Please do not be one of those inexperienced and naive individuals that believe that’s the end of their job search or career change strategy.
Believe it or not there are actually people out there that think that recruiters are on this earth to find them a job. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our driving force is to find the perfect candidate for the perfect job and then to make an offer to that great candidate that is accepted on behalf of our client.
Put quite simply we are paid by our clients to find tabletop sales managers, etc that will satisfy new and existing customers of theirs not to find jobs for every out of work or dissatisfied person in tabletop.
To put an even more bizarre spin on the situation there are even people out there that are upset with recruiters for not ranking them at the top of the candidate list when asked to do so by our clients.
That is not to say that we do not have empathy with those that are looking for a new career having been there myself. In fact we do a lot more than most recruiters with advice on resume preparation, etc. It is quite frankly a case of where we must spend our time and energy.
Contacting a professional recruiter is about 5% of a job search or career change, the rest is up to, guess who?
Moving one’s career forward by relying solely on a recruiter is like expecting a foodservice establishment to purchase a new tabletop installation without you personally calling on them.
You are an experienced tabletop sales and marketing professional and have just reached out and contacted an executive recruiter to make a career change. Now what? What should I expect? What do I need to do? What should I NOT do?
Leading tabletop recruiter Mike Hawkins
explains what type of expectations are realistic and some of the cold, hard facts of career changes on the tabletop supplier side.
Check out what Mike has to say by going here:http://www.tabletopjournal.com/connectionssuppliers.html
Leading tabletop recruiter Mike Hawkins
Make sure that you are serious about your reasons for reaching out in the first place. “Kicking tires” is a total waste of everyone’s time and probably will not get you a second look.2.
Check with your trusted sources in tabletop to make sure that you are contacting the recruiter with the best reputation to assist you in moving your career forward. Confidentiality is critical, particularly if you are currently employed. 3.
Make sure that you have a clear and concise vision of your career objectives to include the position that you are looking for, companies that you would really like to work for and those that are not suitable.4.
Have a resume/CV that is full of tangible and credible business results.
Remember that a resume has to scream, not shout that….
…….I can make you look good.
…….I can make you money.
…….and lastly, I can do the job.5.
Have a logical reason as to why you want to leave your existing company. 6.
Be prepared with your full and verifiable details of your compensation package including salary, last year’s actual bonus and benefits, etc.7.
Will you relocate? If so, where – where not? This has to be discussed with your spouse and other relevant parties upfront.8.
Do you have your industry references in order? References should be from prior managers, those that reported to you, clients, etc. No references from non business related persons.9.
Manage your expectations. Recruiters are paid to find a perfect candidate for a position, they are not paid to find you a job. 10.
Finally, be prepared to be patient. Finding the perfect candidate/postion match often takes time.Mike Hawkins
has been recruiting top tabletop sales and marketing talent for the hospitality industry for over 22 years. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tablelop recruiter Mike Hawkins
My oh my, don’t you look the tabletop sales professional in your Armani suit, and I can just see you parading around the NRA, New York and NAFEM shows like you own the floor. It’s encouraging that you log onto the Tabletop Journal and read Food Arts, etc.
I’m not surprised that you study the latest trends in food and know the difference between a Syrah and a Petite Syrah, and in what stem they each should be poured. I am encouraged that you can hold a conversation with a F&B Director on his menu and how items are positioned on it and your knowledge of food cost, labor cost and wine markups are certainly above average.
Unfortunately there is many an “empty suit” in an Armani and I hate to be the one to tell you, but a skilled hiring manager and recruiter are going to ask you why it is that your resume/CV is posing so many questions about your actual recent performance.
Personally, I would rather hire someone whose pants have had an argument with their shoes, if they can prove to me that they can open new accounts consistently and expand existing ones.
A manager at Edward Don
said this in the late 70’s:“Any club that I have ever been a member of cancels my membership if and when I do not pay my dues”.
So what you did ten years ago may be very impressive but hiring managers and recruiters are interested in current velocity especially in this time of increased competitive offerings. Also, during an interview, be prepared to give examples of how you go about attacking a new account, fighting for that opening, differentiating yourself, developing a dealer/distributor, managing independent representation, what your chain account philosophy is, how do you increase the profitability of an order, etc., and is all of it current - No?
