Looking at recruiting from two sides…Agency and Corporate.  Let me know your thoughts.  Also, let me know if it is not about the candidate at all and more about the client you are serving…


If you are an agency recruiter, would you consider your position to be sales? Or, would you consider your role to be more consultative towards helping candidates find the right position?


If you are an corporate recruiter, would you consider your position to be sales? Or, would you consider your role to be more consultative towards helping candidates find the right position?

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Isn't all sales a form of "helping" or "educating"? For me agency recruiting is definitely about sales.

My take. Everyone is in sales in their profession in some fashion.  Doesn't matter if you are a lawyer or an IT professional or a recruiter.  You are always trying to sell your idea.  Just remember when you are trying to convince your Mom to buy you those cookies at the grocery store when you are 5.  Some like commissions, others don't.  Corporate recruiters and Agency Recruiters are both sales folks- one has higher risk, potential for higher reward.  Ageny recruiters sell to the client and candidate, Corporate recruiters sell to the candidates and the hiring managers.   Just my preference, but I'll stick to corporate.  I sell every day though. :)

Recruitment is much more than just reviewing resumes and decide on who to hire.  The recruiters has to sell their opportunities to talents who can do well in their opportunities. 

Thanks for the comments!  I agree with you on all your points, but do you think it is a sales position where you do not take no for an answer?  I recently read a blog, where the recruiter said he/she does not take no for an answer until they have had an opportunity to give all the information....I'm not a believer in that approach. There may be a fine line between not taking no for an answer, and making sure the candidate has all the information needed.  If you pester the candidate, and seem very sales oriented, I do not believe you will get the end result you are looking for.

Agreed.  One thing I always say is I am not trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.  A candidate has to interview the interviewer.  If it is a fit, it is a fit; and if it isn't, it isn't.  I don't try to shove a position down someone's throat just because I am trying to fill a role.  As a corporate recruiter, I try to sell the COMPANY, not the role.  If they are sold on the company, the vision, the ideals- then the right position will come with time.  You have to sell the company & the vision though. 

Definitely a sales role on both sides. As far as not taking no for an answer... well instead of blasting someone with information how about asking the candidate (or client) what sort of scenario would compel them to say yes. If the candidate is STILL saying no after you're done with your stupid pitch (aka giving all the information) then shame on you for not LISTENING and asking questions.


Meaning the generic "you" not YOU, Ryan. :) That "but wait there's more" approach is why so many people hate sales people (recruiting and otherwise).

Yes...sales on both sides.  You are always selling something no matter what you do. Plus, are you a recruiter just to help people or do you like making good money?

If you don't believe that recruiting , both agency and corporate,is sales your recruiting career will be a short one. That being said, a professional sales person knows when to take a "no" today in order to get a "yes" tomorrow. The objective of sales is to build relationships that lead to credibility. The hard sell, pushy sales person may close a few but they become so irritating that they never build long term repeat business.

Think about who you buy from and why ,no matter what the product. The funniest sales cold call I ever got was a young man from a newspaper at the other end of the state, selling job board spots.
The call went like this

: Sandra, my name is x, I work for the xxtimes, I notice that you are not using the xx job board. Cold call sales reps irritate me so I assume they irritate you but I am prepared to make you a deal you cannot refuse.

It made me laugh because there wasn't a bunch of the "how great we are, what a cool dude he was or a bunch of small talk about how was I today, how was business, blah, blah. When I quit laughing I said, " ok, shoot your best shot". There was no garbage, no big spin, just a quote and he shut up.
He was right it was a deal I couldn't refuse. He sent me a contract, I signed and sent a check that day. That was 12 years ago, now I call him. Over the years he has made me aware of special offers, referred candidates to me and we have laughed about that "offer, I couldn't refuse" many times. I asked him once where he came up with that spin. He said they hired him, told him he could only contact recruiters who were not currently buying and could make whatever offer within certain guidelines he needed to in order to develop new business.

The reason it worked was because he figured out what was important to his target. Therein lies the secret to effective selling.

I started my career in direct sales, and I have now been a recruiter for 12 plus years.  They are one and the same.  As a salesperson, my job was to listen to my client, find out what their needs were, match that with a product or service that I could provide them to fulfill that need.  Now, I listen to my hiring managers, find out what their needs are, and match that with a candidate who can provide that need.  I also listen to my candidates, find out what their needs are, and find out what my company can provide them to fill those needs.  Sales 101.

Thank you for all the response.  I can see many very good points here.  What I love about recruiting is that it can both be sales as well as consultative.  At some point, when you know you are not making the "sale", you can switch from the "pitch" to the "how can we develop a mutual beneficial relationship."


Majority of the placements I have made, have come from people I have known for 6+ months.  Not from the people I call for the first time.


All this goes back to candidates/people will buy from/work with people they trust.

It's like Will said you are in sales in some way shape or fashion. In the IT industry your customers are the end users. It is your job to sell your skills and knowledge to them and make them feel confident in your abilities to resolve your issue. In recruiting its the samething. You are selling yourself to two types of customers clients and job seekers. You have to sell yourself to clients that you can get them the best candidates around and to the job seekers you have to sell your skills that your service is good enough to get them the job they are looking for because you are competiting with several other staffing agencies both local and national.

A long time recruiting buddy of mine was at my desk when I read this post.  He said "dude, life is sales.  Print it." and walked away.  Love his flair for drama.  Anyway, for the most part I agree.  We are promoting ourselves and our business at every turn, sales.  Recruiters must describe a position, qualify interest, close the deal, sales.  We do take the process a long way further than this...but yup...sales.  

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