Build a Stellar Tech Sales Resume

Tech sales resumes are not what get you hired, but by no means does that render them useless. Their purpose is to get you to the table. In order to do that, your resume must differentiate you, accent your abilities, and do as good a job selling you to an employer as you could do selling that employer’s message. Take a look at our tips for making your sales resume stand out, tell your best story and get you into the job you want.

Tell Your Story with Numbers

For a sales professional, nothing tells your story better than the numbers. How much you sold, how much revenue you generated, how far you surpassed your goals, and the progression of your numbers over time all tell the story that hiring managers want to see. For smaller, high-growth companies, illustrating your ability to start from the bottom and create an impact is crucial. Your numbers are that demonstrative.

Clarify What You Sold and To Whom you Sold It

Your experience within an industry and your knowledge of products and technologies is not always as important as the networks you’ve lived in and which relationships you’ve grown. When you show you have an established network with a group of professionals within a given target market or sector, you show the hiring sales manager the kind of leg up that you offer. Rather than building a book of business from the ground up, you can hit the ground running with a list of warm prospects.

Show off Your Brands, Industries and Products

Everyone loves brand names, especially on a resume. They are obvious and lend instant credibility and recognition. The same goes for industries and sectors you’ve been involved with, as well as products and services. Listing these on your sales resume doesn’t demonstrate performance, but it makes you instantly identifiable.

Display Your Achievements

No other type of employee is the recipient of more varied awards than that of the sales professional. Recognition amongst sales professionals is abundant for product quotas, revenue tiers, regional and overall performance, as well as awards for consistency. Incentives for salespeople carry a lot of impact to the bottom line, but they also serve as context around performance metrics. Generating a million dollars in revenue seems impressive, but when you can point to that being $350,000 more than the next closest rep, your accomplishment cannot be questioned.

If you are searching for your next sales opportunity in high-tech, we want to speak with you. Millennium Search works with early stage startups and high growth companies across the technology world to hire top performing sales talent from New York and Boston, to the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and all sales territories in between. Speak with us today!

 

Why Your Candidates Don’t Get Past The First Interview

Why Your Candidates Don’t Get Past The First Interview

Candidates Don't Get Past The First Interview

Candidates Don’t Get Past The First Interview

Having trouble finding candidates who make it past the first interview? Most companies point towards the available talent as the cause for this issue, but that is not always the case. Hiring is difficult enough, so creating and troubleshooting your process is key. We’ve broken down some of the most common reasons advancement isn’t repeatedly made past the first interview.

Are You Getting The Right Candidates?

When potential candidates for your opening just don’t seem to make the cut, the first thing most companies identify as the problem is the source of the candidates. It is often the case that a company is simply not speaking with the right people for the position, but the real question is why. Common problems include leveraging the wrong channels to search for candidates and poor messaging of the position and company. It could also be the case that the offering presented by the company is insufficient to attract the caliber of talent needed for the job. Utilizing testing strategies in this area can help reveal issues if they exist at the candidate source.

Is Your Candidate Screening Process the Problem?

The hiring process can impede a company’s hiring efforts, beginning with the screening process. Hiring managers can make the wrong determinations based on applications, resumes and phone screenings. They can get boxed in to targeting a specific skill set or experience that they feel is crucial, and end up placing too much emphasis on a small factor while negating more important things. In the end, you could be getting the right people to apply only to have them turned down by ineffective screening and pipeline management. This will inevitably happen in many cases, but if the issue is systemic, it must be corrected.

Are Your Interviews Effective?

The interview, while a critical part of the hiring process, can be ineffective and inefficient. First, interviews are not necessarily a great way to measure how well suited a candidate is for the job; more often they simply measure how well they can interview. Hiring managers must look past the interview itself and get to the core of the candidate. Getting to the bottom of the candidate is no easy task, especially when the candidate and the interviewer do not see eye to eye. It can also be the case that hiring managers become overly critical in the search for perfection. Expectations during interviews can be too high, and can lead to a no pass rating across the board. And it can also be a problem when only a single person conducts the first interview round. Multiple opinions can uncover a better picture of candidates and solve many of these issues.

Is The Job Opening Clearly Defined?

