The Sales Recruitment Network UK Ltd

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Dumbing down?

For various reasons, good candidates are hard to find, especially over the past six months or so. Anyone who is honest and engaged in recruitment in any capacity will concur. Only the ‘wide boys sales pitch’ will tell you that they’re overflowing with great people who will fit your requirements exactly (“just give us the brief mate, and we’re cheap!”).

The reason for this is difficult to ascertain but certainly uncertainty pays its part; the whole ‘Brexit’ situation, the forthcoming election and a lack of need / ambition are all key contributors. The latter is subtle but pertinent; if you have a secure job, your mortgage payments have never been lower, your disposable income is good, why risk moving jobs?

To buck this trend there are two key approaches; find more candidates or entice good people.

I read an article last week issued by a respectable job board advocating how to achieve the former, their solution was to ‘dumb down’.

Apparently a lot of people can’t understand the terms recruiters (agencies and employers) use: pro rata, OTE, DOE, SaaS, FMCG etc are all ‘off putting’ to your ideal candidate! When using such ‘jargon’ we should spell out the words for which these anacronyms stand.

We should also use simple words, avoiding long words and be sure to simplify our requirements.

I vehemently disagree with this. Plain English is fine but if you want good people they should be able to read and for any professional role they will have to know the relevant terminology; who in a sales environment would not know what OTE means? What excuse could there be for this?

We pride ourselves on finding good candidates and will not send anyone to you if they don’t pass our scrutiny, our clients prefer this approach. If we’re engaged on an assignment and we inundate you with CVs from individuals who can’t string a sentence together and don’t meet your brief will you thank us or sack us?

Dumbing down is never the answer, it’s a  self-destructive choice.

If you genuinely want very good people in these difficult times there are two options that will help, they are not mutually exclusive and indeed will give you the best possible choice if used together.

Consider transferable skills; obviously, this isn’t always possible. If you want a Data Base Administrator then you need that experience but often there are transferable skills, especially in sales environments. You don’t have to have sold roofing products to sell roofing products; if you know the construction industry, have sold technical products, can read drawings then a small amount of training could make you very effective with a new product. For more of this please see my previous blog ‘widening the gene pool’.

Unfortunately some employers are moving in the opposite direction. Dictating very specific requirements and declining individuals with very similar backgrounds to those required, constantly moving the goalposts as they try and home in on people working only for their direct competitors.

Again ‘widening the gene pool’ discusses the obvious down side to this approach but if for whatever reason you really want someone to meet a lot of specific criteria you have to appreciate that there are few of them, they are probably employed elsewhere and you need to entice them.

Money is king here, the basic wage. OTEs three time the salary, 30 days holiday, trips abroad, etc are all nice to have but if you really want to have your pick of the bunch and attract people from your competitors then PAY. Pay the highest basics on offer, people won’t move for an extra 5% of salary, you need to make an impact.

Even then you still need to find the right people and it won’t be easy but when you do find them they might join you.

If you want to find good people, contact us and we’ll put the above into practice and find you some good people. If you want ‘warm bodies’ please go elsewhere.

Michael Thomason

 

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