Recruiting = Sales

In the recruiting and hiring process over the years, there have been many changes, but there’s typically been one constant: that filling a position is dependent upon an applicant being able to “sell” him or herself to a prospective employer.

Well, that’s still true—but did you ever think about how that sales effort swings both ways?

Think about it. If you’re head-hunting and manage to turn up an A-1 candidate, or sitting on the hiring side of the desk and encounter a top-notch applicant, maybe, just maybe, you need to think about selling THEM on YOUR company.

“Ha!” you say, hiring is a seller’s market, they’d have to be crazy NOT to want to come and work for us. Job applicants are ready to do whatever it takes to swing the decision in favor of bringing them into your fold.

Aren’t they?

Maybe. Maybe not.

More often than you might think, recruiting and hiring require a healthy dose of salesmanship. And while you’re still going to see your fair share of prospects ready to sign onto your ship with few questions asked, your top applicants may frequently have other options.

Which makes selling your position—and your organization—more important than ever.

Recruiting efforts tend to embrace this philosophy more readily, in that your scouts are out there actively beating the bushes for the best of the best. But a sales mindset should be prominent at all levels of the hiring process.

Once you’ve found a winning applicant, you want to ensure that you can build a framework for a long-term relationship with honesty, enthusiasm, and strategic thinking.

This is especially critical when dealing with millennials. Your millennial labor pool looks at things a little differently from previous generations.

They are often more concerned with bigger-picture issues that go beyond just a regular paycheck. The quality of work plays a definite role—what they’ll be doing, and what meaning it has for them. And how fast they can work their way up to an even better position (this is not a generation that bides their time.)

That’s where your salesmanship comes into play. And it needs to be consultative in nature; a conversation, not a monologue. Just as I teach in consultative sales training, to effectively complete any transaction, you need a sense of the needs and desires of your customer—in this case, your prospective applicant.

Spend as much time—(and preferably MORE)–listening as you do talking. Really hear where your applicant is coming from, and you’re likely to gain an understanding of what they’re seeking and whether they are the right fit for you—and you for them.

Think a little differently about how you go about your recruiting and hiring tasks, and you may discover that your “recruiting” hat and your “sales” hat aren’t really that different—they just have a slightly different tilt!

Grow Big or Go Home!