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Bespoke Careers

17 May 2024

17 May 2024

How to secure and onboard your first-choice candidate in Architectural and Interior Products

If you are hiring specification managers, BDMs, or other business-critical professionals for your architectural and interior products team, you’re likely to be familiar with how difficult it can be. There simply aren’t enough candidates with the right level of experience and skills to go around, even in slower markets, making recruitment for these roles perennially competitive. 

For hiring managers, the challenges lie in securing a great candidate as soon as possible. So, how do you do that? I’ll highlight the common issues to be mindful of when hiring for architectural and interior products roles, and how to get that great candidate in the bag as soon as you find them. 

Always start with a clear job description

An effective job description will be compelling and give your potential candidates the ability to imagine their average day at work. So, along with pay, consider it instrumental in someone’s decision to apply for a role and accept a job offer. 

Whilst some legacy job descriptions can be out of date, we often work with hiring managers to update JDs to reflect the scope of roles in this market, so employers can use them as a powerful recruitment tool. My team keeps a bank of engaging job descriptions for roles like BDMs. This helps us to guide hiring managers in crafting a JD that will attract excellent candidates. 

At Bespoke Careers, we will always explain the role when we approach a candidate, but JDs are the crucial starting point in the process.

Act with speed and intent

In this competitive market, the best candidates move quickly and are exploring multiple opportunities. Making a strong first impression is essential. Once you’ve decided interest is mutually sparked between you and the candidate, you’ll need to be proactive and follow up without delay. 

That may involve blocking out time after hours for a first or second interview with a promising candidate or arranging a quick initial phone call – anything that shows you are eager and willing to hire the right person. Candidates who are serious about the role will be just as prepared to engage quickly, so it’s a win-win. 

When it comes to the interview process, our goal is to be efficient without making candidates feel rushed. If there are additional steps like psychometric testing or reference checks, we advise managers to consider incorporating them into later stages to avoid unnecessary delays down the line. A holdup over several days for tests and screening can cost you a candidate if the process isn’t handled efficiently. 

At the end of interviews, aim to leave candidates on a high note. After a positive interview, it’s best to tell them directly that you’re keen to meet them again, instead of leaving them guessing. Feedback for anyone who’s not met the mark is also important. This helps your employer brand (people talk after all), and perception in the market.

Be fair about pay expectations 

Successfully luring a talented salesperson away from their current role usually comes down to the salary package you can offer them. Being transparent about the range of pay you’re willing to offer can help overcome the most common roadblock when it comes to securing an architectural and interior products professional. 

Transparency upfront can avoid the embarrassing situation of low-balling a candidate on pay. By being clear from the outset, you can avoid stringing along a candidate who was expecting a higher salary. To help companies avoid losing good candidates, we prioritise this discussion as early as possible. 

It’s just as essential to stay on top of any competing offers candidates might have, as these can quickly shift a salary negotiation. Throughout the interview process, we regularly check in with candidates to keep an eye on these as well. 

More companies are offering a pay bump at the end of a new employee’s probation period, or a generous bonus structure – examples of how increasing someone’s earning potential with incentives can help win them over.

… but it’s not just about the money 

We’re in an era where virtually everyone, from receptionists to managers, expects some form of flexible working arrangement and work-life balance. Offering flexibility can have a huge effect on attracting people to work for you. An IWG survey found that 56% of employees would likely resign from their jobs if they were asked to work on-site full-time.

It’s positive to see more companies recognising this by accommodating all levels of employees in their quest for flexibility – such as having a work-from-home day each week.  

When candidates are comparing job offers, they will also look closely at those small but vital conveniences on offer, like bike lockers and showers or a parking spot. This can simplify their daily commute and manage their school drops on working days, along with other responsibilities. 

Candidates will also consider the work environment   – is the company a global corporation with ample room for advancement, or a small family-owned business with a limited hierarchical structure? How they perceive their cultural fit, the team dynamics and their long-term career prospects are also important factors in a candidate’s decision to accept a role. 

Facetime is important  

Meeting people face-to-face is somewhat underrated but it makes a huge difference in the hiring process. We pride ourselves on meeting every candidate in person or by video call before we refer them for a role, and meeting hiring managers to get a feel for their working space. It’s the best way to ensure we connect candidates to companies where they will fit right into their team culture. 

After all, going by a CV or a job description alone just isn’t enough. Taking the time to understand a candidate or company’s story, values and purpose is what helps people make the right career or hiring decision. This is what makes face-to-face interaction so effective.

We receive plenty of positive feedback about our approach. It's clear both employers and candidates value our emphasis on getting to know people, rather than pass along CVs without making those interactions. 

Find talent for architectural and interior products jobs

Recruitment can be challenging when the pool of candidates is scarce, but it is made easier by adapting a few things to align with market expectations. 

For authentic and knowledgeable support in hiring for your architectural and interior products team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or the team at Bespoke Careers. We live and breathe architecture and design recruitment and are well-versed in assisting architectural and interior products businesses to build successful teams with talented specification managers, BDMs and more. We're eager to lend a hand!

Author: Alex McAllister, Bespoke Careers

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