This is the third segment of the conversation I had with Ken.
In Part 3, Ken and I talk about:
- Advice for salespeople looking to get hired
- Leveraging social media to get recruited
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Ken Lazar is a Professional Recruiter and Principal in Ability Professional Network, LLC.
Having spent over twenty years in talent acquisition and professional staffing, Ken previously held the positions of Managing Director for Experis Division of ManpowerGroup and District Manager for Kelly Services. Ken’s teams have put over 12,000 people to work.
Over the course of his career, Ken has won many top sales awards including District of the Year, the Consumer’s Choice Award for “Best Staffing Agency” in Central Ohio and the Leadership Award for Influential Selling. Ken led his team to twice winning his companies highest award, the ManpowerGroup “Power Award”, for growth, profitability and community service.
Understanding the needs of top sales performers and the importance of sourcing and hiring top sales professionals, Ken and his son Matt formed Ability Professional Network, LLC. The recruiting staff at APN are specialists at recruiting sales and sales management professionals. The company’s goal is to help its clients to grow their business and their candidates to reach their career potential.
A graduate in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University with a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from the Krannert Business School at Purdue University, Ken and his wife, Nancy, reside in Plain City, Ohio.
Ken is an avid golfer, custom pen maker and owns the best dog on the planet.
E202 – Transcript
Jason: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the sales experience podcast. My name again is Jason Cutter. So glad that you’re here. This is part three of my conversation with Ken Lazar from ability professional network. And we’re just going to continue the conversation. Make sure if you haven’t done it already, listened to part one and part two because we’re just going to keep rolling through this discussion about recruiting, sales professionals, that whole process. What works, what doesn’t work in this day and age with this market. So here you go. Part three, enjoy.
Ken: I don’t know about you, but I have seen more professionals crop their wife out of their wedding picture. You’ll have the, the Carnation in their Guten air and that does not connote a sales profession. So my feeling is, to go to Penney’s, go to Target, go somewhere and get a professional headshot. My recommendation is, although this may be a little old school, I suggest you put on a sports coat.
Jason: Well, if you’re, you’re, you’re going old school with the sport coat and tie and the pennies reference for their photo shoots. So, uh, but yeah, I mean all of those are good. I mean definitely put some effort into it. I know for me what I did and getting professional shots done recently was I found somebody through my network that was, you know, an aspiring professional photographer and you know, he did a great job, did a bunch of great work, took a lot of shots and uh, yeah, it was great.
Ken: Yeah. So that’s number one is that’s very important. The other is that you need to make sure that people can get a hold of you. So on your LinkedIn profile, a lot of people don’t know unless you tell LinkedIn that you would like to have your telephone number and email address visible to everybody. The only people that can see it as your first-level connections. So my recommendation is that you put your telephone number and your email address in your summary so people can get a hold of you. Either recruiters, corporate recruiters or professional recruiters like me, so they don’t have to do a lot of leg work to get a hold of you. So that’s preparation. The second is, is that your resume really has to be professionally done. Especially if you are looking for a sales leadership position. Make sure that somebody who knows how to write resumes does it. Remember that your resume is just not a uh, a summary of your professional accomplishments. It’s actually a marketing document. So you really need to make that very professional and in the direction that you want to go in your career. So those are two things that, but I’m going to suggest that you do immediately just to make sure that people can find you as a passive candidate. Makes sense to you?
Jason: Yeah, and I like that tip about LinkedIn, especially the standardized side. Yeah. A lot of candidates don’t realize that if you’ve never been on the recruiting side, you don’t know what it’s like to look at hundreds of resumes in all different formats with all formatting and locations and trying to find what you need in there. Various lengths, various information, you know, that’s there or not there. And uh, that is great about LinkedIn. Is it’s standard. If somebody fills in most of the information, everything will be there. And, uh, if you’re looking for a top performer job and you’re a sales pro, then yeah, you want to make sure, especially B2B, you want to make sure your LinkedIn is tight anyway.
Ken: Our feeling is that we really don’t promote any candidates that do not really have a robust LinkedIn profile, especially in sales. Because if they really don’t, and I don’t know how serious they are about their profession.
Jason: Well and that’s, I mean that’s the thing, right? I mean they say what you do and in one area is what you do in all areas. And so, you know, if you’re a salesperson, and this is to everyone listening, cause this is my experience, it’s the same thing with the, you know, CRM data and your emails and your communication. You know, if you’re not putting the effort into your LinkedIn and that as a marketing tool on a presentation for yourself, there’s a good chance that you could be successful in sales because you’re getting by on what you’re saying and your conversations. But are you operating in a professional level in all areas where you’re looking at the entire package and being that professional.
Ken: Yeah, and if you are actively seeking a position, if you’re in transition, then your LinkedIn profile really needs to mirror your resume. Almost word for word.
