Leave Unsuccessful Candidates with a Good Impression!

Benefits of Candidates having a Good Impression of your Company
After you have interviewed a strong shortlist of potential candidates for a position within your organisation, you are only able to offer one of them the position within your company. So how do you ensure a positive impression for all the unsuccessful candidates who were being considered, once the position has been filled?

The professional manner is to thank all your candidates for applying (particularly those who reached the final interview stage) and provide them with constructive feedback as soon as you have decided they are not right for the role. Keeping them waiting, or not notifying them at all reflects badly on you personally and your organisation, and there’s a chance it may put them and others off wanting to apply for future roles within your company.

Avoid Negative Press on Social Networking Sites and Industry Blogs about your Company
Your reputation as an employer of choice can be easily tarnished by negative comments posted on a blog or social networking site by candidates that feel aggrieved at not receiving adequate feedback following their interview and could put off other people applying for future roles within your company.

Timely Interview Feedback is a Must
In comparison, interview feedback can be used as positive employer/company branding as this will allow your company to build on their name’s reputation by leaving candidates certain they are valued and that they will be kept in mind for future job opportunities.

5 step guide to leaving candidates with a good impression of you and your organisation

  1. When you have interviewed a candidate and know they’re not right for the role, let them know as soon as possible and don’t keep them waiting because you dread making the rejection phone call.
  2. When you have interviewed a candidate and think they’re good for the role but have other interviews to conduct, contact them and let them know they’re still being considered. If candidates haven’t heard from you they might accept a job offer elsewhere.
  3. Keep all of your candidates updated on your interview process i.e. when each round will take place and how many rounds there will be etc.
  4. When you have made your decision and offered the position to your chosen candidate/s, once the successful candidate has formally accepted the role inform the other candidates that they have been unsuccessful as it is bad practice to wait until the successful candidate starts the job.
  5. If additional feedback is requested from unsuccessful candidates then you should provide it, be constructive in your criticism and if you thought they performed well then you should tell them.

The rejected candidate could have future power / influence over your company?
The rejected candidate is likely to be associated with your industry and may in the future move into a position of power e.g. could become your boss in the future or be a decision maker / influencer on high value bids that your company is trying to secure. If this person feels your company or you have acted unprofessionally this could be difficult for you personally and costly in terms of lost business for your company in the future.

Remember, negative impressions last a lot longer than positive ones.
It only takes a few minutes to treat someone fairly. ATR is a Recruitment Agency and we speak to hundreds of candidates about new roles continually, it never ceases to surprise and disappoint us how often a candidate will turn down the opportunity to even interview with a company because they have “heard bad things” about them and how they treat people. This means that the company is losing the opportunity to hire the best people in the market, because of reputational damage.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Interview Information for Management

Your Sales People are your Competitive Edge

Your sales people are your competitive edge, so ensuring your recruit the best in the market is what really matters in business. You can have a state of the art factory, produce the most fantastic products, but if no one actually sells your product, if you don’t have any customers then your business will fail.  The only thing that really matters in business is making profitable sales, because although it is important to have great workers in your factory or excellent accountants and administrators, if there are no orders for your goods or services you are dead in the water.

Who is Selling the Vision or Articulating the Benefits?
Technical brilliance and unique selling points that set you apart from the competition are also wonderful, but without the people in the business “selling the vision or articulating the benefits” of these fantastic technical solutions, and ensuring they are heard by decision makers over the noise of your competition, sales won’t be made.

Why Partner with Us?
Our Consultancy Practice has years of experience recruiting sales professionals for our clients and one of our founders was an award winning sales professional winning both top sales and summit awards in blue chip companies like GKN and IBM.   We have clients in the FTSE 250, Fortune 500 and the “Times 250 fastest growing companies list”, our recruitment process for sales people is so effective we even guarantee our candidates for 6 months! They really are that good!

