Friday, 7 February 2020

Why LinkedIn is the place to attract your next salesperson.






In the B2B world, I think LinkedIn is the best platform to raise your employer profile with potential new hires, especially sales executives, as they use it all the time. LinkedIn gives you the chance to attract passive candidates by warming them up to your company as a great place to work so they are more likely to press “apply” if they see a role advertised with you. My team and I speak to hundreds of candidates every week and it’s a battle to convince them to consider roles for companies that don’t prioritise their employer brand in this way especially if you aren’t a well-known organisation.

Here are 3 steps you can take to get the ball rolling:


1. Make a plan.

LinkedIn will not grow organically. You need a plan! Allocate a staff member responsible for co-ordinating and implementing your social media goals going forward. This could be a great opportunity for an employee who is keen to develop new skills and who is interested in developing their creativity. They will need to schedule posts and articles and calendar events of what’s happening in your business and in your business community.


2. Create great content.

Think about your ‘voice’
Ok now it is time for the nitty-gritty – start making your content.  This is where it is important to show your corporate culture.  Be clear about the ‘voice’ that is going to be used in your posts. If you are interested in attracting great sales people make sure you are authentic and engaging.  A more informal, conversational voice tends to work well – people like to feel like they would be welcome in your company and that they can achieve their goals while enjoying their time at work.  So long as you take care to never cross the line from ‘informal’ to ‘inappropriate’ you should be fine!
Tell a story
Linked in is a great place to tell a story, so why not talk about how your company started.  You might want to post some images of your first premises or staff members on the anniversary of your company’s foundation and write about how you have developed in the interim. Whether that time has been 2 or 200 years there is a story to be told!

Talk about staff achievements
Sales people love public praise and recognition, this is why they are in sales! So, stroke their egos and shout about their greatness!  Good sales people want to work for companies that do this, so don’t be shy and don’t just wait until the annual awards - you can highlight a great week of outstanding sales results or a major customer win. Candidates will be really interested to see that you are proud of the people who work at your company.  In my opinion,   all new hires should be welcomed with a post – it shows you value them as part of your sales team.

Get your sales team involved.
Staff involvement will be really important so ask them to help you to get across the ‘vibe’ of your company.  Be open to suggestions and have a process where they can put forward their ideas – it might simply be a rolling deadline, for example, all ideas and pictures to be sent to Jenny by 5pm Monday.  Encourage your sales people to like, share and comment on posts to increase the reach of your content.

Staff spotlights.
Staff spotlights and interviews make great content.  A day in the life of a field sales representative or the office staff that support them can be fascinating and give a real insight into what it’s like to work for your company.

Boast about your corporate social responsibility.

We are finding that when faced with the option of several interviews, our candidates are increasingly choosing companies that share their personal values around the environment and social responsibility. Not only does this matter to them, they know that it matters to their clients and that it will give them a competitive edge when pitching. So, if you are a leader at recycling in your industry or you have fantastic community links in your area be sure to post about it regularly so your potential candidates can see.


3. Maximise your views.

Use images
Posts with images get twice as many comments in LinkedIn so document key events with photos and images that you can share. Pictures from conferences staff have attended, images of people doing their jobs, being successful and having fun or even phone pictures from the team meeting.
Images don’t always have to be professional, amateurish shots can sometimes appear more authentic and candid than posed, but make sure they are not blurry and that they are well-lit.
You can expect high engagement on pictures of recent training courses and high achiever awards. These always go down well as they involve many staff. New product launches show your innovation and add to this picture of you with your customers at the latest exhibition and you will never be short of content.

Don’t forget video

Video is an important tool – they get 3 times the engagement of text posts and people are 20 times more likely to share a video on LinkedIn.  It’s great to pull back the curtain and give people a behind the scenes look at your company via a tour of your facilities, or staff visiting customer sites for example.  Very short interviews with staff can work really well and can help highlight your team diversity.  Again, you don’t have to hire a professional video crew – phone footage or domestic video can be great these days but you need to make sure you capture the sound well enough to be heard.  Don’t be afraid to redo things several times to get it right and try to include closed captions on your video to ensure it is accessible and can be understood when people view it without sound.

Here is a great example video from Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services
Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services

Use your own profile
As well as having a company presence many of our clients at CEO or Sales Director level share company content and also post directly using their personal LinkedIn profiles – this helps increase the reach of the content and shows that you are human and in touch with your people.  When using your personal profile, it is important to make sure you get your profile up to an ‘All-Star’ status to get up to 40 times more contacts.
If you want to find out how to do this here is a useful guide:
https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/april/25/tuesday-tips-how-to-be-an-all-star-with-your-linkedin-profile

So, don’t be backward about coming forward on LinkedIn! Get posting about what an awesome company you are and see how it impacts your job application numbers.

Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk

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Thursday, 9 January 2020

4 Promises I am making this year





Every January I like to review my previous year and identify what has gone well and what could have been better. I review how my team and business have developed so I can plan for bigger and better things moving forward. Like most company owners and sales managers, I’m always striving for improvement.

So what happens when your sales team doesn’t achieve all you want? I personally like to think about why and take some responsibility for how I could have made a difference.
In my opinion, a good manager will not only critique the individuals that work for them but they’ll take a good look at themselves in the mirror too and as the saying goes- you are only as good as the worst person in your team.

If you are in this position how about asking yourself these questions:

  1. Were you the best version of yourself you could have been?
  2. Did you lead motivate and inspire the people that work for you so they could be the very best they could be?
  3. Were you as organised as you could be in attending to the things you needed to do
Be honest with your analysis – you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge so just face the truth and learn from it.

This leads us neatly on to the first of four promises

1. I will push myself outside my comfort zone

As sales managers we are really focussed on the day to day management of our teams and our own development needs can often get forgotten. The chances are you got to where you are today because you strived for more.
Take some time to think about your personal goals and ambitions. Are you stretching yourself or are you just coasting?
What goals have you got that will take you out of your comfort zone?
If you can’t think of any be warned- complacency will ultimately end in failure. Lifelong learning should be our default setting – the world is changing constantly and we need to refresh our skills to keep up.
Dare to dream – think of some personal goals and challenges. So you are ready to do a marathon – why not really go for it and run it on the Great Wall of China or through a safari park in Kenya! Goal orientated people are motivated people; it’s what you would ask of your sales team, so lead by example and be an inspiration to others. Ask them to get involved with you to take part in some challenging activities outside of work – things like mud runs, obstacle courses and escape rooms - these are great for team bonding.

