3 Practical Lessons Recruiters Can Learn from Salespeople

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It’s the ultimate war, one that has been going on for years and that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon: Sales vs. Recruiting. Are they basically the same? Do recruiters have the same responsibilities as salespeople? Do they follow the same criteria? Are they even from the same planet? There’s one thing we know for sure: recruiters hate being compared to salespeople. But why not learn a thing or two from sales instead of spending their energy denying the truth?

We can definitely say recruiting and sales are not synonyms, but they do have many things in common. Both recruiters and salespeople need to build a relationship with their leads in order to convert them into employees and potential clients, respectively. That’s right, building a relationship, meaning you’ll have to put in just as much effort to keep your prospects around as they do trying to get the job. An easy way to do this is by sending follow-up emails to keep everyone in the loop, both candidates who made the cut and those who didn’t. Moreover, try to relate with applicants as much as possible, listening to their concerns, answering their questions, and ultimately, you will earn their trust. You can even use a CRM to help you connect with your candidates, treating them the same way salespeople would customers. We can’t stress enough how important candidate experience is, just like customer experience is in the sales world.

Salespeople sell a product while recruiters sell a job opportunity. Both professionals need to be able to make the offer appealing enough for their respective “customers.” Salespeople create needs, using marketing strategies to convince customers their lives will be improved if they choose to do business with them. So why should it be any different for recruiters? Candidates now have the upper hand, meaning they can choose to work for who they please. The way to win them over is by telling them about you; a strategy Lou Adler first introduced as “job branding.” Ask yourself how your company can uplift a candidate’s lifestyle and well-being in a concrete, practical way. Now write it down in your job ad so that the candidate notices it right away and applies for your job rather than your competitor’s.

However, be careful not to fall in the overselling trap. While it may be common for salespeople to exaggerate some of the products or services’ features in order to make the sale, recruiters should steer clear of sugar-coating the position, the responsibilities, or even the company. This is usually a result of recruiters being forced to meet certain quotas, making them focus on quantity rather than quality (of hire). But no matter the reason, chances are overselling will only work out for the worst in the end, as it usually leads to deceived hires and ultimately increases candidate attrition. Remember that, in recruitment, honesty is the best policy, so make sure both you and your job ads are completely transparent to the candidate.

It’s true there are a lot of similarities between recruiters and salespeople. And while recruiters may be sick of being compared to salespeople, they should see it as an opportunity to learn from their counterparts, implement their best practices and discard those that aren’t such a good fit. Keep in mind that candidates now have a plethora of jobs to choose from, just like customers have several brands they can purchase products or services from. If salespeople can convince their prospects that their company is the best, so can—and should—you!

Kathya Brunet & Vanessa Fardi
Content Marketing Manager & Digital Copy Editor