April 21, 2022

Recruiters HAVE to be Sales Professionals

Recruiters HAVE to be Sales Professionals

In today’s episode of the ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction talks with guest Mike Thomson, Partner at Spark Recruiting. He is discussing why recruiters have to be sales professionals. He shares a great approach for sales leaders around hiring candidates as well as insights from the candidate standpoint.


Episode Highlights

  • 01:40 – Mike says, his background is exclusively in recruiting. He has been in the industry for about 13 years.
  • 03:20 – Mike learned a lot about selling and recruiting as you can sell software, widgets, whatever it may be. 
  • 04:39 - How are you differentiating yourself from the 1.5 million other competitors that are also trying to hire sales talent?
  • 06:30 – Some organizations are pivoting quicker than others and realizing that they have to be more proactive and sell to potential candidates.
  • 08:20 – People want to be inspired by who they're working for more than the company they're joining, mentions Mike.
  • 10:20 – Remote nature of work these days is a good thing for some companies and not so good thing for others, it’s depending on how you're situated and set up. 
  • 12:30 – It's going to continue to get more and more competitive to find talent and retain it as well, it's going to continue to be a problem.
  • 13:37 – Mike shares, the first question he always likes to ask is when you're hiring a salesperson, and what does success look like for the successful individual in a year? 
  • 16:11 – You need to start thinking about how you sell the role and how you can simplify what that job is?
  • 17:31 - There's a reason why referrals are the best source of talent attraction. 
  • 20:41 – There's not enough money that is going to sustain someone in that role long term if you just have a terrible relationship with your boss.
  • 22:40 – Sam asks, what does the first year look like for a person from a candidate profile standpoint?
  • 24:47 - If you’re a salesperson looking for a job, and you want to follow the leaders on LinkedIn, you get to see what they post, what they're talking about. 
  • 26:50 – Mike says, he coaches a lot of his clients and sales leaders to take stock on how candidates are selling themselves because that's their best sales foot forward. 
  • 28:05 – If you're hiring a sales individual, and how they approach you is how they're going to approach your clients, says Mike.
  • 30:00 – Sam points out, if you're going through the process of navigating on LinkedIn, then you'd want an engaging leader, creating content, commenting on it, and creating a personal brand for them.
  • 32:25 – Mark states, Automation, and AI Technology do a great job of analyzing resumes, but you're not hiring a resume, especially in sales. You're hiring somebody that's being tasked with creating a relationship and having conversations with customers.
  • 35:23 - You need to be clear on what it is you're looking for, and realistic with that, instead of thinking somebody is going to come in and they're going to bring all these accounts, and all their customer lists over.
  • 37:04 – Mike brought up outside of what's the type of qualities candidates want to look for in a leader, points out Mike. 

Three Key Points

  1. You need to be creative in terms of how you're building your team and not only from an attraction standpoint, but that helps with retention. You can't just throw money at people; you have to invest in the leaders and place them at the core of your hiring campaign because they're going to attract the people that want to follow them that worked for them.
  2. If you're a sales leader, and you can't pitch what it is the job and why somebody would want to work for you and this opportunity, then we need to hold up and have a bit of a brainstorming session terms of what that is. Maybe you're in the wrong organization if you're having troubles doing that, but you should be able to at least casually have that conversation to flush that out because otherwise, you're not going to be competitive. 
  3. Mike shares, at the core of the campaign, is understanding who is the leader of the organization and attracting people that inspire or aspire to be in that environment? That's the most genuine way you can recruit and that's why referrals work. 

Tweetable Quotes

  • “Today's market is very candidate-driven, and organizations need to do a better job at selling the candidates similarly to the way that we sell to customers and attract new customers.” - Mike Thompson
  • “Organizations have never been as vulnerable as they are now. Usually, when they had a job that was a differentiator, there was an open seat, and when there's an open seat, people line up to get in there because there are not many seats.” - Mike Thompson
  • “If you're only valuing people that are chasing a paycheck, they're going to leave you for more money because somebody is going to pay them more sometimes.” – Mike Thompson
  • “In sales, if you look at your sales leader and you aspire to learn and be like them, you're more likely to have them retained for a longer period than someone you're just chucking money at.’ - Mike Thompson
  • “The full remote nature of work these days has knocked down border and boundary.” - Mike Thompson
  • “I think being able to work remotely was always the future.” - Mike Thompson
  • “Whatever success looks like in that first year, you've got a baseline to start now thinking about the skills that will get that success in the first year.” - Mike Thompson
  • “If you can't come up with an elevator pitch for the job, that's a problem.” - Mike Thompson
  • “People don't join companies, they follow leaders. Your boss is going to have the most impact on what your job is day-to-day.” - Mike Thompson
  • “If you can't sell yourself, it's going to be very difficult to sell something else.” - Mike Thompson
  • “You can't give a salesperson a technical assessment and evaluate how good they're going to be at their job.” - Mike Thompson

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Transcript

Speaker 0    00:00:01    Coming to you from Orlando, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and streaming around the world around the world. You're not tuned in to the sales samurai podcast. The only B2B sales podcast, providing unfiltered unapologetic views and tactics directly from the sales trenches. Here's your host, Sam Capra.  