2. I will offer useful information to help

On our business and the competition!
How good are you are keeping abreast of developments in your area of business, for example? Do you read the trade press as often as you should? Do you actively seek out trends in the industry to keep ahead of the competition? Whilst your salespeople are busy knocking doors and generating pipeline give them a helping hand by researching and sharing information that will give them a competitive advantage Make this a regular habit in your weekly schedule.
Communicate sales information that will be useful to your team. Which sectors are proving more profitable at the moment? What deals have been won in other locations that you could pitch for too. Share your CRM data with your team and they will be far more motivated to keep it up to date!
As part of your increased engagement habit, you might also want to think about making sure you are truly open to a two way dialogue. Your sales team will likely know more about the day to day trials and tribulations of their particular patch, so ask them for feedback and for their ideas to help others reach their sales goals.

3. I will engage with my team in a meaningful way

It’s all too easy for us to think we know our sales team after working with them for a while. We often generalise based on our experiences with them in the past but when was the last time you had a really good chat with your top performer? Or do you leave them to it as they know what they are doing?
Take the time to give every salesperson one-to-one attention and they will reward you for it. Regular field accompaniments will keep you in touch with the sharp end of the business and give your staff the opportunity to share more of themselves in the downtime between appointments.
Engaging with your sales staff often will ensure you are aware of their current motivations, drivers and goals. People’s lives change and this can lead to a change in behaviour and motivation which can lead to a dip in performance. By understanding our team’s personal circumstances, we are better placed to know how to manage and motivate. Offering a booze filled trip to the races as a sales incentive might not have much attraction for a new parent for instance but offering some extra leave might be incredibly effective, however!

4. I will model a positive mindset and offer to help!

Your team will pick-up on your stress levels so it is up to you to ensure that you are aware of your own state of mind and that you can have difficult conversations in an appropriate way. You have to be honest about team and individual performance, but the focus should be on what needs to be done to change things and how you believe that they are capable of doing what is necessary. Make suggestions but also ask how you can help – your staff will no doubt have ideas that will be useful.


Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk





Every January I like to review my previous year and identify what has gone well and what could have been better. I review how my team and business have developed so I can plan for bigger and better things moving forward. Like most company owners and sales managers, I’m always striving for improvement.

So what happens when your sales team doesn’t achieve all you want? I personally like to think about why and take some responsibility for how I could have made a difference.
In my opinion, a good manager will not only critique the individuals that work for them but they’ll take a good look at themselves in the mirror too and as the saying goes- you are only as good as the worst person in your team.

If you are in this position how about asking yourself these questions:

  1. Were you the best version of yourself you could have been?
  2. Did you lead motivate and inspire the people that work for you so they could be the very best they could be?
  3. Were you as organised as you could be in attending to the things you needed to do
Be honest with your analysis – you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge so just face the truth and learn from it.

This leads us neatly on to the first of four promises

1. I will push myself outside my comfort zone

As sales managers we are really focussed on the day to day management of our teams and our own development needs can often get forgotten. The chances are you got to where you are today because you strived for more.
Take some time to think about your personal goals and ambitions. Are you stretching yourself or are you just coasting?
What goals have you got that will take you out of your comfort zone?
If you can’t think of any be warned- complacency will ultimately end in failure. Lifelong learning should be our default setting – the world is changing constantly and we need to refresh our skills to keep up.
Dare to dream – think of some personal goals and challenges. So you are ready to do a marathon – why not really go for it and run it on the Great Wall of China or through a safari park in Kenya! Goal orientated people are motivated people; it’s what you would ask of your sales team, so lead by example and be an inspiration to others. Ask them to get involved with you to take part in some challenging activities outside of work – things like mud runs, obstacle courses and escape rooms - these are great for team bonding.

2. I will offer useful information to help

On our business and the competition!
How good are you are keeping abreast of developments in your area of business, for example? Do you read the trade press as often as you should? Do you actively seek out trends in the industry to keep ahead of the competition? Whilst your salespeople are busy knocking doors and generating pipeline give them a helping hand by researching and sharing information that will give them a competitive advantage Make this a regular habit in your weekly schedule.
Communicate sales information that will be useful to your team. Which sectors are proving more profitable at the moment? What deals have been won in other locations that you could pitch for too. Share your CRM data with your team and they will be far more motivated to keep it up to date!
As part of your increased engagement habit, you might also want to think about making sure you are truly open to a two way dialogue. Your sales team will likely know more about the day to day trials and tribulations of their particular patch, so ask them for feedback and for their ideas to help others reach their sales goals.

3. I will engage with my team in a meaningful way

It’s all too easy for us to think we know our sales team after working with them for a while. We often generalise based on our experiences with them in the past but when was the last time you had a really good chat with your top performer? Or do you leave them to it as they know what they are doing?
Take the time to give every salesperson one-to-one attention and they will reward you for it. Regular field accompaniments will keep you in touch with the sharp end of the business and give your staff the opportunity to share more of themselves in the downtime between appointments.
Engaging with your sales staff often will ensure you are aware of their current motivations, drivers and goals. People’s lives change and this can lead to a change in behaviour and motivation which can lead to a dip in performance. By understanding our team’s personal circumstances, we are better placed to know how to manage and motivate. Offering a booze filled trip to the races as a sales incentive might not have much attraction for a new parent for instance but offering some extra leave might be incredibly effective, however!

4. I will model a positive mindset and offer to help!

Your team will pick-up on your stress levels so it is up to you to ensure that you are aware of your own state of mind and that you can have difficult conversations in an appropriate way. You have to be honest about team and individual performance, but the focus should be on what needs to be done to change things and how you believe that they are capable of doing what is necessary. Make suggestions but also ask how you can help – your staff will no doubt have ideas that will be useful.


Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk

Read More »

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

How fitness totally changed my lifestyle




Our Business Administrator Jo recently finished 10 Personal Training sessions, over the course of ten weeks. Read how it went below:
Up until 2015, I'd never stepped foot in a gym. I had an image of what it would be like and I can honestly say I was very wrong. I started very slowly, easing my way in probably 1 or 2 classes per week and I taught myself to run 5k, moving swiftly on to 10k.
In 2017 I upped my game to 3 classes per week and finally started shifting some lbs, I’d like to call this baby weight, but I know it wasn’t, it was all my own doing. Pure cardio and will power saw me lose 2 stone and 2 Reading Half Marathons under my belt.
Then along came a new PT at the Gym called Natalie, introducing a boxing class which I totally loved. We hit it off straight away and before I knew it I’d signed up for 10 PT sessions with her! I’d often cringe at the thought of doing this.
I’m in the gym every weekday morning, but I was never actually in the “gym” I was in the studio doing classes, I think I gave all of the classes a try,  I would walk right passed the weights room. Natalie changed my mind, I wanted to learn how to use those scary machines, I wanted to be strong.
I’ve had the best PT sessions, hard work, good fun, strange noises! I can feel the difference, I can see the difference - it’s been a great help in my usual classes, a reduction in body fat and change in shape. Natalie was a huge motivation. I’ve met some amazing people in the gym, life long friends and one of whom is now my boss Louisa! If I’m honest, I was a little sad to see those sessions come to an end and after my very generous husband funded those first 10 sessions I was very shocked to receive 10 more for Christmas - YAY!
So, if you are thinking of doing something different this year and have always flirted with the idea of fitness I say GO FOR IT! It was a total game-changer for me.
“You do it because making yourself proud is one of the best feelings in the world”





Our Business Administrator Jo recently finished 10 Personal Training sessions, over the course of ten weeks. Read how it went below:
Up until 2015, I'd never stepped foot in a gym. I had an image of what it would be like and I can honestly say I was very wrong. I started very slowly, easing my way in probably 1 or 2 classes per week and I taught myself to run 5k, moving swiftly on to 10k.
In 2017 I upped my game to 3 classes per week and finally started shifting some lbs, I’d like to call this baby weight, but I know it wasn’t, it was all my own doing. Pure cardio and will power saw me lose 2 stone and 2 Reading Half Marathons under my belt.
Then along came a new PT at the Gym called Natalie, introducing a boxing class which I totally loved. We hit it off straight away and before I knew it I’d signed up for 10 PT sessions with her! I’d often cringe at the thought of doing this.
I’m in the gym every weekday morning, but I was never actually in the “gym” I was in the studio doing classes, I think I gave all of the classes a try,  I would walk right passed the weights room. Natalie changed my mind, I wanted to learn how to use those scary machines, I wanted to be strong.
I’ve had the best PT sessions, hard work, good fun, strange noises! I can feel the difference, I can see the difference - it’s been a great help in my usual classes, a reduction in body fat and change in shape. Natalie was a huge motivation. I’ve met some amazing people in the gym, life long friends and one of whom is now my boss Louisa! If I’m honest, I was a little sad to see those sessions come to an end and after my very generous husband funded those first 10 sessions I was very shocked to receive 10 more for Christmas - YAY!
So, if you are thinking of doing something different this year and have always flirted with the idea of fitness I say GO FOR IT! It was a total game-changer for me.
“You do it because making yourself proud is one of the best feelings in the world”


Read More »

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

5 ways to create a more positive work culture in your sales team





Winter brings cold dark days and low moods. A contrasting time of year for field sales professionals who enjoy being out and about in the Summer. It’s a  busy time for us with candidates who are thinking about moving on, quite often because of a toxic company team or culture. We thought we might take a look at why this is so common and what can be done about it.

It’s lonely on the road…

Remember - it’s not easy being a field sales agent.  You are often on the road, on your own, facing daily rejection and reliant on commission for your earnings.  The highs of hitting or exceeding your targets can often be followed by the lows of failing to meet them and the resulting loss of income that brings. 
All too often it is easy to find yourself in a spiral of despair – you face daily rejection which dents your confidence; you don’t have regular contact with colleagues to bounce ideas off or to commiserate with when you are feeling down, in fact, it might be all too easy to imagine your colleagues are being super successful while you are going through a downswing.  It’s easy to see how stress levels can rapidly increase, motivation takes a tumble and results fall as a result. 
With sales being the lifeblood of businesses, it is clear that once salespeople enter this state it’s bad for both them and the business. Most of us have witnessed how negativity and gossip can spread very easily throughout a firm and the dire consequences this can have.  You might want to think about taking these 5 steps to prevent it from happening at your company.

1. It starts at the top

Leadership plays a vital role here.  Managers should not be surprised by sales peaks and troughs and need to put steps into place which will actively help their teams to navigate the choppy waters of the business cycle. 
A manager has a responsibility to help create a culture that is conducive to success and is aware that failure is inevitable sometimes and how a team reacts to failure will help move them forward, rather than let them languish in their misery.  You need to be proactive, set the tone by managing your own mood and communicate positively with your team, even when you might be feeling under pressure yourself.

2. Transparency rules

It pays to be open with your staff about your expectations and trust them to deliver against targets. Share your forecasts and sales pipeline data so there are clear, realistic goals to aim for.  Make sure you have clarity in your processes and that all staff are properly trained in any systems or software they are using to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible.  Give them every opportunity to succeed and try not to pile too much pressure on the top performers to make up the difference. 


3. No blame brings gain

Keep your channels of communication totally open with your sales team.  Make it clear you want to hear about their failures as much as their successes and that it is OK to fail.  Don’t reprimand people if they fail – that will encourage people to hide things from you and may damage their confidence.
Coach your sales team to be bold - fail fast and then learn from it.  Focus on how to fix things - get them to reflect on what the failure has taught them and how to use that learning in the future.


4. Celebrate success – in all its forms

On the flip side be sure you reward and recognise good performance.  Sales people love to achieve their goals so make sure you let them know when they have done it. Celebrate the small stuff too. Publicly recognise a team member for winning an appointment with a particularly challenging prospect. Get out with your team and find an opportunity to acknowledge their information gathering techniques and selling structure. Utilise the strengths of your team members by asking them to mentor those that struggle in some areas. Let this mentor know that you highly rate them to take on this responsibility.


5. Focus on activity – and ask how you can help!

If a team or a member of staff is underperforming you might want to take a look at moving the spotlight onto their activity over the results, at least for a while – the hope being that if, for example, people simply focus on making as many calls as they can, the results will take care of themselves.  This can be controversial – in field sales, staff are accustomed to working independently and resent being over monitored. 
The success of this technique will rest on how well it is presented to staff.  If they get the feeling they are being micro-managed it may make the situation worse.  If, however it is done in a supportive way, as a way to move the attention away from the number of sales closures, for example, buy-in will be much better.

 Asking how you can help can uncover some needs you may not have deemed important and this kind of support is really valued by sales people when they are feeling “down on their luck”.
Hopefully, you’ll do all you can to keep your work culture positive and help retain your staff in the process.  A stable foundation can be a great starting point to expand your business in the future. 
If you have recruitment needs we’d be happy to help you find your next great hire!  

We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients and their work culture and pride ourselves in finding candidates who bring the right skills to the table.  If you would like to discuss your recruitment needs please give us a call 01189680831. You can also 'like' our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn









Winter brings cold dark days and low moods. A contrasting time of year for field sales professionals who enjoy being out and about in the Summer. It’s a  busy time for us with candidates who are thinking about moving on, quite often because of a toxic company team or culture. We thought we might take a look at why this is so common and what can be done about it.