Sometimes, the problem doesn’t rest with the candidates or the hiring process, but with the job itself. Ambiguity and a lack of clarity around the position and the work itself kills the hiring process. Hiring managers end up trying to match their candidate pool with needs that are undefined and work that is unknown. This would seem like something that should never happen, but many companies have this problem.  They know that they need talent to fill the void, but if the position is outside of the current team’s scope of knowledge, it can be difficult to define needs. The solution is to give details of the goals that this hire should be able to work towards rather than solely skill sets, parameters and accomplishments. A helpful way to improve this is by seeking the help of former founders, advisors and industry experts, as well as experienced recruiters.

As a recruiting firm for startups and technology companies, an integral part of our process is adjusting course based upon ongoing results. We strive to deliver the right candidates the first time, but there are scenarios where success is dependent upon our ability to adjust, examine the process and identify appropriate changes to our approach in order to deliver candidates that will not only advance beyond the first interview, but accept the offer. If your technology company is having trouble delivering on talent, speak with our team of experienced executive recruiters today.

Employment Tests for Startups: The Pros and Cons

Employment Tests for Startups: The Pros and Cons

Employment Tests for Startups

Employment Tests for Startups

Testing during the hiring process has become a prominent practice, both in and outside of the technology industry. Hiring tests range from evaluating aptitude, personality and character traits to determining strengths, weaknesses and skill sets. Years and years of research, testing and analysis have gone into seasoned evaluations like StrengthsFinder, Myers Briggs and DiSC assessments, giving employers a great set of tools to help in what is the most challenging part of growing a company. With that said, hiring tests do come with faults and limitations. Not all tests are well crafted, and not all situations call for them. We have taken our experience with companies using hiring tests, and whittled it down to the following pros and cons of hiring testing.

The Pros

Many of these tests are actually more valuable once a hire has been made. Some of the more useful ones can give managers and co-workers a better picture of how a new hire works and operates, what motivates them, and where their passions lie. And in this regard, these tests can be extremely valuable. After all, one of the more, if not the most, important criteria for hiring is cultural fit. Information from personality and character testing give managers and employees better information around assimilating new hires into an organization. Aside from this, there is some value that can be gleaned by using these before you make a hire.

When administered and utilized correctly, well crafted testing can also provide useful metrics to help evaluate candidates on various aspects and traits. Using uniform evaluations across your pool of talent potential gives employers a certain level of objectivity, which most interviewers (and recruiters) know can be very difficult to do. Well designed hiring tests are especially good at extracting information about candidates that can be difficult, if not impossible, to gather through interviews, references and resumes.

Using the information from hiring tests allows hiring managers to perform an analysis using defined metrics, rather than using comparisons of one candidate to another or personal opinions alone. This can help hiring managers avoid evaluating future candidates based on an initial or very likeable candidate, which can often allow for personal bias.

Using these evaluations during the hiring process is especially helpful when fielding a large volume of candidates. As long as managers have a clear understanding of the data, what it conveys and what it does not, hiring tests can be another tool in the arsenal to help them sift through a large volume of resume-qualified professionals.

The Cons

In our experience, one of hiring tests’ biggest weaknesses is the way in which employers use them. Hiring is a difficult process that requires a lot of time, money and energy, and the results of making the right or wrong hire can have a dramatic impact on your company. Hiring tests can be a very useful tool for hiring managers, but when relied upon too heavily, great candidates can get passed over and unqualified ones can get too much focus. Undoubtedly, some candidates are not the right person for the job, and tests can reflect that, but too many times great candidates have been passed over simply because of testing results.

Another downside of testing comes from the fact that, like everything else in the hiring process, they are controlled by individuals. A test is only as good as its administrator. Issues like administrator bias, unfollowed procedures, and other mistakes can skew the data, decreasing the reliability of the results and the test itself.

Tests can also create an uneven playing field among candidates. There is a clear disadvantage to candidates who have little or no experience taking these tests, and conversely an advantage to those that do.

