What’s it like to work at Solutions Driven?

We catch up with Nicki Paterson, Business Growth Lead, to find out what life at SD is really like…

Hi Nicki, thanks for chatting to us! Did you always want to work in sales?

To be honest, as a kid all I ever wanted to do was play football professionally. At 16 I got that chance, and 18 years later am still involved in the game at a professional level. However, my parents always stressed the importance of education, as realistically only a small percentage make it as professional sportspeople. Passing my higher exams made it easier for them to see me follow my dream.

My football career is unlike most others; 3 years in Scotland, 4 years in Las Vegas on a “soccer scholarship”, then a further 8 years in the pro ranks before returning to Scotland in 2016 at a crossroads. I was a bit lost, asking myself “do I continue football full-time when the money doesn’t match the US? Or do I move into full time employment and play part time?”

Sounds like a tough decision. What helped you make your choice?

I’ve never been work-shy, and the thought of working 9-5 doesn’t phase me. For me, it’s more about what I will be doing during that time. I had the pleasure of loving every minute of my career up to that point, so the thought of the unknown wasn’t easy. Ultimately, I chose the work/part time football route and continue to do this today. My first role was a Sales Exec at Monster, a global brand. I enjoyed the role, was successful but always felt I could offer more. Enter Solutions Driven.

What was your journey to become part of SD like?

I met the CEO of Solutions Driven, Gavin Speirs, in May 2017. Within the first ten minutes of our chat his passion for the company, recruitment, people in general and wanting things to be done better shone through. His drive matched my own. The chance to move into a company whose clients are global (placed in 54 countries in the past 3 years), would allow me to continue to speak with and travel to new places.

I got the impression that Solutions Driven is an extremely adult environment where support is given from the top, but autonomy is given to the employees to come in and do a good job. The job isn’t heavily matrixed, but there’s enough structure so that everyone knows where they stand and what it takes to be successful. At that point I was sold. I knew very little about recruitment, although my wife had been in recruitment for 10+ years so I felt I had a good idea of the challenges ahead.

You’re still here, so how’s it been?

It’s now over 2 years later and I now work closely with both Gavin and Walter Speirs, the COO. As sales lead, I have seen the sales, accounts and marketing teams grow. Sales and delivery are split at SD which allows individuals to play to their strengths as not all sales people can recruit and vice versa. During my time at SD we have added 20+ new clients in 2018, and have already achieved 20 thus far in 2019. Revenue increased 23% in 2018 and I believe we will continue on this trajectory this year with the team we have in place.

Great! Do you really enjoy your job or are there down sides?

Winning new clients is great. I believe the harder you work the luckier you get, but effort alone is not enough. Knowing your business inside and out, which types of business you want to go after and what clients we can share success stories with is extremely important. Why work so hard to win a new client and then not be able to fill their open position? That relationship will not last long. In football terms, you are only as good as your last game.

We are very lucky here at SD that Gavin and Walter have developed the 6S Process; Scoping, Scorecarding, Sourcing, Selecting, Securing & Satisfying. Our Delivery Specialists use this process as a road map to success for our clients. Given our global experience across many industries, there are not many roles we cannot support on but rather than be another contingent recruitment agency, we think of ourselves as a recruitment partner for business-critical hiring needs.

What does business-critical mean?

Business-critical can mean many things; a C-suite hire, a leadership role, a role that’s been open for 6-12 months, a role than if not filled will hurt the business, a confidential hire, a replacement role or a role that is extremely time sensitive etc. When a role is business-critical, the approach is not spray and pray, an online advert, check my database to see what we have that might work. It is essential that the role is filled right first time. “Right First Time” is the key metric that drives Solutions Driven forward.

We are sitting currently at 97% right first time, meaning our client hires a candidate from the first shortlist delivered. Our standard process allows us to scope the role and propose our delivery commitments within the first few days. We strive to send our clients a shortlist within 3 weeks, 93% success on that currently. Also, we add a sample stage approx. 1 week/halfway through the process to look at 2/3 engaged sample profiles to make sure we are on the right track and can re-calibrate if necessary. This ensures come shortlist our clients have 4-6 primed candidates who all match the spec, have been competency based interviewed, psychometric tested and we know exactly their reasons for wanting to be part of this new company moving forward.

Would you say your career has worked out for the best?

I saw dark days ahead when I thought about my football career ending. Meeting Gavin and joining Solutions Driven really opened my eyes to what was possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everything is perfect; there’s so much human involvement that is outwith your control, but when you believe you work for owners and a company that want things to be done better it gives you the motivation to continue to raise the bar. I can honestly say I wake up in the morning with no fear to come to work. I experience the opposite in fact, as often I find there is just not enough hours in the day. With a second kid arriving 3 months ago my work/life balance is extremely important to me! Having global clients means taking a call at night on occasion but I guess I’m lucky my wife understands the industry.

