Recruitment and sales — while comparing the two may seem like apples and oranges at first glance, the two professions have more in common than you might think. After all, recruitment involves a lot more than simply posting an open position on a career website. It involves engaging, persuading, and negotiating with candidates to seal the deal. A lot of the same qualities that great salespeople possess can also be found in today’s most successful recruiters.
Why Recruiters Should Know How To Sell
A great salesperson needs to be knowledgeable about the product they are selling, able to qualify leads, great at thinking on their feet, and perhaps most importantly, victorious in closing the deal. Similarly, a great recruiter also needs to be knowledgeable about the company and the role they are hiring for, able to identify right-fit candidates, and successful in “selling” them on the job and company.
“In recruiting, sales skills are used in crafting compelling job descriptions, persuading passive candidates to consider a new opportunity, and negotiating terms that satisfy both the candidate and the company,” OxygenArk Founder George Yang says. “For example, at OxygenArk, we once successfully persuaded a highly sought-after candidate to join us over competitors by effectively communicating our unique company culture and growth opportunities.”
Especially in today’s tight labor market with its low unemployment rate of about 3.7%, Kathleen Duffy, president and CEO of global recruiting company Duffy Group, says, “Successful recruiters also use their stellar sales skills to pique candidates’ interest and keep them engaged throughout the recruitment process. This is critical, considering candidates may be weighing offers from several potential employers simultaneously.”
Sales Skills Every Recruiter Needs to Learn
Along with knowing the ins and outs of the company and the role they’re hiring for, there are several skills that recruiters, like good salespeople, should have in their arsenal. “Key sales skills for recruiters include active listening, persuasive communication, negotiation, and relationship-building, and it’s vital to understand the candidate’s point of view and effectively communicate how the role aligns with their aspirations,” Yang says. “Mastering these skills will enable you to do a better job of recruiting.”
Additionally, recruiters should also have or develop the following skills and techniques:
- Problem-solving: A great recruiter should seek to solve a problem for a potential candidate. Maybe the candidate feels stuck and is looking for opportunities for advancement or their boss is a micromanager, and they are looking to gain more autonomy. Being able to recognize the challenges a candidate is facing and present them with a solution to their problems (in this case, a job) can be the deciding factor when it comes to selling the candidate on the position.
- Organization: Similar to a salesperson who may have a catalog of products to sell and a target list of customers to engage with, recruiters will simultaneously have multiple roles to fill, each with many different candidates to keep track of throughout the recruitment process. Organizational skills like coordination and project management, are key here when it comes to juggling candidates, scheduling and preparing for interviews, etc.
- Resilience: Often hearing “no” more than “yes” means that thick skin is a must for recruiters. When faced with adversity, recruiters need to remain optimistic and passionate about their job and the ones they are trying to fill.
- Customer service: It’s important for recruiters to be customer-, or candidate-focused, so they can effectively understand their needs, goals, and aspirations and tailor the pitch (in this case, the job pitch) to them.
- Trustworthiness: Perhaps above all, a good recruiter needs to be someone the candidate can trust. Switching jobs is a life-changing decision, so it’s imperative that the candidate feels comfortable with the recruiter if they are going to accept the position.
How Recruiters Can Improve Selling Techniques
By honing their sales techniques, recruiters can more effectively engage with candidates, understand their needs, and position their organization as the right choice. Duffy says, “Recruiters should continue developing their curiosity to learn all they can about their clients and the candidates who could become their next great new hires. They should master the art of listening and be creative in unearthing talent in unexpected places. Like good salespeople who build relationships with clients, recruiters should make a point of staying in touch with desirable candidates during and even after hiring decisions have been made.”
Additionally, Yang says, “Recruiters can improve their sales skills through training in sales techniques, regular practice in real-life scenarios, and learning from feedback. Role-playing exercises and mentorship from experienced sales professionals can also be beneficial.”
Give Recruitment Efforts an Extra Boost
Recruiters can continue to improve the effectiveness of their efforts, by leveraging Monster’s Pay-for-Performance solution to reach the right candidates and optimize hiring campaigns. Think of us as a marketing team, helping you find leads and write job descriptions that sell candidates on the job opportunity. Download our free guide to learn more about Monster’s Pay-for-Performance solution today.