Re-Taste Foods is a long-established privately-owned Food supplier. They supply ambient healthy snack and cereal products to customers operating within: Hospitality, Hotels, Restaurants, Foodservice, Leisure, and Catering. Their ambient product range includes: Dried Fruit, Cereals, Jams & Preserves, and Nut Mixes. As a small but well-respected business, they have a loyal and prestigious client base including many of the major Global Hotel operators.
Recruitment of a Sales & Business Development Manager
The current Sales & Business Development Manager was relocating to another part of the Country, and the business needed a replacement quickly to provide support and continuity for customers. Food Careers began this recruitment campaign by speaking with the Founder and Business Owner at great length. Aside from learning about the requirements of the role, we wanted to get under the skin of the organisation and establish what type of character and personality would fit with the business.
We followed up our discussion with the Founder / Owner by speaking with the General Manager who would act as Line Manager and key source of information for the Sales & Business Development Manager. From these conversations we established that loyalty was important, they wanted the new employee to stay for the long term, they were seeking someone who understands food and likes food, someone who can deal effectively with large companies and senior decision makers in major global businesses. In terms of personality, it became clear that the archetypal glitzy, slick and sharp salesperson would not fit with the culture of the business or sit right with the customer-base.
To gain further insight into the business and the actual job itself we initiated a discussion with the outgoing Sales & Business Development Manager, as we wanted to gain the ‘inside track’ from the actual person doing the role currently. We learnt that the role would not suit an individual who needed a lot of directing and formal structure. We found out that to succeed the appointee would need to throw themselves into the role and immerse themselves in the products and customers. We ascertained that the person taking on the role would need to be naturally inquisitive and ask lots of questions. We learnt what was important in undertaking the duties of the role, including, excellent presentation skills, ability to lead and direct meetings, and the ability to change their sales approach to match the audience they are selling to. We also learnt more about the customer-base and how a lot of them have traditional values and courtesies that need to be respected such as, arriving at a meeting 10 minutes early, making sure you call a customer when you say you will call, dressing in formal business attire, confirming meetings, impeccable timekeeping,
The extensive information we learnt about the business and vacancy was utilised to formulate twelve specific interview questions that were asked subtlety, to enable us to measure candidate responses and subsequent ‘fit’ for both the company and the role using the detailed criteria we had established. These twelve specific questions were interspersed with a number of standard competency based and behavioural interview questions.
As a relatively small business, we understood that the vacancy was a key role, as much of the sales activity within the company would be the responsibility of the incumbent. As time was a factor we had to get it right first time and this was the reason why we undertook such detailed research into the role and company.
Using the tailored interview questions as outlined, we were able to quickly discount a number of candidates and focus on the few with the right ‘fit’. The business conducted two interviews and appointed an individual who had a passion for food, an inquisitive nature and previous experience of working successfully within the confounds of a small ‘quality focused’ fine foods supplier.
Six months into the role, feedback from the Founder / Owner on the performance of the Sales & Business Development Manager is very positive.
The duration from commencing the recruitment campaign to the company making an offer of employment to the selected candidate was 5-weeks.