Monthly Archives: February 2014

Want to be a better recruiter? The first sale you must make!

Here’s a question for you. It’s a bit unusual, but it’s an important one to ask yourself (and answer truthfully!).

you bag on head pakorn

If you were your own prospect or candidate, would you “buy” from you?

Sometimes it is helpful to turn things around to gain new perspective on growing your skills. And one of the hardest things to do is to look at yourself objectively.

I’d like to share some thoughts on how you can improve your recruiting — and selling — skills by doing a simple “turn around”.  For a few moments, try becoming YOUR prospect!

How do you like to be approached by a sales person?

Begin by thinking about those initial moments of a sales encounter. What makes you want to engage? And, what makes you want to run away with a quick “no thanks“? If you’re like most people, you probably appreciate someone who is friendly and who asks how they can be of assistance.

On the flip side, you probably want to give the “heave-ho” to someone who approaches you with an aggressive “product pitch” or who seems overly eager to get your business without asking anything about you. Frankly, this approach is what’s given sales (and sales people) such a poor reputation over the years.

It’s the same way in recruiting. Would you want to have someone try and push you into a job or company, or would you prefer to engage with someone who is genuinely interested in your needs? Sometimes it’s hard to see yourself as a “product pusher”; however, if you are quick to talk about your job opportunity or company, you easily run the risk of looking like a typical, “unsavory” sales person.

Those initial moments are critical. As they say, there’s no second chance to make a first impression. What’s your first impression? Do you open your calls by describing your opportunity — then pausing to see if there might be interest? When you begin your calls like this, think of yourself as the “pushy sales person” who has self-interest (a quick sale!) in mind.

A best practice is to start your calls by showing genuine interest and curiosity in your prospect — and holding off on any “product” description or push.

And while we’re on the topic of “initial contact” — how do you react when you receive impersonal, “SPAM” emails from a sales person you don’t know? How eager are you to pick up the phone and call someone (you don’t know) who just sent you an email touting the “perfect product” — allegedly solving some need of yours?

You get the picture. It’s a real turn-off to receive these. Again, the best practice is to keep your prospecting emails as personal and tailored as possible. Refer to prospects by name and reference common contacts or specific industry knowledge you have that might be of value. And, above all, do not mention anything about a specific job opportunity. Put on the “customer” mindset, not the “quick sale”.

How do you want to be treated throughout the sales process?

After that initial contact from a sales person, how do you want to be treated? Some sales people put their needs ahead of the customer and begin with lots of slick “closing techniques” to gauge interest. The old “ABC’s” (Always Be Closing) just don’t work anymore. People don’t care about your problems (needing to achieve quota or close more sales this month). They care about their problems. And they want to work with someone who can help them — acting as a trusted adviser, not a transactional sales person on a mission.

Do you like to have someone help you make an informed decision by answering your questions and by asking ones that help you think through your purchase? And do you like to have someone who might even be transparent enough to admit when they might not have just what you are looking for or need?

And, once again, the same principles are true in recruiting. A career change is an important and complex decision. People appreciate having someone help them think through the decision and be honest — even to the point of admitting the match just might not be there.

So the next time you engage with a prospect, think about how you like to “buy”.  Remember, “how you sell” should be “how you buy”.

To your success!

Image courtesy of pakorn/

A surprising competitive advantage you can develop

I am assuming that you probably provide great service to your prospects, candidates and hiring managers. In addition, you probably are a great source of information and are a highly skilled recruiter. So what’s the bad news? Look around. Ask yourself, “Would I be able to say the same about my competitors?”

competition jscreationzs

Put another way, what makes prospects and candidates choose you, as opposed to your competitors?

Let’s look at one quality that can help you consistently stay ahead of your competitors: It’s trust.  You will be more successful as a recruiter — and gain competitive advantage — if you can build your reputation as someone who is trustworthy.

And at the heart of becoming a trustworthy person is your ability to portray that you have your prospects and candidates’ interests and needs at heart — ahead of your own needs. You know that your success is highly related to the success of your hiring manager, prospects, and candidates. And you won’t compromise the long-term relationships for some short-lived placement or gain (that might make you ‘look good’ right now).

Sometimes it can be tempting to succumb to pressure to deliver candidates to hiring managers — and shorten your “time to find” metric. And often when simply trying to place people quickly, you run the risk of sacrificing trust. How does this happen? When you rush prospects or candidates you are making the process about your needs instead of theirs. And when you do that, people can become uneasy at best.

In addition, when you focus too much on metrics — and sacrifice the best needs of your prospects or candidates — you are actually “over identifying” with the outcome you want to see. In a way, you become better at building trust when you are able to actually let the needs of your candidates, prospects, or hiring managers dictate the outcome.

Making a career decision can be a big risk. And many people need time to think through this important decision and feel comfortable that they are making a decision that is best for them — as well as those who may be affected by the decision. Build trust by being seen as a valuable partner in the decision-making process. Use great questioning and listening skills to help others process decisions and gain valuable insight that would not be possible alone.

Another way to build trust is with honesty and transparency through great communication skills. It’s your ability to foster and encourage two-way communication that can not only build trust, but can help build key, competitive advantage for you.

Along these lines, you also build trust when you can connect on a personal level — while remaining professional. For example, can you even be somewhat vulnerable? Can you quickly and completely admit when you have made a mistake or missed a commitment, or are you more likely to quickly assign blame or make excuses? Are you comfortable apologizing?

Your prospects, candidates and hiring managers will trust you more when they know you are honest enough to even be vulnerable. Don’t be fooled — being vulnerable in this manner does not imply that you are weak or unable to make things happen. It simply conveys that you are real, human, and know how to connect on a personal level.

So think of trust as a key, competitive advantage that can easily set you apart from your competitors and help you grow as a recruiter.

image courtesy of jscreationzs/