Why the Best Recruiters are Like Salespeople

There are tons of similarities between recruiting and sales. A salesperson sells a product or service to a potential buyer, just like the recruiter sells a company to a prospective employee. Some of the tips applicable in sales and social networking are invaluable to effective employee recruitment, and we’re going to show you just how much in the following paragraphs:

  1. Message tailoring

Today’s technology allows you to personalize any message you send out, even bulk messages. You can include the company name, addressee’s name, home contact details and any other detail. So much so that we don’t consider it personalization anymore.

By today’s definition, personalization is about tailoring a message to suit the individual to whom it is being sent – and only them. Personalization is the difference between sending bulk emails/making cold calls and never hearing back and actually getting a response from your target audience.

  1. Planning ahead

Both recruiters and salespeople must understand the importance of prior planning, whether to make a sale or fill a placement. In fact, the best recruitment services come from companies that stay ahead of the curve: if you know about a position opening up in the next few months, you start laying the groundwork in various networks where potential employees frequent – sharing articles, interacting in social and professional circles etc. once the position falls vacant, you approach the network, not as a stranger, but as one known to them.

  1. Social savvy

Communication and people skills are important everywhere, but more so for end to end recruiting and sales. Both professions require knowledge of how to reach out to strangers and form meaningful connections. Today’s social tools – email, telephones, social media – make this a lot simpler. The best RPO recruiters and salespeople are those who can navigate these social vehicles with ease.

  1. Wide networks

It’s good to know many people, but even better to know how to use them to get your job. This is especially true if you have to make a tough sale or do staffing for a crazily specific role. Aggressive recruiters and salespeople get the job done. You connect with someone, look through their connections and use the one you know to reach out to the one you don’t know.

  1. Process driving

As explained above, successful salespeople and recruiters are focused on the process and planned, and are not easily derailed by delays and distractions along the way. There are many things that come in the way of process, creating detours from the main path, but the best recruiters and salespeople find ways to keep track of progress and process and work within the predetermined timelines.

  1. Good listening skills

Tying in to the point about tailored messaging, good message personalization depends on the ability of the salesperson or recruiter to listen – to the client, to the prospective employee, to the buyer – listening is key. A great salesperson doesn’t jump in to sell his product or service too soon, just like good recruiters don’t bombard candidates with job or company details that are of no consequence to the sourcing process.

  1. Asking the right questions

A job candidate for instance must be asked several critical questions by the RPO provider: what do you like about your current job and workplace? What would it take to get you to move from there? Similarly, good salespeople have a set of questions they must ask and answer at various stages of the sales process, or they could risk failing.

  1. Intimate product knowledge

Once you have listened carefully, the next step is tailoring a message to bring out features, benefits and/or functionalities that an individual would be interested in according to who they are. This applies to product pitching as well as international RPO and other sourcing strategies. Many companies offer consumers complex solutions with a myriad of functions and perks, and for RPO companies, there is responsibility to sell an entire company – the hiring manager, the role, the job responsibilities, etc. – to a prospective candidate.

Success is only possible through intimate product knowledge, focusing on the right aspects of the product/job to attract that buyer/candidate in order to capture and retain their interest, and hopefully close the deal.



The best recruiters and salespeople make it all look easy, but those in the field know that it’s anything but. It takes great commitment and unwavering application of the principles of sales and recruitment. Both professions – all professions, in fact – live by selling one thing or another. It’s just about knowing what that is, and how best to sell it.



  • rupali@rpo

    April 25, 2016

    Nice post…

  • Ajay

    April 25, 2016

    Nice one… :)

    • Siddhesh@rpo

      April 25, 2016

      Thanks Ajay.

      • Macco

        July 19, 2016

        An,gniThaeks so much for this post. I can’t believe my travels throughout NYC (and living there for so many years) have not led me to The Center for Fiction. I will definitely visit! I hope your writing is going well. Mary


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