I'm a Recruiter. No, a Salesperson. NO, a RECRUITER!

I’ve always thought of my profession as sales. Always. I started recruiting in the early days of the internet, where training was basically “wanna buy a chicken? No? How about a duck?” until I got my hands on some Danny Cahill Placement 2000 VHS tapes.Ahhh then I was in the money. So when an article over on Recruiting Daily was making the rounds on Facebook I was intrigued.

Kyle Lagunas would have us question the assumption that recruiting is indeed, sales. In his post Think Recruiting Is Sales? Think Again.

He enlightens us to a new product offering from SAVO (you’ve probably never heard of it. Or at least make me feel better that I haven’t) which does something analytical making stuff better, or something.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love technology, but I am always a little skeptical of software or solutions that promise to make recruiting easier/faster/more engaging. It seems these shiny new toys always come with unintended compliance consequences that actually give me MORE work to do that has very little with the main part of my job – connecting with Clients and Candidates. But I digress… the question here ultimately is this – Are Recruiters Salespeople? Allow me to share with you a day in MY life, and you tell me.

I sell a conversation. Hey Ms. PhD – don’t you just love research? Get out of academia and talk to me! What? Never considered a big company like mine? It’s just a phone call…. Oh, and this is happening on both sides. Mr. Hiring Manager, you gotta talk to this one. You’ll thank me later I promise. Persuasion and influence are elements of a sale.

I sell opportunity. I know Ms. PhD, you never thought you’d move to the west coast, but here’s WHY it’s good for your career/family/future. Remember when we talked about your hot buttons? Here’s the benefit. Coaching people through the emotions of “buying” something is another sales element.

I sell future results. Hey Mr. HM, remember Mr. PhD? Based on what I found out during our call(s), I think we can expect to see X, Y, and Z out of her in the next 18 months. Lines up nicely with your business objectives we discussed, doesn’t it? Illustrating value = another sales approach.

Good gracious we’re not even to an interview yet and I just sold my ass off. We have much further to go my friends, but do you see where I’m headed with this? I don’t care how smart my software is, or how savvy my ATS becomes. These human touch points on both sides of the relationship are SALES. I’ll even go so far as to say recruiting is one of the most DIFFICULT sales jobs there is. Cars can’t decide the potential owner is an asshat. Houses don’t decide to relocate at the last minute. Even those selling tangible services can usually guarantee a 98% chance of the TV turning on, the phone ringing, or software loading.

Not us, dear ones. We’re dealing with personalities on every side of this deal and they all have opinions on what’s in it for them. It’s our job to coach, motivate, persuade, cajole, influence, inspire, entice, guide… all for the purpose of CLOSING A DEAL. And you think I’m not salesperson?

Show me a fancy software solution that does all that. Then I’ll be impressed.

Views: 1703

Comment by RecruitingBlogs on April 3, 2014 at 4:18pm

We <3 Amy

Comment by Matt Charney on April 3, 2014 at 4:23pm

Amy, this is an awesome post, but my big takeaway was learning that Danny Cahill existed.  I'm not sure whether he's real or Tom Cruise in Magnolia, but there's a reason he also shares his name with a contestant on "The Biggest Loser." In recruiting, this tool has to win, hands down.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 3, 2014 at 4:33pm

Correction - it was Tony Byrne Placement 2000. But still. :) Both AWESOME

Comment by lisa rokusek on April 3, 2014 at 5:32pm

Nice, Amy. 

I honestly thought that post was an April Fool's joke after I posted my book in response to it.  I can't believe he called me smug.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 3, 2014 at 7:01pm

Thanks Lisa - I was very surprised by that. But apparently, recruiters like me and you are the problem :)

Comment by lisa rokusek on April 3, 2014 at 7:03pm

Wait until you read the comment I just left.  I'm a little more than a little annoyed.  Of course I am always someone's problem!  ;-)

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on April 3, 2014 at 8:22pm

I've never heard of that product either, but it sounds spectacular. Obviously, you just don't know what you're missing. Otherwise why would you be so smug and why you gotta hate on the robots?

Comment by lisa rokusek on April 3, 2014 at 8:26pm

Honest question, was I a jackwagon in my initial response?  I really didn't mean to be, but I might have been a bit on my second comment.  I actually toned it down.  Did I imagine the smugness coming toward me? I might be in that kind of place.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on April 3, 2014 at 8:48pm

@Lisa - wasn't agreeing that you were being smug, just sarcasm about the whole topic. IMO your comments are/were well-founded and appropriate. And, you clearly have the professional credibility to say what ever you darn well please about this subject! 

The amusing part of this type of debate is that sometimes people tend to temporarily forget that EVERYONE does and views things differently. While I agree with both Dean's and Amy's description of the work, I don't necessarily refer to it in my own context as "sales" as that word isn't one I identify closely with overall, personality or work-style wise. 

Are those that consider recruiting to be sales more effective or better than those that don't? I don't believe so. As for the technology aspect makes no difference to me whether someone uses any particular tools or none at all. Whatever works best for each situation is all that matters. 

Comment by lisa rokusek on April 3, 2014 at 8:51pm

It is funny, isn't it?  Such a divisive line.


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