How Hard is it To Hire Now?
I've been doing a lot of interviewing and behavioral assessments for clients over the past few months. With Covid beginning to withdraw (before it changed its mind), agencies around the country are looking at adding to their sales staff either to restock after letting people go during the pandemic, or to increase their team and their market share now that face to face selling is a (sometimes) reality.
So, how challenging is it to find good people?
In a word....very.
Employees are like homeowners. It's a seller's market and they know it. Most of the people who I've interviewed and reached the final hiring stage come with 2-3 other job offers. Agencies are desperate for good help and good people are holding out for the best deal they can get. You can't blame them, but it does make hiring a significant challenge. We can learn a few lessons from the hot housing market when it comes to adding more sales staff...
Don't shop until you're ready to buy. Just like with houses, if you see one today you like, you'd better make an offer on it or there will be 5 more by tomorrow. With sales reps, only recruit and interview when you're ready to make a hiring decision. Finding someone good knowing that you'd like to hire in a month most likely won't end well.
Pay up. If you're buying a house, making an all cash offer at or above listing price is a good way to be taken seriously. The same applies for sales reps. Now is not the time to try to get someone good on the cheap (or even someone not so good). With other offers coming in, your offer needs to be strong, as does your pitch for why your agency is the right fit.
Don't sell your house before you buy another one. You've seen this, right? People sell their house in one day for over asking price, and then can't find another house to buy and wind up out on the street. It has nothing to do with finances, but simply supply and demand. Good sales reps are like that too. If you have someone you are considering replacing, let them go only if they are doing you harm. If they are not, you might keep them as there is no guarantee you'll find another rep in the near future that you can hire. Often reps that are struggling are simply in the wrong job. You should carefully consider if a good employee needs a different role in your company before you set them free.
Make sure it's the house you REALLY want. Even in a tight housing (or sales rep) market, you should only buy the house that you want. Buying one just because it's the only one for sale could cost you big time later down the road. The same applies for sales reps. If you want them, make the offer, if you don't....keep looking. The wrong person costs you a lot more than no person at all.
If you streamline your vetting and interview process during these challenging hiring times you can still find quality people that are ready to help your agency grow. Think about ways to reduce the "time to hire", that is, the amount of time from the first contact to the offer. You can often make the process quicker without taking any steps out, but it takes some work to reengineer it.
Good people are hard to find....and now, they're hard to hire too. Nevertheless, it's not impossible so if you need more sales talent, get out there and find it!
Michael Anthony Giudicissi