Retail execution is directly related to performance on the shelves, so hiring an effective field team is crucial. In 2016, the recruiting process has become more personalized and fast-paced than ever, putting candidates in the driver’s seat - rather than employers. Here are five recruiting techniques that will help you land the best field representatives.
1. Stand out by building a consistent employer brand
Employer brands are what the company communicates to its current and potential employees about its mission, culture, and values. Every interaction between you and a candidate should involve this employer brand. Nearly 50% of companies now use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to build their employer brand, according to a 2015 LinkedIn report. Brand ambassadors can curate your social media presence and offer candidates an intimate and inviting look into the day-to-day life at your company.
Even just updating the “Careers” or “About Us” page on your website can improve your employer brand. Including your corporate message, mission statement, and current job openings can give candidates a better sense of the goals and direction of the company, as well as any opportunities for advancement you may be hiring for.
2. Find the perfect match by hiring against specific personas
Much like a marketing persona, a hiring persona is a template of the characteristics and traits that make your most talented people stand out. Hiring personas are especially helpful for sourcing roles that require particular skillsets, strong leadership skills, or confident personalities, according to Ritika Puri, co-founder of content marketing firm Storyhackers. When recruiting a field team, your ideal hiring persona should be an independent worker with strong problem solving skills and a polished client-facing attitude.
Here’s how to create a hiring persona in three simple steps:
- Evaluate your top-performers, and use their performance data to identify any trends in experience, background and career paths that have proved successful
- Identify the ways your top performers originally found your company, and look for candidates applying via similar sources
- Brainstorm with your current team members to identify characteristics that have proven key to their success
3. To find independence, look for experience
When assembling a field team, it is especially important to hire people with a proven track record of excellence. Remote employees need to have excellent time management skills to handle the fact that they are working autonomously most of the time.
“Experience teaches the problem-solving, people management and leadership skills that apply to all areas of business,” said Michael Alter, CEO of The Tie Bar. In a typical office setting, there will be mentors to help guide those with less experience, but you don’t get that luxury with a remote team, making experienced hires even more valuable.
Differentiating from competitors is an important factor in attracting experienced candidates away from their current jobs. “Companies that differentiate themselves are putting a stake in the ground, being bold, and saying this is who we are,” said Melissa Murray Bailey, President of Americas at Universum. Focusing on what makes your team and culture unique can easily differentiate your company.
“When you provide candidates with captivating visuals, you equip them with the tools necessary to visualize their future day-to-day,” wrote Maya Humes, an author for the recruiting platform Lever. While it might be easier to take photos that capture your company culture than produce a high-quality video, candidates may have an easier time imagining themselves at your company after viewing a video. So, when it comes to pulling top-tier candidates away from their current jobs, recruiting videos might be worth the investment.
4. Attract experienced employees through passive recruiting
One surefire way to source an experienced field team is to recruit passive candidates who might be willing to change companies despite not actively hunting for a new position.. These candidates bring experience from their current jobs, and may be receptive to a company with a culture that better fits their lifestyle.
A LinkedIn survey of 18,000 employees showed that one of the most attractive factors when switching jobs is a better work/life balance. Therefore, companies looking to attract seasoned retail experts might have success showcasing the flexibility of a role on their field team.
Because passive candidates aren't actively searching through job boards, one of the best places to make an impression is atattending networking events. When networking, try to arrive on the early side so you can begin talking to people before they settle into groups.
“Keep your exchange fun, light and informal -- you don’t need to do the hard sell within minutes of meeting a person,” suggested Colleen Debraise, a Special Projects Director at Entrepreneurship.com. Informal conversations allow you to learn about potential hires personality, and keep you from appearing focused on recruiting.
5. Make applying for your job as easy as possible
It is easy to see that people today do more work on their mobile phones than ever. Fifty percent of people check their smartphones at least 25 times a day, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey: US Edition. That trend applies to job seekers as well. Seventy percent of candidates want to apply for jobs via their mobile device, Kelton Research found.
Companies that invest time and resources into optimizing the application process for mobile devices will be able to tap into candidates searching for jobs on their smartphones. This is especially important for hiring remote field reps because you might not be hiring for a position near your location. Therefore, you need to give your candidates the ability to remotely apply for a job any way they can.
Nobody wants to fill out a long application, and job seekers especially dislike having to enter the same data on an application repeatedly, according to Social Talent. Make sure if you allow candidates to upload their resume, that you don’t ask for that information elsewhere.
At the end of the day, hiring can make or break your company. By following these five recruiting best practices of 2016, you can be sure your company attracts the best candidates possible.
Tyler Hubbell is a content marketing specialist at Repsly. His expertise is in creating useful content related to customer satisfaction and building relationships. Tyler enjoys golfing and reading.