How recruitment is more than a sales job

Man and woman business meeting

For those who don’t know much about recruitment, it may come across as a HR job, one that focuses on hiring the best people and creating a positive workplace culture. However, as you dive in deeper, you’ll find out that recruitment is actually quite distinctive from a HR role. Instead, it is widely considered more of a sales role in the industry.  

So how is recruitment a sales job?

Recruitment can be more challenging than a typical sales job as efforts are two-fold – having to sell the position to the candidate, and having to sell the candidate to the client. Working in recruitment will also include additional responsibilities such as developing client business relationships, managing the hiring process, conducting interviews and providing career advice to candidates.

Job duties aside, we set out areas where recruitment is comparable to a sales job:

  • In recruitment lingo, ‘sales leads’ are ‘candidates’

To put it into perspective, while salespeople convert leads to customers, recruiters turn candidates into hires. Furthermore, just like how salespeople keep track of all their leads, the same applies to a recruiter managing their candidates. At SThree, we ensure that all consultants have an in-depth understanding of what their candidates are after in their next role and we monitor this through a program called ‘Gold 100 Market Mapping’. This program comprises of a database that is used to alert our consultants when similar opportunities become available for their candidates. Just like how salespeople would look after their leads in a sales nurturing program, as recruiters, we proactively assist our candidates with other opportunities should they be unsuccessful in securing their first role. We also have an initiative called ‘Contractor Care’ which involves an enhanced offering consultants provide around candidate care, increasing the extension rate, lowering the finisher rate and ensuring a better quality of deal.

  • Both sales and recruitment can be commission-based

While some sales roles may be commission-based only, most recruitment positions are incentivised by a commission structure in addition to the base salary. As such, recruiters can benefit from an uncapped earning potential and fast career progression. Many graduates who pursue a career in recruitment find that their hard work can be rewarded at an earlier stage in their career by way of higher earnings as well as customised development plans. Similar to sales – the more you put in, the more you get out as a recruiter. At SThree, we also use Net Promoter Score (NPS) to capture our clients’ and candidates’ feedback at every stage of the customer journey. This feedback is then used to adapt our systems, processes, behaviours and best practices. We also use this feedback to better manage our candidates’ expectations. In a nutshell, our candidates’ feedback become a core metric that allows us to determine our success rate.

  • A successful recruiter requires the same core competencies as a salesperson

If you are able to demonstrate outstanding communication skills and adapt your style of delivery depending on your audience, you’ll be off to a good start in your career as a recruiter. A recruiter would be expected to have a salesperson’s core competencies such as excellent communication skills and negotiation abilities which would come in handy when finalising a remuneration package that both the candidate and client can agree on.

Great recruiters are also great listeners and need to be able to understand what type of role their candidate is after and if their set of skills, qualifications and experience are aligned with that. Other traits that make a great recruiter and salesperson are drive and commercial awareness in order to be able to better understand clients’ business staffing decisions and add value to that. 

  • Both recruiters and salespeople have to constantly overcome challenges

Working as a recruiter is an exciting career that has its fair share of highs and lows. Recruitment is hard work and just like a sales job, it is most suitable for people who thrive in a high performing environment and have an unflinching positive attitude when faced with rejection. While it is a very empowering feeling to be able to change someone’s life, a recruiter would also have to manage factors that are outside of their control such as a candidate’s change of mind. In such situations, recruiters need to be able to bounce back from the rejection and have the determination to tackle obstacles head-on.

Applying sales’ skills to recruitment

At SThree, many of our recruiters come from a sales background as they found that their sales experience and skillset were easily transferable for them to have a successful career in recruitment. As such, moving from sales to recruitment has been a positive move for many of our consultants, mainly because of the potential to achieve a faster career progression, go on generous incentive trips alongside a highly attractive benefits package. Moreover, the skills that are transferable from sales to recruitment often result in higher earnings due to the high number of customers and our uncapped commission structure.

In general, both recruiters and sales professionals have to be results-driven and possess a competitive mindset. Whilst sales tend to be more focused on a transactional level, recruitment on the other hand tends to be more relationship-driven, especially when it comes to developing strong pipelines of qualified candidates.

Interested to find out more about the recruitment industry?

Should you have any questions, feel free to learn more about what we do on SThree Careers or simply watch this video to find out why our recruiters love what they do. 

Progressive Recruitment is part of the larger SThree Group.

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