Head Of Pricing Jobs: Things Managers Will Never Tell You About Pricing
It can take a lot of time and skill to break down someone’s “interview game face” for head of pricing jobs. The real person behind the corporate mask can be difficult to reach. For instance:
- What if you’re presented with lots of excellent head of pricing CVs and some of them have embellished or lied on their CV to get an interview?
- What if your pricing director job descriptions don’t get enough applications or attract all the wrong types of people?
- What if an internal candidate you know wants to be put forward for a new head of pricing role but their past record of achievement is in a totally different domain of expertise?
- What if someone’s not being honest with you about their salary expectations and over inflate their current salary to get an extra $50K+ to their base salary?
- What if you’re given misleading references that say either wonderful things about someone or irrelevant things?
How many times have you asked someone during an interview for head of pricing jobs: “Do you think you can improve pricing across our organisation?”
What do they say?
They’ll invariably recite several lengthy but often irrelevant financial, marketing or sales related experiences. Their pricing examples will be largely focused on cost plus pricing or price administration. Their interview examples will probably be long, meandering and unstructured. And, the majority of case examples provided will have only tenuous links to best practice pricing.
Is that about right?
It would be fair to say that both parties walk out of most head of pricing job interviews feeling dis-satisfied or underwhelmed with the meeting.
In this article, we contend that CVs and interviews for head of pricing jobs do not provide enough objective data for CEOs and executives to select the best pricing manager or director for their business.
What’s more, we believe that the traditional recruitment model does not give candidates enough relevant information to make informed career decisions; creating in turn serious talent churn issues that many Australian businesses are struggling to deal with right now.
CVs are by far the worse indicators of success for head of pricing jobs
For many CEOs and HR executives, it can be very difficult to know if the shortlist of pricing managers you’ve received for your new head of pricing jobs are good or not.
Gone are the days when you can trust what’s someone has written on their CV. It’s not uncommon for candidates applying for head of pricing jobs to get their CV’s written by a professional CV writing agency.
There are plenty of highly crafted CV marketing documents out there now. Many CVs have been designed solely to get people interviews for head of pricing jobs – often regardless of whether or not they’ve got the relevant pricing skills or experience.
Korn Ferry research shows, for example, that traditional methods of assessing corporate talent during the hiring process often don’t provide an accurate picture of what someone can really do and/or what they capable of doing in the future.
Gartner research shows that there’s almost zero correlation between what a candidate writes in their CV and how well they end up performing in a senior or management role.
Leadership Institute research shows that success in prior roles often have little impact on performance success in new or more challenging leadership and management positions.
Taylor Wells research shows that skills learned through seemingly similar roles like accountancy, financial reporting or marketing often don’t translate well to pricing roles and can even impede individual and team pricing performance.
The current recruiting model for head of pricing roles is often set up to fail right from the start
Now we’re not saying that you should scrap CVs and interviews altogether for head of pricing jobs. We believe that traditional means of assessing corporate talent for pricing director job descriptions or pricing specialist job descriptions can be helpful to acknowledge past accomplishments or find out if you like someone or not. However, we do believe that relying exclusively on traditional hiring sources for head of pricing jobs will increase the risk of bad hires.
In fact, we think that standard hiring practices are failing Australian businesses because they generate limited value to either the hiring manager or candidate. Many people fear “being honest” about personal weaknesses during a head of pricing interview. Even fewer candidates can admit they don’t have all the pricing skills you want.
There are millions of dollars of investment, resources and time going into a wide scale pricing transformation project. Make sure you choose the absolute best person for your head of pricing jobs.
Current base salaries for head of pricing jobs or pricing director job descriptions are substantial – anywhere from $180K – $350K. Then, there’s bonuses, perks and other incentives on top.
There’s also a lot riding on improving your pricing system too. The board has a particular ROI they want you to obtain from your price improvement project. Current estimates for building world-class price leadership and culture is between 2 – 7% of additional margin across total revenues.
Pricing manager interview questions rarely get to truth about someone’s actual capability or potential for head of pricing jobs
Interviews, CVs, references or even gut feel alone will not give you enough information to make good selection decisions for pricing director job descriptions. Most pricing manager interviews questions are not reflective of real-life pricing scenarios, they’re artificial.
