• Spotlight on success: How to succeed in a commission-based sales role

    April 06, 2017 by

     

    Name: Eric Leger
    City/state: Austin, Texas
    Current profession: Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac
    Years with current company: 15
    College/University attended: Lubbock Christian University

    Recent college grads seeking opportunities to set their own schedule, earn unlimited income, and develop professional skills that last a lifetime, can do so by pursuing commission-based sales jobs.

    But it’s not easy for recent college grads to see the potential of a commission-based sales opportunity, especially when there are bills to pay, they have limited sales experience, and are afraid to take risks. Because in effect, a commission-based sales career is a risk. However, it’s a risk that comes with rewards that are not potentially offered through a traditional salaried, full-time job.

    “Commission-based sales opportunities are attractive for outgoing, motivated, competitive people who want a high degree of autonomy,” said Steven Rothberg, Founder of College Recruiter. “With risk comes greater reward, so if you perform well then you should make more money than a salaried employee doing similar work.”

    That’s what Eric Leger of Austin, Texas learned. Leger, like many new to sales, was once apprehensive about giving up the security of a bi-weekly paycheck provided through his career as a teacher and a coach. But he was also frustrated by the limited ability to earn more money to help support a family of five, as well as a lack of work-life balance, and reward for success.

    But that was 15 years ago, and now, Leger knows that his decision to switch to a commission-based sales opportunity was the best career move he ever made. Leger, who started out in field sales, moved up the company ladder and is now the Vice President of National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover.

    “First of all, I quickly learned that working in sales is an honorable profession,” said Leger. “I admit, going to work in a 100 percent commission role was a little bit intimidating, and as someone who was the breadwinner for a family of five, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into.”

    But Leger, like all Aflac field sales reps do when they start out, went through a dedicated 13-week training session, and through support and mentorship from local and regional sales directors, continuing education and training, found success as an independent contractor working in a 100-percent commission-based sales position.

    “For the first time in my life, I truly felt I was getting paid what I was worth,” said Leger. “I also enjoyed the opportunity to get out in the field, meet other business owners, and present our product to them, because I truly believed it added value to the businesses and clients we serve.”

    Finding the right product can make or break a commission-based sales career.

    “If you’re good at sales and selling a product that is desired by the marketplace, you can make really good money,” said Rothberg.

    Leger agrees, noting that he was motivated by Aflac’s strong reputation, and for the opportunity to work with business owners to sell a product that provided security to the many diverse business owners and clients.

    “Recent college graduates need to know choosing what product or service one sells plays a major role in job satisfaction and success,” he says. “The bottom line is, you have to be passionate about the product, and aligned with the right brand, and a brand that is in-demand,” says Leger.

    Recent college grads don’t need a previous sales background to succeed in commission sales jobs. So that means someone with a liberal arts degree, communications degree, business degree, marketing degree, or even a degree in education like Leger, can succeed with the right training and soft skills.

    These are the key soft skills sales professionals need to have or develop for success, says Leger:

    • Grit and resiliency
    • Goal-oriented
    • Strong work ethic
    • Persistence
    • Entrepreneurial spirit
    • Drive to work for themselves

    A typical day in a commission-based sales job involves prospecting, presenting and following up with clients through email, phone and face-to-face meetings. Depending on the company or role, there could be face-to-face team or individual sales meetings, or weekly sales conference calls. A good commission-based sales opportunity will provide support, coaching, ongoing training, and teach the art of selling. And handling rejection.

    “You have to realize that rejection or saying no is not personal, it’s just part of business,” says Leger.

    Many entry-level sales jobs require employees to work on-site. Other commission-based sales job, like Aflac, hire independent contractors who can work from wherever they want, including their own home, or through a local or regional office if it fits. The flexibility, upward mobility, income potential, and ability to operate like a small business owner through a career in sales can be an attractive career opportunity for the right person.

    “A career in sales is extremely exciting,” says Leger. “It’s one of the only true opportunities to truly earn what one is worth, and many recent college grads are attracted to the opportunities because of the mobility and flexibility. Learning the art of selling teaches skills that transfer to any industry, so it’s a great way to launch a career.”

    Want more information on how to succeed in a career in sales? Stay connected to College Recruiter for more advice and tips like this. Start by registering with College Recruiter to have job alerts emailed to you. Then visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

     

    Eric Leger, Vice President - National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac

    Eric Leger, Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac

    Eric Leger is Vice President, National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover. Leger was a former teacher and coach who, 15 years ago, switched careers and started in a commission-based field sales rep role for Aflac. Leger is currently responsible for recruiting, training and leadership development of Aflac’s U.S. sales force.

