Dynamic Duos – Sales & Recruiting

Batman and Robin. Joey and Chandler. Shaggy and Scooby.  

Those are some of my favorite duos and in 2021, I added Sales & Recruiting jobs to that list. I’ve been in Talent Acquisition for over 20 years and did Sales for only 2 of those years until I decided to open my recruiting firm, Recruiting Experiences. I hired two consultants to help me get started. First, I invested in branding and website development with Allison Nordenbrock. Allison is a consultant who focuses on Marketing services for start-up and scale-up businesses. She was instrumental in helping me get my ideas out of my head and organized into a strategic business focus and website. Second, I engaged with Denny Ward at Velocity Sales to help me develop a go-to-market message and build my sales skills as an entrepreneur.  

Denny’s program was an 8-week approach to creating the building blocks of my company’s services: developing a sales proposition, identifying my ideal customer profile (ICP), defining key differentiators, anticipating objections, and committing to a strategic sales approach. We methodically worked through each step of the process and spent time documenting each of these key items. In the midst of one of our lessons, Denny was reminding me to get a 2nd step solidified before ending the first call. My epiphany hit like a brick to the head: Sales is the same process of Recruiting. We simply call the stages different things. An initial phone screen in Recruiting is a discovery call in Sales. Each process has a negotiation phase and goes through a process of objections and rebuttals.  

The similarities didn’t stop there. With this in mind, great Recruiters can easily transition to Sales careers based on this common ground. At face value, you might not describe Sales as a people-centric career while just about anyone would agree Recruiting is all about the people. In reality, success in these careers is built on the professional being able to communicate with varied audiences through multiple mediums. Meeting the ‘buyer’ or ‘job seeker’ where they are is critical to getting your message across. One recipient may want to receive communication by text or via social media where another (me!) much prefers a phone call or face-to-face interaction.  

Alongside this focus on people, effective communication serves as the cornerstone of both recruiting and sales. Whether pitching a solution or presenting a job opportunity, your ability to articulate the message with clarity and persuasively may be the difference in an accepted offer or signed contract. Whether it is the carefully crafted email subject line, the engaging elevator pitch, or the perfectly timed question, every interaction is an opportunity to move the process forward and build a more trusting relationship.  

According to a study by LinkedIn, 45% of recruiters view recruiting as increasingly resembling sales. In today’s hyper-competitive job market, recruiters must embrace sales-like strategies to attract and retain top talent. This shift underscores the importance of adopting a proactive, sourcing approach which may even include cold-calling to recruitment. Consider the email campaign. Studies show that it takes 10-12 sales ‘touches’ for a message to receive a response while Recruiters can get a response in fewer touches – generally 7-9. The campaign approach with multiple outreach messages through a few channels hasn’t always been part of a Recruiter’s toolbox but is commonplace for today’s proactive recruiters who directly source talent.  

Finally, let’s not forget about the importance of resilience. In both recruiting and sales, rejection is an inevitable part of the journey. Whether you’re facing a string of unanswered emails, weathering a slump of rejected job offers, or have been hung up on one too many times, the ability to bounce back and persevere is essential to continue moving forward. After all, every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow. It may not feel like it in the moment, but there are lessons in each of our setbacks along the career journey.  

Similarities in process, outreach, discovery, and resilience are driving some Recruiters & Sales professionals to merge their roles within recruiting teams, especially at external recruiting agencies. With the low hiring opportunities for Recruiters in 2023-2024, this is also a good time for Recruiters to consider a temporary career pivot to Sales professions. I actually had that opportunity in the economic aftermath of 9/11 in 2001 when I spent a year selling for my telecommunications employer while we waited for hiring needs to re-emerge.  

Opportunities are all around us. If you’re frustrated with the state of hiring in recruiting right now, take a deep breath and consider a sales opportunity. Selling a product you don’t believe in?  Give recruiting a try. And, if you want to try your hand at both as many young professionals have in the past several years, try an agency out and you will likely have the opportunity to split your time between sales and recruiting activities. Even if you find one is a better long term fit, you’ll have a great skillset across two lucrative professions. Stay strong. Keep moving forward. You got this!  

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