Speaker 1    00:00:29    Welcome to another episode of the sales samurai. Thanks for joining. Before we begin, take a minute to subscribe and download on today's show. We're going to be discussing why recruiters have to be sales professionals. And I have an amazing guest for you guys originally out of Canada, but now he's in Costa Rica live in the dream. Mike Thompson partner at spark recruiting. Mike. Absolutely a pleasure to have you  
Speaker 2    00:00:52    Sam. Thanks for having me, man. I mean the weather's 30 degrees and there's no place I'd rather be than inside behind these terrible curtains talking to you. So thank you.  
Speaker 1    00:01:01    Yeah, it's a good life. I mean, we were talking about it offline guys. Just decide, Hey, it's too damn cold up here and let's just go enjoy the beach and get,  
Speaker 2    00:01:09    Yeah. I mean with lockdowns and everything in, in Canada happening my business partner and I decided let's, let's just get an Airbnb and Costa Rica for the month so we can work and work and uh, quit and time beers on the beach, which is not that  
Speaker 1    00:01:24    You work hard,  
Speaker 2    00:01:26    Play hard a hundred percent. Totally agree with that.  
Speaker 1    00:01:29    That's awesome, man. Hey, so for the audience, I know, I know you and I have connected a number of times the mutual connections and through LinkedIn kind of give the audience a little bit of a background if you don't mind. Mike.  
Speaker 2    00:01:38    Absolutely. So my background is exclusively in recruiting. So I started, I've been in the industry for about 13 years, starting in tech recruiting and working my way through. I was doing that for about six years before running a office myself in downtown Toronto, and recently finally made the jump to, you know, my own agency. You know, why not? We're we're in the middle of a pandemic and people are making crazy moves. So I just, I felt left out. So I wanted to want, wanted to jump on that wagon myself. So here we are and spark is, is brand new. We're about two months in and we really wanted to do things a little bit differently. And, and I say, we operate at the intersection of marketing and recruiting in today's market. It's obviously very candidate driven and organizations need to do a better job at selling to candidates similarly, to the way that we sell to customers and attract new customers. Uh, we take that approach and apply that to the attraction of candidates. So it's, it's a very sales, marketing centric approach and it's, it's super exciting and it's a lot of fun.  
Speaker 1    00:02:46    Th that was why I was so excited to have you. Then we had the conversation, your guys' approach to recruiting, and it really shouldn't be. And I think you would be the very first, but it's kind of revolutionary from the standpoint of how you guys approach it. Right? And I know you share lot if we're going to talk about it in a number of different ways today, but that's what really intrigued me. And looking back through the LinkedIn, you know, that that's how everybody figures out, who everybody is. You have a strong background in sales like that is your back. Like that is kind of where you live and breathe. You are in the trenches for a number of years. So that's something near and dear to your heart.  
Speaker 2    00:03:16    Absolutely. I always find that. I really learned a lot about selling and recruiting is you can sell software, widgets, whatever it may be, but when you're selling something as unpredictable as people it's wild, I've had every excuse you can think of as to why deals go south, that you don't run into with SAS. You don't run into the fact that, you know, things happen and people have to go to another country. All of a sudden on a whim, more people just decided last minute that they don't feel like fulfilling the deal. There's so many different things that happen that you can't even plan for. So it was an amazing foundation for me to kind of sink my teeth into sales. And I'm constantly learning just because there's so many things that are being thrown at me that I have to adapt, which is also what is exciting about selling.  
Speaker 1    00:04:05    That's awesome. And the fact that matters, you've never left sales because to your point to the subject of our conversation in today's new landscape, you've gotta be a sales person as a recruiter, as an HR professional, wherever you want to put it as that's kind of what the hinge of our conversation is going to be about today.  
Speaker 2    00:04:20    Absolutely. I mean, when we look at, and I'll talk about the sales labor market today, but you have in north America, you have 1.5 million active jobs out there. So if you're a sales leader, that's looking at hiring and I was just on LinkedIn before this and saw a, posted somebody looking to hire 40 account executives this year, right? Like how are you differentiating yourself from the 1.5 million other competitors that are also trying to hire sales talent, you have to sell, right? Which it's fascinating dealing with sales leader because it's a foreign concept for them, but it's their world. Like you obviously are very careful and calculated about the clients. You go after the language you use the collateral, you use how you go about your process. And then when you want to hire salespeople, you put a post on LinkedIn and hope that works. Like if we were to take that approach and do it yourself, you wouldn't have any sales, you wouldn't even have a job.  
Speaker 2    00:05:14    So it's, it's fun talking to salespeople when they wrap their head around and it's like, hold on, walk me through your sales process. And they get excited. The decks come out, you know, the posture gets up and they tell me everything about their ideal customers. They're processed the language they're going to use, where they're going to get them. And it's like, okay, so how are we going to grow your team? It's like, well, we got this job posting that, you know, we're hoping works out. And I just waited for the light bulb. Then I just sit there in the silence and just wait, see if they can connect the dots themselves.  
Speaker 1    00:05:41    I don't know why there is cause you're right. I mean, it is so like, it is pretty evident like it, and I find myself missing it. So I'm not saying, Hey, I'm, I'm so revolutionary that I do it differently. I do exactly. As you say, but why is there such a disconnected in your mind? Like, why is that connection? Why do we miss it in your experience?  
