Here’s the sort of thing that keeps hiring manager’s awake at night – you hire the right who for the right open seat, but you’re still losing sales people just a few months into their tenure. So what gives? What are you failing to provide top talent that will make them establish roots in your organization?

That’s exactly why it’s so vital that you, as an employer, provide value to your people. Because as I’m about to explain, if you’re not adding value to the relationship, then your people will find an organization that does, leaving you in a perpetual recruiting cycle with few gains to show for it.


Value Can Take Different Forms

Value is one of those concepts that can take different forms. In some cases, it’s simply a matter of salary. In others, quality of life factors like commute times or a sense of fulfillment in the work matter most to a salesperson.

However an employee perceives value, though, it’s critical that your organization can provide it, long-term value in particular. Some of the more common sources of long-term value include:

  • Compensation
  • Upward mobility and career growth
  • Continuing education
  • Management development skills
  • Work-life balance
  • Company culture

To use an example we’ve seen in recent months at Pursuit, the coronavirus pandemic left many people out of work and looking for a job – sometimes any job. Therefore, many companies were able to fill their open seats with people that were overqualified for the positions.

Yes, simply finding employment was enough short-term value for them to take the job. However, now that more companies are hiring again, many of these recently-hired employees are actively searching for a new job again.

In this example, the salesperson was happy just to find the job, even though their experience might have warranted 25 to 50% higher pay in normal times. The same goes for someone that accepted a position requiring three hours of commuting time every day – when times are tough, a job’s a job.

Remember, just because an employer has leverage over a candidate – maybe an exceptionally weak jobs market – doesn’t mean they should use that leverage to their benefit. If you do, you’re creating a situation where you’re continually losing the talent you worked so hard to hire in the first place.


Defining What a Candidate Values

Short of asking a person what they truly value in life – a question hiring managers won’t necessarily receive an honest answer for – the best way to define value for an individual is through the interview process.

In fact, it’s difficult to exaggerate just how important it is for hiring managers and recruiting specialists to get to know candidates as they proceed across the interview process. And that all starts by asking the right questions, putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes to help reveal what they value most in life.

In short, based on their background, current situation, and where they want to be in five years, what value can you add to help them reach their personal and professional goals?

Therefore, you want to understand the dynamics within their family, their career aspirations, and what really makes them get out of bed every morning. That’s not to say, of course, that you must add value across all five categories I mentioned – background, current situation, family, personal aspirations, and career trajectory. It does mean, however, that you must add enough value for your organization and the open seat to make sense for the candidate.


Always Be Realistic and Avoid Overpromising

But what happens if you can’t add sufficient long-term value for someone, even if they’re the right who in the right seat? Like it or not, that usually means you shouldn’t offer them the position. Likewise, it also means you avoid overpromises during negotiations, especially regarding compensation.

Given the nature of sales, where compensation is usually some combination of salary and performance metrics, it’s critical that companies remain realistic while discussing money. It ultimately hurts both you and the candidate if you focus on compensation figures based on completely unrealistic goals.

Once again, don’t use an ambiguous commission structure as a way of overhyping money that a candidate probably won’t ever realize, or at least any time soon. Because if you do, the hiring funnel will soon feel more like a hamster wheel than a powerful tool to help you identify, hire, and retain top talent.

Take my word – if you add enough value to the equation, talent will often choose your company over others that might even look better on paper. And that’s the rarest of competitive advantages for your organization.