Posts

9 Reasons Why Great Candidates Are Lost

No matter what role you’re hiring for, qualified job candidates are valuable. How do you keep your candidates moving along the interview and hiring process? Well, for starters, you can avoid these nine common stumbling blocks that will surely lose you your prized candidate.

Loss of momentum

Momentum is critical to the recruiting and hiring process. It’s a challenge to build it up and it can be lost very easily. You need to keep recruited candidates posted on what the next steps are for them. If they are left for more than 3 days with no communication from you, they will begin to sour on your opportunity.

No communication

The number one thing that all candidates want is feedback and communication. This is very easy. Tell them what the next steps are going to be and execute on those next steps.

Indecision

Indecision on the candidate’s part is understandable. However, indecision on the part of the company can stall and ruin the hiring process. You need to be committed to hiring the best candidate available.

Treating a recruited candidate like a normal job seeker

Recruited candidates should not be treated like a normal job seeker. A recruited candidate didn’t seek out your opportunity. It was brought to them and presented to them by a recruiter. The recruiter began the process of selling the candidate on your opportunity. It’s up to you to continue that sales process.

Compensation brought up too early

Compensation should be brought up later in the interview process. The candidate and company need to establish rapport and develop a mutual interest. Bringing up compensation early will only hurt you.

Unimpressive interview

A recruited candidate will be evaluating you just as much as you are evaluating them during an interview. Your office needs to be clean, your staff needs to be friendly, and you need to have prepared for the interview in advance.

Lack of market consideration

Whenever making a talent decision you need to consider the macroeconomic environment. The US is at full employment and has been for several years. Odds are that your local talent market is at full employment, as well.

Wrong compensation package

Many companies create compensation packages in a vacuum. Instead, these should be the result of a careful analysis of your talent market, the position, and level of need.

Counter-offer

Counters are not as common as you may think. A strong onboarding process needs to be in place to get your candidate excited to join your team. An excited candidate won’t be nearly as susceptible to counter-offers.

 

First Impressions Count: Onboarding 101

First impressions are important. We all strive to put our best foot forward during interviews and try to impress our new employer on the first day. If first impressions are so important, then why don’t we apply this concept to a new hire’s first impression of what it’s like to work for your organization?

We have all experienced some form of onboarding, some good, most not so great. The first day is often associated with being a little stressed, unsure of what to expect, and the dread of boring videos or endless paperwork.

With the impact of onboarding being so significant to the return on investment of a new hire, here are some simple best practices to get you headed in the right direction from the start.

The Week Before

Remember your first day at your current job? Was your computer ready, were basic office supplies set up, and were you greeted upon arrival with a warm welcome? If so, you probably had a positive experience, and are likely still with that organization. If not, think about how it might have changed your opinion of your employer and how it may have impacted your sense of belonging and loyalty.

To get this started right, have the basics ready. Business cards should be ordered and ready on the first day. Office nameplate should be in place if applicable.  A cheat sheet of logins and common contacts should be available.

Day One

Arrive early to ensure everything is set up and ready to go. Greet the new hire warmly and show him or her around, introducing everyone. Make certain to discuss what is acceptable and is not, such as headphones in the workplace, eating at your desk, cell phone policy, late policy, etc. Try not to make it completely process-oriented and keep it conversational and informative.

It might be a good idea depending on the position to assign a primary point person to help out the new hire during the learning process. This shows the new hire that it is alright to ask for help and lessens the fear of being a bother.

Two Weeks

By the end of the second week, most people have a feel for whether or not the job is for them. Most employers stop the onboarding process by this time, which is a mistake. This is actually the perfect time to have an informal meeting regarding the level of hospitality among coworkers, any training he or she feels may help, and to give feedback on where you see them headed within the position. This is the time to answer any questions that may have come up over the past two weeks.

Preparedness is the key to a good onboarding experience. Preparing a plan for new hires ahead of when new hires come on board is a great way to ensure that the onboarding process goes smoothly and increases the chances that your new hire will be a long-term, valuable member of your team.

