Recruitment is a sales process. Whether you are the person hiring or the person applying for a particular role, you can be 100% sure that selling should be a part of your preparation and delivery.
Comparing the job application process to sales is not a huge leap. Most candidates are automatically aware that they are selling more than just a product. They are selling themselves.
Applicants create professional looking resumes highlighting their greatest achievements. They submit carefully crafted cover letters outlining some of their most redeeming qualities and put together the perfect interview outfit.
Do people that are merely presenting themselves for consideration go through all of this trouble? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes. Societal standards say that’s what they should do, so most of them do it. The truly great candidates, however, will go above and beyond to sell themselves.
Consider trying the following experiment. Pull 10 promising candidates from your applicant list. Call them and tell them you appreciate their application, but feel that they are not a good fit for the company at this time. The person on the other end of the line will likely react in one of the following ways:
- They will say thank you for your consideration and hang up.
- They will say thank you for the outreach and ask why they weren’t a good fit or what they could do to improve their chances next time.
What’s the difference? Applicants that respond in the first manner may be great candidates…but they don’t care. They don’t care enough to sell themselves if they’ve accepted the first no they’ve encountered from you.
Applicants that respond in the second manner, however, have taken the initiative to identify what it is about their personal sales pitch that isn’t working so they can correct it. This tiny question is enough to show that they understand the sales game they are playing, and truly do care about its outcome.
Although it may not seem as obvious as an applicant selling themselves for a particular role, recruiters should be selling just as much. Rather than selling their personal accomplishments and skills though, they are selling the company.
A recruiters sales process begins the second they create a job advertisement. If well crafted, it should contain enough information to intrigue the right kind of candidates. That means it should be transparent, and it should differentiate your company from others looking for similar candidates.
Transparency is important in a sales process. You want to make sure that you are only offering what you intend to deliver or you’ll wind up with a less than happy receiving party. The same is true for hiring companies. Do not sell your company by advertising a possible pay rate or benefit or schedule that you don’t intend to deliver to any candidate that walks through the door.
Equally as important in a sales process is differentiation. You need to convince potential applicants that your company stands out on the list of businesses that do what you do. It is your job as a successful recruiter to explain why an applicant should want to work for your company and why your mission and vision matter.
Thinking of recruitment the same way you would think about selling a product or service is both smart and valuable. It helps recruiters determine which candidates are serious about wanting to work for their company, and it helps candidates realize which companies they want to work for.