Impact Insights

Recruiting is Sales

Laura Rice

It is well known that recruiting and sales go hand in hand, right? The sales team keeps recruiters working and recruiters help close a sale by providing top-notch candidates, a process that hopefully evolves into additional opportunities.

I’ve been recruiting for over 20 years and often been asked if I would consider moving into a sales role. Immediately, my palms start to sweat and a wave of anxiety crashes over me.

“Me? Oh no! I’m a recruiter. I can’t do sales.”

What I have come to realize is that a good recruiter is “selling” each and every time you speak with a candidate. When you’re vetting a highly seasoned professional, you’re promoting the benefits of working for your company. Once you’ve piqued the candidate’s interest and generated excitement to work for your company, you then propose that candidate and their strengths to the hiring manager. Occasionally, you may have to advocate harder for someone you believe is the right candidate even if they don’t check all the typical boxes or preferences. This may require either providing additional details regarding their experience or emphasizing personality traits that you know might make for a great match.

A successful salesperson engages their clients in discussions that can ultimately lead to new business. Recruiters engage with candidates, listening carefully to how they answer questions to determine whether or not they are a fit for the role. It is important to truly engage with the candidate and listen carefully to how they answer questions. How a candidate answers questions can provide valuable insight. There are certain nuances you can also listen for such as hesitation, distractions, negativity, or repetition about something the person does or doesn’t enjoy doing in their current role or at their current employer.

Good communication skills are another critical sales tool for recruiters. Setting appropriate expectations is important from the onset, allowing you to establish rapport and build trust with the candidate. Understanding what a candidate is seeking, as well as being able to describe the role and responsibilities are necessary in making a placement. If you’re trying to recruit a candidate who isn’t quite ready to make a move, strong communication skills can lead to a deeper conversation on topics that could generate useful intel. Learning more about the organization for which they work, their role, the company culture, perks and benefits could be helpful in future recruiting efforts.

As a recruiter, if I hear that a candidate is not available or interested in making a change yet, I try to engage in further conversation to develop a relationship. Communication should be respectful and transparent to form a trustworthy relationship with your candidate. The timetable for developing this type of relationship isn’t exact. I’ve had candidates tell me they weren’t ready to make a move, but after some monthly or quarterly check-in calls, ended up being hired a year later. Others were hired in more or less time. Engagement and persistence are important.

These check-in calls are a great way to build trust and foster relationships. This is especially true during a challenging year like 2020 which generated a yearning for greater connection. You’ll always hear me balancing work and project talk with questions about family and how people are doing because I genuinely care about and enjoy hearing what they have to say. As a recruiter, it is important to remember how you felt when you were a candidate. For me, I preferred to network with recruiters who genuinely seemed to care about finding the right role for both me and the prospective employer. There are a few recruiters who approached me about positions that were not the right fit, but because of their open and transparent communication style, I referred them to other candidates who were a better fit.

On the flip side, if someone hasn’t shown interest in a job or opportunity after a few check-ins, it’s important to respect their boundaries. The same goes for the recruiter who might recognize the candidate doesn’t appear to be a good cultural fit. In that case, thank them for their time and let them know you can be a resource if they ever need anything. Remember the goal is to find an ideal fit for both your organization, the client and the candidate.

At Impact Advisors, we have many benefits to offer potential employees, and we’ve been honored with awards and accolades through the years that reflect that. In my opinion, none of those achievements would have been possible without the collaborative culture that we cultivate.

Remember that it’s a two-way street. Employers need to entice and attract potential candidates just as candidates need to serve as their own advocates, emphasizing why their experience may be a fit. As the line between recruiting and sales continues to blur, your team should be prepared to support and navigate those changes. Keep in mind that each connection could lead you closer to future hires!