It’s lonely on the road…

Remember - it’s not easy being a field sales agent.  You are often on the road, on your own, facing daily rejection and reliant on commission for your earnings.  The highs of hitting or exceeding your targets can often be followed by the lows of failing to meet them and the resulting loss of income that brings. 
All too often it is easy to find yourself in a spiral of despair – you face daily rejection which dents your confidence; you don’t have regular contact with colleagues to bounce ideas off or to commiserate with when you are feeling down, in fact, it might be all too easy to imagine your colleagues are being super successful while you are going through a downswing.  It’s easy to see how stress levels can rapidly increase, motivation takes a tumble and results fall as a result. 
With sales being the lifeblood of businesses, it is clear that once salespeople enter this state it’s bad for both them and the business. Most of us have witnessed how negativity and gossip can spread very easily throughout a firm and the dire consequences this can have.  You might want to think about taking these 5 steps to prevent it from happening at your company.

1. It starts at the top

Leadership plays a vital role here.  Managers should not be surprised by sales peaks and troughs and need to put steps into place which will actively help their teams to navigate the choppy waters of the business cycle. 
A manager has a responsibility to help create a culture that is conducive to success and is aware that failure is inevitable sometimes and how a team reacts to failure will help move them forward, rather than let them languish in their misery.  You need to be proactive, set the tone by managing your own mood and communicate positively with your team, even when you might be feeling under pressure yourself.

2. Transparency rules

It pays to be open with your staff about your expectations and trust them to deliver against targets. Share your forecasts and sales pipeline data so there are clear, realistic goals to aim for.  Make sure you have clarity in your processes and that all staff are properly trained in any systems or software they are using to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible.  Give them every opportunity to succeed and try not to pile too much pressure on the top performers to make up the difference. 


3. No blame brings gain

Keep your channels of communication totally open with your sales team.  Make it clear you want to hear about their failures as much as their successes and that it is OK to fail.  Don’t reprimand people if they fail – that will encourage people to hide things from you and may damage their confidence.
Coach your sales team to be bold - fail fast and then learn from it.  Focus on how to fix things - get them to reflect on what the failure has taught them and how to use that learning in the future.


4. Celebrate success – in all its forms

On the flip side be sure you reward and recognise good performance.  Sales people love to achieve their goals so make sure you let them know when they have done it. Celebrate the small stuff too. Publicly recognise a team member for winning an appointment with a particularly challenging prospect. Get out with your team and find an opportunity to acknowledge their information gathering techniques and selling structure. Utilise the strengths of your team members by asking them to mentor those that struggle in some areas. Let this mentor know that you highly rate them to take on this responsibility.


5. Focus on activity – and ask how you can help!

If a team or a member of staff is underperforming you might want to take a look at moving the spotlight onto their activity over the results, at least for a while – the hope being that if, for example, people simply focus on making as many calls as they can, the results will take care of themselves.  This can be controversial – in field sales, staff are accustomed to working independently and resent being over monitored. 
The success of this technique will rest on how well it is presented to staff.  If they get the feeling they are being micro-managed it may make the situation worse.  If, however it is done in a supportive way, as a way to move the attention away from the number of sales closures, for example, buy-in will be much better.

 Asking how you can help can uncover some needs you may not have deemed important and this kind of support is really valued by sales people when they are feeling “down on their luck”.
Hopefully, you’ll do all you can to keep your work culture positive and help retain your staff in the process.  A stable foundation can be a great starting point to expand your business in the future. 
If you have recruitment needs we’d be happy to help you find your next great hire!  

We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients and their work culture and pride ourselves in finding candidates who bring the right skills to the table.  If you would like to discuss your recruitment needs please give us a call 01189680831. You can also 'like' our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn





Read More »

Sunday, 3 November 2019

6 Tell-tale signs of a top recruiter



How do you know a good recruiter from a bad one?

How can you ensure that you are working with the best and someone who is guaranteed to get you a great opportunity? When you are looking to change roles, it can be really tempting to simply hit send and send your CV to all the specialist recruiters in your area and sit back and wait for them to get in touch.

However, I would advise you to spend some time looking for the right recruiter who you can trust and develop a long term rapport with.

And I would certainly fire anyone who doesn’t do any of the following.


1. Ask permission to send your CV


It is a sad but true fact that some recruiters don’t seek your permission before sending your CV to prospective clients. Some will send it to a business they don’t have a relationship with, gauge their interest first and then come back to you. This just means it can become complicated if the recruiter they have a partnership with later tries to introduce you.

We once heard of a recruiter who used a candidate’s CV for a mailing to local companies, only for it to end up in the hands of the candidate's current boss

Don’t work with people who use your CV as a marketing tool without having the decency to tell you what they are doing.  Trust is the keystone in a relationship between recruiter and jobseeker.

We give you CLARITY on the sales or management role you are applying for, the selection criteria, the interview process with associated timescales and an indication of your suitability.

We will give you feedback on how your sales or management skills experience and personal attributes are coming across in an interview situation to help you prepare for the first client we introduce you to.  You can absolutely trust us that all our liaisons are in total confidence and treated with the utmost DISCRETION.

2. Take time to explore your motivation and needs 


Your job history is only a small part of the recruitment process.  Recruiters should be looking for long term roles for you, opportunities that meet your short and long term expectations.  Anyone who doesn’t show an interest in what you are looking for longer term and what motivates you is simply looking for a quick fix and could leave you in a position where you are job hunting again in a few months.

3. Calls when they say they will


Remember being a teenager waiting for that special someone to give you a call.  In later life that can become the relationship between recruiter and candidate.  Like your mum would have told you, if they don’t call you back or call when they say they will – then it is time to give them a wave goodbye.  Everyone deserves decent communication.

Ethics are a key part of my recruitment company and when I set it up I knew an open relationship with strong communication is critical. That's why I wrote a Candidate Promise to include this…

We promise to deliver effective COMMUNICATION with you when we say we will. Once shortlisted you can expect open dialogue with calls made to you precisely when promised.

We offer as much INFORMATION as possible as to what you can expect at each stage of the interview process allowing you the very best chance of being successful in your chosen sales or management position.

4. Always passes on feedback


Sadly most job seekers have experienced a situation where they have been for an interview, called the recruiter with their feedback and then never heard a dicky bird back.

There is no excuse for this.

It is simply unprofessional!

