Recruiting Is Not HR. It’s Sales.

Recruiting Is Not HR. It’s Sales.


Whether internal or external, recruiting is sales and here is why.

Remember when one job posting would produce an abundance of qualified candidates?  Or when every candidate who interviewed wanted the job?  Or even when every offer was accepted?

Nope, those days are long gone.

The reality is that job postings are swarmed with unqualified applicants.  If your employment brand sucks, people will refuse to apply or interview.  When qualified applicants are found, they are not just interviewing, they are interviewing you.  And just because you’ve interviewed a candidate and extended them an offer, that does not mean they will accept or even that they are interested in the role.

People are complicated and “Do you want this job or not?” doesn’t cut it anymore.  There are a multitude of factors that go into the decision to accept a job.

What does this have to do with sales?  Hiring is a process of discovery on both the employer and the candidate side.  The decision to take an offer is rarely one made with a spreadsheet.  A great recruiter understands this and can negotiate the pitfalls that both candidates and hiring managers face.  Much like consultative sales, recruiters have to “sell” hiring managers on candidates and candidates on the company’s vision, culture, the position and its future in the company.

Here are 7 things recruiters could do to improve both the hiring manager and the candidate experience:

  1. Acknowledge Applicants. Many of today’s applicant tracking systems (ATS) require a significant amount of data entry from the candidate with no assurance that the application went through.  A simple automated email can do a lot to decrease the stress on applicants.  Same as a sales funnel, some of these applicants will end up being your ultimate “buyer” in accepting your job so treat them well.  (*also fix your ATS system so the candidate’s first impression of you isn’t that your company redundant and inefficient.)


  1. Know Your Candidate. A great recruiter can “sell” the hiring manager on why they need to take some of their precious time interviewing a particular candidate.  Not all resumes show clearly the quality of the candidate and the skills they bring.  Don’t miss out on a great hire over a not-so-great resume.


  1. Communicate the Process. Hiring managers have a lot on their plate and it is easy for the hiring process to get delayed.  A great recruiter can not only keep hiring managers on task in the hiring cycle, they can also keep passive candidates “warm” by letting them know where they are in the process.


  1. Ask Why When Told No. Interviews can be a weird and stressful event, and sometimes a great candidate makes a less than stellar presentation. Many times, a future terrific hire can be saved as well as the time and energy it took to recruit them, by digging deeper as to why the hiring manager is passing on them. Don’t allow a miscommunication to mess up a great hire.


  1. Know the Why. Where the company is coming from and where it wants to go matters, and the smaller the organization, the more it matters.  Someone has to explain the WHY behind the job, and that has to come early in the hiring process to keep passive or rare talent interested in moving forward.


  1. Candidates Interview Too. Have an offer process that allows the candidate to “interview” the company.  When an offer is extended, set a time to meet again with that candidate, explain the benefits and show them the environment.  A great recruiter is there to help the candidate find the information they need to make an informed decision so there are no surprises after.


  1. Stop Relying on Your Brand. The name of your company may have attracted talent, but the real courting is up to the recruiter.  Recruiters are the face of the company as far as candidates are concerned, so make their experience a positive one.


With a scarcity of top tier talent, recruiters need to be able to build awareness of your employment brand, source great candidates, establish their interest, facilitate the process of discovery and close the deal.  That’s sales.

To see the blog at Tulsa Business & Legal News click here.

By: Dixie Agostino, Founder of Switchgear Search & Recruiting