Speaker 2    00:05:58    Yeah. Organizations have never been as vulnerable as they are now. Usually when they had a job that was a differentiator, there was an open seat. And there was when there's an open seat, people line up to get in there because there's not many seats right now everybody's hiring. So we haven't changed our mindset to think just because I have an open job, that's not special anymore. Everybody's hiring. So what else you got? And that's where we're at in some organizations are pivoting quicker than others and realizing that they have to be more proactive and sell to potential candidates and others don't, I'm dealing with a candidate right now that has six offers in hand. One of which is mine, that I'm doing my best to sell. He has six, six offers. Could you imagine that? And that's just the norm. If you are talking to a candidate, a sales professional, and you're extending them to an offer, they have multiples it's inevitable right now. So, and that's only when you get to offer stage, we're already talking about all of the hoops that you've had people jump through to get  
Speaker 1    00:07:04    Right, without a doubt. That's what kind of sparked my interest in this is just understanding as the landscape has changed. You're right. We, Hey, we build it. They'll come right. Throw up a job at 200 applications and we'll find the right one, but there's another layer to this as well. Mike and I know we face this, you know, in our organization, there's also a lot of startups I see in the SAS space are growing and they're scaling and it's not enough just to throw money. Hey, I'll just throw more money at that person because it's an ever in the boss for more money and more money and more money become before it becomes untenable. Right. That can't be the differentiator. Is that fair to say,  
Speaker 2    00:07:42    It's fair. It's, it's a S you're solving for the symptom and not addressing the root problem. Right? Like I think you're never going to be able to spend more than the tech firms, the Amazon's and Netflix. I mean, it's a perfect sports analogy, right? Like if you're in baseball, you're never going to be able to sign someone like the Yankees or the red Sox guy. Never. You're just, you're always going to lose that battle. So, and if you try, you're going to run out of money. So you need to be creative in terms of how you're building your team and not only from an attraction standpoint, but that helps with retention as well. If you're only valuing people that are chasing a paycheck, they're going to leave you for more money because somebody is going to pay them more sometimes. So you need to make sure that the people you're attracting you're offering more than just compensation, there's growth opportunities.  
Speaker 2    00:08:30    There's a really good emotional connection with the leadership. Like that's a really big thing for me is people want to be inspired by who they're working for more than the company they're joining. If in sales, if you look at your sales leader and you aspire to learn and be like them, you're more likely to have them retain for a longer period of time than someone you're just chucking money at and get them in the door. And, you know, at six months in, they hit a bit of a cold pipeline. They bounce and go somewhere else. So it's, you're right. It's money. You can't just throw money at people. You really have to invest in the leaders and place them at the core of your hiring campaign, because they're going to attract the people that want to follow them and work for them.  
Speaker 1    00:09:14    Yeah. So let's talk a little bit through, how do we begin the approach of tackling recruiting like sales, because there are so many similarities and we're going to walk through it, but just from a landscape standpoint, I know you said the 1.5 million jobs, is there any other kind of nuances that is making it or compounding it any further from a sales perspective that we've never seen before? It's from a sales landscape. Is there anything else that you're seeing in the marketplace?  
Speaker 2    00:09:39    The, the full remote nature of work these days has knocked down borders and boundaries, right? I mean, the U S was always fairly good at moving state to state for jobs, but what's happening now is you're seeing north America being a labor market, where there is no separation between kind of Canada and us. And I'm seeing that a lot where you can work from anywhere because the nature of sales is virtual. There is more and more opportunity for someone in Toronto to sell to the west coast of the us. And so the landscape has changed, which is a good thing for some companies and not so good thing for others. So depending on how you're situated and set up, it could be a positive, but it could be a negative for you as well. So that's definitely impacting the competitive nature of the labor market as well.  
Speaker 1    00:10:31    That's a great call off the simple fact that I remember, you know, not too long ago where, Hey, we really want someone in Orlando because we're based in Orlando. We want them to be a polar, but those things are now out the window, right? Those are, Hey, we want a candidate. We still want the best candidate, whether they're in LA or they're in Milwaukee, we don't really care because they're going to be virtual anyway. And so that's opened up our candidate pool to your point, that's a positive, but a negative is that open up the candidate pool for everyone, that's approaching it the same way.  
Speaker 2    00:10:59    And it's opened up the employee pool for the candidates. I'm not confined now to looking for sales positions, just in Orlando. I can sell in Canada. I can sell in LA. I can sell anywhere. So the reach for the candidates to their choice of employers has opened up drastically too. So it's, it's a twofold from, it's like, yeah, you have access to more candidates, but now your competitive landscape for other competitors for that talent has also increased as well.  
Speaker 1    00:11:26    That's a good call. Do you see? And I don't want to say end in sight, cause obviously there'll always be these, you know, hiring, but obviously this is a little bit more, this is a little bit more abrupt or this is a little bit larger than norm. Is there an end in sight where things will start to plateau and things will start to kind of take a more of a, a normal shape if you will, if there is a new normal, I'm just curious what you're seeing from that.  
Speaker 2    00:11:49    Yeah, I think, no, I think this is, if anything, it's going to get worse, it's going to get more competitive. And I think the labor market was always moving in this direction. What the pandemic did is just to expedite how quickly we got there. So I think being able to work remotely was always the future. We just weren't expecting it to happen in a span of months. You know, we thought we had years and it was going to be a slow burn and some companies would be more innovative in that way. And some would still be holding on to the nine to five in an office. And then the next day it's like, everybody's remote now. So it just expedited that, and we're, we're seeing the, the great resignation happened and, and things that, but I think it's just the beginning. I think it's going to continue to get more and more competitive to find talent and retain it as well. Like it's, it's going to continue to be a problem.  