If you don’t get feedback you can’t learn from the experience.  Don’t work with any recruiter who isn’t prepared to tell you honestly why you didn’t get to the next stage.

In our candidate promise, we say…

We appreciate the need for CLOSURE of an application. If it isn't successful we will tell you what went wrong and why. We offer as much constructive feedback as we can to give you CONFIDENCE for future interviews.

5. Explains the referencing procedure and gets your permission


We only check references once you've given your notice and accepted a job and most importantly we have your permission to get them. There are many agencies who use reference checking as a lead source - I've heard stories of recruiters that have called to get a reference only to find the referee wasn't aware they were leaving!  You can trust us that this won't happen with us!

6. Knows the job and company they are offering you


A good recruiter can tell you things about the job and company that you can't find out on the job description. We make sure we find out what it is like to work at a company, what the team and managers are like, what are the best bits about working for the company, what are the challenges?

The best recruiters know their stuff and have built up a good relationship with their client - next time you speak to a recruiter - try asking them if they have placed candidates with this company before?

Choosing a recruiter.


When you are looking to choose a new recruiter you can use the following options…

Referrals

A fantastic way to source new recruiters to work with. Get out and talk to people in your marketplace and identify who has worked well for them. In addition you can get online and use LinkedIn to find out who your contacts hold in high esteem and introduce yourself to good recruiters that way. What do candidates say about us? You can find out here

Industry Press

It sounds old fashioned, but trade press still has good contacts.   Look at the niche publications in your sector and see who is recruiting in your field and get in touch with a specialist.

How to get in touch

Obviously you would expect to send a CV, however, in sales, I am always pleased when a prospective candidate picks up the phone and introduces themselves first.

If you call, you can try and establish the type of recruiter they are and ensure they are the type of recruiter highlighted above.  Plus you can get an idea on the types of businesses they partner with, and clarify their understanding of the market you work within.

Sourcing the right recruiter can take time. But once you have got it right, you have probably got a recruiter for life. You need to ensure you have absolute trust in them and they understand your aspirations and needs. They need to talk to you, give feedback and keep you in the picture at every stage of the process.

Start as you mean to go on, find a recruiter who is ethical, right for you and gives you the time needed to understand what you are looking for in your next role. If you do get it wrong, ensure you channel your inner Alan Sugar quickly, fire them, and move on.

We make some bold claims about how we deal with our candidates, have a look at our Candidate Promise here.

For advice and direction on getting your next sales job, please get in touch with Louisa by emailing sales@louisafleet.co.uk or calling on 01189 680831


You can also 'like' our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn





How do you know a good recruiter from a bad one?

How can you ensure that you are working with the best and someone who is guaranteed to get you a great opportunity? When you are looking to change roles, it can be really tempting to simply hit send and send your CV to all the specialist recruiters in your area and sit back and wait for them to get in touch.

However, I would advise you to spend some time looking for the right recruiter who you can trust and develop a long term rapport with.

And I would certainly fire anyone who doesn’t do any of the following.


1. Ask permission to send your CV


It is a sad but true fact that some recruiters don’t seek your permission before sending your CV to prospective clients. Some will send it to a business they don’t have a relationship with, gauge their interest first and then come back to you. This just means it can become complicated if the recruiter they have a partnership with later tries to introduce you.

We once heard of a recruiter who used a candidate’s CV for a mailing to local companies, only for it to end up in the hands of the candidate's current boss

Don’t work with people who use your CV as a marketing tool without having the decency to tell you what they are doing.  Trust is the keystone in a relationship between recruiter and jobseeker.

We give you CLARITY on the sales or management role you are applying for, the selection criteria, the interview process with associated timescales and an indication of your suitability.

We will give you feedback on how your sales or management skills experience and personal attributes are coming across in an interview situation to help you prepare for the first client we introduce you to.  You can absolutely trust us that all our liaisons are in total confidence and treated with the utmost DISCRETION.

2. Take time to explore your motivation and needs 


Your job history is only a small part of the recruitment process.  Recruiters should be looking for long term roles for you, opportunities that meet your short and long term expectations.  Anyone who doesn’t show an interest in what you are looking for longer term and what motivates you is simply looking for a quick fix and could leave you in a position where you are job hunting again in a few months.

3. Calls when they say they will


Remember being a teenager waiting for that special someone to give you a call.  In later life that can become the relationship between recruiter and candidate.  Like your mum would have told you, if they don’t call you back or call when they say they will – then it is time to give them a wave goodbye.  Everyone deserves decent communication.

Ethics are a key part of my recruitment company and when I set it up I knew an open relationship with strong communication is critical. That's why I wrote a Candidate Promise to include this…

We promise to deliver effective COMMUNICATION with you when we say we will. Once shortlisted you can expect open dialogue with calls made to you precisely when promised.

We offer as much INFORMATION as possible as to what you can expect at each stage of the interview process allowing you the very best chance of being successful in your chosen sales or management position.

4. Always passes on feedback


Sadly most job seekers have experienced a situation where they have been for an interview, called the recruiter with their feedback and then never heard a dicky bird back.

There is no excuse for this.

It is simply unprofessional!

If you don’t get feedback you can’t learn from the experience.  Don’t work with any recruiter who isn’t prepared to tell you honestly why you didn’t get to the next stage.

In our candidate promise, we say…

We appreciate the need for CLOSURE of an application. If it isn't successful we will tell you what went wrong and why. We offer as much constructive feedback as we can to give you CONFIDENCE for future interviews.

5. Explains the referencing procedure and gets your permission


We only check references once you've given your notice and accepted a job and most importantly we have your permission to get them. There are many agencies who use reference checking as a lead source - I've heard stories of recruiters that have called to get a reference only to find the referee wasn't aware they were leaving!  You can trust us that this won't happen with us!

6. Knows the job and company they are offering you


A good recruiter can tell you things about the job and company that you can't find out on the job description. We make sure we find out what it is like to work at a company, what the team and managers are like, what are the best bits about working for the company, what are the challenges?

The best recruiters know their stuff and have built up a good relationship with their client - next time you speak to a recruiter - try asking them if they have placed candidates with this company before?

Choosing a recruiter.


When you are looking to choose a new recruiter you can use the following options…

Referrals

A fantastic way to source new recruiters to work with. Get out and talk to people in your marketplace and identify who has worked well for them. In addition you can get online and use LinkedIn to find out who your contacts hold in high esteem and introduce yourself to good recruiters that way. What do candidates say about us? You can find out here

Industry Press

It sounds old fashioned, but trade press still has good contacts.   Look at the niche publications in your sector and see who is recruiting in your field and get in touch with a specialist.

