As recruiters, how can we understand who is most likely to flourish in a role - and can the right recruitment tools play a role in helping us understand more deeply how to connect candidates and roles more effectively?
In a change to our usual blogs, one of our Sales Development Reps, the amazing Erica Olofsson, talks about her journey into working with Alva and what has surprised her about changing the direction of her career.
Why I applied for a customer success role
"In one way or another I’ve always worked with customer service, guiding customers and candidates. Working closely with the customers and making them feel that I’m happy to help has always been part of my job that I’ve loved.
"I’m quite competitive. In previous roles I enjoyed daily contact with customers & candidates, co-ordinating their work and complex processes. So, although I hadn’t worked in Customer Success before, the skills seemed like a great fit, I wanted to work with the company, and so I applied!
Hearing no - but
"After I applied and heard back, all I heard was “NO”. After working in the area for so many years and feeling like I was making progress, hearing “no” was devastating.
But, then I was told that the recruiting team saw that I had the potential to actually sell.
"At first I didn’t understand. I got a shock - a positive one, but a shock. I asked for the role description and that I would get back to them after reading this. I got a brief introduction about the role of SDR and the role description was sent to me.
I couldn’t stop thinking “how do they think I should handle this, I have not worked with sales before”.
A new challenge
Working in sales is the most challenging and the most fun work I’ve ever done; you never know when you pick up the phone how the call will start or end. I'm driven by challenges and I’m competitive. It feels like I've found the right role for me.
Right job, right ask
"Working in sales has strengthened my feelings in what I am good at. For years, people said I should try sales but it didn’t feel like the right fit for me. Why? I’m not sure, but maybe I just didn’t understand enough about the job, or the type of personality that fits best with a sales rep.
Now I don't think I could do anything else. I love what I do, sometimes I think a little too much because I always wear the "Alva" hat. There is no Sunday anxiety here and I long for work every day. My colleagues also make it very easy to love what I do, they are absolutely fantastic in every way.
Are you ticking boxes, or looking for talent you can develop?
“I think it’s important to look at the job description as a guideline, as not all candidates may fill all the boxes. What is in the job description might not be necessary: what is important is what the candidate will present, and to see the potential of a candidate to grow within the company.
Companies can stare blindly at a job description and miss out on many good candidates because they "think'' that they are looking for some kind of qualification that may not actually be required for that particular role.
My tip is, think of one extra laps and with Alva you get so much more out of your candidate.
If I hadn’t done the tests and the Case, they would never have known - and I would never have had this opportunity.”
Widen your talent pool - tactically
Erica’s team leader, Sofia Palmelius-Kolga, used to coach international gymnastics for Sweden (we do love a team with a lot of non-transferable skills 🤸).
“Recruiters are often afraid of widening the talent pool because of the fear that they’ll get irrelevant candidates. But if we can use the right recruitment tools to move the measurement of “potential” earlier in the process, we can dare to widen the pool and increase our chances of finding great performers because we’re not mistaking what suggests success.
Remove those 'nice to haves'
“We can increase our chances of finding that talented person who might not tick the boxes of a traditional job description that we'd usually have as ‘nice to haves’ and maybe can bring some other experiences into the role or team.
"Instead of staying with ‘that’s the type of person I want’ or ‘I need someone from this or that school’, think about what type of person will have the traits that you’re looking for.
"What no-one else tells you is that by recruiting in this way, you’re able to find the talent that no-one else is looking for."
"When I was building a new gymnastics team, I created a list of the skills I wanted - it’s a careful balance of technical skill, flair and performance. Because it was a dance team, we needed a careful balance, and everyone needed both a really high basic level, and a complementary skill set.
Widen the talent pool and beat the competition
"Because I had a list of what I wanted, I could bring in a more junior gymnast because she had a predictable history of performance. She was a person that no-one else was thinking about - so this means you can also get rid of competition.
"Everyone’s looking for the people who look good on paper - and they might not be the high performers either.
"If you can change your thinking to looking widely and carefully for the personality who’s going to fit in with your targets, you’ll find those talents that no-one else is looking for. So you can get ahead."
And who doesn’t like winning?
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