The success or failure of a company always depends upon the talents of the people who work there. If you want to recruit and retain the very best employees, you'll need to provide them with what they want, not what you think they need.

As I explained in "Where to Find Top Sales Talent," I was recently asked to co-host a free webinar that will present groundbreaking research based on LinkedIn's huge database of personnel and recruitment activity.

LinkedIn surveyed 11,813 non-managerial employees to determine what they value the most in a job. The surveyed employees fell into two groups: technical (4,658 engineers) and non-technical (7,155 salespeople). Here are the results:


The two groups were in broad agreement about the importance of most aspects of the work environment. As I predicted in "10 Things Employees Want More Than a Raise," both groups put a very high value on work-life balance.

Employers would do well to heed this and stop requiring unpaid overtime (which is unproductive anyway, as I have explained in "Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week").

There are three areas in which the opinions of salespeople and engineers greatly differ:

  • Having a good relationship with your colleagues. Engineers see the ability to work with other engineers as a crucial part of their ability to complete projects. Salespeople, by contrast, don't care nearly as much, probably because their work tends to be solitary.
  • Challenging work. Here's where we find the greatest disparity. Engineers want interesting projects that push them as individuals. Salespeople, by contrast, aren't all that motivated by job difficulty, probably because they see selling as enough of a challenge on its own.
  • Having a long-term strategic vision. Engineers aren't much interested long-term strategy, probably because they know that in five years everything (from a technology standpoint) will be completely different. Salespeople, however, want to work for a company that knows where it's headed, probably because it's easier to sell a company's products if they fit within an overarching strategic vision.

In the webinar (September 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern), my co-host Alyssa Sittig and I will be going over this data as it relates to recruiting salespeople.