The majority of pricing manager interviews are not real life examples of ability. Some people bluff their way through interviews for head of pricing jobs.
It’s also really difficult to tell if a pricing director or commercial executive has good interpersonal skills or strategic influencing capability based on their often highly polished performance. A lot of answers have been pre-rehearsed interview responses. Interviews are not real life, they don’t get the best or the worse out of people.
Granted, every executive should prepare well for interviews as best they can: Preparation shows respect for you and the business. Most people also want to make a good impression during a meeting or interview (this is only natural). But the point to draw out here is that we shouldn’t presume that someone is being 100% authentic when they answer pricing manager interview questions.
It takes courage for a candidate to say “I don’t know” during an interview
It also takes someone with self-awareness to provide an honest picture of what they can and can’t do. Most people lack that sort of courage and conform to safe, predictable answers. Many people fear that a lack of pricing skills and knowledge will count against them. And are they wrong?
From a personal perspective, we talk with senior directors, managers, and analyst daily. Very rarely do we meet an executive with the capacity to have a frank and informed discussion about their pricing issues or mistakes.
There is a very little mature and open discussion about areas of development, aspirations, concerns and possible skills gaps in pricing and revenue management.
We’ve also read thousands of commercial executive CVs for head of pricing jobs and pricing director job descriptions. Some of them don’t even mention an interest or passion for strategic pricing at all. Others list every pricing skill, revenue management software or systems, and challenge under the sun.
It’s only until we probe a manager or director a bit deeper that we start to get a clearer picture of their individual pricing capability and style. This includes identifying incongruities in their stories. Finding new strengths or even uncovering unhelpful habits they didn’t even realise they had.
We believe too many senior managers are appointed to head of pricing jobs based on star power and marketing rather evidence and capability.
We commonly hear of executives and senior managers being appointed to head of pricing jobs or pricing specialist jobs without possessing the requisite pricing skills, experience or leadership skills or potential. It is little surprise to us that latest high potential studies from Gartner shows that 73% of high potential programs fail to deliver any significant business outcomes.
Our research shows there are only a handful of executives or managers in Australia have demonstrable price mastery suitable for head of pricing jobs.
In 2015 and 2016 we assessed 857 pricing and commercial executives in Australia, the US, EU, and South America to measure individual pricing capability across 9 pricing competencies.
Most notably, we found:
Over 80% of participants did not have the pricing skills or qualifications for head of pricing jobs or even pricing specialist job descriptions.
26% were unable to accept or learn from feedback.
68% had difficulty with conflict and/or handling change.
28% didn’t want to get involved in coaching or mentoring others and/or didn’t see it as their responsibility to build buy-in across the business
23% were unable to manage their introverted tendencies or were completely unaware of potentially destructive beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that could endanger team performance and transformation efforts
The traditional recruitment model should not be used for head of pricing jobs. Standard recruitment practice is inhibiting individual growth and learning opportunities, and failing to identify or reward high calibre people that can actually make a positive difference to businesses.
Non-traditional hiring sources are now required to improve selection decision for head of pricing jobs
The majority of interviews for pricing director job descriptions or even pricing analyst job descriptions are almost set up to avoid discussing real challenges or exploring differences of opinion.
Most interviews gravitate to what both parties have done in the past as opposed to how both parties can work together to contribute shared goals. There’s rarely any real investigation into what someone really values or how they think. This includes: how they prefer to be managed or how they lead people through change.
Hiring a commercial executive for a price leadership role based on what they say they can do is not enough anymore. Pricing knowledge is rarely demonstrated from either side of the interview table. The majority of interviews for head of pricing jobs tend to be formulaic and boring.
The interviewer asks ‘safe’ questions and the candidate provides even safer answers. All parties walk out the room none the wiser about suitability or fit.
There are proven alternatives that other CEOS and boards are now using (other than interviews and CVs) to hire executives for head of pricing jobs and pricing director job descriptions.
If you would like to know more about what a world-class pricing manager does to implement pricing strategies – or want to brush up on your pricing skills and knowledge. I’ve put together an e-book to help you click here.