Recruiting is a Version of a Sales Cycle

There are a lot of cool new ways to recruit people. Apps that let you

Yep, pretty much the same thing. Wes Schaeffer Flickr Creative Commons

Yep, pretty much the same thing.
Wes Schaeffer Flickr Creative Commons

recommend friends. Tools that mine your social footprint for competency. Google even has its “Rabbit Hole” program where it recognizes certain people as innovative because of their search terms and entices them to  interact on a series of tasks as a kind of job interview. All of that is cool. But I run across companies all the time that think they can’t compete because they don’t have some bleeding edge tool, tactic or culture. And I have to remind them that recruiting is a version of a sales cycle. They believe they can get customers to their companies. Why? Because they have something worthwhile to offer. Something of value. They just have to introduce customers to that product or service, build a relationship, then close the deal.

It’s the same with recruiting. You follow the same steps:

Marketing to Talent: Marketing is marketing. Whether you’re marketing to customers or prospective candidates, you need to differentiate your brand from your competitors. You need to figure out what’s special about you that would attract the kinds of people you’re looking for. Then you need to raise awareness. Do your research. Where do the kinds of candidates you want hang out? LinkedIn, probably, especially in specific groups. Social media outlets, websites and forums for people in their industry. You need to get your message defined clearly, articulated alluringly, and out into the universe. You need to figure out what works best. Pop up messages? Facebook ads? Trade shows? Campus career fairs? Understand your talent pool the same way you’ve presumably worked to understand your customer base.

Building the Relationship: Once you have someone interested, you need to build that relationship. Understand what they’re looking for, what their pain points are, what objections they have to move forward. You need them to see you as an advisor who is interested in them as a person, not just as a prospect to make your company better. You also need to realize that there are other companies out there wooing them and trying to build relationships with them, too. They’re selling that prospect the dream of working for them. You sell them the dream of working for you.

Close the Deal: Nothing happens until somebody sells something. In this case, until you sell a candidate on your job opportunity and get them into your company doing wonderful things. Here’s where you have to get creative in terms of overcoming objections, crafting benefits such as job flexibility, pay, equity or just letting them bring their dog to work. This is where you find a way to ensure them skills growth if that’s what they’re about, or working from home part time, or getting a chance to participate in bigger projects. You have to work hard to find what matters to them most and offer LEGAL and ETHICAL perks that make your job the best offer for that individual.

Keep Them as a Customer: One of your best sales techniques is that your current employees are happy. If they get into your organization and discover that it’s dysfunctional, that people don’t get the benefits they’re promised or there’s backbiting, undermining, lack of leadership, that employee will be out of there. They will also be hopping onto sites like Glassdoor to warn other prospective employees about working for your company. Don’t bother getting the customer in the door hoping to get by with a bait-and-switch. Your company will tank. Once you get good talent, keep them by building a healthy organization with a positive, functional culture.

If you have neat tools that give you access to people you might otherwise not know about, that’s great. But unless you have the fundamentals in place, they’re just fun tools and they won’t get you where you’re going. Sometimes you just need somebody right away and you don’t have those fundamentals established enough to feel confident of success. In that case, get outside recruiting help. Heck, call us.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at or call (512) 420-8267.

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