What do you do when you are in a city and finished working with your rep? Are there no end user calls for you to do on your own? What do you do in the evenings? Have room service in front of the TV or have a pre-planned dinner with clients and potential clients?
A skilled interviewer is going to lure you into uncovering your real self so always be prepared to give examples as to your behavior as past behaviors help predict the future. The right behavior leads, inevitably, to increased market share, and unless you can show that you are a real performer you will not have the stellar reputation that leads to recruiters knocking on your door and unfortunately, dooms you to surfing career websites along with masses of other “B” players. No real hunter has the inclination or energy to spend time on that nonsense.
You can reach Mike Hawkins
There seems to be a quiet revolution currently underway in the tabletop supplier community. A metamorphosis that’s subtle, almost unnoticed…..like say, the rise of an incoming tide.
Tabletop suppliers are upgrading both their sales and marketing people in a revolution that quietly, but steadily, is taking place. With creativity among tabletop product categories relatively stagnant (yes, we know there are exceptions...we try to write about them, remember?), companies - both suppliers and operators know that their people..…their “brand ambassadors”, if you will……create a larger and larger portion of their brand impact and influence the marketplace's thinking about their brands. With customer touchpoints and engagement taking the place of traditional advertising, the type and quality of the people who represent a brand is more critical than ever to determining brand essence. With less and less to differentiate the products themselves, customers turn to brand qualities and values to help determine their buying decisions. Often, those brand values (in the customer’s minds…and, after all, isn’t this all that REALLY matters) are determined by the people representing the products and the brand.
A brand's people are often the true differentiators and conveyors of brand values.
Starting with the CEO, brands are symbolized by the people who work for the brand. This is not new, but what is new is the relative lack of differentiation or “commoditization” of much of the tabletop category. TabletopJournal has spent a great deal of time writing about differentiation and how important it is on both the supplier and the operator side. However, the fact is that many of the tabletop products - and restaurants - are remarkably similar and barring any apparent unique points of difference, the buyer’s main decision driver will be price. With such similar products, the overall brand image has become the area to differentiate and the people who represent the brand have become an increasingly important area of differentiation.
Fortessa adds several new Sales Vice Presidents, Dudson adds a VP, Sales for North America, Oneida continues it's upgrade and now, intergration of its new sister company Anchor Hocking, Libbey adds a new Director of Marketing, Rosenthal/Sambonet names a new National Account Manager, Tuxton does the same…..all with the idea that these new “brand ambassadors” will help build each company’s brand essence and culture in a positive direction. After all, often the employee IS the brand. TabletopJournal feels that this trend towards upgrading sales and marketing talent will continue with short term results certainly at the center of the target hiring goals. But, when looking to upgrade the organization, there is also a longer-term "brand makeup” goal that needs to be considered. When looking to add to an organization, how the new employee will contribute to the long-term brand attributes ..or, essence...has to be thought about.
It is true that brands have voices. They all speak … some more loudly than others. That brand voice is made up of all the little interactions that are made with customer, potential customers, and others who may influence the sale or perception of a particular brand. Companies whose employees engage and interact with others in a way that consistently reinforces brand values have the best chance for both personal and brand success. Then, those brand values and messages need to be amplified through content marketing, advertising, and promotion.
evangelism goes beyond simply focusing on cool products and extends to helping other talented, kindred spirits find one another and to help conpanies realize the importance of each and every hire, particularly for postions that have extensive customer interaction. Tabletop recruiter Mike Hawkins
explains it well in his recent article “Recruiting Superior Tabletop Sales and Marketing Talent”
and we are pleased to be able to bring his expertise to both hiring companies and to candidates. Brand building is a long-term journey.
And, the people you hire - your "brand ambassadors"
are often the true long-term brand differentiators.
Choose your people wisely.
As the global footprint of tabletop reawakens at a rapid pace so does the need for unique individuals who can transport the product from “kiln to table” in a highly competitive market place without giving away the store.
During my Edward Don days we calculated that it took at least 7 contacts to open a restaurant account and as many as 11 to gain business at a hotel or hospital.