Speaker 1    00:12:38    That's great feedback. Cause I mean, I think that's the other side of the coin. There's people are like, Hey, how long can this, I mean, like you think of a housing bubble, Hey, it's burst. We'll, we'll we'll Wade through it. Uh, we'll we'll can just kind of stay the course. But with that feedback, understanding that this is the new course, you've got to adjust. Like there is just no waiting it out and hoping for the best. So I think that's great feedback for the audience. So let's approach, uh, let's tackle, how do we do this? And we were talking about, Hey, listen, just hiring a normal salesperson. You know, you know, if we were to go out, Hey, I'm looking for a candidate, how do we put our best foot forward? And you have some really strategic approach and we kind of correlate it back to sales, but walk me through, we call it ICP and sales, but you have a different connotation of,  
Speaker 2    00:13:20    Yeah. So the ideal client is something you build in, in sales and recruiting. It could be called it everything's. I refer to it as my competency blueprint. So you know what we're going to do and we'll, we'll go through an example. Now you're hiring sales individual. Let's build out a competency blueprint. And let's talk about the first question I always like to ask is when you're hiring a sales person, what does success look like for the successful individual in year one? What would success look like? And it could be various things. You know, if you're a startup, maybe it's we opened three new accounts and started generating some revenue. If it's you're in a more mature environment, maybe it's we were going deeper in some of these accounts and we were generating X more through those accounts. So whatever success looks like in that first year, you've got a baseline to start now thinking about the skills that will get that success in the first year.  
Speaker 2    00:14:16    You know, if you need to open account, you need somebody that has experience opening accounts. And then if that's not available, you go one step lower and thinking like, okay, well, what are the competencies that are going to, that someone could bring, that's going to help them open accounts, you know? And you go through the checklist of all of those soft skills and things. Now we build out more of a competency around those. So the first step competency blueprint, what does success look like in the first year for the successful individual? What are the skills that are going to match or make it the most probable you're going to get that success in the first year?  
Speaker 1    00:14:51    So the candidate blueprint, ICP, if you will, from a sales perspective, but it's a little bit more than is it and tell him, because as you were kind of walking through that, I immediately, what jumps to my mind as a, not very savvy as my requirements, Hey, this is what I require, but that's a slippery slope too, right? Because help us understand, like, is that really what that is? Or should you really just be questioning what your requirements are to begin with and using the candidate profile as your guide, as your Northern star, if you will.  
Speaker 2    00:15:20    Yeah. I think we need to throw requirements and like that list, that exhaustive list of the person that we want out the window, because you're now competing. So yeah, you can list me 15 things and I'd say, that's great, but now you're going to have to throw all those out and we're gonna have to start from scratch. And the always way that I like to brainstorm and get people out of that mindset is picture you're at a bar with your friend, right? What are you looking for? Sell me like, I'm your friend that you want me to come work for? You. What's the job? What are you looking at doing? That's your job description? That's your elevator pitch. That's how you're going to shape what that job description looks like. We're not going to start listing. I want them to have experience selling in the healthcare vertical. I want them to have open five accounts. I want them generated this amount. I want this, this and this. You can't go through that approach anymore. You need to really simplify it or else people that people aren't just going to apply to it. You need to kind of start thinking about how you sell the role and how you can really simplify what that job actually is. Get rid of the job description, casual conversation, sell me on the role. What are we doing here?  
Speaker 1    00:16:26    I love that because we were talking about this offline from a job description. I remember my days back at CareerBuilder, no job ads. It was just, Hey, what are the requirements? What are the skill sets that they need? They need to be able to stand their feet for more than six hours or whatever it might've been, but tying it back to sales. And it's really what is the elevator pitch? Hey, how do I clearly concisely articulate this to you as a candidate in a way you're going to understand and hopefully differentiate myself from the competitors that you're going to be talking to, which I know you're going to be talking to just in the landscape of today.  
Speaker 2    00:17:00    Yeah, exactly. And if you can't come up with an elevator pitch for the job, then that's a problem, right? If you're a sales leader and you can't pitch what it is, the job and why somebody would want to work for you and this opportunity, then like we need to hold up and have a bit of a brainstorm session in terms of what that actually is. And maybe you're in the wrong organization if you're having troubles doing that, but you shouldn't be able to, to at least casually have that conversation to flush that out because otherwise you're just not going to be competitive. You're not, you're not gonna do it. There's a reason why referrals are the best source of talent attraction. It's because you can tell them the job in three sentences and you know them, they know you and you can kind of have an off the record conversation like, Hey, this is what we're doing. This is the product we have. This is the market. And this is what we need.  
Speaker 1    00:17:53    Right. There seems to be a little bit, do that dialogue. Maybe there's just an inherent, genuine, there's a genuine honesty, right? Because you're not trying, you're really not trying to sell the, Hey, here's the landscape. Here's what I'm looking for. Here's what I think you'd be interested. Here's why I think you'd be a great fit, but it's a very genuine conversation versus trying to, Hey, do you Matt, like trying to put a square peg in a round hole and hoping for the best, right. Is that, am I just, am I boiling it down way too far by just saying that it's just a genuine way of articulating the value prop?  
