Something similar between sales and recruiting
What is sales activity? Many of published books and blogs are already explaining the definition deep enough so we’ll give way to them. So for here, if we dare say simply, sales is all about ‘inviting customers to buy our products and services’.
In order to do so, sales persons are understanding and anticipating clients’ needs, letting them understand how their products and services can meet the needs, building up deep relationship with clients to do such probing and discussion.
The salespersons’ jobs are, however, not just facing their clients. Of course not. Since salespersons are entitled with such magnificent roles to deal with clients on behalf of the employers, they are required to report to the management how much they are forecasting the revenues annually and quarterly and monthly and weekly. They also need to take actions to meet the target, calculating the probability of closure deals by deals, (and of course) increasing the probabilities (in other words, figuring out the risks and eliminating them), and just in case it’s likely they are losing the deal, preparing and simultaneously proceed plan Bs in advance. This is what usual sales representatives do.
Generally, sales tend to be regarded as outgoing work and HR tend to be regarded as incoming work. But this is not true at all.
Sales persons, as I mentioned above, have to take accountabilities to the employers about their own leads and deals. If you are some type of B-to-B sales which handles high-end IT solutions, you are strongly recommended to speak to your colleague who has a certain expertise in a specific tech field (e.g. people called ‘Solution Architect’) and ask them to cooperate with your deals. In order to get their proactive cooperation, you may need to convince them ‘how much this deal is beneficial for the company’, ‘how far this deal has been nurtured so far’, ‘the only issue for the clients is the technical concerns of blah blah’, and ‘if you help me out in this and they clear that concern, then they will definitely decide to buy our products and I’m committed on closing this deal’ (you’ll need a sort of strong commitment and accurate calculation to say that strongly though). So even salesperson cannot only look at outside of the office. Good salespersons are also good at office politics.
Bad sales can never be a good recruiter.
On the other hand, what is recruitment activity? Many of published books and blogs are already explaining the definition deep enough so we’ll give way to them. So for here, if we dare say simply, recruitment is all about ‘inviting jobseekers to join your company‘.
In order to do so, in-house recruiters are understanding and anticipating jobseekers’ long-term career plans and what they expect for next careers, letting them understand how your work environment can meet their needs, building up deep relationship with jobseekers to do such probing and discussion.
The recruiters‘ jobs are, however, not just facing their candidates. Of course not. Since recruiters are entitled with such magnificent roles to deal with jobseekers on behalf of the employers, they are required to report to the management how much they are forecasting the hiring plans and progress annually and quarterly and monthly and weekly. They also need to take actions to meet the target, calculating the probability of closure positions by positions, (and of course) increasing the probabilities (in other words, figuring out the risks and eliminating them), and just in case it’s likely they are losing the candidate, preparing and simultaneously proceed plan Bs in advance. This is what usual in-house recruiters do.
Recruiters, as I mentioned above, have to take accountabilities to the employers about their own open positions. If you are some type of tech recruiter who recruits Full-stack Software Engineer, you are strongly recommended to speak to your colleague who has a certain expertise in a specific tech field (e.g. people called ‘Solution Architect’) and ask them to cooperate with your recruitment. In order to get their proactive cooperation, you may need to convince them ‘how much this recruitment is beneficial for the company’, ‘how far this candidate has been convinced so far’, ‘the only issue for the candidate is the technical concerns of blah blah’, and ‘if you help me out in this and s/he clears that concern, then s/he will definitely decide to join our company and I’m committed on closing this position‘ (you’ll need a sort of strong commitment and accurate calculation to say that strongly though). So even recruiters cannot only look at outside of the office. Good recruiters are also good at office politics.
Sales and recruitment. The essence is the same.
Salesperson and recruiters are different as in the type of people they face. Salesperson face clients and customers and convince them to purchase the products and service. Recruiters face jobseekers and candidates and convince them to join the company. While they face different types of counterpersons, the ‘how’ is very same.
The best approach to make successful sales project is very similar to the one to make successful recruitment.
What makes recruitment different from sales.
Okay, it’s only premises so far. So here goes the main part.
I have been discussing the common points of recruitment and sales. But of course, there are some uncommon points too. And importantly, the difference lies in the essence of recruitment (what makes recruitment as recruitment), and at the same time, the reason why we define recruitment as ‘the most creative interpersonal work in the world’.
