to this theory, the sales technique that matters, not the product knowledge.

Of course, this is only a guide and it would be tough for someone with experience selling advertising in a local directory, for example, to step into selling medical equipment to doctors, but many employers will take the view that if someone comes across as a good salesperson then they could be given the product training to enable them to sell the more specialised product.

If you apply for sales jobs through a specialist sales recruitment agency they will take the time to compare your skills and experience to the profile that the employer has given them of their “ideal” candidate. Perhaps the employer might be wanting to take on a sales person with specific specialist knowledge of their product and, especially if it is a fairly senior role, they might only want to consider experienced people.

On the other hand, they may be willing to consider someone with good sales skills and then give them the product knowledge afterwards – by applying for sales jobs through a sales recruitment agency you can be sure that the agency will have established this by discussing the role with the employer prior to putting forward candidates.

As a jobseeker, all you need to do is submit your CV and other details to a specialist sales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment. They will take the time to speak to you and find out more about you so that they can put you forward as a candidate for the sales jobs that are right for you.