Recruiting is like sales

I come across profiles of candidates who I think would make great recruiters. . . but their background isn’t in HR/Recruiting. How can that be, you ask?  It’s simple. Recruiting is JUST like sales. The roles are analogous; they are one in the same.

Hear me out.

Sales / Job description

  • Identify target audience (enterprise, mid-market, small business, tech, healthcare, finance, government, etc)
  • Prospect and cold call
  • Follow up on warm leads (ie: inbound leads)
  • Peel the onion and find pain points
  • Close business
  • Get contracts in place

Recruiting / Job description

  • Identify target audience (sales reps, field marketing, financial analyst)
  • Prospect and cold call
  • Follow up on warm leads (ie: inbound applicants)
  • Peel the onion and find pain points
  • Close candidate
  • Get contracts in place (ie: employment contract)

I’ve seen a number of people successfully make the move from sales to recruiting and they’ve done amazingly well. Sales is a grind. But, guess what? So is recruiting.

I made the change from sales to recruiting back in 2007 and haven’t looked back. I loved the grind and I loved the commission checks, but something was missing. Read more here.

What do you think? Are sales and recruiting closely aligned?

 

I never heard back. Why?

There comes a time when everyone thinks, “I thought I interviewed well.  What happened?  Why didn’t I get through to the next round?”  I think it’s human nature to always be asking “why”.  Let’s split this into a few scenarios:

You submitted your resume, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Before I make the decision to email/call you back, I look at your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your blog posts, your Google+ page.  I Google you.  I have seen the rants about your job, how much you hate your boss, how you can’t wait for the day to be over.  I have seen the, sometimes, “unclassy” pictures of your drunken stupor from last weekend.  Would you hire you after seeing these things?
  • Your grammar.  Did you pass 2nd grade?  If so, I expect you to know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”.  Not only is this a poor reflection on you, but I risk my reputation as a recruiter as well.
  • Your resume is hard to read.  Why is it not in chronological order?  How long did you work at XYZ Corp?  When did you leave XYZ Corp?  Why is the font so small???  
  • Your resume is lackluster.  I can tell when you just copy a job description into your resume.  That’s great.  But tell me what YOU did in that role.
  • Your resume lacks information I want/need to see.  You’re in sales, and you don’t tell me how AWESOME you are at closing deals?  Why not?  Are you not proud of your accomplishments?  Things that make me go “hmm” will quickly put you in the reject pile.  

I had a phone interview with the recruiter, but never heard back.  Why?

  • You didn’t do your research.  Tsk tsk.  Always – ALWAYS – do a little reading on the company you’re interviewing with beforehand.  Know what their offerings are, know who their target clients are, know what questions you want to ask.  What else can you research?  The recruiter.  Find out where they went to school, their career history… use it to your advantage.  Build rapport with them off of any commonalities you might have.
  • You talk too much.  Long-winded answers rarely get you anywhere.  Why aren’t you listening to questions I’m asking?  Why aren’t you answering my question directly?  What are you dancing around?  Nerves are hard to overcome in interviews, I get it.  But you have to listen for cues.  What is the recruiter asking of you?  What kind of information does the recruiter need to evaluation your background? 
  • Your answers sound rehearsed and redundant.  Are you telling me the same thing using different words?  Have you said these sentences/phrases over and over in front of a mirror, and in every interview?  We can hear these nuances.
  • You don’t follow directions.  I found you on LinkedIn, I already have access to your profile.  When I ask for a resume, please send it to me.  Don’t direct me back to your LinkedIn page.  Not following an “ask” is a tell-tale sign of how much you want something.  
  • You interview poorly.  I have said it a million times, “interviews are just conversations”.  We are here to learn about each other.  I talk to some candidates where I feel like I’m trying to pull teeth.  Brag about yourself!  Be confident in your abilities.  Ask questions right back at the recruiter.  Just as we’re interviewing you, interview us!

I had an interview with the hiring manager, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Lack of detail.  By the time you’ve gotten to the hiring manager, they are looking for details on why you’d be great at a job.  If you can’t back up statements like “I’m a successful sales rep” with things like “I achieved 200% of my quota YOY by continuously prospecting my territory, fearlessly hunting and cold calling, and continuously analyzing my plan of attack”, the hiring manager isn’t going to be able to assess how well you’d do here.   
  • You didn’t send a “thank you”.  Call it what you will.  Some hiring managers don’t care.  Some do.  Some make it a “mandatory”, while others are just a “nice to have”.  But, why not increase your chances by taking 2 minutes out of your day to email them?  Show them you want it!

Job searches are hard.  Some would say, interviews are harder.  They’re stressful, they put you in a position of vulnerability.  Approach your job search like you would any other tough situation in life — head on!   

Remember… head down, chin up!  

 

This is why I love what I do.

Let’s start off with this.  For those who haven’t read my blog on the importance of candidate experience, click here to read why I think this is so important.

I’ll give you a minute to read.

Today, I received an email from a candidate I’ve been working with for months.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Candidate experience is my #1 priority.  I would rather hire less people and give them 100% of my efforts, than to hire a ton and to give them 50%.

Emails like the one below make me happy.  They let me know I have done right by (one of) my client.

