Specialist Recruitment- from the lens of an Industrial Sales Professional

I started my career in industrial sales. And like every other industrial sales person, I was also trained to prospect with those customers who experience a pain area, and my product/service/solution would alleviate that pain. Only after establishing that I can help remove that pain area, would I move forward with commercial conversations with the purchase/procurement teams.

This process is almost the norm in the industrial sales sector where salespersons develop their knowledge of a sector and at the same time, continue to develop their relationship with the line managers – people who we then used to refer to as MAN- a person with Money, Authority and Need. Even though the term is a thing of the past, the concept remains the same – prospect with the one who has a need and authority.

When I talk to my ex-colleagues who have continued to work in the same space and have grown from the ranks to manage country level operations and in some cases, multi-country operations, I safely conclude that the sales process remains the same and the gestation to become a good sales leader is still a function of knowledge and connections of/within the Industry.

You may be wondering what this ramble has to do with recruitment?

When I joined Antal, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Antal’s market development and sales fundamentals closely resonate to what I learned in my formative industrial sales years- GO TO THE PERSON WITH THE PAIN.

And therefore, we emphasize prospecting with line managers – hiring managers – people who are in real pain because they are missing a team member. These line managers have a department goal/ objectives that contribute to the larger revenue and profitability picture of the company as a whole. Having an appropriate team in place is pre-requisite for achieving the goal.

If the right talent is not available, it puts a lot of strain on the Team Lead/Head and the rest of the team- it means stretching self to breaking point, compromising work-life balance and quality of life, cutting a sorry figure with the management team and some cases not using the best of the Technology.

When I prospect, I am looking for pain – I am trained to look for pain. Even as somebody in recruitment, I am looking for the pain the line managers are going through because of lack of great talent in their teams. And if I am able to present the right candidate who can help not only fix the problem but also increase productivity, market share and increase the morale of the team- I believe my role as a specialist recruiter is justified.

But if only, selling within Recruitment was so easy!!

Into this equation, however, I have to very often deal with, is somebody completely unrelated to the pain, Somebody who doesn’t empathise with the pain of the line manager, somebody who is extremely clinical – sometimes to an extent, that they are only talking about number of resumes,  lowest quote and not the best candidate. This somebody is the Talent Acquisition (TA) team.

I have been a hiring manager myself within IT industry and I do think that more than the cost savings, the TA team also need to be measured against opportunity costs lost to the business, compromise in quality of life, deteriorating health of the line manager because a great talent couldn’t come on board.

I think it’s time to end the thought that talent is the responsibility of the TA team only.

Talent is the responsibility of the direct supervisor, of the department/delivery head, of the CEO of the company. Great talent enriches the company in more ways than one, and the only way to achieve a great talent mix in the company is to give greater autonomy to department heads in hiring, within a corporate governance and ethics framework.

This article was penned by Mr Vinu Nair, Managing Partner Antal Chennai. He focuses on Head Hunting, recruiting key talent and business leaders for my clients in the ITES industry. Prior to joining the Antal Network, Vinu Nair has worked in the Sales & Marketing and IT sector for more than 20 years. He was Vice President at NTT Data, managing their business in India and Middle East region. He played key roles in the SAP delivery team for many years before moving to Sales and Business Development.

Vinu would be happy to hear from you..any comments and rebuttals either on the blogs comment section or through a direct email to him on vnair@antal.com.

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About Antal India Recruitment Blog

Founded in 1993, Antal International is a global Executive Recruitment firm with 120 offices in more than 30 countries We work with professional and managerial talent worldwide. works with many of the world’s most successful and ambitious employers. In January 2007 Antal International established the first office in India, which led to the opening of 38 offices in 14 cities. In 2013, Antal named Joseph Devasia as its Managing Director for Antal International Network, India – the man who brought Antal to India 9 years ago. Antal India today has 100+ consultants working across offices in India filling more than 3000 assignments at the mid – senior level. Antal India today has offices specialising in various industries like FMCG/CD, Ecommerce, IT, Pharma, Auto, Engineering, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Construction, Retail, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Defence. Clients: Over the past 22 years, Antal has worked with over several thousand clients making 60,000 placements. Antal extensive network of offices and deep market expertise is what sets Antal apart from its competitors. To know more about us – www.antal.com

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