 

10 Things to Know About Recruiters | Client Edition

Our mission at PromoPlacement is to connect supplier and distributor clients with great promotional products industry talent. Our team brings over 50 years of promotional products and recruiting experience to every search we undertake. Understanding your business, the function of various positions in your business, and the unique business challenges you face help us to deliver on our brand promise.

Below are best practices that will allow you to get the maximum value when working with a recruiter:

#1

As a contingency recruiting firm, we work exclusively with promotional products firms to help you find the talent you need to succeed. We treat each client relationship as a true partnership with the goal of hiring the best possible candidate for your firm.

#2

We take confidentiality very seriously. The name of your business is not shared until you agree to interview a candidate. Confidentiality is critical to protecting both clients and candidates and ensuring the integrity of the search.

#3

Each candidate search is unique. We conduct a thorough search for candidates for every opportunity we’re presented with. PromoPlacement targets only the individuals who fit your profile for the ideal candidate.

We won’t send you a big pile of resumes to review. Our work is done with a laser, not a shotgun. Our goal is to provide you with two to four excellent candidates for your to choose from.

Searches are extensive and time-consuming. During a search, we utilize email, social media, phone, and thousands of industry contacts to develop the talent pool from which your new team member will emerge. We don’t run ads. The highly successful candidates we want don’t read ads. They become aware of a great opportunity with your company because we contact them and present the opportunity to them directly.

#4

We work exclusively with promotional product suppliers and distributors and provide only experienced promotional product industry talent. Our exclusive focus on the promo industry allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of the national talent market.

#5

Due to the nature and thoroughness of our searches, it can take anywhere from four to twelve weeks to complete your search. Planning your staffing needs in advance is critical.

#6

We don’t recruit distributor sales reps. During our first year in business, we had strong success in this highly competitive and challenging field. We now focus solely on salaried positions and can assist you with any role from mailroom clerk to CEO.

#7

Our days are pretty jammed packed. We’re busy but will always make time for our clients. Even if this means working nights and weekends. Our clients are our number one priority and for you, we are always on the clock. We’re on the phone most of the day, so email is often the best way to get a quick response.

#8

If we present a candidate who doesn’t quite fit your needs, don’t hesitate to say so. You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and you’ll help us to find better candidates for you in the near future. We do ask for clear, thorough feedback on where the candidate misses the mark.

#9

Prompt communication is critical when is comes to discussing job candidates. The faster we communicate, the faster we can fill your position. Slow communication can cost us candidates who accept other positions with companies who respond more quickly.

#10

PromoPlacement wants to earn your business. By working together in partnership, we can take recruiting off your plate and find you the best industry talent available.

To read more about how recruiters work read our candidate edition on this topic.

Contact us today to get started with PromoPlacement!

 

Toxicity in the Workplace

Today, many employees are stuck in a toxic workplace. These bad vibes can cause people to dislike their jobs, kill productivity, and hamper the growth of your organization. Having a toxic workplace or bad office culture can turn a profit-generating business into a money pit. So, what is a toxic environment and how do we stop it? To understand, we first need to know how a toxic workplace is created so that you can effectively change it and make your organization a great place to work.

Communication

If you are starting to see a decline in communication or you find it difficult to communicate with your team effectively you may have a problem. One of the most well-known signs of toxicity in the work environment is the lack of effective communication. This can have a tremendously negative impact on the production of your business. Communication and teamwork are vital to any business that wants to be successful. Without communication, you will see a rapid decline in individual and team functions. Workers who are subject to a toxic work environment will often say they don’t feel heard or understood by their peers or leaders.

Work Habits

Toxicity in the workplace can take a great employee from thriving to barely surviving. An employee will thrive when they feel valued and appreciated. When they feel underpaid and underappreciated it puts them into a fight or flight mode of survival. Our natural instincts kick in and our defensive walls go up. You will see an increase in absences, poor attitude, and lack of individual production because they are working to get to the end of the day rather than t to achieve a shared goal.