Ken: If you are well professional that is just using LinkedIn for social media or other means, then your LinkedIn profile can look different. It’s more company-focused than for you, personal. So you really need to focus on which end of the spectrum you are, you uh, are you a candidate or you’re looking to gain business through your LinkedIn profile.
Jason: Yeah, and I know for myself there’s been many different periods in my life where I’m not using LinkedIn because I’m busy at a job in a role and I’m not really leveraging LinkedIn cause it’s not important for what I’m doing. But then always remember is when you make that shift or you’re looking for opportunities is to update it in the same way you would update a resume.
Ken: And then to be active. I mean it doesn’t take a lot of time to post something. Once a week on LinkedIn to your network or to your groups, just to keep your name out there. You never know who’s watching, especially if it is relevant to your profession. We should put that stuff out there and you come across with every day. But it’s kind of like an afterthought to post it on LinkedIn.
Jason: Yeah. So let me ask you this about other social media. How important have you seen it from your role helping companies with their recruiting top sales performers in looking at the person’s other social media? Like how much does that factor in these days?
Ken: Not much. No. I mean, I Google candidates. I really don’t go on their Facebook page and take a look at what they’re doing on Facebook. There are two different strategies. One is a personal network, the other one’s a professional network. But, Facebook, I don’t use it as a tool for recruiting at all.
Jason: But what about kind of investigating somebody who might be a candidate. Is that pretty common still? You know, you said Google it and then see what comes up. What about checking the social media just to see what you’re getting into.
Ken: I’ve seen candidates being rejected for positions for the proliferation of junk that they put on their Facebook page. And it’s a shame that because they can be highly qualified in their professional life, but in their post, in their personal life is crazy. So present company excluded. I’m sure.
Jason: I don’t do much on social media anyway. I keep all my crazy to myself.
Ken: Yeah. So if you’re out there and you think you’re going to promote your career or if you’re in job search mode, I would absolutely recommend that you take a look at your LinkedIn profile. I assume that your Facebook profile to make, I take anything out of there that it is controversial.
Jason: Yeah, it’s definitely, I mean, because again, it’s partially for the company because the biggest thing I’ve seen, you know, salespeople understand or anybody listening to this, like one of the biggest things from a recruiting standpoint is, is this going to be a cultural fit? So based on the organization, the values, the mission, and the vision for the company, is somebody going to be a good fit? And while it might seem like, well, this is how I am at work and this is how I am in my personal life, I’ve rarely ever found somebody who can be two different people. They’re always the same person you are and who you are wherever you go. And so you might kind of pretend in a sales profession or professional environment to be one way, but at some point that that division will go away and you’ll, your true colors, whoever you are, will come out good or bad or positive or negative, whatever that is.
Jason: And so is it a good fit for some organizations posting crazy stuff on Facebook could be a perfect fit because that fits in with who they are, but it’s when it’s not a good fit that it stands out and you know, organizations are going to make those decisions.
Ken: I agree. So you just need to make sure that nothing there that would keep you from getting a job or eliminate you from getting the job. Absolutely.
Jason: Yeah. And then the other thing that always to keep in mind too is that if your searching and I’m searching and somebody who’s recruiting a searching, you know there’s a good chance at some point a prospect, a prospective customer is going to search, especially if it’s a bigger transaction or a longer sales cycle. At some point, it’s going to come up with who is this person we’re dealing with? It could come up in that same search and then will that help or hurt your chances of closing that deal and your reputation.
Ken: And your career, your career. Absolutely. Cause that stuff’s out there forever.
Jason: So let me ask you this, shifting a little bit. So you’ve hired somebody, you’ve put them in place, you know, for one of your client’s companies hire to make that decision. In your experience, what are those top salespeople doing that makes them successful once they’re in that role?
Ken: Well one is that they’re going to take a look at their compensation plan. She has made sure that they understand what it takes for them to be successful personally with regard to their baseless division. So that’s the mark of a good salesperson. What is the company asking me to do to make my compensation as high as possible, which will be directly influenced how the company grows.
Ken: So that’s important. The other one is a plan. So a lot of my clients are during the interview asking the candidates, but what are you going to do in the first 90 days? Now that you know something about my company, now that you know something about the position, how would you go about this? And you really need to put together that 90-day plan in order to, uh, to be successful. Then you really need to get feedback from your hiring manager as often as possible. How am I doing? What do I need to do better? What else do I need to do to keep that moving? And for salespeople, regardless of who you are, you really got to start putting prospects in the funnel. That’s the most important thing. If you start out putting, really, really good quality prospects into your funnel and continue to do that, you’re going to be successful regardless. It’s that what people do not understand is that the top of the sales process is the most critical. You don’t have prospects, you don’t have successful salespeople. Is that what you see and what you’ve seen, Jason?
Jason: Alright, everybody, that’s it for part three of the conversation. We’ve got one more left tomorrow. Make sure to subscribe so you can get alerts whenever there’s new episodes each and every day, five days a week. Get your daily dose of the sales experience podcast. And as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.