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Managing Disruptive Employees

In an ideal world all your employees would be motivated, productive and fit in really well within your company culture. However, in the real world, one of the most challenging situations a manager can face in their career is how to deal with a difficult and disruptive employee within their business.

Evaluate the Working Environment
When trying to improve an employee’s overall attitude, assess the working environment of the department they are working in.
How do the other employees work within the department / company?
Do all your employees collaborate and work together as a team?

If the answer to this is no, then you may need to look at how you can improve the department culture.

If the answer is yes, then we suggest you may take a look at the options below to help you manage this difficult employee better.

Act fast and don’t ignore the situation
If you do have a difficult employee, you need to be aware of it and deal with it fast.
If you ignore the situation this can disrupt other employees and reduce office morale and in return have a negative impact in productivity throughout your company.
The longer you take to resolve the issue with this employee, the less likely the problem will disappear and the more likely you will have a more serious situation to deal with.

View the situation from your employee’s perspective
Ask your employee for their input into the why there is a problem, what they think is the cause and what they believe needs to happen to resolve the situation.
Try to view the situation from your employee’s perspective and understand their thought process as this will provide you with an insight to why they are behaving in this way and prevent them from becoming defensive towards your resolution process.
You must adopt a diplomatic attitude with this employee and always remain neutral and calm to the situation, if you lose your temper you will only be adding fuel to the fire and will do more harm than good.

It’s not just what you say but how you say it
You want to be assertive and at the same time supportive to your employee, you never want to come across as threatening.
Make sure you make eye contact with your employee to demonstrate that you are listening to what they have to say.
Be aware of your tone of voice as you need to show that you are in control of the situation and that you do want to rectify it.
Be aware of what your body language is suggesting to your employee?

Find a resolution
You need to determine what their issue is with their role and work together to improve it. Work with your employee to improve your relationship and their work ethos.
What is the underlying problem?
Are you pushing them enough?
Is their role too stressful?
Are they under too much pressure?
Is time management an issue?
Do they have too much responsibility?

Finding the answers to these questions will enable you to create a plan that will improve their behaviour, and ensure that they are getting the most out of their role?

It is extremely important that you evaluate your employee’s worth in your company and work together to be able to move forward.

Written Records
Keep written note of your discussions so they can be referred to again, should the employee continue to be difficult.
This way you will have written confirmation of what was discussed and the steps you have taken to improve your employee’s behaviour.
This will also be beneficial should you feel the need to terminate your employee at a later date because their progress or attitude didn’t improve.
Having proof of your employee’s unacceptable behaviour will prevent an unfair dismissal tribunal or any similar issues with their termination.

Clearly it is in everyone’s interest to resolve the situation and move forward in a positive manner, however if this is not possible, it is very important that you can demonstrate that you did take reasonable steps along the way to properly deal with and turnaround the disruptive employee.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Importance of Exit Interviews

When people leave your company the feelings about this can range from “we don’t care” to “how are we going to manage?”  It is imperative to truly understand why any member of staff is leaving, because in fact a properly conducted Exit Interview can give you valuable information that will help you strengthen your business.
Just asking a candidate why they are leaving will normally elicit a polite response of “better opportunity elsewhere” or “more money”, but often the “real” underlying reason for the decision to leave will not be uncovered unless you undertake a formal exit interview in a neutral setting. Typically the candidate does not want to rock any boats as they are looking for a good reference.
When recruiting for our clients we hear the real reasons that people are looking for a new employer, such as:-
• Company did not pay sales commission due on sales.
• My manager is a bully.
• The technical team don’t respond to tenders quickly enough so I am losing sales and its affecting my ability to meet my target.
• The Health and Safety guidelines are not being followed properly and I am not comfortable with this.
• I have been asked to cover accounting mistakes my boss made and I am not happy to sign off the year end accounts.
• There is no opportunity for me to progress my career in this company.

