Have you tried recruiting salespeople lately?
It's a lot like it was in 2019, pre-pandemic, only different.
From time to time, I help clients recruit for key roles. Unlike recruiters, I don't work on a contingency because I take responsibility for the entire recruiting process from soup to nuts and then the client makes the decisions on who to hire. They pay a fee for services. I specify the requirements, write the job postings, attract and source candidates, take the initial application, get them through Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive candidate assessments, review resumes, conduct the first interview and then recommend candidates who are perfect fits for the roles.
With that for context, consider these two contradicting projects. I am helping one company find a single needle-in-a-haystack sales leadership candidate and it has taken nearly six months. I am helping another company find 3 sales leaders and received 3,765 applications. What's the difference?
For the answer to be meaningful, we have to look at the entire job market, not just sales candidates.
According to this Reuters article, while the number of new US jobs ticked upwards in October, the US labor force has four million fewer workers than in 2019. That could explain both the shortage of candidates and the skewed unemployment numbers. [Update - US jobs report from November shows sharp decline in new jobs created.]
Yet, according to this article in TheBalance, there are still 7.4 million workers in the US who are unemployed. 7.4 unemployed plus 4 million fewer workers means that 11.4 million workers are at home despite there being reports of 10 million available jobs!
And according to this post from Statistica.com, the unemployment rate in the US has dropped by only 2.3% in the past 12 months.
The Wall St. Journal said that nearly 20 million US workers resigned during the spring and summer of 2021.
At the same time, this post from Statistica.com shows that there are nearly 2 million MORE workers in the US than in 2019!
And finally, this article from Verizon.com says that there are more than 91 million people in the US who are not working.
So if we combine all of these data points and place them in the context of hiring salespeople, we can draw some interesting conclusions:
The candidates may or may not be currently working. They may have temporarily retired, be working but ready to leave for a better offer, or not looking to leave at all.
They are out there, but they are being flaky. 29% of the candidates who applied for the jobs I posted did not respond to calls, texts or emails, and 31% of the group that did respond would not take the time to complete online applications and assessments.
I looked at the variables for the two companies I was helping. I was able to eliminate a lot of them because I was running both campaigns, used the same job sites, used similar job postings, engaged the same way, made the same two asks up front, and conducted similar video interviews. The only two variables that were different were location and compensation.
There was MUCH more interest in the opportunity where remote or an hour from a major airport were the criteria, as compared to the requirements of a specific locale and in-office presence.
Base salaries were NOT factors but there was MUCH more interest when total compensation exceeded $200,000-$300,000 as compared with total compensation that would reach $100,000-$200,000.
So sales, sales management and sales leadership candidates are fickle right now, will apply if the total compensation is a no-brainer, and if they don't have to commute to an office. Otherwise, they'll stay where they are or stay home.
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