Team Work

Broken relationships and friendships can wreak havoc in the work environment. Gossiping becomes the norm, cliques are formed, and people feel pitted against one another. Most workers relate these types of experiences to that of being in high school. It is important to work together and have trust in your peers. Team building exercises can help strengthen the bonds of trust between team members and build rapport around the office.  These exercises don’t have to be elaborate or have huge prizes. They are fun and provide a productive break from your ordinary schedule.

Work/Life Balance

As an employee, it is imperative to have a good balance of work and home life. Without it you will feel the negative effects it can have on your daily performance and your overall health. These negative effects can go both ways. If you are thriving at work and happy at home life can be so rewarding. If the scale is tipped slightly one way or another it can be very challenging to get back into harmony. These types of imbalances are likely to have a negative effect not only on you but your coworkers, as well. Both employee and manager are responsible for creating a workable work/life balance within your company.

The Spread

Many people know that toxicity can be like a spore of dandelion fluff in the wind once it is blown apart it spreads quickly. As a leader, it is important to snuff out any turmoil or issues before the trouble threatens morale within the office. It’s critical to the success of your business that you remain vigilant to any changes in the attitude of your team.

All in all, toxicity in the workplace is something that can occur within any organization, however, with the right environment and the right management your organization can thrive within a strong, happy office. The bottom line is, if management can quickly identify and stop it in its tracks, you will have an organization full of happy employees, willing to work hard for you day in and day out. Best of luck!

 

How to Let an Employee Go

Letting an employee go is a very sensitive process. It needs to be done correctly to protect yourself and your business.  You want to make sure that you follow a detailed process, have HR involved, and stay consistent.  Below you will find several points that will help you to develop your own termination process and let an employee go the right way.

Give the employee time to improve

Make sure you have given the employee time to improve before you make the final decision. You never want an employee to feel blindsided by their termination. Give them a heads up on what they are doing and what they need to approve upon to keep their job.

Get everything in order

Have a list ready of what needs to be returned, how to leave the building, how long the employee will have benefits for, and have their last check ready if the law in your state requires you to have a paper check ready.

Choose the proper day, time, and place

Choose a day early in the week. NEVER let go of someone on a Friday. Choose a time when the business will be least impacted. A time when the office is less full like during lunch, early in the morning, or during a meeting could be best. Have the discussion in a private office not out in the open.

Facts not feelings

Stick to the facts. Your feelings toward the employee have nothing to do with the decision. Don’t attack them and be sure to follow the laws specific to your area as far as notice and severance pay goes.

Protect your business

DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT! Be sure you were clear on company rules, expectations, and position requirements as well as their infractions and disciplinary policies. This will help protect you from a lawsuit and protect your company from negative feedback.

Don’t do it alone

Be sure you are not the only person in the room. An HR co-worker would be best for this. If you do not have a dedicated HR person, be sure to have other personnel in the room with you. This helps ease things and makes sure you are protected as well. Again, this is an emotional and sensitive process and you need to be sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your company.

This shouldn’t be a surprise

Termination should never be a surprise, they should see it coming and should have had constant and real-time feedback from you every step of the way. They should understand what they have done wrong or what was not working. Lawsuits come when the employee is blindsided.

Be consistent

You want to be sure that you are consistent in your process, if you let go of someone for being late on half of his days with the company, then you need to make sure you are holding all of your employees to the same standard. Don’t drag out the process, be clear and concise with your decision and end it quickly.

Be honest

It’s OK to fire an employee for not being the right fit, just make sure that when you do so you are honest about why you are letting them go. Don’t makeup HR violations when there aren’t any. Just be honest that it’s not working out for either party involved and it’s best to end it sooner rather than later.

Do a self-assessment

Look at your hiring process, training, and development as well as your support system you have in place for your new hires. Make sure there is not a pattern of negative behavior in the candidates you are hiring. Be sure you have the best possible process in place to hire and develop your newer people.