  • The job seeker’s guide to identifying and avoiding job search scams

    March 16, 2017 by

     

    Fake email addresses. Copycat web sites. Requests for personal information before a job is offered. Interviews conducted only via instant messaging. Promises of salary that are too good to be true. Requests to submit payment to move to the next step of the job search.

    These are just a few of the dirty tactics scumbags use to try and scam job seekers, including inexperienced job seekers like recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. The threat is real, and like any online or cyber threat, the people conducting the fraudulent activity are often trying to gather information to steal one’s identity or money.

    The team at College Recruiter takes the threat of job search scams and fake job postings seriously, and has implemented a multi-step process that identifies and blocks the vast majority of identity thieves and other scammers from ever posting a job to College Recruiter. In fact, every single job advertisement placed on College Recruiter goes through an in-depth verification process to prove the job posting is legitimate, and all ads are verified through actual contact with a human with the employer posting the job ad – something not every job board can claim.

    “Here at College Recruiter, we take these fraudulent attempts very seriously and work daily to ensure all the jobs that are posted on our web site are from verified employers to protect our job seekers from applying, interviewing, and becoming victims of identity theft,” says Dani Bennett, Sales and Client Services Manager at College Recruiter.

    In the article Rise of Recruitment Scams Hurt Both Job Seekers and Employers Alike, the team at  global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas identified some recent and unfortunately, popular job search scams. What may be surprising to many is that these scams don’t just target small companies. Here are some examples:

    1. Scammers created a false ad for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations. When a job seeker responded, the person who received the email asked for additional personal information, such as tax files, driver’s license, and birth certificate. Scammers then used this information to open credit cards and bank accounts. The messages from these so-called recruiters sound legitimate. In the Rio Tinto case, the recruitment email included an application with the company’s name and logo.

    Remember, anyone can set up a fake web site or email account, for example through free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail. College Recruiter, however, will not accept any job postings that use a free email provider to receive job applications.

    1. In another incident in Houston, scammers set up an actual interview, via Google hangout, using the name of a reputable company, and then offered a position. The scammers then asked the job seeker to move around large sums of money, in this scenario, up to $3,000. To carry this out, they sent fraudulent checks made out to the job seeker to start a home office, then asked the job seeker to forward that money to a third party vendor.

    “Any time a company asks you to pay or hold money for them, you should immediately see red flags,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “A credible employer would never ask their employees to move money through their personal accounts. That’s why companies have accounting departments.”

    1. In July, Shell Oil, one of America’s largest oil and natural gas producers with over 22,000 employees, posted a notice on its careers site warning job seekers that scammers were using the Shell name and logo to recruit for positions.

    Besides the obvious problem for job seekers, the toll these scams can take on a company’s reputation is huge, says Challenger. Most employers don’t know these fraudulent job postings are out there until they are contacted by job seekers who have figured out it’s a scam and contacted the legit company directly. By then, the company reputation is already damaged with those job seekers.

    “From a recruitment perspective, once a company’s brand has been associated with these fraudulent ads, it may be difficult to attract the talent needed when a position becomes available,” says Challenger.

    College Recruiter Founder Steven Rothberg added, “Some job boards, like College Recruiter, have formalized, proactive, anti-fraud measures in place, but many job boards are more reactive and rely upon their users to complain about fraudulent postings before the job board takes any action.”

    Not only do cyber criminals post fake job ads, unethical recruiters also post fake job ads, often on sites where they can post free job ads. Why would they do that? To act like they are “well-connected” and have a long list of candidates to choose from. A recruiter may submit these resumes to the employer for which they are hiring for, to show activity – which employers value when working with recruiters – and that they have an active pipeline of candidates, when they have no intentions of responding to, interviewing, or hiring these employees.

    How can a job seeker spot a fraudulent job posting, or job search scam? Follow these tips from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota:

    Continue Reading

  • Analytics and data in recruiting: Don’t let competitors steal your talent

    September 07, 2016 by
    Group of businesspeople at work

    Group of businesspeople at work. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Five years ago, Steven Rothberg, founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, rarely heard employers talk about using analytics or data when making hiring decisions.

    “Now I can hardly walk down the hall at a recruiting conference or spend 30 minutes on a call with a client and not hear some reference to it,” says Rothberg. “There is no doubt that HR professionals recognize the value in using data-driven decisions, but probably fewer than one percent of employers are good at it.”

    Ian Cook, Head of Workforce Solutions at Visier, a company that develops cloud-based applications that enable HR professionals to answer workforce strategy questions, talked about the impact of analytics, specifically to campus recruiting and the hiring of recent college grads, in the College Recruiter article Analytics, data changing way employers recruit, hire college graduates.

