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France — Companies have started to build up their sales forces

22 March 2010

There is noticeable if modest growth in sales personnel but companies have become extremely demanding in their candidate profile requirements, Le Figaro reports.

Eric Bohn of staffing agency Euro Consulting said, "Since November 2009 large and medium-sized companies have started hiring sales staff again. Sales Engineers are very much in demand."

Even the agricultural and food sectors, which hired very few staff in 2009, seem to have woken up again. "The agricultural and food sectors have started hiring sales staff. This is a sign that these companies are regaining their confidence," said Johann van Nieuwenhuyse, Director of the Sales and Marketing department at staffing group Michael Page.

However, Didier Gaillard, Head of Northern France at recruitment firm Expectra stresses that, "the economic crisis has made recruiters more demanding. The recruitment process has become very long. Companies feel that they don't have the right anymore to make mistakes. They want to minimise risk. That is why they want experienced candidates, who can guarantee immediate results."

Eric Bohn said further, "the mercenary salesman is dead. Especially small and medium-sized companies want stable managers who can build client relationships over many years."

In terms of negotiating salaries, candidates seem to have very little room for manoeuvre on the fixed side of their pay but employers have become willing to be more generous on bonuses.



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