Before any of us are hired, it must be determined if we are worth the time, energy and economic investment to proceed. In these recessionary times, it is even more important to make critical decisions that have major impacts on the bottom profit line.
We all know that making any hire is serious business. Not only are economics a large part of the decision-making process, but the time outlay in training on products, learning the company’s systems and procedures, developing camaraderie with fellow employees and vendors, and, most importantly, how you will fare with customers. The question to ask yourself is simply: What do I bring to the company that they really need? This is where some investigative research on your part needs to be done. Whether it is visiting the company’s website, talking to current or past employees or talking to others in the business, you can get a good idea of who is looking for whom.
Once you have identified a possibility or two, you now have to map your strategy as to how to go about getting that all-important interview. If you are working through a recruiter, we as a group are here to convince our clients that our prime candidates deserve that interview. It all comes down to if we want to stake our reputations that you are a great investment. If you are going to go directly to the company, there are some advantages and disadvantages.
Some advantages can be if you already know someone there that can ‘get you in’ for an interview or pass along your résumé to the right person. If you have a good reputation, that may be all you need to get the interview. A big disadvantage is if the company requires you to submit your résumé online, then you will be in the stack of résumés without any advantage whatsoever; and then you are just another job-seeker. You also will not get a chance to refute any perceptions or rumors that are out there (it does happen).
In this business, it can only help to have someone (with influence) offer a recommendation to either an employer or a recruiter. Even though the electrical wholesale business is a multi-billion dollar industry, this is a close-knit group and it isn’t difficult for people to gather information, good or bad, about someone.
When you are eventually (hopefully?) called in for that interview, you need to have your game face on and your facts straight. It is said that most hiring managers make up their mind in the first five minutes as to whether they would hire someone. Of course the entire package still has to be there (e.g. experience, location, compensation and our favorite word: fit). You have such a short time to impress and create more interest in what you can bring. Examples told early on as to how you have made an impact for your employers in the past are great. These could be short stories as to how the salesperson was able to take a dormant account and bring them over with outstanding results, or how the managerial candidate was able to take a branch in the red and turn it around in 18 months or even how the inside person developed a way to better track quotes and determine the reasons for such a low hit rate.
I want to hear things that will impress my client to the point that they HAVE to talk or meet my candidate. It’s all about generating excitement at the potential someone can bring. I need to show how the investment will provide a reasonable ROI. Without that, it’s really just a waste of time. It used to be just a few years ago that companies were looking for warm bodies and a pulse; and they would bring almost anyone aboard because there was no one ‘good’ available. Now, we must persuade our clients that they cannot do WITHOUT our talented applicant. And the way we do that is to convince them that the potential upside is so much greater than the potential downside. Hiring managers are smart as they know that they cannot make poor hiring decisions. It’s the old ‘risk vs. reward’ in determining if someone has what it takes.
Your job is to bring to the table something that they don’t already have but really want; whether those are accounts, experience or special skills. Do your research, get some help and get the job!