After running 66 sales job ads through an online scorecard, recruiting expert Kim Benedict discovered nearly half them fell into the same traps – they were too long, masculine in tone and riddled with corporate clichés.
These mistakes are actually very common, says Benedict, who is the CEO of TalentMinded, a company that provides subscription based, monthly managed recruiting programs. Benedict, who led a workshop during ITBusiness.ca sister publication CDN’s Top 100 Solution Providers gala event in Toronto about how to attract more women to sales, used Textio, the online tool for creating better job applications, as a jumping off point.
“Why do we still stink at hiring women in sales?” she asked workshop participants.”Well, the reason is because we haven’t changed how we go about recruitment.”
The lack of effort around how businesses recruit has caused women entering sales positions in Canada to slow down to a crawl. In the last decade, the world has only experienced a three per cent growth in the number of women entering sales positions, according to a LinkedIn study.
“We need to walk the talk,” said Benedict, citing the conversations she’s had with company executives who frequently tell her they want to hire more women but then actually fail to build strategies to make that a reality.
So what can businesses do? Quite a lot, says Benedict, and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. In addition to avoiding the common job application cliches, Benedict says start by answering an applicant’s primary question: why should they apply in the first place?
“We rarely ask what the applicants, and women, want from these jobs,” she said. Opportunities for leadership roles in the future, maternity leave – these are a couple of things people want to know about right away.
The sales position itself is associated with many misconceptions, Benedict pointed out. People often believe salespeople need to be aggressive and that they want to make money by tricking people into buying something they don’t need. These misconceptions might take time to stomp out, but Benedict quickly pointed out that emotional intelligence, leadership and strong networking skills are actually some of the key drivers behind a successful salesperson. She also suggested companies audit their recruitment departments and treat them as a core part of their business. Companies should also consider video job ads, which she said leads to five times more engagement.
“Form strong partnerships with your recruiters,” said Benedict. “This relationship is broken in so many organizations.”
Other tips for better recruiting strategies include:
- Use data to make decisions, not your gut feelings.
- Use real people instead of stock photography in your job ads. Authenticity goes a long way.
- Explore returnship programs. Returnship programs, similar to internship programs, help people who are returning to the workforce.