Again, this is a sensitive process with a lot of emotion in play. It’s something that no one enjoys. Prepare yourself and stick to your company’s processes. Protect yourself and your company every step of this way. Follow the steps here and you will do just that.

 

10 Hiring Red Flags You Need to Watch For

10 Hiring Red Flags You Need to Watch For

Hiring a new team member is a bit like getting engaged after the third date. You’re making a big decision with a very limited amount of information. There are three methods of reducing new hire risk. Increase the amount of information you have about the candidate, draw new insights from the information that you already have, or work with an experienced recruiter who specializes in your field.

We’re going to focus on the second method and share the warning signs to watch for when hiring a new team member.

Resume Errors

This is pretty self-explanatory. In today’s job market, candidates must proofread and present pristine resumes. If they don’t spend the time to review a 1-2 page document what does that say about their professionalism, preparation, and attention to detail?

Tardiness

Bad traffic, accidents, and car trouble happen every day. However, lateness suggests that the candidate didn’t proactively plan ahead and build buffer time into their schedule. While not the biggest red flag on our list, it is a mark against the candidate.

Sloppiness

Much like their resume, a candidate’s appearance should be professional and pristine. First impressions are critical to the job interview process. How serious can someone be about the opportunity if they don’t bother to dress the part?

Lack of Research

In our opinion, this is the biggest job interview sin on the list. In the internet age, there’s simply no excuse for failing to brush up on the history, products, and key players within a company. If you ask a candidate “Are you familiar with our firm?” and they say “Not really…”, you can probably end the interview right there.

Explain Their Interest

Ask your candidate “Why this position? Why our firm?”. There are a lot of correct responses, but just a few wrong ones. If he or she doesn’t have an answer, says something like “A job is a job”, or “My mortgage won’t pay itself” you are dealing with someone who is not passionate or even that interested in your business.

Complaints

Anyone who runs down their former employer or co-workers won’t hesitate to speak ill about your firm in the future. Integrity could be an issue for this candidate. Proceed with caution.

Doesn’t Take Responsibility

We all make mistakes and, hopefully, we learn from them. A candidate who won’t admit to failing or making mistakes in the past is either delusional, egotistical or lacking self-awareness. All three traits are to be avoided.

No Enthusiasm

Most hiring managers want to see passion and enthusiasm from job candidates. It’s often seen as an indicator of a candidate’s true interest in the company and the opportunity. It’s definitely noticeable when a candidate is just going through the motions and it’s a red flag that there’s no drive or passion for the opportunity to join your team.

Doesn’t Ask Questions

There comes a point in most interviews when the hiring manager pauses and says “Now, what questions do you have for me?” Again, there are a lot of correct responses and just one incorrect one. If a candidate doesn’t have any questions after an hour-long conversation with you, he or she either wasn’t listening or isn’t invested.

No “Thank You”

A post-interview “Thank You” note is to be expected. It won’t get a candidate any brownie points, but its absence should be noticed. A “Thank You” note is a minor sign that a candidate is professional, polite, and at least a little bit organized. The absence of such a note is a red flag that your candidate may be inconsiderate of your time or lacking some professional polish.

We’ve looked at the ten biggest and most visible red flags you’ll encounter during the hiring of a new team member. While they may seem insignificant, these cautionary signs provide valuable clues and insights into who your candidate really is and what they might be like to work with. Watching for these red flags will help you make the best decision possible throughout the hiring process.

For more information on hiring right check out our infographic “Don’t Make a Hire You Regret: 6 Simple Tips“.

What hiring red flags have you encountered?

 

Planning for Growth & Succession

Planning for Growth & Succession

Planning for Growth & Succession

If you’re an executive or manager, you’re busy. It’s likely your hard work got you to your current position and hard work is the only way you’re going to keep it. Hard work is great, but if all you do is work hard, you’re going to fail at growth and succession planning. Ensuring the future of the firm isn’t about working hard, but working smart.