 

To all the candidates out there, don’t hesitate to show your recruiter some love.  They really do appreciate the kind words, and it makes our day!

Burning Bridges, Part III

People continue to amaze me.  And, unfortunately, not always in a good way.  

LinkedIn is, as defined by Google:

… the world’s largest professional network with millions of members and growing rapidly. We can help you: Establish your professional profile and control one of the top search results for your name. Build and maintain a broader network of professionals you can trust.

The key word here is “professional network”.  A professional network, as defined by Wikipedia:

… is a type of social network service that is focused solely on interactions and relationships of a business nature rather than including personal, nonbusiness interactions

Check out this beauty of a LinkedIn message I received on Friday:

BURNING BRIDGES.

Since when has LinkedIn started allowing this?  I guess they don’t and can’t control what people do.  But… What made this person think it was ok for them to solicit an “honest and happy relationship” on LinkedIn?  Let alone, send it to about 10 different people in bulk?  

If being a recruiter has taught me anything, it is to personalize every message you write to target your audience.  This person obviously didn’t heed this lesson.  Oh, the irony.

 

Interview Question: What was the worst career move you have made?

I have gotten this interview question a few times in my career, and every time I thought to myself, “Well, that’s negative, isn’t it?”  But, as you take a step back and think about why the interviewer is asking it, you begin to realize exactly what they are trying to figure out.

If you ask me what my biggest career move, this is how I’d answer:

Out of college, I entered the world of sales.  I was good at it and made a lot of money.  I made a natural progression into Recruiting.  But, there came a point where I wanted to see what else I could do.  So, I left sales/recruiting and was hired as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a biotech company.  It was a role completely foreign to me, but one that I wanted to explore.  I wanted to see what else I was capable of.

Within a few months, I knew that I had made a huge mistake.  I was miserable, and immediately started my job search.  It had absolutely nothing to do with the company or the people I worked with.  It was me.

I quickly learned that I was a proactive employee.  I like being responsible for my day.  I like knowing that I will “fail” if I don’t continue to put in work.  I like knowing that the work I put in today, pays off tomorrow.  I learned that some people are reactive employees, and like being given projects to be done on a deadline.  I was not that person.

Being proactive is like a game to me.  I’m competitive by nature and can’t just stand by and watch things happen.  And, that’s how I landed back in Recruiting.  My work is measurable and defines my success.

So, my “mistake”?  Going outside of my comfort zone.

The real question behind the real question?… What lessons have you learned along the way?

As always… head up, chin down!  GOOD LUCK!

My Challenge for You…

I recently made a decision to pursue a new opportunity.  I want to share my story to, perhaps, inspire you to challenge yourself to take chances and to never stop taking chances.

As a recruiter, I always tell candidates that I headhunt, “It’s just conversation until an offer is in your hands. It’s always good to see what’s out there.”  When the time came when someone headhunted ME, I was not a hypocrite.  I took the call, and I listened.  I answered genuinely.  I am honest when I say that I actually got very nervous because I had the chance to interview with many of the C-level execs with whom I’d be working very closely with – something that has yet to happen to me in my career.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was not looking for a new position.  I loved the company I was working for.  I loved my team, and my manager.  In fact, I had never worked for a better company, team, or manager EVER in my career.

Why did I take the call?

Because I don’t like the feeling of regret.  How would I know this new company wasn’t the perfect chance for me to showcase my skills?  The simple answer is: I wouldn’t.  Not unless I took the time to learn about it.

Just as much as they were interviewing me for the role, I was interviewing them for a personal fit.  I’m a firm believer that culture drives a company.  I have been in situations where I “dulled” my personality to fit the culture of the company I was interviewing at, for those interviewers who would never get my humor or my personality.  The outcome of that was dismal.  I did not enjoy my time there, and that was no one’s fault but my own.  It wasn’t a fit for me.

So, in this interview process, I was myself.  I asked about things that were important to me.  I joked around with them to see how well I’d be able to work with them.  How much were they engaging with me, and me with them?  In the end, I realized it was a good fit all around – job duties, growth, culture, opportunity.

This new venture will be a different one for me.  This new company is a start-up.  I will be one of two recruiters during this company’s hypergrowth mode.  I will be staffing this amazing start-up with some of the best talent out there.  Where before I was following policies and procedures already set in place before me, I now will be helping to develop these policies and procedures for those following me.  It’s exciting, nerve wrecking, and motivating all at the same time.

My challenge for you is to never close any doors because you never know when opportunity will come knocking (cliche much?).  Any decision you make today will help develop you for tomorrow.

Things to take away:

  • Network.  Always.  And never stop.
  • Answer recruiters’ emails, every time, even if it is just to tell them you are not interested.
  • Be yourself.  I find that so many people try to be someone else come interview time.  I get why you do that.  But don’t.  You are who you are, and many companies will hire for culture fit.  And if it isn’t the right culture for YOU, in the long run, you probably won’t be happy.
  • Take chances.  Put yourself out there, and do not fear being rejected.  Each “no” is one step closer to the “yes”.
  • Be honest.  With yourself and with anyone you talk to.  Talk about your dreams and your desires, your strengths and your weaknesses.  Don’t ever be afraid to confront your weaknesses to make them your strengths.
In the words of James Altucher, “Choose yourself.”