Pricing professionals: All You need To Know About Hiring Pricing Candidates 🧔 🧍
Pricing professionals: One of the initial steps in our TeamBuilding process is to evaluate the pricing capability of a wide and varied mix of pricing professionals and leaders across many different industries, global regions, businesses and operational models. The outcome of the evaluation is a clear and objective view of where pricing teams and individuals stack up versus a norm group of like-minded and skilled professionals.
Our goal is to build and develop high functioning pricing teams for our clients. We do this by specialising in data and evidence-driven identification and evaluation of individual pricing expertise and organisational pricing policy, strategy, systems and culture.
Over the years, we have studied high-performance pricing and scientifically assessed thousands of pricing and commercial executives. Our mission has always been to identify the very best talent to drive advanced pricing strategies, analytics and price improvement projects. Achieving key outcomes through people is one of the best ways to accelerate the ROI on pricing and associated marketing and product strategies.
In this article, we will continue to discuss the people element of successful pricing transformations. In particular, we will discuss 8 essential features of best-in-class talent evaluation for pricing professionals. By the end of the article, you’ll know the latest people analytics techniques required for structured change management and pricing projects.
8 key points to remember when assessing pricing professionals
Over the past 10 years of building and developing pricing teams; including company diagnostics and several thousand pricing skills assessments.
Here’s what we have learned about building pricing capability at an individual, team and organisational level:
1. Knowledge about pricing and people (i.e., behavioural change and large scale pricing transformations) are pre-requisites to building high functioning pricing teams. HR business partners are the most effective HR professionals to partner with when building a pricing function because they have insight into the business problem and vision for the future.
2. Specialist recruitment is not about filling the role and moving people into empty seats. Recruitment is a strategic change management tool to accelerate financial results and change in the business. Get the wrong people in key positions, and find the transformation struggling to gain traction and margin loss an everyday occurrence.
3. Candidate Management Tools and LinkedIn hiring are great tools, but only when you know what you’re looking for and how to validate skills. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it is a very confusing place. The role of pricing professionals means so many different things to so many executives and businesses. You need to combine your knowledge of pricing (i.e., as discussed in point 1). Then think of LinkedIn as a tool, not the solution.
4. Specialist recruitment should be about building capability and positive candidate and client experiences. When candidates are properly informed about the strategic mission of the role and team, they become highly engaged in the process. Engaged candidates are positive advocates for the business and spread positive news about the business. Also, this reflects well on brand image and retention. Moreover, candidates draw lasting judgements and inferences (good and bad) about a company’s price management strategy. Not only that but also the culture and value system from the price recruitment process.
It’s very difficult to convince a candidate that they’re joining a ‘great’ company that really ‘cares’ about their people when the recruitment experience is long, drawn-out and lacking any level of empathy and/or insight into pricing options and the candidate experience.
5. An interview in isolation is a fairly ineffective and risky method of identifying pricing talent and leadership potential for complex marketing, IT or pricing transformation. What someone ‘says’ they can do and what they actually can ‘do’ in the job can be two very different things. Some executives over-rate their individual pricing capability whereas others under-rate their skills. Moreover, some executives are competent theoreticians but not great practitioners or leaders. This is not always intentional and sometimes the rating score is pretty accurate. Some people know what they’re good at and a lot of people struggle to understand their strengths. Also, there seems to have a gender bias.
6. Objective and evidence-driven talent evaluation is vital to understanding individual and team strengths and areas for development. Without this, you’re really just making lots of assumptions about individual pricing professionals capability. Then, once you have the right mix of people on a team you need to design a pricing development program that will fill any gaps and accelerate and embed learning and form good team habits/norms.
7. Some pricing professionals know how to interview and are really good at selling themselves and putting on a show. These people tend to have had a mentor and/or experienced some formalised coaching and development program. Or have received third party objective feedback on their individual strengths and weaknesses and interview performance.
8. As a candidate, it can be difficult to be present and authentic at interviews. Authenticity, however (albeit difficult to master), will eventually help you find the right job. And help clients find the right candidate. Honesty and self-awareness is the key to authenticity.
If you are not happy with the pricing professional candidates you are attracting, it’s probably time that you revisit and adapt your recruitment strategy and/or values and competency frameworks.
If you do not like the role or your past interview performance, I recommend that you try the following interview techniques:
- Being well prepared in advance of the interview (key to feeling comfortable and in control of your responses).
- Knowing your facts and giving the listener practical and relatable case study examples they can remember.
- Actively listening to the interviewer.
- Articulating and adapting your personal value proposition for the listener (just like you do for your customers and stakeholders).
Specialist firms can help guide and coach candidates and clients on the interview and recruitment process. For the client, asking the right questions and understanding what the right response sounds like is key to getting the most out of the interview experience. For a candidate, encouraging prior thought and preparation are key to interview success.
Mostly, interviewers are driven by subconscious biases and preferences (as we all are). In fact, they tend to be looking for specific things. Some may not even ask the right questions to let you show you have these qualities and experience. Thus, it is important in this type of situation to get a good read on the interviewers. Also, figuring out where their questions are coming from and addressing that rather than just generically selling yourself.
Recruitment is changing: executives need to be more mindful of their thoughts, physical and emotional responses to certain questions. In addition, recruitment needs to be engaging and rewarding. Also, HR needs to link financial performance with the people who produce them. This is a more complex topic, which I will go into more depth in my following article.
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