How to Develop a Talent Pool Pipeline for Your Security Company

The rise of home automation is making it difficult for many security dealers to fill their staffing needs. Learn new hiring techniques that can make your company more attractive to qualified job candidates.

As the home security market continues to evolve, companies are beginning to feel the hiring pinch when it comes to recruiting employees capable of selling specialized products and services.

Competition for fresh talent is becoming increasingly fierce, especially as more and more traditional security dealers add home automation products and services to their portfolios. The staffing pressure is only compounded by the raft of new entrants, such as telecoms and cablecoms that are vying for market share in the space as well.

During softer hiring years when highly qualified candidates flooded the market, it was relatively easier to attract talent. In our experience as a hiring partner in the security industry, we’ve seen fewer candidates leaving positions for a new opportunity and more candidates becoming highly selective about the types of opportunities they will consider.

Given today’s progressively competitive talent marketplace, hiring managers need to rethink not only who they hire, but why they hire and how.

What Vacant Positions Really Cost

Sales positions, particularly high volume sales jobs like those in the home security and automation industry, are in a constant state of flux due to turnover. Sales reps leave for new opportunities, especially if they are on a commission-oriented plan and looking for competitive pay. Sometimes reps simply don’t meet their numbers or may be let go for other reasons. At other times, reps may have been promoted to other positions or departments, or the company enters growth mode and needs to ramp up hiring quickly in order to meet revenue expectations. Regardless, managers now have openings and they all need people.

Managers tasked with hiring often see the hard costs of staffing, including: recruitment fees (typically a percentage of the rep’s compensation); advertising for job postings, newspaper ads and online search; resume databases and recruitment technology; assessment tests; background checks; drug testing; and administrative labor supporting the process.

All of these factors can add up to thousands of dollars, depending on the number and career level of recruits. The hidden factor that incurs the greatest cost is time-to-fill. This equates to the number of days or weeks that a position goes unfilled and revenue goes unearned. Turnover, too, is a critical factor. The more reps you lose, the more positions you need to backfill.

Let’s take a closer look at how time-to-fill and turnover can impact revenues (a free online calculator is available at Consider a company with a time-to-fill of six weeks and an average turnover rate of 70%. This company employs 500 residential sales reps, each responsible for $200,000 in revenue annually. At full capacity, this would account for $100 million in annual sales. But, most companies almost never earn at full capacity.

In this case, the company’s turnover rate yields 350 vacancies annually. Because each position goes unfilled for six weeks, revenue lost amounts to $23,000 per position, and $8 million in total revenue losses annually. This figure doesn’t reflect losses in market share, customer relationships and productivity – all of which affect long-term earning potential. For subscription-based businesses like security, these losses extend beyond the initial sale once customers become locked into competitor contracts and are essentially off the market until that contract expires. In the end, failing to hire in a timely fashion costs more than recruiting new talent.

To get back on track with hiring, sales managers have to take a look at why positions are open and how they can keep them filled, starting with what’s in it for the candidate.

Why Should Candidates Choose You?

As you build your sourcing strategy and marketing plan, here are some key areas to consider:

Compensation. Many security sales jobs are commission-oriented (some of which are 1099 jobs), though many pay a base. In certain marketplaces, this makes a difference in whether an experienced candidate will consider making a move. If you’re targeting college students, consider whether this type of position makes sense for a candidate that may be coming out of school with a mountain of debt (and may leave for a base salary later).

Benefits. Help balance a 100% commission job offer. Does your company match on its 401(k)? What does the employer contribute to health insurance? What other perks might help a candidate take notice? Technology, like cell phones and tablets, can be a strong draw. Car allowances or company cars, especially for outside sales, can make your position highly competitive.

Training. Even if you’re hiring experienced sales reps, they still need to know the product. How in-depth is your training program? Is it paid? If not, how long before employees begin earning money? Remember, ongoing training can help reps earn more revenue over time.

Brand. How does your company stack up to the competition? For smaller companies that may not have the same reach of larger, national brands, selling becomes more challenging for reps, which means that companies have to provide better training, tools, and even compensation for these reps to be successful.

Addressing these areas will not only help you fine-tune your upfront recruitment program, it will also help you retain better candidates.

Don’t’ Wait to Hire the Perfect Candidate

As you ramp up your hiring efforts, you’ll be tempted to hold out for perfect candidates since you’re seeing so much talent. It’s easy to understand why hiring managers would want to uncover a candidate that can walk on water and chew bubblegum at the same time – all while making sales from day one. Yet, the reality is that these candidates simply don’t exist. In the recruiting world, we call them purple squirrels, because they’re just as common.

Waiting to hire such a candidate will drag out your time-to-fill. While you wait for the perfect candidate, your position is still open, and revenue remains unearned. Instead, analyze your current candidate pool’s strengths and weaknesses, along with what your company is offering and determine what qualities will make or break the employee’s success. Does this person need direct industry experience? How much experience is really necessary to sell the product? Are you looking for candidates from competitors, and why?

Next, determine which of these skills you’d like the candidate to have from Day One and what training will be necessary. If you’re interviewing an industry veteran with a strong book of business, but who may be weak on spreadsheet or CRM tools, consider developing technology training into your onboarding process, rather than passing on the candidate in hopes of landing someone with a better skill set. Ultimately, no candidate is perfect, and waiting for that person will only cost you revenues in the long run.

Hiring for the security industry isn’t going to become any easier, especially at the rate the market is changing. Instead, hiring processes need to adapt to meet the growing demand for talented sales professionals in this highly specialized industry. By analyzing the reasons behind vacant positions and developing an attractive value proposition, managers will be able to uncover fresh talent that can generate revenue sooner.

Sabrina Balmick is a Marketing Manager for ACA Talent, a sales recruitment and consulting firm.

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