Speaker 2    00:18:26    No, it's, it's bang on and it's the same way that you would want them to sell your product or service is to really simplify it. And if they can't simplify it, then you need to work on your pitch. You really need to help them understand the value and why. Right? Like if we were to send a client, a job description and being like, Hey, we'd love to sell you our product or service, but do you meet all these requirements? Right? Like, they'd be like, get out of here. Like, no, we're not going to do it. So thinking about the same approach on the other side, knowing that the person you're talking to is also being approached by other firms, simplify here's the job. Here's why I think you'd be great for it. And here's what you can learn. Here's the challenges you're going to face. Here's the problems you're going to get. So here's the impact you're going to get to have in the organization. And this is why it's a great thing for you. So really honing in on that elevator pitch is critical. And that's why, as we started talking, you started seeing why recruiting is selling. It's the same process on both sides.  
Speaker 1    00:19:24    So if we were trying to find, cause here's a couple of things that I've heard, you know, especially for young startups, Hey, I can't really say, Hey, we're sell to it like young startups that billions of have clients that they can tout and say, Hey, we work with some really cool, innovative brands, you know, to kind of hype it up. Or they worked in an industry that's not very sexy. Like I'm just thinking like waste management and that's bad to say, but there's just some industries that are not the most sexy from a value prop standpoint. So what is kind of the framework that you use to say, Hey, here's the three elements that you want to figure out how you weave into that ICP or that elevator pitch, wherever that top track, if you will, what would be a good guy guiding light for them from a tactical standpoint?  
Speaker 2    00:20:06    I think the most important thing is who they're going to be working for. What are they like? That, that the core of a hiring campaign? It's the boss, it's the leader. You know, what's the quote. People don't leave companies. They leave bad bosses, right? The inverse of that is true. I believe people don't join companies. They follow leaders. Your boss is going to have the most impact on what your job is day to day. If you sell to the most innovative, cool companies, but your boss sucks, your job sucks, right? Like at the end of the day, that's what it is like, you know, there's not enough money that is going to sustain someone in that role. Long term, if you just have a terrible relationship with your boss, right? So at the core of the campaign is really understanding who's the leader of the organization and attracting people that inspire or aspire to be in that environment.  
Speaker 2    00:21:05    And I think that's the most genuine way you can recruit them. That's why referrals work because either I know you and I know a friend and I'm like, man, you would you'd work great with Sam. Let me connect you guys because I know you personally, right? It's more of a soft skill than a technical competency. And that's why we need to scale that approach. Because once you tap your personal networks now, well now you have to go into this unknown where they don't know you. You don't know them, but how can we put the individual right at the front of the hiring process so that people, when they see them, they think, yeah, I want to work with Sam. Like I loved the way I love his vision. I love his style. I love the way he communicates. And he seems to have a really good rapport and handle on his team. I want to work for Sam, not I want to join this company and I hope Sam's cool, but like we'll find out I'll quit in six months. Right? So  
Speaker 1    00:22:01    I love that  
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Speaker 1    00:22:42    So, so just to kind of recap from a candidate profile standpoint, just really, really hone in on, Hey, what does the first year look like for that person? Right? I mean, boiling it down pretty far, like beat. That should be a really transparent, honest assessment. You're not trying to over promise and under deliver because that's going to lead somebody right out the front door. If you're saying, Hey, here's what you can anticipate. And it's completely the opposite, right? That's setting yourself up for failure. And then the second thing is, can you clearly concisely articulate your value proposition as you would at elevator pitch and sales and lead with who's going to be the leader of that team, the sales leader of the VP, and really put that best foot forward to make sure that there's a match there and sell from that standpoint, those are the kind of two things I've kind of boiled down from the conversation thus far, is that  
Speaker 2    00:23:31    Yeah, you nailed it. I mean your ideal customer, the messaging on how you're going to get to that ideal customer. That's on the recruiting side, that's it? Competency blueprint. What do we want the candidate, the skills they want them to bring? Who are they let's create this now? What's the message that we're going to communicate to them.  
Speaker 1    00:23:49    Yup. I love that piece, but you bring up a good point and I can't remember the last time I've actually applied to a job at like most of the jobs I've had has come from. I know someone they're like, Hey, I think you'd be good for this. Like, is that the model? Is that the only way of succeeding is that the future for most organizations, you've just got to be very active on LinkedIn. You've got to be very engaged, help us understand a little bit more about  
Speaker 2    00:24:14    Definitely. If I'm a sales individual looking for a job right now, you want to avoid applying to the generic job postings you see, right? I mean, that's like applying to bids that come in and hope that your pricing wins. Like you don't know anything about the organization. You don't know the thing about their buying process. We know the likelihood of closing on that is very low, right? But when we apply to a job, we tend to feel overconfident. It's like, oh, I got this in the bag. Like, this is my job. They wrote this for me. It's like, you know, nothing about that, except for what you're right. Reading, which is completely generic. So we see that. I would say recruiting, if I'm a salesperson looking for a job, it's someone to the sales approach. You want to follow the leaders on LinkedIn. You get to see what they post.  
Speaker 2    00:24:58    You get to see what they're talking about. You get to see all of these things. And then if you feel like there's a good match, reach out to them. If the HR posts that they're hiring a sales individual, it's not hard to find who the sales leader is in that organization. Start following them on LinkedIn to get a sense of what they're all about. And if you feel that there's a good fit, reach out, but on the candidate side, it still makes sense. You've got to be clear on what qualities you're looking for in a leader. It's not a job and it's not money. It's who do I want to work for? That's going to help me grow and what characteristics are they going to have? That's going to help me. And that's what you really need to evaluate with the next opportunity, because we all know once there's a limit for money, but anything above that, it's not worth it. If it's a bad environment and toxic environment, and you don't want to be somebody that spends a lot of their time hopping around in new jobs, getting ramped up, that's just not, you know, it's not a fun way of, of navigating your career.  