The content and the analysis process of an evaluation can present issues. Questions themselves can create issues because of bias, as well as poor question and answer structure. The method of analysis can also be problematic. It comes down to whether or not your company uses an effective test with a valid and reliable track record. Along the same lines, some tests can undervalue certain aspects of candidates that you may find important and valuable, and can even mistakenly rate certain positive traits as negatives. The opposite can be true as well.

Using Evaluations In Your Process

When used properly, employment tests for startups can be an important step to identifying the right hires for your company. Here are some tips to getting the most out of them:

  • – Use them as another tool in your belt, but not as a gateway into your candidate pool.
  • – Before choosing any assessment to use, do your research. There is a great deal of literature online around the various tests on the market. Forums are another place to find information.
  • – Try searching for cheat sheets and test rubrics online to see what resources are available to candidates for these tests.
  • – If you want to take the research further, try administering your prospective hiring test to a few of your current employees. Get an idea of how the results compare to the reality of the successful hires you have in place.
  • – Once you have chosen the right test, ensure you have set procedures in place when deploying and administering them so as to get accurate data across all of your candidates.
  • – When administering them, make sure that directions are clear, simple and straightforward.
  • – Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the results mean, as well as how the data is analyzed.
  • – Most important, make sure that you don’t rely too heavily on these tests when making hiring decisions.
  • – If you’re having difficulties incorporating a hiring evaluation into your process, seek the help of other founders, executive recruiting firms and company advisors to guide you.
Interviewing Technical Talent At A Startup When You Aren’t

Interviewing Technical Talent At A Startup When You Aren’t

Interviewing Technical Talent

Interviewing Technical Talent

Technology companies need technical employees. No secrets there. But the earlier the stage of the company, the fewer employees there are, making each employee’s impact that much higher, especially your technical hires. And while many startups have the luxury of a technical founder, co-founder or early CTO, the ones that find themselves lacking in technical leadership, knowledge or background still need to secure top technical talent. So without this knowledge base, how does a non-technical team find, qualify and hire top technical talent?

Get Help Qualifying Technical Skills

Let’s face it – if you don’t know anything about it, you really aren’t in the best position to ask about it. And if you aren’t a technical professional, then trying to asses a technical person’s skill set is a futile effort. So what’s the solution? Find someone who can. Technical recruiters are a great resource for this. You can also find technical consultants and professionals in your area that would be willing to help. Your investors, advisors and mentors will all have resources to help you vet your candidates technically. They know the importance of hiring top talent, and will help you find the right resources to do so effectively. Even fellow entrepreneurs can be a resource. Despite the fierce market for top technical talent, the entrepreneurial community is by and large a very helpful and supportive environment; because those people have been there and know the value of the right help.

Interview Outside Their Technical Skills

Your candidate’s technical skills for the job are important, yes. Yet manager after manager will tell you that there are more important things to vet for. That’s where you come in. When interviewing candidates, determine their character. What motivates them? Sure, they have the skill sets you want, but would the person fit culturally within your organization? Would they lack chemistry with their co-workers? For early stage companies, deciding whether or not a candidate is startup material is a big step. How do they handle stress, pivots and tight deadlines? The list goes on and on. You may not be able to qualify them on their C++ skills or their NoSQL projects, but you can qualify them for other more valuable assets.

Use Multiple Interviews

Just because someone has the technical knowledge for the job does not mean they will fit with your company culture. The technical knowledge, execution, and personality of a candidate should all be considered. This is where multiple interviews and recruiters can help. A recruiter can narrow your search to only those applicants with the technical expertise. On the other hand, multiple interviews can allow your human resources team to narrow the list of applicants before your engineering team asks the technical questions. Both of these methods take advantage of a division of labor that results in your company finding the right candidate for both your culture and your technical needs.

Test Your Candidates

Even if a candidate looks good on paper, they may not work out. This is because they might have all the right answers for the interview, but they lack in execution. The best way to mitigate this risk is to hire new employees based upon a temporary assignment. Jason Fried of 37Signals has some good insights on testing employees on projects before making them a member of your team. “When we hire designers, we give them a one-week project to do for us and we pay them for their time.” (Big Think: The Importance of Hiring Late) This option allows you to ask some questions and consider how they fit with your team before bringing them in permanently.