It’s the responsibility of every executive or manager to have a plan for the future of your company, your division, or your department. This plan is built around talent. The end goal is to ensure that your firm has the right number, type, and quality of people in the right roles, at the right time, to execute its strategy.

Most managers understand that there’s a connection between business strategy and talent. However, very few managers create plans or processes to leverage this connection for the benefit of their business. Below is an action-based outline for talent development and succession planning that supports your firm’s business strategy and goals.

  • Create an ideal candidate profile based on your firm’s strategy. Begin this process well in advance of your expected need. Consider both short and long-term business goals. What experiences, traits, competencies, and skills will this person need for success?
  • Get an accurate assessment of current candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. This is best done utilizing 360 performance feedback from the candidate’s supervisor, co-workers, and direct reports.
  • Think ahead. Don’t just plan how to replace the incumbent, plan one or two moves ahead. Succession planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Dig deep and learn who the potential candidates are in the mid-level and junior positions within your firm.
  • Develop the skills needed for future roles with on-the-job training, coaching, mentoring, and education. Your executive team should make recommendations on how to prepare their successors, spend time mentoring these employees, and advise them on the unique challenges they may face down the road. Leaders should include their successors in routine projects to help them understand their decision-making process.
  • Stay up to date on candidates’ career goals. Have a quarterly discussion with employees about their career aspirations. What are his or her goals? What does he or she want to do? If their goals have changed, your succession plan may have to as well.
  • Put succession planning on the agenda for meetings of your senior leadership team. Succession is an ongoing process. As potential leaders emerge from within your firm, the senior leadership team should be updated on plans so they know how to meets the future needs of the organization.
  • Link your talent management and development planning to your longer-term business strategy. The future is unpredictable. As your business strategy shifts, so must your talent development process.

At the mid-level of your company, proactive succession planning leaves your organization well prepared for all contingencies and ensures a strong talent pool. At the leadership level, the results are even more significant. It allows your business to continually strengthen the leadership team that will support your firm’s strategy and goals well into the future.

Contact our team today at information@promoplacement.com to formalize your staffing and succession plans. There’s no time to wait. The future of your business is too important!

 

6 Traits of Highly Profitable Distributors

6 Traits of Highly Profitable Distributors

6 Traits of Highly Profitable Distributors

Throughout the promotional product industry, there are highly profitable distributors that are rock-solid year after year.  These companies consistently buck downward economic trends and outperform other firms.

What secrets drive these outstanding performers?  Actually, there’s no secret at all. Let us break it down.

Ownership Matters

  • Many profitable distributors are owned by successful former sales reps  
  • A focus on sales drives the organization and creates an environment of success
  • The owner’s promo sales success gives him or her instant credibility with the sales team

Value of Customer Service

  • Management and sales efforts must be focused on providing outstanding customer service and value

Out in The Field

  • Owners and management look for every opportunity to assist the sales team by providing leads, making joint sales calls, and closing deals for the benefit of the sales team

Not Afraid to Make Money

  • Top companies thrive on making margin when a great value benefits their clients and sales reps alike

Integrity

  • They don’t keep secrets from their team
  • Too many owners blow years of credibility trying to grab a small piece of extra revenue 

Clients Come First

  • The focus of every department is supporting the work of the sales team and over-delivering for clients

Is your business highly profitable? If not, what are you going to do in the short, medium, and long-term to change that?

 

6 Traits of Top Performing Sales Reps

6 Traits of Top Performing Sales Reps

6 Traits of Top Performing Sales Reps

We all know a few sales reps who are able to grow their business year after year despite any obstacle. They bring in big clients and profitable programs with ease. What leads to their consistently strong performance? All that separates them are these six traits.

Customer Service

Top performers are intensely focused on customer service.  Service is not a trendy catchphrase for this group, it is a way of life. Their extreme dedication to service creates passive referrals from their clients and sets the tone for proactive referral requests.

Order Size

Peak performers’ average order size is often two to three times the industry standard. No, they don’t load clients up with products.  They do look for great values which allow clients to consolidate purchases for multiple locations.