Speaker 1    00:25:56    Yeah, no, I think that's, it's funny. Cause when we were talking about this offline, we kind of had a shuffle around it and you brought up a great point. It was just, I was like, what's the red flag. And one of your red flags was if on the job description that you're reading, that kind of gave you a red flag or aha moment, you don't see that there's they don't list the hiring manager on that job description. Either run the opposite way or if you're really intrigued by it, go do some due diligence on LinkedIn to actually find who's the most likely that would be hiring that position. Now that was just a simple, but really straightforward assessment of what jobs to stay away from and what jobs to potentially pursue,  
Speaker 2    00:26:34    Uh, agreed. And it also sets you apart as a candidate because it shows you the sales leader, that type of sales individual you are. If you can sell yourself, think about how you can sell the product or service. If you can't sell yourself, it's going to be very difficult to sell something else. So it's very indicative. And I coach a lot of my clients that are sales leaders to really take stock on how candidates are selling themselves because that's their best sales foot forward. It doesn't get easier than selling yourself if you're genuine to who you are. So if you have a good pitch and you have a good approach to how to get to the right individuals that tells you a lot about what that sales individual is going to be like,  
Speaker 1    00:27:16    I'm glad you brought that up because I, you know, people used to always say, Hey, people can be great at interviewing. They're just a professional interview, right? And the resume can only take you so far. And it's only going to paint the most vivid picture or most optimistic picture. But I, I always back into how did they approach the interview process? Like did they reach out to me before the interview and connect on LinkedIn? Did they ping me on LinkedIn saying, Hey, thanks for connecting a by the way, look forward to our interview on Thursday, like and did after did they ping me on LinkedIn? Thanks for the interview. Maybe follow up with an email, like the things that you naturally do in a sales process. That is what tells me more about a candidate than anything I can hear in an interview process. Typically it gives me the guide rails, but they understand the basics and sometimes more advanced ways of selling from a methodology.  
Speaker 2    00:28:06    I couldn't agree more. I mean that if you're hiring a sales individual and how they approach you is how they're going to approach your clients. So if they do the things that you said, if they're engaging with you on LinkedIn, they're, they're commenting insightfully on things. They throw you a connection. That's personalized, they follow up, they do all of those things. That's how they're going to approach your clients. And if that's the selling style, you have, that's more indicative than the interview. You can teach someone that content and how to run a sales presentation or an interview. That's why some people are really good at interviewing because they practice and it's rehearsed. They have their stories locked and loaded. They have their experiences ready. What they don't have is how they get to you. That's dynamic. And that changes. So that is more than my that's more telling of what the sales individual is going to be than the actual interview themselves.  
Speaker 1    00:29:00    And there's a flip side of that, right? Mike, what I mean by that is if you do find the hiring manager, but then you notice that they're not very active on LinkedIn. They're not posting a whole lot. Like that should also be an indicator to you. Is that somebody I can identify with, or they're not maybe, and this might be a leap, but Hey, they're not as innovative. They're not as progressive. They're not as social selling or personal brand awareness that I am from a thought leadership standpoint, maybe told those things don't jive, right? That's a fair assessment as well as what you don't see, just as much as what you  
Speaker 2    00:29:31    Completely. Yeah. And especially if you're somebody that values wanting to build a personal brand and wanting to do that yourself, if your sales leader has zero personal brand, then you know, right away, that's not the right environment for you. Like that's not going to help you advance yourself as a professional to learn from someone that doesn't even have their photo on LinkedIn. Isn't engaging. Like that's, if that's important to you, if it's not, then that's a different story. But if you're going through the process of navigating on LinkedIn, then I think it's safe to assume that you do value those things. So you'd want a leader that is engaging and creating content, commenting on it, creating a personal brand for themselves because then they can coach you and teach you on these aspects as well,  
Speaker 1    00:30:12    Without a doubt. And so you kind of had, we kind of touched upon this a bit because it is very easy to get lulled into, Hey, I'm doing my part. I just applied to 684 jobs on career builder, monster, LinkedIn. Something's going to come my way and you brought up, Hey, it's not about the number of barring, Hey, if they don't have a hiring manager runaway or go find the hiring manager and start to engage. If you do go down that slippery slope of just throwing it up on the wall and hoping for the best, we've said, it that's a recipe for disaster, correct. Especially in today's market.  
Speaker 2    00:30:47    I would agree. I mean, and we have you to thank for the career builder, somebody else for LinkedIn, but they've made applying for jobs super easy. So you literally probably could apply the 600 jobs in a day. But like I have these conversations with candidates that are looking and they talk about how they're frustrated with their not making a traction. So I walked through and say, walk me through your approach, right? You're like, will I apply to this many jobs? And I was like, well, how many connections have you made? And how many conversations have you had with potential sales leaders? And that's where it falls down. And similar to the sales process. If you're coaching a sales individual, that's not having success. And they say, well, I've emailed a hundred clients. I'm just waiting for them to get back to me. That's not effective either. So it's the same approach. You know, whether you're finding a sales job, whether you're hiring sales talent, it's a sales process. And you need to start thinking like that. If you find yourself as a candidate, or if you find yourself as a sales leader that you need to apply the sales approach, you have to both situations.  