While it is a challenge to ensure you have hired the right candidate, you can mitigate risk with each of these suggestions. Using a recruiter can help you focus in on the candidates with the technical expertise you need. Conducting multiple interviews can ensure a potential new hire will fit with your company culture. Asking your network for help should be an important step when qualifying. And vetting new talent through short-term projects can help you decide if they execute well within your organization. Doing all of these things will help you find great techies, even if you’re not technically inclined yourself.

Finding top technical talent is a tough game, never mind interviewing and successfully hiring them. If you are an early stage or growing technology startup or company, and are having trouble finding and qualifying the caliber of technical talent you need, Millennium Search is ready to help! Speak with us today about how our executive search firm helps top companies and their investors locate and secure top talent!

Startups: When Acquiring Top Talent, Speed is Everything

Startups: When Acquiring Top Talent, Speed is Everything

Acquiring Top Talent

Acquiring Top Talent

It’s no secret that your tech startup has many critical hires to make. Without the right talent in place, your work remains unfinished, and your company is not moving forward. But because the job market in tech is so hot, demand for top performers is high and rising, especially from young companies. And with market conditions the way they are, the time it takes for companies acquiring top talent continues to increase. Because of these conditions, startups must be prepared to move to secure the talent they need. Yet too often, startups fail to act quickly enough to hire effectively. Finding the right people for your needs is critical, but if you are lacking an efficient interview and hiring process, you may be hindering your own efforts and preventing your company’s growth. But fear not; there are many factors you can address to help shorten your hiring time.

Why Startups Take Too Long To Hire

Why might a tech startup employ a lengthy hiring process? Many companies begin hiring without a clear enough sense of their own needs, or conversely try to be too thorough when vetting potential hires. Another common reason results from expectations that are set too high, and the desire to hold out for better options. Because the hire is so critical, the vision of the perfect candidate creates an unrealistic comparison to real candidates. Hiring inefficiency also arises from issues of uncertainty and the second guessing of opinions and judgments on the part of the company. And for some startups, it simply comes from issues with budgetary constraints or the timing of the hire.

The Results of A Lengthy Hiring Process

All of the above are real issues that startups face, and should not be discounted as excuses in any way. Regardless, lengthy hiring tends to yield the same results, despite the reasoning. For starters, your company is most likely not your candidates’ only prospect. Failure to move quickly with candidates that meet your needs can result in a loss to competing companies. This holds especially true for candidates who are more active in their job search, but is not necessarily excluded from passive professionals. Elongated hiring time can also convey a perceived lack of interest, or may signal poor functionality or management within the organization. In either situation, the time, money and energy put towards hiring is wasted unnecessarily. Additional resources must be allocated to compensate, which means they must be taken away from other areas of your startup that require focus. And Ultimately, a failure to make your critical hires due to lengthy hiring means the work is left undone, and your startup’s progress is further hindered.

How to Help Decrease Your Hiring Time

There are several things that hiring startups can do to shorten their interview process with confidence. To start, realize that perfection does not exist. Searching for something unrealistic is a huge time suck, and will rarely, if ever, yield results. Second, establish what you actually need, and distinguish between your needs and wants for the hire. And focus on evaluating candidates based on what your needs are, rather than comparing to what may come along in the future. There is always the potential for a better fit to come along, but don’t let the potential for better in the future sway your judgement in evaluating potential hires today. And finally, trust your gut. Be assertive, and remember that you know what you need. Make judgments with confidence, and trust the opinions of other interviewers.

Startups: Don’t Take So Long!

Hiring is stressful, especially for a small company. It takes a great deal of energy, time and money. It takes those resources away from other areas that need focus. And its impact will be felt throughout the organization in more ways than one. It is also work that can make the greatest impact on your organization’s success. This is all the more reason to do it efficiently and effectively from the start. None of the above implies that you must make sacrifices on your core needs, nor should you discount the importance of cultural fit or experience. What it does imply is that when making critical hires, startups must be realistic, plan ahead, and act when needed. And for a startup, every hire is critical.

Kathy Gwozdz has been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years. She has a diverse background in Contingency, Corporate and Contract recruiting, working directly with candidates and clients at a high level. Her determination and zeal in finding the ideal person for the right opportunity makes her continuously successful in placing top talent.

