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Talent & Recruitment
Dec 12, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent podcast we'll discuss the importance of developing an employer brand and attracting the best salespeople.  

We’ll consider what an employer brand is and why it matters, what candidates look for in an employer beyond monetary rewards, how important it is to hire salespeople who connect with the employer brand, and when it’s the right time to outsource recruitment efforts to find the best sales candidates.

Our guest is Paul Dodd, Head of Canadian Engagement at WilsonHCG, a global RPO and talent acquisition solutions partner that will work with your business to deliver comprehensive solutions.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast and discover:

* What an employer brand is and why it matters.

* What candidates look for in an employer beyond monetary rewards.

* How important is it to hire salespeople who connect with the employer brand?

* When it’s the right time to outsource recruitment efforts to find the best sales candidates.

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* Top tips for developing an attractive employer brand.

* How important is it to hire salespeople who connect with the employer brand?

* When is it right to outsource recruitment efforts to find the best sales candidates?

Read the edited transcription:

Kevin: Paul, thank you so much for being on this CBSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast. Before we dive into the rest of the show, why don't you tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you do today.

Paul: You know what, Kevin, thank you so much. My name is Paul Dodd, and I work for Wilson HCG in the Canadian office. Given the explosion of growth through the experience in the past few years, my job title tends to be a little liquid, but more commonly, I'm referred to as the CXO, the Canadian Experience Officer. I specifically ensure that our prospects and customers are firstly drawn towards our business offering and services. The second thing that they have positive interactions with us as a brand and also across the spectrum of solutions that they purchase.

Kevin: Now, Wilson ACG every year does an employment branding report, and you guys have put a lot of focus on the work you do with your customers on that.

Paul: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Indeed, yeah.

Kevin: The entire life cycle of recruiting, for that matter. From your perspective, then, today what is employer brand and why does it really matter more than ever?

Paul: Yeah, and you know what, Kevin, thanks for that. While it's a simple question, the answer is a lot more complex than most people give it credit for. You know, there's a couple of things. Your employer brand is what your organizations say about your culture and, ultimately, your representation as an employer. It's a huge magnetic force today behind why your employees remain engaged and continue to contribute that workforce gold, the discretionary effort. It's very powerful, it's a living thing, it has impact...and as importantly, the signature, Kevin, is massive. Having a succinctly articulated employment brand elevates your business to reach and gauge and be relevant to break talent faster. Kevin, in the digital economy, speed to market is so important, but I digress. You know, a great employment brand is essentially a signature for the company's vision and values, it punctuates why your business is best in the both direct and indirect competition, and amplifies the experience. It's something you and I are both very passionate about, and deepens and keeps our great employees engaged.

Kevin: Because we are both very passionate about candidate experience and the impact on the business, today...and I'm sure you see this with your customers and we see it with the employers globally that participate in our research program every year...those who have the highest positive candidate ratings every year are investing more at the front end and beyond than the later stages of the recruitment process, when as it relates to the overall candidate experience so that before they even apply is a critical time and a differentiator for many employers today.

Paul: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Absolutely.

Kevin: So beyond monetary awards, which of course is always important...and even in our talent board research, every year, the candidates, you know, from a job content perspective, they want to know about the job, how much they get paid, and what the benefits are. That's all.

Paul: Yeah.

Kevin: But what else do they look for in an employer today with the work that you do?

Paul: You know what, this actually isn't a complex answer, but candidates and employees are looking for an employer whose vision and values align with their personal needs and aspirations. It's really, really simple. Compensation and monetary awards, you know, have always been a big conversation, and it always drills down to some, you know, how much you got paid or how much are they going to give you for your overarching package, you know, total rewards and everything, but today's's company has to offer contracts a bit different, and something that's going to relate to, you know, how inspiring is the leadership? How comprehensive is the tapestry of the values around the business? Do people walk and talk? What they said is important and, you know, people are starting to wrap an awful lot of focus around that extra bit of effort, that extra bit of fit that, you know, we've elusively talked about, you know, a decade or so ago...but it's right at the front right now and fit is really important. Of course, there are always factors such as flexible work environment, paid volunteer time, remote working, but it always comes down to candidates wanting to be inspired and align their personal career goals with a relevant company. It's really interesting times, Kevin. I'm very excited, I must say.

Kevin: Me as well, Paul, absolutely, and speaking of connecting with the employer brand, it goes without saying that the most productive...from a growth and perspective overall from the business...employees that have connection with the culture, with the brand, that whole package, it's really important for companies big and small, but especially for the enterprise when there are so many different factors that are hitting the business all the time, but that said, why is it even more important for the sales people you hire to connect with the employer brand?

