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!  


Why Corporate Recruiting?

How / Why did you get into recruiting?

That’s a question I got when I was interviewing.  It’s also a question I frequently get when talking to friends.

My journey to the Corporate Recruiting world started in 2004.  I was finishing school, interning for a private money management company in their sales department.  They brought me on full time once I finished school, and I went into a sales role.  Cold calling.  Appointment setting.  Tracking the money I was bringing into the firm.  I was better at sales than I ever thought I could be, especially in an industry I honestly knew nothing about.  I made a lot of money.  But I wasn’t happy.

What was missing?

In sales, it’s very much about “how can you help ME?”  When, in turn, I really wanted to help THEM.  I wanted to provide them with their best options – whether or not it was truly with our firm.  I started thinking about a way to combine something I was good at (sales) with something that would make me feel good about what I was doing for a living.

In 2008, I was approached for an internal position as a Corporate Recruiter, and I jumped at the opportunity.  What better way to fill that void I felt!  I landed in a position where I would “sell” the managers on candidates that I was presenting to them, where I would “sell” the candidate on what makes our company great to work at, where I fulfilled my own desire to be helpful.  I was helping a company fill its organization with great talent, while helping someone looking for a great “home” to display their expertise.

Selfishly, I made the move for myself.

And in the end, that decision to move out of sales, away from the big money income, the glorious “President’s Club” trips, and the pretentiousness of being the best has left me feeling extremely fulfilled in my career.

I have considered moving to the agency side of recruiting, but I want to feel like I am helping to grow ONE organization.  I want to live, breathe, and BE the culture I am promoting and supporting.

I love what I do.  I love the feedback I get from managers when I find their perfect candidate.  I love the emails I get from candidates saying they had the best candidate experience and “THANK YOU for helping me.”

I am a matchmaker.  I am the one who walks away with a sly smile knowing that all is right in the world for *this* exact moment.

Now… let me ask you… why do you do what you do?

Your Resume: The Basics


So you’ve finally decided to get off your butt and look for your dream job.  Whether you are a “freshie” (coming right out of school) or just someone who has been off the job market for 5, 6, 7, 15 years, the following rules will always apply.

  • Make it readable.  6 point font is not okay!  After reading thousands and thousands of resumes, our eyes just aren’t what they used to be.  If it is too difficult to read what you’ve accomplished, we will not read what you’ve accomplished!  If you are trying to squeeze your resume onto one page, throw that rule out the window; old habits die hard.  
  • Tell me where you live and how to contact you.  Does that sound creepy?  It’s not meant to.  A lot of positions will require a certain geographic territory.  Whether the office is based in San Francisco and needs an onsite employee, or the sales territory is in Chicago and needs a sales rep who already resides in the area and has a network.  You aren’t fooling anyone if you don’t put your location on your resume.  Address is not necessary, but City/State are appreciated.  Also, please make sure your email and phone number (the one we can reach you on most reliably) are on there.  And make sure they are correct.
  • Make it chronological.  I’ve seen resumes where applicants list their experience by “relevance”, which really confuses the heck out of me.  How did your resume jump from 1999 to 2013, back to 2002, to 2012, back to 2001?  I don’t get it.  Again, if it’s too difficult to read, we aren’t going to read it.  Harsh, but it is the truth.
  • Organize.  If you have more than 5 years of work experience after college, your Education section no longer belongs at the top.  Experience is worth more than your degree.  
  • Quantify.  This is especially true for anyone in sales.  Quantify, quantify, quantify.  Tell me how much over-quota you did in 2013 Q1, Q2, Q3.  Tell me how much you make your fellow sales reps look like they’re lazy!  If you saved your department $100k in licensing fees, tell me that.  If you oversaw 21 customers, tell me that too. 
  • List skills.  Fluent in Spanish?  PowerPoint pro?  Excel guru?  While the position you are applying for may not require them, recruiters/managers are always looking for someone that can enhance their team.  What can you do for us?
This is just a short-list of “must haves” for a resume that will get a glance.  Do this, and you are well on your way to dream-job-success!
PS – Don’t forget to spell check!