Speaker 1    00:31:44    Yeah. It's amazing. As we were having that conversation around, it's very easy to get skewed on what being productive and successful is like sending out a thousand different applications because you know, this probably better than anyone like most recruiters, I'm not saying the best recruiters, those go into this black hole. Like they just, it just didn't no one ever sees it. I mean, I saw that a million times in my days in a previous life that what happened to the 27,000 applications we sent you through your job ads. Uh, we got to about 1% of it and it's my permanent, even the best cause there was some rules or algorithm that weeded out certain people like that's where, why it is just an act of futility. And I, and that's not a bad thing against job boards by any stretch of the imagination. It's just the nature of the beast.  
Speaker 2    00:32:31    Correct? Yeah. I think automation and AI technology does a great job of parsing resumes, but you're hiring a resume, especially in sales, you're hiring somebody, that's being tasked with creating a relationship and having conversations with customers, whether it lands in a deal today or in the future, that's what you're hiring for. So why are you making the decision on who that individual is based on keywords on a resume? Like I agree with you. I think, I think there's a, I always like to say is there's a, there's a huge difference between busy and productive, right? Like busy is applying to 600 jobs. Productive is having three virtual conversations with sales leaders, right? Like that's being productive because you're getting information and you're, you're moving things for you're having conversations. You're creating connections that maybe they'll pay off today or maybe they'll pay off in a month, six months from now.  
Speaker 2    00:33:30    But like you're investing in your career versus just throwing resumes at the wall. Like, and hoping one of them just sticks. And even still the first person you're going to talk to, if it does stick, is someone in HR, who's also recruiting for a hundred other different roles across the organization. They don't know a good salesperson from a Babolat and I'm not discounting HR. It's a terrible job to have to, to recruit across the entire organization. Like it's just, they're overwhelmed. Like you can't do it. There's too much volume. Right? Like, so it's tough to actually dig into one role when your plate is just full with thousands of them. So when you do get through that process and you're talking to someone old, they're going to be talking to you about is the job description and for you to walk through your resume to make sure it's a match before you get to that next conversation. You're not setting yourself up for success by going through that process. That's just my opinion.  
Speaker 1    00:34:21    Well, I, I would 100% agree with you. And I think it does come down to, they have to be a Jack of all and a ma it's hard to be a master of any way when you just have to do so much, right. I'm hiring for it. Java descriptions. Oh, by the way, I'm hiring for an enterprise sales rep though, by the way, I'm hiring for a chief financial officer. It's just a lot to get your arms around and dig that far into taxi, articulate and be able to have that type of car. But it's so I would, and it, it, it's a whole different bottle of developers. That's a whole different ball. The way I still believe sales is the most challenging roles to hire for because they're so client facing, there's so many nuances to it. What makes a sales rep good versus not? How do you get to the bottom? Like there's so many nuances, Mike, that it's not as straightforward as maybe do you have Java background? Do you have Ruby on rails? Like w  
Speaker 2    00:35:13    You can't give a salesperson, a technical assessment and evaluate how good they're going to be at their job. Like you kind of tech, right? Like you can see how somebody codes and that's where it's like, okay, now I get a sense for how you are as a professional in sales, you have an interview, you have conversation, which doesn't necessarily give you a lot of information to go off, especially if somebody is a really strong interviewer. So what I always advise is you need to be clear on what it is you're looking for and realistic with that. Instead of thinking somebody is going to come in and they're going to bring all these accounts and they're going to bring all their customer lists over and it's not realistic. I mean, everybody's tried that approach. It doesn't work  
Speaker 1    00:35:57    Approach.  
Speaker 2    00:35:58    Yeah, exactly. I'm paying for a Rolodex. Like, oh, if the Rolodex is that good, why they leave? Right. Like I always say that it's always bringing it over. Why does he keep it there and keep making money? It doesn't make any sense. So I think it's about understanding as a leader, how you want to build your team and how you're going to compliment and add strengths into it that maybe you're different than what they are now, but you have confidence in your ability to bring those skills out of people. So rather than just trying to hone in on how good are they as a sales person, figuring out the soft skills and the type of individual they are. And if that works, you can make good salespeople, right? But you can't make a good sales person, a good culture.  
Speaker 1    00:36:41    That's right. Without a doubt, I think that's a great fit for the symptoms. There's a couple of elements to that that I have found. I like to be involved in that interview early, sooner than later, like it, and that's, I think our recruiter in our team does a fantastic job, but there are certain nuances that, and then they do a fantastic job getting me involved early on, because there are so many things that you may see that they may not pick up on. And it's not really fair or indicative in most cases that that's like a flaw or whatever. It's just how many movements that they're trying to make across so many different positions within the organization. I want to get your thoughts on a couple of things, because here here's a fundamental area. I think most candidates don't think enough about. And you brought it up earlier outside of what's the type of qualities I want to look for in a leader.  
Speaker 1    00:37:29    That's what you brought up. You said that's important without a doubt, but like, what does the space is? I actually want to work in, I don't want to just work anywhere, like drill down to, Hey, I want to work in SAS. You know what? I don't want to just work in any SAS. I don't want to talk anything about finance or security. I want to talk. I want to be in the retail sector and the sales sector. Those are the two sub industries I want to be in. Now, let me go find my top 10, 15 counts that I've barely been following the gongs of the world. The course is whoever sales loft. And now let me start seeing what's available in those organizations, then start to connect with reps in those organizations that I can get those mutual connections to make an intro into a hiring manager, right? That's once again, the sales 1 0 1 getting deep, getting wider to target again.  
