Recruiting is Sales

Recently I was talking to a product-oriented entrepreneur and after sharing the 6 Ideas for Finding Great People, it was clear that recruiting was much more work than he had hoped. Pausing, I asked how much he enjoyed the sales process and selling to customers. As expected, he answered that he doesn’t like sales and views it more as a necessary annoyance. Aha! Recruiting is a sales process, and if you don’t like selling in general, then recruiting isn’t going to be fun.

Here are a few ways to think of recruiting as a sales process:

  • Some candidates come in as referrals but most have to be targeted and marketed to (e.g. job postings, ad campaigns, etc.)
  • Great people have a number of job options, making it critical that they have a clear understanding of the why this is an excellent career move (just like when selling a product, the prospect needs to understand why this is the right choice)
  • Every entrepreneur must be passionate about their own company, and that passion needs to come through when selling the candidate on the position (buying something, including a career move, has much more emotion in it than people like to admit)
  • Even when the candidate verbally accepts, it’s not a done deal. Effort and care needs to be placed in ensuring the verbal turns into a signed offer letter. And, even then it’s important to follow up (I know one startup where the CEO personally calls every candidate immediately once they sign the offer letter to tell them how excited they are that they’re joining the team).

Recruiting is a sales process and needs to be treated as such. If a sales process doesn’t come naturally to you, consult a sales person and get them to go through their process — most of it can be easily translated to recruiting.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that recruiting is sales?

One thought on “Recruiting is Sales

  1. I don’t have a comment on this particular topic, but …

    “As expected, he answered that he doesn’t like sales and views it more as a necessary annoyance.”

    Wow. Being an entrepreneur is *all* about sales, no matter how you shake it. You are *always* in sales mode. Selling your company and vision to customer prospects, potential employees, strategic partners, investors, etc. If this entrepreneur really feels this way, he/she is going to have a tough road ahead of them.


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