    “This is no longer a nice to have,” Cook said in that article, referring to the use analytics and data to drive recruiting and hiring decisions. “Everyone knows the game has changed, and if you are not using analytics to play the best you can then you will be left behind.”

    The reality is, if you are not using analytics and data, your competitor who already is using analytics to recruit and hire recent college grads and entry-level job seekers probably has already interviewed or hired that candidate that may have once been interested in your company.

    “If you don’t dive into analytics, then you are increasing the likelihood that your competitor will be able to scoop up all the great talent that you need,” says Cook.

    The move to using big data and analytics for campus recruiting, hiring recent college grads or entry-level employees has been met with resistance by both small and large employers. Many of those employers believe their campus recruiting efforts, combined with a strong social media outreach, and robust campus careers page, drives success recruiting recent college grads or entry-level job seekers.

    “We do hear the ‘our college recruiting program is a well-oiled machine’ from some employers,” says Rothberg.

    But at the same time, both small and large employers are now successfully using analytics and data to drive hiring decisions. That list includes these three well-known companies:

    Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Dylan Schweitzer of Enterprise Rent-A-Car spoke publicly about how they use data to track their sources of hire and that allows them to reduce their spend on schools, job boards, and other sources which are more expensive than their other sources.

    Lockheed Martin: Alton Fox of Lockheed Martin mentioned at TalentBlend 2016 that they’re shifting more and more of their university relations budget toward job boards and other virtual sourcing tools because the cost-of-hire is far lower AND the employees are far more productive.

    Uber: Uber tests, tests, and tests some more with different job titles, geographic targeting, job descriptions, landing pages, and more. They work with a wide variety of media partners and many of those partners are paid on a performance basis, so if the ads they run work well then Uber keeps working with the media partner and probably increases how much they spend with that partner, says Rothberg. If the ads don’t work well, Uber shifts those resources to better performing sourcing tools.

    Using analytics and data to make recruiting and hiring decisions should be viewed as a way to bridge the gaps that can be cause with human oversight or human error. Analytics and data also provide a unique insight that has never been available before. So why not use analytics and data when making hiring decisions?

    Many organizations are focused on analyzing candidates, such as by resume parsing or extended social profile analyses, in order to improve their likelihood of landing a great hire, says Cook. Others are taking a more strategic approach and attempting to analyze the workflow and outputs of the recruiting function.

    They are looking at questions such as:

    • Can we recruit faster?
    • Are we spending our sourcing dollars in the right place?
    • If we change up our process, do fewer people abandon their applications?
    • Which sources consistently produce employees who stay and perform?

    These are complex questions involving multiple data sources, but they are all are aligned to ensuring the function is delivering what the business needs.

    “Predominantly, we see industries that need to recruit a lot of high value talent being early adopters or ahead of the game when it comes to talent analytics,” says Cook. “Organizations that hire lots of software engineers or technical medical staff or specialists with financial skills understand the value that comes from being data-driven as opposed to following the old ‘post and hope’ model.”

    College Recruiter has been using analytics and data for years, providing employers with specific and organized reports to help achieve their recruiting and hiring goals. But many recruiters and HR professionals simply fear change, or the challenge of implementing analytics into the decision-making process.

    “The biggest reason that I see employers resisting the use of data and analytics is the fear of math,” says Rothberg.

    Here is an example: Rothberg recently asked the head of HR for a 5,000-employee company if they would like a detailed proposal that walked through the outcomes of the various recruitment advertising packages being considered. This proposal included projections on the number of candidates that would be sent to that company’s applicant tracking system from College Recruiter, how many would apply, how many would be hired, time-to-hire, and cost-per-hire.

    “She asked what I needed and I asked her how many people she wanted to hire and over how many months,” recalls Rothberg. “She didn’t know. I asked how many applications she would expect to generate for every 1,000 clicks we sent to her ATS. She didn’t know. I asked how many hires she would make for every 100 applications. She didn’t know. As unfortunate as all of that was, she didn’t want to know. She was the head of HR for a 5,000 person company and she didn’t want to admit that math scared her.”

    Don’t let analytics scare you. Employers, both large and small, are using analytics to drive talent decisions. Dive in, before your competitors steals your next great hire.

    “We can always find ways to save a little money, hire a little faster, diversify a little more, and hire people who perform a little better and are retained for a little longer,” says Rothberg. “Data and analytics help us identify those areas where we can improve, whether there is only minor or vast room for improvement.”

    Wondering how analytics can help drive your recruiting decisions and successes? Contact College Recruiter today to learn more, and be sure to Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.