Speaker 2    00:38:17    I was just going to say, Sam, that sounds very similar to a sales process. Would you agree? But you're entirely right. I mean, if you're just looking for a job it's overwhelming and I keep going back to a Ted talk hired. I think it was decade or the paradox of choice, right? Like, and now is a perfect example of this is we have options than we've ever had before as a candidate, looking for jobs with 1.5 million sales jobs. So when you over, you're overwhelmed with choice. Two things could happen. One is paralysis. You do nothing. You're overwhelmed. There's way too much out there. You don't actually do anything. Right? And those are the people that are saying, like, I can't find a job. Most part I'm generalizing. Can't find a job, not having success. It's because you haven't got specific enough and you're just cast too wide and you're overwhelmed.  
Speaker 2    00:38:59    The second is it becomes very difficult to be fully satisfied with the decision you make. And I'll tell you why is because there's more options. You are very selective and you think you can make the perfect choice. So you narrow it down. You have your five offers in hand. You're really going through your process. Logically you say, this is the perfect decision you've made it. You start the job. 1, 3, 6 month in something happens. That's not perfect. Not bad, but not perfect. Immediately. You regret not taking one of the other jobs because you feel like you did not make the perfect decision thing is there is no perfect decision. There's no perfect job. It's to your point. It's where does your passion, where do you want to work? Who's the leader you want to work for? And that's how you make the basis for your decision. Don't look for the perfect job. It doesn't exist. Look for something that you're passionate about. Now there's a leader that inspires you and it provides a lot of opportunity to grow and then go out and search for opportunities, but be realistic with it just because there's more options doesn't mean you're going to make the perfect choice. There is no perfect choice. Just make a good choice. That's true to you and who you are and what you want to do.  
Speaker 1    00:40:10    Yeah, that's fantastic. Hey, so any like final tips, whether it's on the candidate side, the, the organization, the leader side, all those elements, little tips or nuggets that you would say, Hey, just FYI. If you're doing X, Y, and Z, here's what I would recommend. Anything that you would offer to the audience mic?  
Speaker 2    00:40:27    I would say, if you're a sales leader, please stop with the LinkedIn. Here we grow again. I can not read another one of those I can not. And the other thing is, if you're hiring, stop,  
Speaker 2    00:40:43    Stop, stop talking about rockstars and unicorns. Like what kind of team are you building? Like, stop it, stop it. Like I would be on the hiring side. I'm the candidate side. I think what we just spoke about, take a breath. There's a lot going on right now. Slow down, really put some thought into what you want to do, knowing it's not going to be forever. Where does your passion, where do you want to work? What impact you want to have? And what are the qualities you look for in a leader, like really kind of slow down and take that time. And I promise you based on that, there are going to be opportunities available for  
Speaker 1    00:41:18    That's amazing, man. Yeah, listen, I haven't actually done it because I'm not that savvy on LinkedIn, but I have seen them. There's a lot out there. I get where you're coming from, but I love the part about the candidates, because I do think, especially when you're looking for that, you know, you're not happy in what you're doing. It can be over well, it's a big life decision. I mean, would they they'd write that right up there with marriage kids? How like job changes one of the most jarring events in your life, or I don't know if that's the right term, but you know where I'm going with.  
Speaker 2    00:41:46    You spend more time at work than you do with your family, right? Like, I mean, there's 40 hours, 40, 50 hours a week. It's huge. And it affects your mood outside of it as well. If you have a great day at work and you love your job, you show up differently to your family, to your friends, right? If you don't like your job, it's very difficult to compartmentalize that because you just show up differently to family and friends. So it's extremely important. And it's an emotional decision. People try to logically make that decision, but it's emotional. So like recognize that, know that and realize that you can't make a perfect decision by checking all the boxes. There is an element to, it has to feel right. And you got to trust your gut.  
Speaker 1    00:42:27    So, Hey, how do people learn more about what you guys are doing over at spark? How do they get in touch with you all that kind of fun stuff might.  
Speaker 2    00:42:33    Yeah. So connect with me on LinkedIn. We're really doing some cool stuff in terms of creating micro marketing campaigns around hiring managers. So think about hype videos, live job descriptions, where we pretty much take job descriptions and throw them out and fully make it digital and much more interactive. And it's just a more fun way of hiring people, especially in these markets. We think that hiring stressful and it's frustrating and all of these things, it can be fun. It's matchmaking. You're trying to build a team. You're trying to find suitors out there. Like we want to make it fun. And there is a more fun way of doing it.  
Speaker 1    00:43:10    That's amazing. We're going to put a lot of this in the show notes, just to make sure you guys can get to my cousin. I will say this when we were having our conversation offline, the approach you guys are taking is, is unique when we're talking about the hype videos and those types of things that is truly innovative from a marketing and a sales perspective that I haven't seen done. So kudos to you. And I wish you guys a tremendous amount of success. And thanks for being on the show.  
Speaker 2    00:43:35    Hey, thanks for having me, Sam. I had a great time.  
Speaker 0    00:43:40    Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your host, Sam Capra. Be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit sales samurai.io and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content.  

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Mike Thomson

Partner

Mike made dad jokes cool long before becoming a father himself. But truthfully, Mike’s superpower is storytelling and his uncanny ability to connect with people. Mike is a people person at his core and that’s why he is so perfectly suited to work in the recruitment space. Mike slants towards sales naturally and his competitive nature has created valuable partnerships with a number of Fortune 100 and exciting start-up clients.