Gareth Llewellyn - Mar 28, 2017

Industry Expertise vol 2 – Sales & Marketing

In our previous expert knowledge blog, we discussed why industry expertise was so important for both clients and candidates. We also introduced you to the Supply Chain team in Edinburgh which hopefully gave you a deeper understanding of how the Supply Chain teamwork.

This month we are looking at our Sales & Marketing team made up of Greg Carroll and Alex Tye who are based in Manchester.  Jack Parsliffe, Graham Knight, John Hancock and Manager Richard Parsons who are based in Edinburgh.



The food manufacturing industry is a fast-paced, innovative and exciting environment to work in. It’s the fastest growing manufacturing sector in the UK, so there is always new enthusiastic business starting up needing experienced candidates. Examples of positions we recruit for are Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, Commercial Manager and Technical Sales Manager and Category Manager.

Sales and Marketing are at the core of a business plan so these are key hires, often a more in-depth process than other recruits into a business. Recognising this, D R Newitt decided to create our first specialist division to recruit sales and marketing. The model that we now operate with expert teams of consultants for different skillsets was grown out of the success of this.


The process in how we search for potential candidates in the Sales & Marketing team is ever evolving and bespoke. So, continuous discussions are held between both client and consultant to make this process more efficient, ensuring the candidates we place will add value from day one.

Our consultants will start things off with an initial briefing taken with a hiring manager.

Briefing – It is crucial to doing a good job that we speak to either a head of department or the line manager of hire. It can also be useful to receive input from the HR team who may be able to give any extra relevant information. This process is often overlooked but the reasons are clear. D R Newitt will be representing the Client in the marketplace. If we don’t understand the business, the role, the scope and opportunity of it, then not only will we look stupid but so does the business we’re representing.

Detail – We must understand as much detail as possible, this is more important in sales than most of our disciplines. For example, are you looking for new business? If so, which contacts and market understanding will help? If you are office based, can people work a day from home? This can expand the search out another 20-30 miles.  If managing a major customer, who is it and how often will they be there? Again, this can expand the search and allow us to look for someone local to commute to their head office once a week.

Searching – A thorough search is then carried out on our database using keywords to narrow down specific talent. We also utilise LinkedIn, job boards and a little bit of networking to go that extra mile.

Advertising – Here comes a little marketing from ourselves, getting the job seen by the right people is important. Again, using LinkedIn and Job boards to widen the reach.

Candidate selection – once we have searched we spend time filtering our list by holding initial screening calls with candidates.  Interested people are then sent away to review the job and company website.  Further interview questions will then be asked by us.

Final shortlisting – At this stage, we will then come up with the initial shortlist for interview.

Client consultation – We discuss our shortlist and at this point we will often go back to searching, to ensure our client gets the requisite number of face to face interviews.


Recruitment companies are continuously evolving and transforming, so as a result, their needs are changing too. To lead the way as a recruitment company, our aim is to build a consultative and trusting relationship with our clients. Instilling confidence in our abilities to deliver results whilst educating our values throughout the process.

Knowing the industry inside out is key to this particular service. Our consultants are highly trained within the sector and clients will often rely on our knowledge to benchmark candidates.

The best advice we can give to any client is to engage with us and work in partnership. We spend days researching, networking, interviewing and shortlisting for our best clients. To do this best we need to know you well, know your business and understand the brief. This cannot be done by email or a 2-minute phone call. Time is precious of course but think of the time wasted by not making the right hire or by not getting your new person in place in good time. Speak to us about our retained consultative approach for the best level of service.


Managing the Sales & Marketing team is recruitment consultant Richard Parsons. He has been managing the team for the last six years and has certainly gained a comprehensive understanding of the industry. I caught up with Richard and asked him a few questions…

What it’s like to work at D R Newitt and how is your journey so far?

I joined D R Newitt with no recruiting experience, I think in time that has actually become a strength as I haven’t learned the bad habits that seem to be common in recruitment. I’ve been on external courses and enjoy liaising with other recruiters to make sure I learn new ways and skills all the time.

I was lucky in that the business pushed me into sales recruitment from day one and having now worked in it for almost 9 years whilst dabbling a little in other areas I can say it is a great division to work in. It also gave me an opportunity as DRN had done very little specialised sales recruitment so I had the chance to start something. Over time I have coordinated our sales database to my own liking and hired people to work with me who have really helped us grow.

Do you Liaise with Other Parts of The Business much?

We work closely with the other teams in the business, information sharing has always been key to us and divisions work together. For example, for ingredient salespeople can step out of NPD for that so we talk to the experts in that division and traders often come from buying backgrounds so we liaise with Supply Chain.

Do you have a unique management style?

I think in general people don’t enjoy being managed too tightly. I try to strike a balance, with new people you need to keep them on the right path and make sure their time is spent wisely but ultimately, we are trying to mould recruiters who are mostly self-directed as everyone here manages their own work and desk. The best recruiters see their ‘desk’ as their own mini business unit and I encourage that.

We do have KPIs that we track although without the lack of sense some recruitment companies enforce them with. I tend to look at KPI’s that I know generate success so I target ratio of candidate to interview, focus on number of jobs to interview.

What you’ve personally learnt about the industry?

It’s a tough one, margins are always being squeezed and competition is fierce. I think people in food have a great passion for it though and the desire for constant NPD keeps things very interesting.

I think the industry attracts entrepreneurs as food companies can grow from small beginnings and I really enjoy working with SME’s helping them to hire their first sales personal or build a small sales team so it is well suited to me.

Where is Food Manufacturing going?

Well, it’s not going to disappear, people need to eat but food and drink is also a great social driver worldwide. I personally love eating out, trying new foods and also cooking at home for family and friends, testing my limited cooking skills! I think new restaurant chains will keep opening, new food trends will keep emerging and the industry will continue to be strong.


I hope this has given you a grasp of how much time and care is given into selecting the right candidate. The next blog in our Expert Knowledge series we will be exploring D R Newitt’s Technical team, this time offering future candidates the advice and guidance needed for a rewarding career in food manufacturing.



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