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Hot to Hire: E-commerce Account & Vendor Management

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A conversation with 24 Seven recruiter Taylor Lasecke on the latest trends in e-commerce recruitment.

There has been an increase in the number of e-commerce account manager and vendor manager positions that our recruitment teams have been working on. Tell us a little about why this is a hot area at the moment.

A lot of brands are turning their focus to e-commerce, and are looking to bring in those critical, strategic roles to grow revenue. E-commerce companies are looking for account managers to strengthen vendor relationships, to nurture those accounts, implement new account strategies, all to exceed sales goals. These professionals manage the various companies or vendors whose products are sold on a particular e-retail platform.

What kind of skill sets are these e-commerce companies looking for? Who is most in demand right now?

I think the e-commerce candidates who are most in demand are the ones with a hybrid background. The ones who most successfully transition into a vendor account management position are the ones who balance ‘left brain, right brain’. So this is someone who is both really great with all of the analytics, but then is also fantastic with vendor relations and communications. They have a proven track record for relationship building with their vendor or their clients. But then they also are able to back their creative solutions and strategic recommendations with numbers.

What kind of professional backgrounds are ideal for these roles?

Typically, I think that people with buying e-commerce backgrounds really have the advantage in this type of position. I think this is because these candidates have a proven grasp of the numbers and can back up the vendor account management/relationship/communication piece as well. But it can also be candidates that have more of a finance or marketing background too. That’s definitely an attractive background blend for these types of roles too because in these vendor account positions, you are doing a lot of different things. You will be doing some marketing, you will be doing some vendor management, you will be setting strategy along with your vendor, you will be crunching a lot of numbers. The skill set requirement can seem somewhat wide for each role. So when we’re able to find somebody who blends two unique skill areas, that’s exciting. And this is what I mean about left brain, right brain.

Tell me about what kind of companies would have the best luck in attracting e-commerce talent.

For companies looking to attract e-commerce talent, it totally depends on the candidate. But I find that often candidates are interested in larger, well-established companies. I believe this is because they may want to have that company name on their resume. Perhaps they won't stay at this company for a really long time, but they want to get in there at some point in their career to really understand the business and develop professionally at such a large e-commerce company. After that, they may be willing to consider a smaller company where they're able to take that knowledge that they gained from a larger company, and are now able to apply it to get a smaller e-commerce business up and running.

What would you say to that smaller company that's competing for this talent?  What could they highlight in order to entice that talent and get them to consider a role outside of a large organization?

One thing to consider is giving a candidate a bump up in the job title. That's always effective. So, for example, maybe instead of a vendor specialist position, which is more entry-level, they offer the candidate a vendor manager or a senior account manager title instead – and with that title change comes more responsibility. High achieving candidates are enticed by opportunities that give them the opportunity to learn and gain experience that they will be able draw on later in their career.

Are there any particular compensation and benefits or perks that companies may want to point out?

I think flexibility is the biggest thing right now for just about every candidate we talk to everyday, especially e-commerce candidates. Maybe the candidate has a family and they need flexibility about when and where they work. Or maybe it’s a 20-something person that wants to go on more vacation. This is when unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO) is attractive. Candidates are always asking what the PTO looks like or if a company is flexible.

What would be some final advice you’d give to hiring managers looking to identify, attract and secure e-commerce candidates?

I would say to truly rely on all the expertise your talent management and recruiting partner brings to the relationship. We are here to help and we have so much real life and timely information that is useful in developing a recruiting plan. We know exactly the e-commerce talent backgrounds that will exceed performance expectations, and we are connected to hundreds of candidates at any given time. We also have fantastic recruiting-specific resources at our fingertips. That’s how we’re able to find the perfect unicorn candidate for each of our clients.

We are also helpful at the offer stage. We are impartial and want to make both the candidate and the client happy. We know what compensation is accurate and competitive, and will not only win over the candidate but keep them happy at the company so they stay. As recruiters, we're able to see in the middle with everything. It's really great to be able to be that outside resource to let hiring managers know, "Hey, this is what I've been seeing. These are the candidates that have been hired. This is how long that they've been there. This is what attracts and keeps them." Our goal is to achieve a win-win situation for everyone involved.

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