So how does a tabletop factory, dealer/distributor or rep group go about finding the hunter who can do something that is against basic human instinct which is to be rejected time and time again, and to still come back for more, with the same enthusiasm and passion as the first contact?
How does one find that sales executive who genuinely loves the thrill of the hunt and can sell in a professional and ethical manner, with an acceptable profit margin, and has the administrative and follow up skills that actually result in long term transactions and not one off deals?
This challenge is magnified when a trade show is attended. Here we see the entire foodservice industry on display and working the booths and aisles are many very nice individuals who no doubt work hard, travel a great deal, have good product knowledge, etc. but can they actually produce significant new business that is in the hands of well established competitors. I’m afraid that the answer in many cases is NO!
I spend a great deal of time looking at resumes/CVs and most are full of meaningless activities that do not answer the three basic key end result areas of a written summary of a career, which are in order of importance:
· Can you make me look good?
· Can you make me money?
· Can you do the job?
Do you think that the Chairman of IBM looks at a potential President’s resume and doesn’t think about how his new hire will make him look to his Board of Directors?
Quite often I get calls from seemingly bright individuals that would like to come into our industry. The majority of them do not have a clue what it takes to rise to the very top in foodservice sales. The years of sweat equity necessary to extract profit from an industry that works 24/7, 365 days a year.
Over the years as an industry we have done a lousy job of attracting young people that should now be ready for hiring managers to attract. Hardly anyone wants or thinks they can afford extensive training programs. Many job orders that we get have associated position descriptions that require a quick and often unrealistic bang for the buck.
Most factories are not going to hire these well meaning foodservice “wannabees” and if they appear to have necessary spark, I tell them to get with a quality dealer or distributor and learn the business from the street on up. Learn to walk into a professional kitchen on a steamy, hot day and see the wonderful foodservice ballet unfolding in the kitchen, and on the floor, and to experience tabletops critical role in the customer’s satisfaction with the dining experience.
Now that some of the challenges of recruiting in tabletop have been highlighted, hiring managers have several key decisions to make, some of which are:
· Do I have a position description that is not written on a napkin but is well thought out with regard to key end result areas that have been discussed with other senior department heads such as Human Resources, Operations and Finance?
· What is the culture of my company? Hiring a tortoise when a hare is needed isn’t going to cut it.
· How much training will the new hire get? If it’s little or none then you are going to have to go for experience which is going to cost money, bring up possible counter offers and the curse of every hiring manager and recruiter – the non compete agreement.
· Who is actually going to lead from the front to train the new team member on how to acquire new business?
· Do we have enough support for the new hire in the way of product pricing, innovation and differentiation, supply chain efficiencies, advertising, tradeshows and collateral support, etc?
My next article will focus more on the candidate looking to advance his or her tabletop career and it will also give the hiring manager some ideas on the business of tabletop talent acquisition.
To learn more about Mike Hawkins
and his recruiting firm, go here: http://www.mjhawkinsinc.com/
is pleased to announce that top U.S. tabletop recruiter Mike Hawkins
has joined us and will be a periodic contributor sharing his thoughts and many years of professional expertise.Mike will write about what it takes to be thought of as a "true professional" in the world of hospitality tabletop. Many in America are very familiar with Mike and his background, but our non-U.S. readers may not be. That's why we asked Mike to explain about his past experiences and why he is so knowlegable about what makes up a top tabletop professional. TabletopJournal thinks it is his vast experience that makes Mike Hawkins uniquely qualified to identify top talent within the hospitality tabletop segment. You can learn more about Mike's background by going to our Welcome page.
Mike will also write in the coming weeks and months ahead about what tabletop organizations who are looking to upgrade their personnel should be looking for. Many tabletop companies are currently wrestling with questions on how to get to that "next level" and surely it will be the companies with the best people who are ultimately the most successful. We are certain that the professional advice that Mike Hawkins has to offer will be of benefit to any company whether they have been competing in the tabletop market for decades or are a relatively new entrant. So, please help us welcome Mike to the TabletopJournal team.
You can visit Mike's company site by going here:
Top tabletop recruiter Mike Hawkins