How to get in touch

Obviously you would expect to send a CV, however, in sales, I am always pleased when a prospective candidate picks up the phone and introduces themselves first.

If you call, you can try and establish the type of recruiter they are and ensure they are the type of recruiter highlighted above.  Plus you can get an idea on the types of businesses they partner with, and clarify their understanding of the market you work within.

Sourcing the right recruiter can take time. But once you have got it right, you have probably got a recruiter for life. You need to ensure you have absolute trust in them and they understand your aspirations and needs. They need to talk to you, give feedback and keep you in the picture at every stage of the process.

Start as you mean to go on, find a recruiter who is ethical, right for you and gives you the time needed to understand what you are looking for in your next role. If you do get it wrong, ensure you channel your inner Alan Sugar quickly, fire them, and move on.

We make some bold claims about how we deal with our candidates, have a look at our Candidate Promise here.

For advice and direction on getting your next sales job, please get in touch with Louisa by emailing sales@louisafleet.co.uk or calling on 01189 680831


You can also 'like' our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn



Read More »

Friday, 1 November 2019

Video Interviews Are Not A Popular Choice – But Should They Be?







Since the advent of YouTube, smartphones and laptop cameras the use of video in everyday life has exploded. It’s now common for people to face-time their relatives overseas and live-stream their events on Facebook. Video has also become a useful recruitment tool for many companies, but some say they don’t work and some people even say they won’t apply to a role if it’s a video process. This blog gives you 7 things to consider to help you decide for yourself.

1. Pre-recorded interviews – Are NOT popular!

Video interviews can make a lot of sense if you need to screen large numbers of applicants, but non-synchronous interviews are not popular with our clients or candidates! These types of interviews are where candidates record their answers to pre-set questions. Our clients don’t tend to use this much because the consistency of this method is also one of its limitations – hiring managers or interviewees cannot ask for clarification and further detail and the whole thing can come across as robotic, pre rehearsed and not necessarily very efficient in assessing if the role is a good match for both parties.


2. Convenient and time saving - but beware of GDPR

Video interviews can reduce costs related to travel, reduce scheduling conflicts and also save time on the hiring cycle. Some candidates have expressed concerns about their privacy when sending their contributions through, so organisations need to be clear about how the interviews will be used and stored to ensure their video interviews are compliant with the GDPR. This principally involves getting consent from candidates prior to recording and ensuring you delete information within a specified time frame and failure to comply with these rules can result in fines. Be sure to get legal advice to make sure you are compliant.


3. Two- Way live video interviews are a great option 

A two-way conversation via Skype or other software can be close to replicating the real thing. This method can save same-time and money by limiting travel costs but scheduling needs to be more coordinated as both parties need to be available at the same time.  The potential to interview outside of normal working hours can be helpful. This can be really important when recruiting for sales candidates who are often working in different parts of the country and for any job seeker that has run out of holiday days!
This style of interview is great to use with smaller numbers of candidates as it is possible to ask important follow-up questions and delve a little deeper into the candidates’ experience.  They also allow the interviewer to share their thoughts, answer candidate questions and help sell the position and company as well. 

4. 1st impressions still count! 

The interviewer is on show as much as the interviewee and their presentation of the company will be important. If the interviewer is not comfortable in their role it will not help represent the company appropriately - so best to not use it without getting some practice under your belt first. And make sure the interview room looks professional and clutter free. We are happy to help our clients gain confidence in video interviews should they need any support.


5. Have a back- up plan as technology is prone to fail!

Both parties need to have good broadband connections - this may be a problem for some rural based businesses or candidates. Delays in transmission can lead to really awkward exchanges where neither party shows themselves in the best light. Ensure you test the system you intend to use several times to understand any glitches that might occur and how you might get rid of them.  It is also worth remembering that not every candidate may have access to their own laptop with a good webcam and smartphones do not make good interview video tools. We suggest a device that can give as “like for like” experience as possible. A head and shoulder view of both parties sat at a desk is best, let your interviewees know this in advance.


6. Offer a choice of options – video interviews don’t work for everyone

It should be said that video interviews don’t work for everyone and in some cases, candidates may be put off applying based on this process. You may choose to use this to your advantage.  If video conferencing forms a regular part of the way your sales team communicate with customers or the team at head office, it will be advantageous if applicants who will not face a video interview drop out.  This will ensure that you are only interviewing people who are confident of selling themselves in an environment that is important for the business, yet may be out of their comfort zone.


7. Strike whilst the iron is hot!

In our opinion, the traditional face to face meeting is always preferred and most effective, but it is important to be able to react to the market. Good candidates have busy schedules and you may lose that ideal person if you can’t offer a choice of interview methods and diary dates. An interview day can require 2 weeks’ notice for some and can result in several last-minute cancellations from candidates that have been snapped up elsewhere during this time. Whatever interview style you choose, make it happen fast! A swift 1st interview (or call it a 2-way conversation) will allow you to bring the job and company to life and you are far more likely to keep this person “warm” and committed to the rest of your process.

We are aware that each company will have its unique recruitment requirements.  If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact us. We’ll be happy to advise you on the best approach to take to interview the candidates you need.

Our team would love to hear from you!
Phone: 01189 680831
Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk







Since the advent of YouTube, smartphones and laptop cameras the use of video in everyday life has exploded. It’s now common for people to face-time their relatives overseas and live-stream their events on Facebook. Video has also become a useful recruitment tool for many companies, but some say they don’t work and some people even say they won’t apply to a role if it’s a video process. This blog gives you 7 things to consider to help you decide for yourself.

1. Pre-recorded interviews – Are NOT popular!

Video interviews can make a lot of sense if you need to screen large numbers of applicants, but non-synchronous interviews are not popular with our clients or candidates! These types of interviews are where candidates record their answers to pre-set questions. Our clients don’t tend to use this much because the consistency of this method is also one of its limitations – hiring managers or interviewees cannot ask for clarification and further detail and the whole thing can come across as robotic, pre rehearsed and not necessarily very efficient in assessing if the role is a good match for both parties.


2. Convenient and time saving - but beware of GDPR

Video interviews can reduce costs related to travel, reduce scheduling conflicts and also save time on the hiring cycle. Some candidates have expressed concerns about their privacy when sending their contributions through, so organisations need to be clear about how the interviews will be used and stored to ensure their video interviews are compliant with the GDPR. This principally involves getting consent from candidates prior to recording and ensuring you delete information within a specified time frame and failure to comply with these rules can result in fines. Be sure to get legal advice to make sure you are compliant.