These are just some of the reasons we hear, surprisingly when people leave it is rarely about money, often they have made friends in the business and it is hard to leave familiar surroundings and to step into the unknown to a new role.
So how does an Exit Interview help your company?
The exit interview will show trends, for example if you have 3 people who all say they are leaving because one of the Managers is a bully, perhaps you need to look at that Manager and review his/her behaviour. If good sales people keep leaving because commission is not being paid, how much is that really costing your company in lost sales revenue – because if it takes 4 months to have a new sales person in position and up and running, if the sales target is £50,000 per month, you have just lost £200,000 pounds in sales revenue.
In our recruitment agency, we see that the Exit Interview allows you to take actions that will prevent other employee’s leaving for the same reason, and potentially save you significant sums of money and / or reduce your companies exposure to future risk.

How do you carry out an Exit Interview?
1) Typically an HR Manager will carry out this interview without your line manager.
2) You let the leaving employee know that their comments will be kept in confidence.
3) Any comments will not count against them with regards to a satisfactory reference.
4) Start with what they liked about the company.
5) What they would alter to have made their role better for them.
6) Why they really want to leave.
7) Thank the candidate for taking the time to have the exit interview with you and wish them luck in their new role.

Note: This process can often give you the information you need to persuade a highly valued employee to stay in the business.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Key Characteristics of Successful Sales People

Our Consultancy additionally help to recruit high calibre sales professionals for our clients. We are often asked to find sales people who are “guaranteed to be successful”.  So the question we are often asked is what are the “key characteristics” of Top Successful Sales People?

Given sales is the lifeblood of all profit making companies it is critical to appoint the right sales person for your business, so below are some of the main aspects to consider when recruiting  a new sales person for your company.

Excellent Questioning Skills
Most successful sales people will have an inquisitive nature and therefore do not make assumptions.  They are naturally and genuinely interested in finding out about a client and their business and uncovering their requirements.  They will always ask searching questions and lead their customers through an organised thought process which in turn leads to a greater understanding and recognition of the customer’s situation.

Listening & Understanding
Most people make the wrong assumption that good sales people are talkers but this is not true, successful sales people listen harder than most and keep qualifying their understanding of the client’s requirements and they make sure that they give a customer plenty of time to completely outline what they want.  They will always put checks in place to make sure they have uncovered the client’s needs and qualified their understanding before selling back as they understand, if they sell back too early they risk alienating their client who will think they are not listening and rushing to a conclusion. There is an old saying in sales “you have two ears and only one mouth so use them in that same ratio”.

Successful sales people are excellent at multi-tasking, in a sales situation, sales people are often not only listening and understanding what the client is telling them but are thinking two to three steps ahead, mirroring and empathising with the client while also working out the other motivators that the client may have but is not disclosing or may not recognise.  This is all done simultaneously and at pace.

Work Ethic
Successful sales people know the true value of preparation before speaking to potentially new or existing clients, they realise there are no short cuts in getting around prospecting and investigating all potential selling opportunities in their designated territory and understand that they cannot live off leads passed to them alone and they need to have an in-built work ethic to ensure that their pipeline does not dry up.  They will also work hard to ensure that their knowledge is “up to date” on their market’s products/services and their competition and are fully aware of all other issues that can impact their clients.

Maintaining and communicating passion and enthusiasm is difficult. Successful salespeople understand that they cannot afford to sound “jaded” or “dejected” even if they are going through a particularly difficult sales period and have the ability to manage their own confidence and self-belief, irrespective of how difficult the market may be at that particular moment.

Ethical & Honest
Successful sales people are ethical and honest, they take responsibility for their own sales results and they realise that a customer’s perception of their products/services is reflected by them.  Most companies/people want to buy from experts that they can trust and that trust has to be earned by the sales person.  If a sales person has stayed in their role for over 5 years and consistently performed the chances are they are ethical, honest and have an excellent awareness of their own personal brand.