Paul: Yeah, you know, and it's something that I've been very conscious of in the last twenty years but, you know, your sales team and, without exception your recruiters as well...because I often see them as an extension of the sales a very significant outward facing function for the organization. The plethora of communication skills, physical or mental, significantly impact prospects and customers and the ability...we've always referred to it to make sales. So, you know, when the sales person is engaged, they're going to communicate that in some shape or form across your prospects and your customers. The sales person's always intertwined emotionally with the business and service, and if they're aligned and the employee value proposition employment brand, that will positively impact our customers.

Kevin: We want our employees, or as many as possible, to be "Brand Ambassadors" for the organization, and how and why should a company really leverage social media to project the employment brand, especially for larger organizations and especially, again, from the sales perspective? That was a lot that I threw out.

Paul: Yeah. No, no, no, I've got you. So, you know what? Your employment brand is only as authentic as your employees say it is, so all the concerns we had about a decade ago, Kevin, you know, when we wanted to...of the social extensions that they were using...don't take pictures, don't say this, don't do that...and that pretty much dissipated, and a lot of companies...and I was at Glassdoor earlier in the year, and I know Kim went to...a month or so ago, but so many companies now, large and small, are actively encouraging the employee base to share images and commentary with the market, because the real face of the business...both our prospects and our candidates want...sorry. In fact, you know what? They don't just want it, they demand to see it as we inch towards 2020. It's all about that authenticity, that really, you know...the real look and feel of the business, and while it's really important to have a corporate presence across, you know, the plethora of social media channels, it's just as important to have your employees being brand ambassadors and showing our candidates, prospects, and clients an authentic view of the business and, by default, a glimpse into your culture.

Kevin: We have to constantly re-recruit to retain.

Paul: Yeah.

Kevin: It's a constant talent acquisition function, and that employment brand projects, you know, outward as well as inward, and if that light doesn't shine very bright, then you've got a problem.

Paul: I agree, you know, and it's as much about showing what that day in the life of is going to be like for, you know, some of these purple squirrels, some of these really, really...some of the hot talent that we're trying to chase. Remember, as Josh Berson is quoted as saying that the level of candidate confidence and the opinions of the employees far outstrips any bragging from the CO of business leaders, and I think that's so true. So true. Another consideration there's quickly being discussed is diverse inclusion.

Kevin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paul: And, you know, when we talk about the value of the new workforce, diversity is becoming a bit of a dusty word and it's somewhat different than how we spoke about at the turn of the century...and I know it's only 17 years ago, but it's more about diversity of thought and then workplace inclusion, now. Being, you know, both active and passive identification is old school, and people feature much more heavily than any color, creed, or gender, and that's what's really driving the value of a great hire, these days. It's the language, the lexicon, the ability to identify with a set of behaviors that draws our customers to us and, again, are very powerful these days, and the web's peppered with all kinds of emotional, intellectual, and impactful imagery, but the one thing that struck me of late is special candidates need to be able to imagine themselves working for you.

Kevin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paul: So you really do need to work hard on illustrating how great the environment is so these purple squirrels can visualize, conceptualize what it is they're going to be doing with you so they can perform optimally...and I might sound a bit trite, Kevin, but, you know, reflecting back on 2008, the job offer is no longer one size fits going to be absolutely essential to the 2020 business to win the war for talent.

Kevin: Absolutely. So Paul, then, when it comes to finding the best sales candidates overall, when is it right or opportune to either partner with an organization, like a Wilson HCG, or just to outsource those recruitment efforts outright?

Paul: You know what, and there's three parts to this answer, Kevin. Finding a strategic partner to align with your sales strategy and accelerate your ability to hire top talent can be challenging; they can be very transformational if you get a couple of things right. So the definition of great sales talent has to be have been captured in copious...but attracting and engaging great talent is an act of sport, these days. It's no longer sufficient to simply wait for the talent to come towards you, because the old Chinese proverb says, you know, "Man who waits for roast duck to fly through the window gets very hungry.” The same happens for our business. You know, if we just wait for all these great sales people to apply to us, you know, our top line and bottom line are going to get to zero really quickly so, you know what, a thoughtful and energetic business will need to engage experienced and knowledgeable sales recruiters that will build these talent pools and progressively develop talent pipelines through acted out buoyant conversations...and you've got to do it in a, I think, a programmatic way so, you know, using a business like Wilson allows you to scale it. It allows you to address some significant problems...and, you know, of the past decade, what we've experienced is a number of organizations are asking us for support when they simply need to amplify the top line with larger, better, different, or geographically relevant sales capability...and my honest opinion is that, you know, once the opportunity cost is greater than a million, then at a million, it's time to review how you augment your internal abilities with an external vendor.

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