Working in sales recruitment for 6 years doesn’t sound like a particularly long time, however there has been a massive shift in many different elements – one of the most prominent is the rate in which salaries in this space have rocketed and what exactly it takes to get top talent on board.  

In my first recruitment role, my boss wouldn’t allow me to send any candidates to roles unless I had P60’s and full target achievement for at least the last 3 years, accompanied by a couple of examples of strategic deals they had closed from start to finish. Now yes, this does seem like a particularly ‘old school’ approach, but ultimately, it’s what the clients wanted, and in a competitive market such as recruitment we had to be vigilant to ensure we were continuously working and placing those upper quartile passive candidates.

Meeting with a client last week the conversation arose on how to attract top talent in an ever changing and competitive landscape, not only are the pay checks getting larger – but the deal sizes and the targets are getting smaller. People are getting offered unlimited holiday days, commuter costs paid and can even have their dogs sat on their laps all day.

Not only has the technology landscape changed, but people’s attitudes have too.. now when I’m discussing earnings with a candidate they will immediately assume I am asking them about their base, it’s becoming a rarity for candidates to openly discuss their earnings in relation to their targets. And questioning an OTE role has often taken a back foot to ‘how many free beers and ping pong tables will I get access to in my first 6 months’

Going from a world where the IBM’s, Salesforce’s, Oracles and SAP’s were king, to a landscape of rapidly growing well funded SAAS businesses means the candidates have the pick of the litter, it also means that some of these smaller companies are left losing out on great talent because they simply can't compete with the benefits offered by larger players. 

In my experience everyone is looking for that one solution that is going to make them millions. An IPO that is really going to pay off, or a deal closed that will project their career to another level. In a market with over 5000 solutions it's hard to figure out who that could actually be. 

My advice to hiring managers would be spend a little more time explaining the solution, the story, the vision.. take the time to explain why you’re business is the place they should work, why you joined and where you plan to be in 2,3, 5 years! And to candidates...  yes, you can take the role with the highest base salary -  but often this is associated with a much larger amount of risk (if it's a super early startup) or on the other hand it could be a larger business with lots of cooperate perks... but really, where's the fun in that!?  If you want to be a part of a journey, make a mark, and close that deal that could put you on the map i would always suggest to take that risk and look at the bigger picture  (Let's face it, most of them will probably be acquired and you'll end up working for a powerhouse anyway!)