Good Recruiters Are Good Salespeople

January 8, 2014 3 mins read
Good Recruiters Are Good Salespeople

As recruiting consultants, not only do we have to deal with corporate HR, we also have to maintain timely contact with candidates. Along with providing work opportunities to candidates, we also must recommend suitable candidates and those with outstanding potential to corporate HR departments. The nature of our work is extremely similar to that of sales. What, then, are the qualities of a good salesperson?

First, you have to have a thorough understanding of the product (the job opportunities provided by companies as well as candidates’ CVs), and have an excellent grasp of the product’s core competitive strengths. When introducing the product to your sales target, be sure to analyze the urgency of their various requirements. A product that satisfies their top three needs is basically a suitable product. After all, there’s no such thing as a perfect job or a perfect candidate. For this reason, it’s our duty to give relevant suggestions to companies and relatively complete market info to candidates in an effort to help both parties make relatively smart decisions.

Secondly, a good salesperson is someone who pays close attention to their professional image and abilities. During the sales process, they have solid command of the details, as well as an understanding of the crux of the particular sale. When the time comes to go for it, they strike; before that moment, however, they wait patiently. People have a few misconceptions about salespeople, viewing them as glib and unctuous. In reality, however, many good sales professionals don’t rely on sly tricks and tenacious pursuit for success. Instead, they allow their professional character to sway customer as they help them analyze their specific needs and make the best decision.

When interviewing candidates, HR is the brand’s effective image spokesman. This in itself is a type of indirect sales. HR professionals should be extremely cognizant of the first impression their personal image and professional character leave with a candidate—in many cases this will determine the candidate’s level of approval of the company. We’ve met candidates who have flatly refused to continue to interview at companies due to the unprofessional behavior and attitudes of their HR staff. A professional HR staff is a good salesperson, able to effectively sell the candidate on the company’s culture, attitudes, and working environment. To a certain extent, this is a type of corporate public relations. Many companies have begun recruiting on campus, and they place significant importance on these aspects of HR.

In both headhunting consulting and corporate HR, the work itself is fundamentally people oriented. For this reason, we should learn from excellent salespersons and place a heavy emphasis on improving our interpersonal communication skills.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China
mmai@morganmckinley.com