3. Two- Way live video interviews are a great option 

A two-way conversation via Skype or other software can be close to replicating the real thing. This method can save same-time and money by limiting travel costs but scheduling needs to be more coordinated as both parties need to be available at the same time.  The potential to interview outside of normal working hours can be helpful. This can be really important when recruiting for sales candidates who are often working in different parts of the country and for any job seeker that has run out of holiday days!
This style of interview is great to use with smaller numbers of candidates as it is possible to ask important follow-up questions and delve a little deeper into the candidates’ experience.  They also allow the interviewer to share their thoughts, answer candidate questions and help sell the position and company as well. 

4. 1st impressions still count! 

The interviewer is on show as much as the interviewee and their presentation of the company will be important. If the interviewer is not comfortable in their role it will not help represent the company appropriately - so best to not use it without getting some practice under your belt first. And make sure the interview room looks professional and clutter free. We are happy to help our clients gain confidence in video interviews should they need any support.


5. Have a back- up plan as technology is prone to fail!

Both parties need to have good broadband connections - this may be a problem for some rural based businesses or candidates. Delays in transmission can lead to really awkward exchanges where neither party shows themselves in the best light. Ensure you test the system you intend to use several times to understand any glitches that might occur and how you might get rid of them.  It is also worth remembering that not every candidate may have access to their own laptop with a good webcam and smartphones do not make good interview video tools. We suggest a device that can give as “like for like” experience as possible. A head and shoulder view of both parties sat at a desk is best, let your interviewees know this in advance.


6. Offer a choice of options – video interviews don’t work for everyone

It should be said that video interviews don’t work for everyone and in some cases, candidates may be put off applying based on this process. You may choose to use this to your advantage.  If video conferencing forms a regular part of the way your sales team communicate with customers or the team at head office, it will be advantageous if applicants who will not face a video interview drop out.  This will ensure that you are only interviewing people who are confident of selling themselves in an environment that is important for the business, yet may be out of their comfort zone.


7. Strike whilst the iron is hot!

In our opinion, the traditional face to face meeting is always preferred and most effective, but it is important to be able to react to the market. Good candidates have busy schedules and you may lose that ideal person if you can’t offer a choice of interview methods and diary dates. An interview day can require 2 weeks’ notice for some and can result in several last-minute cancellations from candidates that have been snapped up elsewhere during this time. Whatever interview style you choose, make it happen fast! A swift 1st interview (or call it a 2-way conversation) will allow you to bring the job and company to life and you are far more likely to keep this person “warm” and committed to the rest of your process.

We are aware that each company will have its unique recruitment requirements.  If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact us. We’ll be happy to advise you on the best approach to take to interview the candidates you need.

Our team would love to hear from you!
Phone: 01189 680831
Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk

Read More »

Monday, 14 October 2019

Soft Skills And How To Recruit For Them




57% of hiring managers struggle to assess soft skills accurately and only 41% of companies have a formal process to assess soft skills. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report.  So what are soft skills and how do you recruit for them?

Well, they are largely the skills that are involved with our ability to interact with others, our interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy.  They are also largely transferable skills that are not specific to a particular role or industry.  That said they are especially important in a sales role as the ability to understand clients and their needs is a vital skill that will enable you to maintain relationships and see opportunities for new business wins and account growth as they arise.

Here are our 6 steps to help you recruit for soft skills in your business.


1. Get a current job holder involved

It might sound obvious but the first step involves articulating clearly what skills you are looking for. Soft skills are often neglected by managers and often come under very generic headings like "polished" which may be open to interpretations. Stretch your vocabulary and get specific in what you are looking for – use the person currently employed in the role to help, they will have an understanding from the coal face that you might miss. Here are some words to get you started: negotiation, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, communication, rapport building, active listening, influencing, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, presentation skills, troubleshooting.

2. Bring the soft skills to life in your advert

The next step involves making sure you highlight these skills in your job description and advert. It’s all too easy to go into lots of detail about your fantastic products and clients and yet forget to paint a full picture of the person you hope will succeed in the role. If the candidate can relate to your ad and imagine themselves using their skills to their full potential they stand a good chance of applying. By making your company sound like a place that values their human qualities, not just technical expertise you improve your chances of attracting talent. As experienced recruiters, we can help you refine your job description and we write engaging adverts that will help bring more candidates that want to work for your company.

3. Don't underestimate the value in a "wild card"!

Another tip is to not get too fixed an idea about the background of your ideal candidate. Recruiting from different industries and using a variety of candidate sources will help you find the candidates with the skills you require. Soft skills are eminently transferable so you might find your dream candidate in an unexpected place. Recruiters can play an important role here. Recently we asked a client to reverse their decision not to interview a candidate we had recommended and this person ended up getting the job. We had carefully evaluated his abilities and we felt that this person, despite being from an unrelated background had the soft skills our client really wanted. Our client thanked us for doing this! We often throw in a "wild card" based on our knowledge of the soft skills required and it's amazing how often they are successful.

3. Ask for a covering letter to help you screen

It might sound old fashioned but some companies like to get candidates to write a cover letter or personal statement describing how they fit the job description. As well as giving you an insight into their written skills you can also judge how persuasive they may be and if they can creatively use their existing skills in a new context. This helps us get an idea of how they see the job you are advertising and whether they really have insight into what’s required. It also differentiates the applicants that are playing a numbers game and those that have a genuine interest in your role. Online tools and assessments can also help to give some guidance on soft skills. The LinkedIn report above mentioned Koru and Pymetrics, we’re also fans of Thomas Profiling. We are happy to advise you on psychometric or other tests that might be useful for your particular vacancy. Perhaps the key opportunity to assess soft skills arises at the interview.  Remember that every interview will allow you to judge some soft skills inherently – if they turn up on time it is one tick in the box for dependable, do they look you in the eye and engage with the interview questions appropriately? Do they sound confident when talking about their achievements?

4. Plan questions which uncover past experiences

Be sure to structure your interview to uncover what you want. A competency based interview with the questions standardised across all candidates will give you a baseline with which to make your judgements. Spend time creating the questions that will allow candidates to demonstrate their soft skills by using behavioural questions – focusing on their past experiences such as ‘Can you tell us about a time when you had to change someone’s mind?’  Bear in mind it is easy for someone to fabricate "what they would do" so a question that starts with this may not give you evidence of actual skills you are looking for. This is nearly impossible when asking for specific examples of what has happened in the past. 