Do you feel like you get to use the skills you learned from your footballing career?

I came from a world where every result was life and death, and expectations were always high. I was fortunate to have achieved so much in my career, and admittedly I still cling to these moments by keeping a football picture on my LinkedIn profile, but it’s who I am and I’m proud of that. Football taught me to be a team player, a leader, and to do your own job before telling others what to do. All skills I feel have translated to the business world. I have a team around me here at SD that is more like a family with everyone willing to support when needed. A team that share ideas, best practice and collaborate to ensure we deliver as best we can.

 

Thanks Nicki, and happy working!

Would you feel at home in Solutions Driven? We’ve got vacancies available now. 

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.

What’s the big deal about business-critical hiring?

You’ve heard the term, and you know that some roles are more crucial than others for ensuring the wheels of your business keep turning. But why does business-critical hiring matter, and how can you ensure you get it right?

Making the right hire matters regardless of job role; the knock-on effects of a poor fit are well-documented. However, making a bad hire in a business-critical role could lead to even worse consequences than decreased morale, increased recruitment costs and staff turnover. 

The Internet of Things and the Fourth Industrial Revolution are upon us, and with that brings a shift in workforce demographics. Increasing automation may have some fearing for their place in this new technological world, but the World Economic Forum predicts that actually, around 133 million new job roles will be created that are more aligned with the division of labour between man and machine.

Understandably, these newly created roles will be hotly contested by companies seeking the best talent with the most experience possible. Data scientists, software and app developers, analysts, social media specialists… pretty much any role that doesn’t have a well-established route of progression and is in short supply skills-wise will become hard-to-fill in the near future, if it’s not already. In fact, 60% of executives state that they already struggle to keep workforce skills current and relevant in the face of rapid technological advancement. By 2020, the talent shortage in the US alone is projected to be around 23 million employees. The result is that business-critical hires will become harder to fill and company operations will be significantly impacted if suitable hires aren’t found. 

Identifying which roles are business-critical for your organisation should be your first step, and next your main challenge will be to come up with a strategy to ensure these roles remain filled during the changes we’re seeing in the global workforce. Complacency isn’t an option, and real contingencies should be put in now to safeguard future operations. 

Concerned about how your organisation will maintain its business-critical hiring quality? Contact us to find out how. 

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.

Reinventing Quality Hiring

Hiring managers and candidates deserve better than they’re getting. The recruitment industry has gotten away with poor-quality service for long enough. Part of the recruitment: re-invented content series.

 

Twice the work, half the effort

It’s no secret that many recruitment agencies consider a quick search on an existing database to be ‘sourcing’. That, or a rifle through their LinkedIn connections. The reason for the typically half-hearted effort most agencies deliver is that recruiters are performing a dual function. They’re continually trying to win new business while attempting to fill the roles they already have; it’s little wonder that easy, quick wins are the go-to option. A ‘quality hire’ has come to mean someone who ticks the superficial boxes in terms of skills and experience, and who will stay in-role for at least 12 months.  

Living up to the recruitment hype

This isn’t the way hiring should be. Especially not when professional recruiters are paid to find the talent that a client can’t; businesses should expect more when they’re footing the bill. To prove that they’re doing the best they can, a 12-month guarantee should be in place for all hires – it’s time recruiters put their money where their mouth is.

Candidates also deserve better than an overworked recruiter who is attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole. Moving jobs is one of the biggest decisions in a person’s life and can affect everything from their finances to their family. Overstating a role’s benefits, deliberately leaving out negative aspects, or misleading candidates in any way can have real consequences. Recruiters have an ethical and moral responsibility to deliver the best service they possibly can when dealing with people’s livelihoods. 

Back to the basics of quality

Asking what a quality hiring process actually looks like for a specific organisation is a great place to start. What’s the minimum quality expected from recruiters in terms of service, candidates, deadlines, etc.? This shouldn’t be the bare minimum – this is what is acceptable for the fee paid. Then think about the last time expectations were exceeded. If this was long ago, something is very wrong. 

One of the main issues is that recruiters adopt a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to candidate searches, when in fact no two businesses are alike in their internal culture or specific job responsibilities. It’s therefore logical that a tailored, fresh search should be conducted for every hire, for every client. This sourcing exercise should be followed by a thorough vetting of the identified candidates; from emotional and behavioural intelligence to future goals, ethos alignment and character. Scorecarding is one way to approach this task, as it provides a visual breakdown of why one candidate is more suitable than the next, and outlines each of the assessments made in the decision-making process. Clients are then assured that every effort has been made to find not just a suitable candidate, but the very best candidate for the role.  

Re-inventing Recruitment

Recruiters aren’t the only ones who can improve the hiring process. Watch our on-demand webinar with CEO Gavin Speirs, 9 Pitfalls Hiring Managers Must Avoid to Succeed.