1.) Recruitment chooses people.
Generally, when in sales activities, we don’t choose clients. We often filter targeted segments of clients, and set persona definition of targeted clients. It’s simply because of efficient approach to target ‘who might want to buy our products/service’ and optimise resources on sales by focusing on prioritised segments. When a client come down to us and say ‘I want to buy your products’, we won’t say ‘Okay, then please fill in the application form. There’s 1 paper selection and 2 rounds of interview and when you pass the final interview then congratulations, you can buy our products.”
We also do such targeting on ‘who might want to join our company/organisation’, but this question is always coming with another question — ‘who can contribute to our company/organisation’.
Judging carefully if ‘the candidates are the ones who we want to hire’, and those people want to work with us. Both are important. Even if we get larger and larger number of applications of ‘undesired’ candidates, it has no value in the viewpoint of essence of recruitment. (This is itself thankful phenomenon and in terms of, for example, Employer Branding perspective, this works positively)
Recruitment chooses people. This is very big difference.
2.) Recruitment receives ‘a part of life’ (= irreplaceable and impactful)
Decision-making of buying a product is so simple. When we want to buy, for example, ice creams or anime comics, we can buy them as many as we want (as far as our budget allows)
Decision-making of purchasing a service is a little bit more complicated, as there as an additional limitation of ‘time’ as well as ‘budget’. We cannot take a 60-min massage when we don’t have a free time for even 1 hour, even if you have enough cash in your wallet. And after you take the full body massage for 60 minutes, the 1 hour cannot be rewinded.
More or less, those limitation of ‘time’ has only a limited impact on our whole life.
When you are hired as a full-time employee, you will choose one company/organisation to join. Choosing Company A, you can’t join Company B or C. And you can’t obtain the career path which you would have if you had chosen B or C.
Thus, recruiters have to ask the jobseekers to make a significantly big decision.
If we try to apply to sales, we have only limited variety of work which is so impactful and irreplaceable. Maybe we can say a salesperson at wedding halls. For most of the people, marriage is such a big event (hopefully) only once in a life, so we can say it’s a impactful decision to choose a marriage hall. Even if we can’t get satisfied with the wedding ceremony, we can’t do it again. Or, salespersons selling residential houses are also applicable, because most of us buying a house is such a big event of life. Or maybe we can also include the salesperson at travel agency who is arranging and selling honeymoons.
In other words, all of the recruiters are selling such ‘experience’ to the job seekers and those decision makings are all important to them.
Recruitment is the most creative interpersonal work.
Now, let’s get down to the conclusion: what ‘recruitment’ is gonna be like in future?
Simply, recruitment process can be divided into the 3 parts;
1. Letting people who might be able to contribute to our company/ organization want to work with us and apply for us (Sourcing)
2. Carefully judging if they can really contribute (Selecting)
3. Letting people who we judged would contribute decide to join us (attracting)
In the process of recruitment, ‘Sourcing’ and the 1st half of ‘Selecting’ (Screening) are being replaced by fast-growing tech-based web services (collectively called ‘HR Tech’). We also have tried tens of those HR Techs and still using some of those HR Techs fully and daily. (We believe there are not so many headhunting firms using HR Tech like us)
HR Tech has made ‘Sourcing’ and ‘Screening (=a part of Selecting)’ super easy. Accessing immediately the talent pools which covers 90%+ of the market, paper screening, setting interviews, etc are all completed in a few minutes. Mostly, thanks to LinkedIn and Indeed.com.
However, the recruitment project itself hasn’t been made easy yet. While we are accessing all the talent information in the world, all those talents are accessing all the job information in the world. The time cycle required in job hunting has been overwhelmingly compressed. Great candidates will gather great offers immediately, and from now on, ‘how we can make the final decisions of selection fast and efficiently (the 2nd half of ‘Selection’)’ and ‘how we can attract the great candidates to choose us (‘Attracting’) are deciding the games of recruitment. Traditional HR works which involve many of paperwork have been slimed by tech, then we are seeing the era of Creative HR.
A humble Japanese-footballer.
Expertized in; Talent Attraction, Direct Recruiting, Employer Branding and Marketing, Behavioral Interview, HR-Tech