Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Manpower Survey

For the second year in a row, Manpower's Survey of hardest jobs to hire ranks "sales representatives" as the toughest position to fill.

Manpower Survey On Hiring

I guess that explains my occasional urge to bang my head against the wall. It's not just in the US; apparently it's tough to find good reps anywhere in the world. According to the survey, employers find the positions difficult to fill due to "lack of available talent".

What I see as a recruiter is that too many people think that the fact that they "enjoy meeting new people" is enough to make them a good sales rep. I've written before how short-sighted I think this point of view is. I have to weed out a lot of totally unqualified candidates who have zero relevant experience.

Think of it this way, if you were applying to another position at Linvatec, say a mechanical engineer, would you even consider saying to the recruiter or hiring manager, "I know I have don't have any experience, formal training or degree in mechanical engineering, but I know I can do this job if you just give me a chance!" Sounds crazy, right? But that's the way people too often seem to think about sales jobs.

Maybe it's the dearth of professional designations that contributes to the idea that anyone can be a sales person. The fact is, sales is a profession.

I am encouraged by the fact more schools are starting to offer certificates and degrees in Professional Selling. I've interviewed candidates from Baylor in Texas, Weber State in Utah, William Patterson in New Jersey. These programs and others seem to offer a solid curriculum that teaches students about the steps of the sales process and offers them a chance to develop their skills through presentations, mock sales and competitions.

Considering the results of the Manpower survey, I think anyone who pursues such a degree will find themselves well positioned to succeed and in high demand upon graduation.

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