Gavin Speirs

Gavin Speirs

CEO

Gavin has spent over a decade in the recruitment industry, and is passionate about helping organisations to improve their quality of hire. He's an experienced international recruiter and has also founded hiring quality software platform Talenytics.

Candidates are people, not targets

Many aspects of the recruitment process could be improved. Our content series Recruitment:re-invented looks at the ways recruiters, clients and candidates will benefit from a shake up. You can read more here.

Candidate engagement is one of the most crucial elements of any recruitment process. Top talent tends to be passive, and passive candidates need more persuasion and support than an active jobseeker. The best recruiters are able to select the right candidate and secure them using the client’s employer and candidate value propositions while also fine-tuning the offer to the candidate’s own needs and wants.  

Reinventing: Candidate engagement

Many factors, such as goals and aspirations, compensation, family and other commitments, play a part in a candidate’s decision to accept or reject an offer. Any recruiter who tries to either ignore these or mislead candidates into accepting an offer they know won’t work out long term ought to be ashamed of themselves. Ultimately, the client, candidate and the recruiter themselves suffers from poor candidate engagement – the client loses money, time, and a potential employee, the candidate is left to pick up the pieces of their career, and the recruiter’s reputation is blackened.  

Seeing candidates as targets rather than real people with real lives contributes to poor candidate engagement, but isn’t the only issue. Clients can sometimes be overly concerned with getting ‘bums on seats’, driving recruiters to push harder than normal to secure a ‘good enough’ candidate who isn’t an ideal fit. Both sides of the hiring process have to step back and think longer-term before making any hiring decisions. There are no winners in a process which does otherwise.  

The 6F approach

Solutions Driven’s 6F approach forms part of our 6S process and is specifically designed to engage passive candidates and ensure great results for clients.

The 6F approach takes into account the six factors which mean the most to candidates – fit, freedom, family, fun, fortune, and future. We’ve honed this approach over 20 years, and attribute a large part of our 97% right-first-time success rate to the consideration and care we show candidates as a direct result of this approach. 

We’re committed to the 6F approach as a framework for success, and our CEO Gavin Speirs is letting everyone in on the secret during our upcoming webinar: Why Candidates Love the 6F Approach

Gavin Speirs

Gavin Speirs

CEO

Gavin has spent over a decade in the recruitment industry, and is passionate about helping organisations to improve their quality of hire. He's an experienced international recruiter and has also founded hiring quality software platform Talenytics.

Recruitment re-invented: Fixing what’s broken

If recruitment is working so well, why are multiple agencies hired to do the same job? It’s time to own up to the failures of the industry. 

Ending bad candidate and client experiences is what Solutions Driven was born to do. Our founders worked in corporate recruitment and saw the worst of the industry; we wanted to do and be better. We’ve learned a thing or two over the past 20 years and are proud to be industry leaders in first-time hire success rates. It’s possible to do recruitment better. Here’s how.  

Recruitment: Quality hiring

It’s no secret that many recruitment agencies consider a quick search on an existing database to be ‘sourcing’. That, or a rifle through their LinkedIn connections. The reason for the typically half-hearted effort most agencies deliver is that recruiters are performing a dual function. They’re continually trying to win new business while attempting to fill the roles they already have; it’s little wonder that easy, quick wins are the go-to option. A ‘quality hire’ has come to mean someone who ticks the superficial boxes in terms of skills and experience, and who will stay in-role for at least 12 months.  

This isn’t the way hiring should be. Especially not when professional recruiters are hired to find the talent that a client can’t; businesses should expect more.  A 12-month guarantee should be in place for all hires – it’s time recruiters put their money where their mouth is. 

No two businesses are alike in their internal culture or specific job responsibilities, and so it’s logical that a tailored, fresh search should be conducted for every hire, for every client. This sourcing exercise should be followed by a thorough vetting of the identified candidates; from emotional and behavioural intelligence to future goals, ethos alignment and character. Scorecarding is one way to approach this task, as it provides a visual breakdown of why one candidate is more suitable than the next, and outlines each of the assessments made in the decision-making process. Clients are then assured that every effort has been made to find not just a suitable candidate, but the very best candidate for the role.  

Reinventing: Client relations 

Clients have mixed opinions when it comes to recruiters. Sure, some may have a strong, years-long relationships, but most clients are dissatisfied with their recruiters’ performance. Why else would clients engage multiple agencies to fill the same role? Pitting recruiters against each other in this way highlights the lack of trust and an expectation of failure. The scarcity of exclusive relationships serves to hammer home the reality that client-recruiter relations are no better than they were a decade ago. Why the reluctance to commit to a single agency? The fault now lies with both parties but began with recruiters. 

