We see a lot of talented candidates on a weekly basis, from all backgrounds - sales, marketing, educational, occupational, big company corporate animals and SME movers and shakers, each looking for that next step.
There's a job for everyone out there and each has it's own unique and sometimes very specific set of application criteria but there are common trends and - no matter which dream job you're aiming for - they are becoming more than just winning edges for FMCG sales and marketing candidates in today's market.
1) Cross Functional Skills - Clients are increasingly interested in multi-disciplined candidates, whether that be SME businesses or Tier 1. Gone are the days of being a National Account Manager with the bulk of your job being negotiating at the coalface with Tesco. There is a much more collaborative way of working in the market - cross functional knowledge of category, trade marketing, brand, shopper & MS&P would all be beneficial. If you have a chance to get in amongst the key stakeholders in these areas - snap it up!
2) Conflict & Stakeholder Management - "Gravitas...lacking in gravitas". Something we are hearing more and more often about salespeople in FMCG. Generation X & some of Y typically have more gravitas because they will tackle obstacles face to face in order to make an informed decision. With Generation Z & some of Y there is an email culture which creates a time lag but, more importantly, doesn't solicit a conversation and is therefore very transactional. Next time there is an opportunity to speak with someone when you have a problem rather than email them, get up and find them!
3) Real Commercial Exposure - Managing an account and a P&L can mean different things to different people. Of course there is commercial exposure in all businesses but to what level? Is a bigger title, a better salary or a promotion really developing you in the market? The emergence of SME businesses and rise of challenger brands has led to our customers wanting broader commercial exposure in order to hand over accounts which are a larger percentage of the business. More commercial exposure = more responsibility. What do you have actual responsibility for? What do you do in the team, rather than what you do as part of a team.
4) Open Mindedness - Why not do something different? Bigger businesses are not always the best route forward for some and the biggest brands are not always aspirational (take Schweppes versus Fever-Tree as an example). Some of these challenger company's don't have amazing benefits packages with onsite gyms & ice cream parlours but you might want to have a think about what you could learn being more exposed in a smaller business. A recruiter talking to you about a challenger business isn't always trying to sell you a pup!
5) Personality - This has always been a really important part of hiring in the FMCG market as it's all about how you engage with the customers, but now I think it's more important than a commercial skill set in a lot of cases. What you do outside of work - foodie? sporty? stamp collector? These things are so much more important than they used to be. Get your personality across, go cycling, do a 3 peaks challenge or show some enthusiasm for what you do outside of the workplace. After all, if you can't get excited about stuff you love doing, how are you going to get excited about something you have to do?
It sounds simple and wow I've said a lot there - would love your thoughts!
The funny thing about the recruiting process is that if you read job ads, you’d think that employers are strictly looking for people with very specific types of experience. That’s all you can see in a job ad — long lists of bullet points with Essential Requirements like years of experience with certain tools, and obscure industry certifications! Once you get to a job interview, though, the whole picture changes. Employers are looking for qualities in their new hires that are never listed in the job ad. They want to meet people who are self-directed and responsible. You will bring out those qualities through your answers to the job-interview questions and also through the questions you ask your interview.