As a recruiter, it may seem unnatural to think of yourself as a sales rep; after all, you work with people, not products. But, like consumers, candidates aren’t always immediately interested in what you have to offer.
As all good recruiters know, there’s a certain amount of selling that must take place to secure a quality candidate. In fact, research has shown recruiters with superior sales skills are consistently top performers in their field.
In today’s post, we show you how it’s done. Continue reading to learn the seven sales skills every recruiter must have.
While this is often a prerequisite for most jobs, it’s often an overlooked asset. Think back to the last time you had a phone conversation with a recruiter, who did most of the talking – you or them?
While it’s important to properly educate candidates about the opportunity in question, it’s equally important to pay close attention to what they have to say.
Strong listening skills allow recruiters to a gain deeper insight into a candidates career needs and desires. This understanding, combined with the ability to ask pointed, thoughtful questions, enables recruiters to determine whether a candidate will a good fit for a certain job.
2. Relationship Building
Like sales, successful recruiting often lies in one’s ability to form relationships. For B2B organizations especially, a sale typically isn’t made after one cold call. In fact, the sales cycle is often a long, winding road where success depends on a reps ability to nurture, educate and support a prospect. This process, though daunting at times, demonstrates a rep’s/organization’s vested interest in helping a prospect and can be the deciding factor when it comes to making a purchase.
The recruiting world is no different; candidates need to know you’re genuinely invested in helping them, and not just in it for the payout. In short, you can’t expect to convert a candidate without taking the time and effort to get to know them. In fact, more than two thirds of job seekers turn down a job if their first impression is sub-standard (source).
3. Strong Communication
Like sales prospects, candidates don’t often fit the same, cookie-cutter personas, and as such, don’t respond to the same types of communication. Recruiters with strong communication skills know the right and wrong ways of conversing with their candidates and can easily adapt in different situations.
4. Strong Follow-up
For sales reps, strong follow-up skills are a must-have. However, far too often, when a prospect goes cold it’s on to the next one. To put it simply, sales is not a one and done type of game. In fact, 80% of sales require five follow ups (source). To win, you’ve got to master the art of follow-up.
Poor follow up is a common complaint of candidates working with recruiters – and can result in a number of negative consequences. For one, it can leave a candidate feeling forgotten, which isn’t good for the recruiter or the hiring organization– especially if it’s a frequent occurrence. It also leaves the door open for another recruiter/organization to swoop in and steal a potentially great candidate from under your nose. Save yourself the embarrassment, and establish a strategic process for checking in with your candidates periodically.
5. Handling Objections
Objections are an inevitable obstacle in any sales process. However, successful reps know that an objection doesn’t always signal defeat. In a similar fashion, recruiters will also face objections – especially when it comes to salary. So, what’s the best way to handle objections? Communicate value.
If you’ve played your cards right, by this point in the recruitment process, you should have a good understanding of what exactly a candidate is looking for. Counter objections by selling the more positive aspects of an open position. For example, if a candidate is sold on a company’s PTO policy but isn’t so stoked about salary, remind them that though they may not be making as much money as they’d like, they’ll have more flexibility in their personal life.
If you are still met with an objection, remember to stay calm and level headed. Acknowledge the candidate’s opinion, and turn it into a conversation; focus the positives of the offer, rather than what’s holding them back.
6. Closing skills
Probably the most important skill a recruiter or sales rep can possess, is the ability to close a deal. At this stage in the game, recruiters and sales reps alike will often focus on the baseline components of the offer being made, such as salary, benefit packages, company culture, etc. However, this isn’t always the determining factor for the candidate or prospect. Remember, at the end of the day, candidates are people—with real emotions and opinions.
To get your candidate on board, take the time to re-emphasize the emotional drivers you identified in the beggining steps of the recruitment process. This works to ensure your candidate that they’ll be making the best choice for themselves and their careers.
Handling defeat isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s hard to avoid – especially in sales. Skilled sales professionals are familiar with rejection but understand there’s always another deal. The same goes for recruiters. The ability to accept, overcome, and bounce back from disappointment is what sets successful reps apart from the mediocre. Embrace this skill, and recruiting success will inevitably find you!
The bottom line
To put it simply, sales and recruiting aren’t all that different from each other. If you’re looking to improve your processes or scale the success of your recruiting practices, consider putting on your sales hat; you may be surprised to see how essential these foundational sales skills are for moving the hiring process along quickly and efficiently.
For more information about effective recruiting practices, contact ZoomInfo today!