Business Development Roles

How to hire a graduate for a role in Business Development

Candidate profile:

A confident and socially adept individual who is able to form strong relationships with clients and think quickly on their feet when under pressure. To succeed in this role they should also be highly organised and be excellent at working to deadlines.

Business, Economics, Management or Maths degrees can be beneficial for this role but should not be an essential requirement. As long as the candidate performs strongly in the different required skills, degree choice should be less of an issue.

Top skills:

  1. Written & verbal communication: feeding back new ideas to the team clearly is very important.
  2. Relationship building: business development requires strong relationships with the team and close contacts of the company.
  3. Problem-solving: being able to think in an abstract, innovative way is key for coming up with new ideas.
  4. Time management: a businesses developer will be juggling lots of tasks at the same time.
  5. Attention to detail: small mistakes in a strategy can have big impacts, so getting the details right is key.

Non-office experience:

  • Previous roles in customer service, retail or front of house demonstrate that the candidate has experience in building rapport with clients.
  • If they have been a captain of a sports team or head of a society they are likely to have strong leadership skills which are beneficial to a role in Business Development. It also shows that they have strong communication skills.

Office experience:

  • Previous experience in a Sales or Marketing role is a big plus! The ability to sell a product is key to a role in Business Development. Remember though, graduates are very adaptable and can be trained up quickly so this shouldn’t be an essential requirement.
  • Experience in account management roles or telesales indicates that the candidate has experience in speaking and dealing with clients.
  • Any experience which has required numerical work is beneficial as a successful candidate should be able to accurately analyse data for better decision making.

Green flag

  • Someone who is motivated and prepared to go above and beyond to get the right results - an ambitious individual would suit a role in Business development well!
  • A charismatic and confident individual, who has no issue talking to people and leading a team, perhaps delegating. 
  • A candidate ideal for this role will be organised and adept and managing their time. 

Red flag

  • A candidate who is lethargic and not confident- perhaps a more introverted individual may not be as suited for the role.
  • Someone who doesn’t perform well under pressure will not be an ideal candidate.
  • Someone who cannot articulate themselves well- communication is key for a role in this capacity. 

At interview:

  • Particularly for this kind of role, it’s important to take note of how a candidate sells themselves. Dressing smartly and being on time should be taken note of. It’s worth asking them what makes the difference between them and another candidate to test how they sell their experience and strengths.
  • We recommend asking the candidates to prepare a short sales pitch during the interview - the product can be anything and doesn’t need to be related to your business. What you want to test here is the candidate’s communication skills, how they react under pressure and how persuasive they are naturally.
  • Ask the candidate questions about your business and competitors to test their understanding of how a business works and the level of research they have carried out prior to the interview.

Employee’s Expectations

In a new role the annual salary seems to be around £18,000. A candidate may also expect there to be a capacity for bonuses or company benefits. A candidate in this role will want to gain as much experience and as many transferable skills as possible - so don’t be surprised if a graduate wants to learn as much as possible about business operations and try their hand in a variety of different capacities.

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