In the fevered competition to recruit and hire “A-player” job candidates, many recruiters and HR departments are turning to a different model to get the job done. Imposing the structure of a sales process offers a new way to look at recruitment in general, and how to better position their own companies in particular. This approach might well be the answer to your own recruiting challenges.
Here’s a look at how taking a sales approach to hiring can work for your business:
Adapt elements of sales to recruiting. Your sales team follows a rigorous process of cultivating, nurturing and converting sales leads. With a little imagination, your in-house recruiter can adapt many of these same elements for the hiring process. HR thought leader Kim Shepherd advises following these “sales-like” steps:
- Define the value proposition of your company for job candidates.
- Reconfigure that value proposition into an appealing message.
- Disseminate that message to targeted prospects via job boards, social media, etc.
- Qualify and manage “candidate leads” as they come in.
- Pursue the most promising candidates and close the deal.
Look at your applicant tracking system as “more than storage for archiving resumes,” Shepherd writes. Use it to “build and manage a pipeline, including measuring leads, tracking conversion rates and even creating the recruitment version of a sales forecast.” In this way you develop clear-cut metrics, including job candidate targets and deliverables.
Act like a high-performing salesperson. The best members of your sales team diligently stay on top of everything happening in the industry—reading blog posts and articles, reviewing trade publications, looking closely at potential clients’ websites and so on.
They also maintain an active presence on social media, passing along helpful links, connecting with influencers and sharing news about your company without openly engaging in a “sales pitch” to job candidates. “Don’t fall in the trap of tweeting sales jobs! Jobs! and more Jobs!” warns Live and Learn Consultancy LTD. “It’s not authentic and guess what, no one listens.”
Become a pro at selling your company. Here’s an area where many businesses can improve their odds of “bagging” the candidates they truly want. Look at the situation from the job-seeker’s perspective and develop compelling answers to these questions:
- Why should I want to work for your company?
- What does your company offer that I can’t find at one of your competitors?
- What growth opportunities do you offer?
- How do you foresee the company growing in the near future in ways that benefit me and other potential employees?
These are variations on the types of questions prospective clients ask of any company seeking their business. You’ll see greater interest among job applicants if you answer these questions in an authentic and inspiring manner.
Show off your culture. Just as a salesperson might give a potential client a tour of your business—in order to demonstrate how the culture is geared towards serving customers’ needs—so a recruiter should be prepared to show off your culture to achieve similar results.
Of course, candidates will get a taste of your workplace environment when they show up for an interview, so it’s imperative that they leave with a favorable first impression. Put together a “package tour” so candidates meet your best, most outgoing employees, get the chance to see your technology at work and get a feel for what’s going on. In many ways, this experience might be the “close” to your sales approach.
Finally, even if things don’t work out, be sure to end the budding relationship on a positive note. No one wants a disgruntled job applicant tweeting and posting unfavorable comments about your company based on a bad interview or recruiting experience. You never know when a candidate who wasn’t the right fit might (because he or she remembers how pleasant and approachable your recruiters were) refer a friend or colleague who turns out to be precisely the A-player employee you’re looking for.
Need more help finding top talent? Join us Tuesday, November 22, 2016, for our Business Owner Success Series webinar on "Recruiting When People Are Scarce."