Successful sales people tend to be and have to be braver than most others in business.  It is sales people that have to pioneer and breakdown barriers as they build new client relationships and develop existing ones.  They put their “personal brand” on the line every day, persuading their potential and current clients to trust them and the company they work for to deliver.  Successful salespeople realise they have to be courageous, as they are in a role where their success or failure will be defined by the revenue they achieve against target and that this is beyond dispute and that the sales they make are the lifeblood for the company they work for.

One of the best ways to assess a sales person “in action” is to ask them to do a role play in the interview process.  Create a scenario where your hiring manager is the Potential Customer and the Candidate is the salesperson conducting a first meeting.  This will enable you to see how they come across in a “sales situation” and find out if they are asking the right questions to uncover “customer needs”.  This combined with ensuring you have “proof” of a proven track record should enable you to make a good hiring decision.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Benefits of Productivity Improvement Plans

Our client Productivity Improvement Plan (PIP) for Sales People is designed to help Sales Managers improve the performance of individual sales professionals who are not performing to their full potential.
It is much more cost effective to “turn around” a sales person who had dipped in performance, than it is to replace them, as it minimises disruption to the business, to your customers and saves you money on the training and recruitment costs for a new hire.
There are 10 Steps involved in the productivity improvement plan, but the key is to get buy in from the sales person themselves and set clear and achievable objectives designed to bring the sales person back on track within a defined period of time.

Below is an outline of The 10 steps covered by the PIP, the factsheet that will be sent to you goes into each step in detail:-

Outline of the 10 Step PIP Process
Identify performance issues
Check for external reasons for poor performance
Work out a 6-8 week plan with the sales person
Gain commitment to plan from the sales person
Set weekly and daily performance goals
Set weekly up-date meetings to monitor progress
Ensure the sales person feels valued and praise positive outcome
Review trends
If performance not improving decide on appropriate action
If performance improving implement steps to ensure continuation

Our founder has over 20 years’ experience in sales (outside the recruitment agency sector) currently operating at Director level, she has won numerous sales awards and worked for organisations such as IBM, Siemens and GKN selling both equipment and services. Experienced in salesforce management, this productivity improvement plan has proved to be a very successful tool when used to turn around sales people who have taken a dip in performance.

To obtain a free copy of our Productivity Improvement Plan for Sales Professionals please contact Sheila Carswell-Craig on 0844 2577 888.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Client Interview Scorecards

Our Client Interview Scorecards help to ensure our clients make the right hiring decision.

One of the biggest disappointments a hiring manager can face is when a candidate he or she employs does not work out well inside the business. There can be numerous reasons for this, however sometimes it can be traced back to the interview process itself.

As professional recruitment consultants, we are often surprised at the lack of structure some clients have when interviewing, it is basically a chat to get the feel of the candidate and a run through the candidates CV, and if the candidate “clicks” with the hiring manager that will often be a deciding factor in engaging a person.

However our recruitment agency believes in using Interview Scorecards to help our hiring managers ensure that they are truly matching the candidate with the core skills and attributes that the client requires. So each interview scorecard is personal to each role and to the fundamental elements of the job.

This means that each desired skill or attribute is marked and given a score e.g. you may want a sales person to be able to demonstrate how competently they would handle a price objection – if it is important you, you may give this 20 points and if the candidate answered well you may allocate 18 points.

ATR have a template Interview Scorecard that you can tailor for your business, it gives ideas on what to put into your own Scorecard, however the real benefit is that when you have completed your interviews you can score all the candidates you met, and evaluate them on their attributes and your desired skill sets to ensure you pick the best person for your role.

This process gives you a more scientific basis for making your hiring decision and it also helps weed out the people who may come across well but in fact don’t have the in-depth qualities you really seek. This can be a real aid to ensuring you hire people who are more likely to succeed in your business.

If you would like a free copy of our Client Interview Scorecard please contact us on 0844 2577 888.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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