How can challenger brands recruit senior talent into their business?

Recruiting senior talent

Recruiting the right person for any job can be tough. But that challenge goes up a notch when you are looking to secure the right senior talent into the business.

For more junior positions it can be a case of dealing with a big volume of potential candidates. However, the higher up the food chain you go, the smaller the pool of potential candidates, and the more you will need to ‘sell’ the role and your brand to secure the best person for the job.

So what are some of the secrets to finding and securing senior talent for FMCG challenger brands?

Step 1

First off, take a two-pronged approach to marketing a senior position at your brand.

That means placing more traditional job adverts in all the right places – on your own brand website, on LinkedIn, on any relevant industry job boards or the job pages of trade magazines. It is not the most likely way to obtain a senior level candidate – simply because it limits you to those actively looking for a new opportunity – but it is worth a try.

Step 2

The second step is more difficult but much more likely to get you the best person for the job: become a headhunter.

Start off by creating a list of potential candidates for the role. One of the simplest ways to do this is to think of the supermarket aisle where your product sits. Who are the competitor businesses selling a similar product? They are likely to have experience dealing with the same buyers, will have dealt with similar manufacturing processes, and will house talent that has experience of all the risks, trends and opportunities of the category you are operating in.

Work out who is doing the equivalent role you are recruiting for at these businesses and use this as a starting place for your list.

To turn this into a shortlist ask yourself a few additional questions: If they are working for a large brand, could they realistically make the transition to a smaller company? Is their current role quite siloed and therefore might the move to a start-up be too much of a leap? Do they have experience now or at some point in the past at a smaller company?

Now you have your list. What next?

Next comes the toughest part: how do you actually get them interested? This next step is the most important part of the whole recruitment process.

Do not simply send them a topline job spec. For a senior person that is not actively looking for a new role this will not be enough. You need to think about how you can attract them to your brand, and tempt them away from what is probably a pretty good deal at their current company.

That means you need to be prepared to sell and promote your brand. So, rather than a dated and dull job spec, create a ‘Candidate Information Pack’ to share instead that tells them everything they will need – and want – to know about the business. Who is the owner and how did they come to launch the brand? What are the products and how are they made? What are the future plans of the business? How do they want to build their team and the brand? Is the business on a really high growth trajectory?

This can be a really exciting prospect for someone, who will be able to imagine how their role could grow and expand along with the business, and how they would be integral in shaping that growth.

Do not forget culture fit

Share the ethos and values of the business. This can be just as important to a senior candidate as a generous salary, and can be one of the really unique selling points of a job at a challenger brand.

At the end of the pack, add in your job spec. Be as detailed as possible here. If the position is for a commercial director, who would they report to? Who would their peers be? Would they be able to grow their team? What might their KPIs be? Paint a picture of a compelling role that is exciting enough to tempt them away from their current position.

Be clear about timescales here too

At a senior level candidates may be considering different opportunities concurrently, so at the earliest opportunity let them know what the different stages of the interview process will be, who they will be with, if they will be required to prepare anything, such as a presentation, and when a decision will be made. Give them a timescale for when you expect to have the process completed and when you would anticipate the start date.

Offering a well-rounded package

Once you have tempted a candidate to come in and interview for a senior spot, you have done the hardest bit. But there is one other thing to consider at the later stage of recruitment: the package you are able to offer them.

This is not only about base salary. Often with senior roles some type of performance-related incentive is included. Plus, for someone joining a smaller but fast-growing business, they may find the prospect of equity an attractive option. A great benefits package can also be key. This could include everything from private healthcare to company cars, to a good pension pot.

None of these alone is likely to be a deal-breaker but combined together they can really make a difference. This may require some upfront investment from a challenger brand, of course, but to secure the right senior talent it could be worth it.

Do you need help recruiting?

Recruiting the right talent for your senior team is business critical. But it can also take a lot of time and effort.

At Young Foodies our highly experienced recruitment team can help with each stage of the process, from building a shortlist to creating and designing a compelling information pack to share with candidates. If you would like any advice or support, drop us a line at [email protected]

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