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3 Ways Covid-19 Changed Software Sales Recruiting



The Covid-19 Pandemic and all of its ensuing responses have made big changes in the way we live. A greater number of consumers have turned to delivery services for staples like groceries. Social mores have been reshaped. But perhaps nowhere have the changes been bigger than in the working world. Recruitment in general and software sales recruitment in particular is one such area changed by the pandemic.


The Search for Talent


One of the biggest challenges for recruiters has become finding viable talent. Like professionals in every industry, software sales professionals who have become accustomed to the privilege of working from home would like that privilege to continue. Some who were laid off during the pandemic have taken time to reflect and decided they’ll wait until the most optimal opportunity comes along. This has made prospects a little more picky, and made it more difficult for some software companies to fill their empty roles. When it comes to employees, the ball is in the court of the hires, and this is not unique to the software industry. Businesses from Amazon to Salesforce have responded by offering some motivating bonuses, some of which top six figures.


More Roles to Fill


All this is coming at the same time companies themselves are looking to hire more talent. PayPal, for instance, saw a 200% increase in job postings in 2021, likely due to a great swelling of online payments from consumers who stayed home (willingly or unwillingly) to shop. Accenture, Cognizant, and IBM have also increased their job listings. At the same time, behemoths like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have slumped in their job openings, but this may be due in part to their already enormous workforce. Because so many businesses have had to pivot in a more technological direction during the past two years, they’re requiring a lot more in the way of software solutions and IT, and of course that means more software sales and selling IT services.


A Changing Process


Of course, the most noticeably disrupted area is probably the hiring process, which has mostly gone virtual. Face to face meetings with potential employees have moved into the realm of Zoom or Skype meetings. Prior to the pandemic, hiring a sales executive would have been an in-person process, but Covid quickly changed that. However, even as the pandemic has subsided, it’s likely that a largely virtual hiring process is here to stay, or at least a hybrid of virtual and in person meetings will be the new norm. Virtual meetings have made some candidates get better at interviews and more comfortable about asking pointed questions; on the other hand, virtual meetings cannot replace the effectiveness of gauging how a hire will fit into the company culture (for both the candidate and the employer). And once a candidate becomes part of the team, it’s likely that portions (or all) of their onboarding can be done in their pajamas.


Are these changes here to stay?


Some workforce analysts have predicted that the return to the office is inevitable, while others have argued that it’s never coming back. The software industry is unique in this regard, as it was already positioned to function with remote teams, due in part to the very nature of the thing it makes and sells (you know, software). However, the recruiting process itself has certainly experienced some disruptions because of Covid-19, and not just in the area of SaaS and IT solutions. Whether some of the immediate trends—such as a dearth of available talent and an explosion of available roles to fill—will linger on beyond 2021 waits to be seen. As for others such as the hybrid combo of virtual and in-person hiring, this might be the new norm moving forward.


For all these reasons, it can help to work with an experienced software sales recruiter who is familiar with the software industry and has a deep pool of viable talent. I’ve been software sales recruiting for close to four decades now and would love to hear from you if you’re on either side of the process, candidate or company. Send an email to mike@michaelblair.com and let’s connect!

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