5. Don't let your unconscious bias lead you astray!

As ever when interviewing you need to be constantly aware of your own unconscious bias. When assessing soft skills it is all too easy to be swayed by familiarity – you instinctively relate to individuals who are like yourself and may not notice that your perceptions of things like confidence may be coloured by your perceptions of someone’s accent etc. Think carefully about the evidence you gather in the interview that will support the display of the soft skills you are looking for and check your perceptions with those of others in the interviewing panel – who will hopefully be a diverse group of individuals. 
Another technique that can help you assess soft skills is to take references from colleagues as well as managers. This can give an added dimension to a candidate’s soft skills such as collaboration and persuasion. 
You might also think about giving some form of test before the interview, for instance, an in-tray exercise can demonstrate their skills in prioritisation; having them give a short presentation can show how they act under pressure, demonstrate their thinking skills and confidence.

6. Offer a work trial or taster day to the candidate you intend to offer

A more resource intensive method you may also think about is perhaps incorporating some kind of work trial or taster session. Field accompaniments or work shadow days are a great way to show a potential hire “a day in the life” of the job they are going for and most importantly a chance to ask a current job holder questions they might not get the chance to ask in an interview.

As experienced recruiters, we take the time to get to know our clients and candidates. We put forward individuals who make a great cultural and personal fit for your company.

This is why typically for every 3 interviews we schedule, one results in a job offer.

Do you need help with your sales recruitment? Our team would love to hear from you!
Phone: 01189 680831
Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk

If you enjoyed this blog you may find our others interesting too 
http://blog.louisafleet.co.uk/




57% of hiring managers struggle to assess soft skills accurately and only 41% of companies have a formal process to assess soft skills. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report.  So what are soft skills and how do you recruit for them?

Well, they are largely the skills that are involved with our ability to interact with others, our interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy.  They are also largely transferable skills that are not specific to a particular role or industry.  That said they are especially important in a sales role as the ability to understand clients and their needs is a vital skill that will enable you to maintain relationships and see opportunities for new business wins and account growth as they arise.

Here are our 6 steps to help you recruit for soft skills in your business.


1. Get a current job holder involved

It might sound obvious but the first step involves articulating clearly what skills you are looking for. Soft skills are often neglected by managers and often come under very generic headings like "polished" which may be open to interpretations. Stretch your vocabulary and get specific in what you are looking for – use the person currently employed in the role to help, they will have an understanding from the coal face that you might miss. Here are some words to get you started: negotiation, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, communication, rapport building, active listening, influencing, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, presentation skills, troubleshooting.

2. Bring the soft skills to life in your advert

The next step involves making sure you highlight these skills in your job description and advert. It’s all too easy to go into lots of detail about your fantastic products and clients and yet forget to paint a full picture of the person you hope will succeed in the role. If the candidate can relate to your ad and imagine themselves using their skills to their full potential they stand a good chance of applying. By making your company sound like a place that values their human qualities, not just technical expertise you improve your chances of attracting talent. As experienced recruiters, we can help you refine your job description and we write engaging adverts that will help bring more candidates that want to work for your company.

3. Don't underestimate the value in a "wild card"!

Another tip is to not get too fixed an idea about the background of your ideal candidate. Recruiting from different industries and using a variety of candidate sources will help you find the candidates with the skills you require. Soft skills are eminently transferable so you might find your dream candidate in an unexpected place. Recruiters can play an important role here. Recently we asked a client to reverse their decision not to interview a candidate we had recommended and this person ended up getting the job. We had carefully evaluated his abilities and we felt that this person, despite being from an unrelated background had the soft skills our client really wanted. Our client thanked us for doing this! We often throw in a "wild card" based on our knowledge of the soft skills required and it's amazing how often they are successful.

3. Ask for a covering letter to help you screen

It might sound old fashioned but some companies like to get candidates to write a cover letter or personal statement describing how they fit the job description. As well as giving you an insight into their written skills you can also judge how persuasive they may be and if they can creatively use their existing skills in a new context. This helps us get an idea of how they see the job you are advertising and whether they really have insight into what’s required. It also differentiates the applicants that are playing a numbers game and those that have a genuine interest in your role. Online tools and assessments can also help to give some guidance on soft skills. The LinkedIn report above mentioned Koru and Pymetrics, we’re also fans of Thomas Profiling. We are happy to advise you on psychometric or other tests that might be useful for your particular vacancy. Perhaps the key opportunity to assess soft skills arises at the interview.  Remember that every interview will allow you to judge some soft skills inherently – if they turn up on time it is one tick in the box for dependable, do they look you in the eye and engage with the interview questions appropriately? Do they sound confident when talking about their achievements?

4. Plan questions which uncover past experiences

Be sure to structure your interview to uncover what you want. A competency based interview with the questions standardised across all candidates will give you a baseline with which to make your judgements. Spend time creating the questions that will allow candidates to demonstrate their soft skills by using behavioural questions – focusing on their past experiences such as ‘Can you tell us about a time when you had to change someone’s mind?’  Bear in mind it is easy for someone to fabricate "what they would do" so a question that starts with this may not give you evidence of actual skills you are looking for. This is nearly impossible when asking for specific examples of what has happened in the past. 

5. Don't let your unconscious bias lead you astray!

As ever when interviewing you need to be constantly aware of your own unconscious bias. When assessing soft skills it is all too easy to be swayed by familiarity – you instinctively relate to individuals who are like yourself and may not notice that your perceptions of things like confidence may be coloured by your perceptions of someone’s accent etc. Think carefully about the evidence you gather in the interview that will support the display of the soft skills you are looking for and check your perceptions with those of others in the interviewing panel – who will hopefully be a diverse group of individuals. 
Another technique that can help you assess soft skills is to take references from colleagues as well as managers. This can give an added dimension to a candidate’s soft skills such as collaboration and persuasion. 
You might also think about giving some form of test before the interview, for instance, an in-tray exercise can demonstrate their skills in prioritisation; having them give a short presentation can show how they act under pressure, demonstrate their thinking skills and confidence.

6. Offer a work trial or taster day to the candidate you intend to offer

A more resource intensive method you may also think about is perhaps incorporating some kind of work trial or taster session. Field accompaniments or work shadow days are a great way to show a potential hire “a day in the life” of the job they are going for and most importantly a chance to ask a current job holder questions they might not get the chance to ask in an interview.

As experienced recruiters, we take the time to get to know our clients and candidates. We put forward individuals who make a great cultural and personal fit for your company.

This is why typically for every 3 interviews we schedule, one results in a job offer.

Do you need help with your sales recruitment? Our team would love to hear from you!
Phone: 01189 680831
Email: info@louisafleet.co.uk

If you enjoyed this blog you may find our others interesting too 
http://blog.louisafleet.co.uk/

Read More »