Don’t Hire The Way You Vote

Don’t Hire The Way You Vote

Hire The Way You Vote

Don’t Hire The Way You Vote

Ah, voting. The day has arrived for the citizens of our nation to gather our wits about ourselves, weigh the candidates on the issues, weed through the rhetoric and political nonsense, and cast our ballot in the name of democracy. Voters face tough decisions this year, and so do hiring managers. It’s a busy time for politics and talent acquisition alike, but the methodology taken to choose the right candidate should differ dramatically between the two. So, how are you going to vote? Hopefully, not the same way you hire.

You Love One, and Hate The Other…

Classic. You’ve got a love affair with that one candidate. On the surface, he represents everything that you want, and sees eye to eye on all of your hot button issues. On the other hand, you can’t stand the opponent. He rubs you the wrong way on everything, from social issues, to economic perspectives and foreign policy. Naturally, you are inclined to vote for your favorite, but you’ve already voted (hopefully). Now, it’s time to hire.

In this scenario, your bias towards your favorite may actually hinder your decision making. When evaluating new talent, it is important to look at candidates objectively, which can be difficult when you are leaning strongly in one direction straight away. So how do we address this situation? Be critical of the candidates that you prefer, and leave the emotions out. When we like a candidate right away, we tend to rationalize shortcomings, even if the candidate clearly lacks qualifications that you need. And don’t rely on your judgment alone. Put the candidate you like in front of others, and see how your perspective lines up with theirs. Collaboration can expose truths about candidates that you may have missed, or even ignored altogether. On the other hand, be sure to do the same with candidates that you don’t initially prefer. Ask the right questions, and stay as objective as possible when evaluating them. Put the candidate in front of your colleagues, and compare their reactions to your own. You may find that the candidate you like is not a good fit in reality, and might even discover the candidate you didn’t like is the right one for the job. Your initial reactions may turn out correct, but it’s good to be sure.

Great Social Policy, So-So On Foreign Policy, But the Economy … Don’t Get Me Started

The dilemma of today’s independent. As an unaffiliated voter, you like one candidate’s stance on social issues, and may even see eye to eye on foreign policy. But economic policy? Oh, that damned economy…

Many voters end up casting a ballot based on most important and pressing issues of the day, even when they disagree on other issues. Selecting candidates to hire requires a different approach. Not every qualification is make or break, but it is important to establish your core nonnegotiables for hiring. Disregarding a lack a qualification in one nonnegotiable area for a high level of aptitude in another area may seem like an acceptable compromise, but in reality, the nonnegotiables are what they are for a reason. There will always be great candidates. You just have to make sure you hire the ones that fit your needs.

Pick the lesser of two evils

Better the turban then the mitre, they say. In the world of politics, many voters feel boxed in by the political parties, and though neither candidate feels like a good choice, their sense of civic duty compels them to make a choice. Voters weigh the choices against each other, and choose the least unappealing choice. A sad but true reality for many a citizen.

Picking the lesser of two evils is a reality for many voters, but it should not be a philosophy taken into hiring. In a competitive talent market, hiring managers may end up with a batch of candidates that come up short of their needs, but think that a choice must be made, and pick the best of the batch. In the long run, picking a candidate that falls short of your requirements can very likely lead to a failed placement, and can be a waste of the time and resources already invested in the process. So, what do you do? Again, you must hold strong with your core nonnegotiables, and make sure that you are being realistic and reasonable with them in relation to compensation and experience. Evaluate potential hires based on them, and if no one meets those requirements, then it is time to start looking again.

In Hiring, Be The Ron Paul Supporter

Despite his absence on the ballot, Ron Paul retains adamant supporters who see eye to eye with him on most of the issues. His supporters stick to their guns, and hope for the change to come someday. The bottom line is that hiring should not come down to weighing choices against other choices. In a bind, it may seem like there is no other alternative, but sacrificing for the sake of hiring can lead to less-than-optimal outcomes. Evaluate candidates for who they are, and not how they compare to others. Stick to your guns, and hold out for the right person. Do this, and you will ensure a better hire in the end.

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