Sales recruitment - market update H1 2014

Like most other markets, the sales arena is showing an increase in confidence in line with the improving economic climate. Both employers and candidates are more active in the market. Employers are making multiple hires (offering two candidates jobs when initially there was only one vacancy) due to the high calibre of individuals applying.

External influences

The majority of organisations are hiring to backfill as well as to grow and there are far fewer examples of recruitment freezes taking place than this time last year. Michael Page Sales has re-launched its temps/contracts sales business due to the increased demand for interim sales staff. Hiring interim sales people offers a variety of benefits not least an immediately available resource that can add value to your business, hence the increased demand.

Talent attraction

For some time there has been a shortage of high calibre candidates available in the market and that remains one of our key challenges; to identify who these people are and where they currently work. Typically, the best candidates will be entertaining more than one job offer. Employers need to recognise the need to act quickly in order to secure talent, as well as needing to be aware of the ever-present issue of the ‘buy-back’.

How to attract and retain high calibre candidates

Career development opportunities
Candidates need to be presented with a compelling career opportunity. This should include a line of sight to the next move within the organisation and demonstration of the training that will be provided to help them get there. Remunerate competitively and reward people well for delivering new business revenue and growth. Think laterally when considering a candidate’s profile/background - don’t just take the path of least resistance by only considering candidates from within your own market.
Opportunities for career development are becoming increasingly important to candidates. More and more candidates are realising that short-term career moves are not good for their future prospects and so value businesses that can provide longevity and the development footprint to help them improve and go onto bigger and better things. Reduced training budgets are becoming more of an issue with individuals not seeing the personal development they were promised or the training to provide them with the skills to get to the next level. Stagnating in a role is an increasing issue from employees looking to change jobs.
Sales people, in particular, are typically motivated by the commission/bonus and so to change a pay structure or reward people less for delivering the same or better results, will have a detrimental impact on their desire to stay.
Basic salary is still an important factor for a lot of sales candidates, even more so for individuals with greater financial commitments (mortgages, children etc). While it’s true that many sales people are motivated by commission/bonuses it’s also true to say that good sales candidates do not want to feel their base salaries are standing still let alone going backwards, no matter what the prospective upside (on target earnings) is.
Flexible benefits are something that candidates are coming to expect from job offers. Many expect pension contributions and private healthcare to be included for a larger, more established brand but also accept that many SMEs or start-ups simply can’t offer those right now.
Brand reputation
A trusted, reputable brand still goes a long way in giving candidates the confidence they need to accept a new job. How a particular brand is perceived is important to a lot of people nowadays.
For more information on the current sales recruitment market, contact Dan Cole, operating director at Michael Page Sales.
T: 0207 269 2186