Having experienced a deluge of unsuitable CVs and time wasted sifting through them, clients chose to increase their chances of success by opening up the floor to numerous agencies at once. Rectifying the mistakes of years gone by is straightforward; a thorough scoping exercise and frequent check-ins ensure that the recruiter is on the right track and that solid progress is being made. Arranging a post-hire call with clients can also help to learn lessons for the future about what worked well and what didn’t and reassures clients that their satisfaction with the end result really does matter. Unfortunately, changing clients’ long-held impression of recruiters may not be so easy.  

Reinventing: Candidate engagement 

Candidate engagement is the final element in the recruitment triumvirate, and one that badly needs to improve. An improvement in sourcing, as mentioned earlier, will help to ensure that the right candidates are being contacted, but as passive candidates they need more persuasion and support than an active jobseeker. The best recruiters are able to select the right candidate and secure them using the client’s employer and candidate value propositions while also fine-tuning the offer to the candidate’s own needs and wants.  

Many factors, such as goals and aspirations, compensation, family and other commitments, play a part in a candidate’s decision to accept or reject an offer. Any recruiter who tries to either ignore these or mislead candidates into accepting an offer they know won’t work out long term ought to be ashamed of themselves. Ultimately, the client, candidate and the recruiter themselves suffers from poor candidate engagement – the client loses money, time, and a potential employee, the candidate is left to pick up the pieces of their career, and the recruiter’s reputation is blackened.  

Seeing candidates as targets rather than real people with real lives contributes to poor candidate engagement but isn’t the only issue. Clients can sometimes be overly concerned with getting ‘bums on seats’, driving recruiters to push harder than normal to secure a ‘good enough’ candidate who isn’t an ideal fit. Both sides of the hiring process have to step back and think longer-term before making any hiring decisions. There are no winners in a process which does otherwise.  

Solutions Driven’s 6F approach forms part of our 6S process and is specifically designed to engage passive candidates and ensure great results for clients. We’re committed to the 6F approach as a framework for success, and our CEO Gavin Speirs is letting everyone in on the secret during our upcoming webinar: Why Candidates Love the 6F Approach

Want to learn more about why Solutions Driven are different?

Gavin Speirs

Gavin Speirs

CEO

Gavin has spent over a decade in the recruitment industry, and is passionate about helping organisations to improve their quality of hire. He's an experienced international recruiter and has also founded hiring quality software platform Talenytics.

MedTech – Integrity Matters

Recruiting great sales people in any industry can be challenging, but it’s never more important than when these sales people are dealing with medical devices and technology. I explore why it’s so crucial to find the right fit first time.  

In some industries cut-throat sales techniques are expected or even encouraged. However, when it comes to selling or promoting medical devices with potentially life-changing capabilities in the medical device sector, your team members must surpass your average ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ type in more than just revenue.  

Defining the ideal MedTech salesperson 

When considering the hiring criteria for your MedTech salespeople, the first question to ask is how comfortable would you be having them advise your clinician on your own care? Are they trustworthy and honest? Or would they bend reality for the sake of a sale? The impact of a poor product recommendation is far more serious than in almost any other industry I can think of.  

Integrity and transparency are vital, as shown by the sadly numerous cases of devices being mis-sold or poor advice being given to clinicians by the device representative; the controversial mesh implants cases spring to mind. As representatives can be the ones to provide full product information and even training to the surgeons or clinicians, it’s imperative that they are not only fully educated on the product; their ethical boundaries must be firmly established too. But how can medical device organisations be sure that their salespeople are not only knowledgeable and fast-learning, but that they’re honest too? 

Finding a fool-proof assessment 

You could be forgiven for thinking that finding candidates who have the gravitas and knowledge required to speak to senior clinicians may mean compromising on their humility or reserve, and that it would be nigh on impossible to find a candidate with equal parts integrity and confidence in their role. However, we’ve proven many times over that this isn’t the case. 

At Solutions Driven, we have honed our talent search techniques to not only unearth the ideal candidates, but to robustly assess them before presenting them for interview. Our next-generation behavioural, emotional and competence testing ensures that our medical device representative candidates are exactly the type of person required to not only thrive in-role, but to deliver successful outcomes for all parties, including clinicians and patients. 

We successfully peel back the ‘interview mask’ most salespeople will adopt in order to reveal their true tendencies and behavioural inclinations; there’s no hiding from psychometric assessments! 

Our experience in this sector means we’re ideally placed to conduct searches and deliver the best candidates for your MedTech vacancies. Why not get in touch with me to learn more about the services we offer? InMail me or reach me at cmiller@solutions-driven.com 

Caroline Miller

Caroline Miller

Business Growth Specialist

Caroline has worked in recruitment marketing and business development roles for the past 20 years. She’s passionate about finding innovative solutions for her clients, and is fascinated by the ever-evolving world of technology.