Margin Matters

This group is not afraid to make a great margin as a result of strong client relationships, providing value in every purchase, and intense customer focus. Often top performers exceed industry average margins by 3-5%

Quality Counts

Peak performers don’t cut corners!  They don’t substitute inferior products to make more money. They follow every step needed to deliver quality merchandise from perfect graphics, to precise virtual and production proofs, to on-time delivery.

They Are Problem Solvers

Top promo reps never assign blame.  First, if problems arise, they retrieve the defective merchandise from the client as quickly as possible. Second, they move to supply the right product.  Only later do they sort out the details of what missteps were taken that led to the issue in the first place.

Work Smart

Peak performers are an elite group in the promo industry because they work harder to satisfy clients than the rest of the pack.  The result is customer loyalty, referrals, larger orders, and higher margins than their peers.

To read more on how to evaluate sales reps read our article  “This One Exercise Tells You Everything You Need to Know“.

 

Top Sales Rep Manager?

Why Are Good Managers So Hard to Find?

It seems simple enough to hire a good manager for a promotional product distributorship. You screen candidates with related experience, interview them, pick the best choice, and train them in the specifics of your business. Simple, right? Well, no. As you’ll see, it’s anything but simple.

Top Sales Rep Manager?

Source of Candidates

Many distributors look to their top sales reps to step into managerial roles within their company. This is rarely a good choice. First, the skill set needed to be a great promotional product sales rep is not the same skill set needed to be a great manager. Second, top sales reps often become attached to the open-ended income available on the sales side of the business. Owners aren’t likely to provide open-ended compensation in a managerial position. Often, the result is that the owner ends up distracting one of his top sales producers with a managerial role they may not be suited for. Also, what’s the plan for that rep’s book of business. Third, sales reps are used to focusing on their clients and sales. This is often to the detriment of relationships with other reps, co-workers, and the distributorship owner. Accepting a managerial position places the top rep in the middle of regular conflicts between sales reps, owners, and suppliers. Very often, it’s not a comfortable position for them.

Respect Comes With Sales Experience

Respect Comes with Experience

A salesforce will respect a successful sales rep who takes on a management role because they understand the sales side of the business and will work as an advocate for the sales team. A manager from outside the industry or one who has never sold in our industry often struggles to achieve the respect of the salesforce. They don’t have the credibility needed to address real-life sales challenges that are unique to the promo industry. “They’ve never sold anything.  What could they possibly know about what I need to be doing to make more money?”

The Three Masters

Three Masters

Some owners agree to let a top sales rep become a manager and keep their client accounts. This might sound good to the manager, but it is the worst possible solution. A selling manager is often viewed as competition by the sales reps. After all, they can now choose which clients they serve and which clients they pass along to other reps. Owners want managers who are focused on company profitability. That doesn’t always mesh with the sales team’s desire for a rep-oriented manager. Only a highly capable and talented manager can satisfy the owner’s goals, maintain and grow a client base, and gain the trust of sales reps looking for support and more sales.

Management Training Program

Think Long Term

The time to hire and begin grooming a manager comes long before the day you plan to need that manager. Advance planning allows you the time to slowly choose the right person for your managerial training program. A strong training program should last 3-5 years. It should consist of job rotations through every department in the business, with a heavy focus on sales and vendor relations. After each department rotation, the managerial trainee is evaluated and rated on performance in their most recent role.  If performance in a particular department is satisfactory, they move on to the next one. A trend of poor performance during the training period means that your candidate likely isn’t a good fit. Keep in mind that success in sales is a must before the candidate can proceed to any other department.

By creating a long-term managerial training program you can avoid many of the challenges that come with picking a candidate from your sales team or from outside the company. Sales reps respect sales experience, so sales is a critical building block for management training. The training period gives you a chance to round out a candidate’s skills and evaluate the cultural fit they have with your team.

With full awareness of the pitfalls of hiring a manager and a carefully outlined training program, you can make hiring for this critical position a positive point in your company’s history, and not a negative blip in your path to success.