Ask Paul


Pompeo Group is happy to answer any questions you may have about hiring and interviewing within the lighting, electrical, controls and loT space.

All questions from hiring managers, owners, HR professionals and candidates will remain anonymous. No company or individual names will be used.


    Posted 3/18/2020

    We think we are offering the going rate on our employment offers but they are being turned down. What’s going on?

    -Vice President of Engineering, Architectural fixtures manufacturer

    Paul: Sorry to hear that. There is a similar theme to our questions here---and it goes back to it being a candidates’ market in lighting, LED and energy. And though the Pareto Principle----the ‘80/20’ rule, or the ‘law of the vital few’--- is often beaten to death, it does apply here as well---most of our client companies look for the top 20% of the candidates qualified for a position. As I’ve written in numerous LD+A columns, the majority of our client companies are looking for lighting, electrical and energy professionals who are currently employed. In the past, companies would be eager to scoop up almost any unemployed professional in our industry. That seemed to have changed after the 2008-2009 downturn and now hiring companies are all going after a smaller pool of individuals, usually currently employed. With this new dynamic, there is a much more intense ‘feeding frenzy’ for good candidates.
    There could be several reasons for your having difficulty, and some of them may require some hard introspection on the part of you and your management team. For a start, I would review your hiring process. Do you quickly move from one interview to the next, or are there long delays? Protracted interview processes will often cause slow-moving companies to lose out to companies who can react more quickly. Beyond this, I would look at your compensation packages (starting with salary [and incentive, if applicable]---are they competitive? Beyond that, I would review your benefits package. Those would be good places to begin and can often help to quickly improve your success rate in offers being accepted.
    Beyond this, remember that making an offer before knowing
    A) what your candidate is looking for,
    B) any other offers (or pending offers) your candidate has on the table and, if so,
    C) what those offers basically are is setting yourself up for an offer rejection.

    Posted 3/17/2020

    My question- how important is it for a 25 year veteran of sales to go back and finish their college degree? Is it a must, beneficial or too late?

    -Regional Manager, industrial fixtures manager

    Paul: Great question! Obviously, continuing your education is never a bad thing and provides benefits both personally as well as professionally---and it’s never too late to go back to school. But as a Regional Manager, I’m not sure how much it will benefit you professionally. You didn’t say whether you’re with an independent manufacturer, start-up or conglomerate. For an independent I’d say it’s less important, for a conglomerate it sometimes helps, as larger companies tend to be degree-centric, as do many start-ups, especially those who are VC-funded. Does it sometimes give you a leg up as far as advancement opportunities? With some companies, perhaps. As far as hiring for a senior or middle-management sales role in our industry, though, while most manufacturers prefer a college degree, most will ultimately make a decision based on your sales performance and track record, not your Bachelors or Masters degree.

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