· 6 min read

Recruiting is Sales

To get the best results in recruiting, you need to emulate the team with the leanest, meanest, most tested process: sales.

Daniel Jakaitis Image
Daniel Jakaitis
To get the best results in recruiting, you need to emulate the team with the leanest, meanest, most tested process: sales.

If you’ve ever been part of the recruiting process, you know it’s not as simple as posting a JD on a job board and waiting for applications to fly in 一 particularly if you work at a startup. Candidates may not even know about your company, let alone that you’re hiring. Or, amidst a hiring frenzy, there could be quite the war for talent between companies.

It makes sense that this approach isn’t fruitful. What teams at your company operate this way, launching something and hoping for the best? Hopefully, none. Yet puzzlingly, that’s most startups’ recruitment strategy.

To get the best results, you need to emulate the team with the leanest, meanest, most tested process: sales. This may sound odd at first blush, but there’s a strong case for why your recruiting cycle should mimic your sales cycle. Below, we explain the relationship between sales and recruiting and suggest some other things to steal from your sales organization.

How does recruiting relate to sales?

Let’s start by examining a typical SaaS sales process.

  1. First, sales teams need to source prospects. They experiment with various outreach tactics to get the widest and most DE&I focused funnel possible.
  2. Next, they narrow this group to the people who would be interested in the product. Sales teams do this by setting defined touchpoints, keeping a close eye on the subsequent drop-off or engagement, looking for very specific indicators that a lead might convert to an opportunity.
  3. Once an indicator pops up, the salesperson springs into action, scheduling a demo, doing any objection handling, filling out RFPs, doing whatever it takes to move the opportunity through each stage.
  4. Usually, there are requirements to move forward so that by the time the opportunity enters the contracting stage, there’s very little chance it’ll be closed-lost.
  5. Negotiations start, and sales managers work closely with other team members to ensure they get the best deal possible.
  6. The deal is finalized, papers are signed, and customers are transitioned to CSMs who kick off the onboarding phase.

Any of this ringing a bell? It should sound a whole lot like the recruiting process should go. Pretty much every step above matches an aspect of hiring, from sourcing to nurturing, checking off specific requirements, and negotiations.

5 ways recruiting can learn from sales

At the best companies, sales enablement and operations are in tip-top shape. In fact, they have to be to keep the organization afloat. And because the goals of recruiting and sales are so similar 一 closing/hiring the best deal/candidate for the product/role 一 it behooves you to pay attention to what sales teams are doing right.

Here are five things Talent Acquisition can learn from Sales:

  • They’ve developed a cohesive end-to-end strategy - Sales teams have a playbook they run for every deal, and they make sure that every salesperson knows it by heart. Likewise, recruiting should follow a similar step-by-step process to ensure that all interviewers understand what’s happening and when. This makes your team feel more comfortable and delivers a better candidate experience.

  • They share information - Even though there’s a set sales playbook, people naturally add their own flair. Most companies have sales all-hands meetings or slack channels dedicated to sharing new tactics so that everyone can learn from successes and mistakes. Feedback should be a critical piece of the recruiting puzzle. Set up satisfaction surveys for your team as well as candidates. You’ll be surprised by how much you can learn and integrate into your process.

  • They abide by clear guideposts - It’s easy for sales teams to get distracted by questions or requests from a potential whale client and run off-script. And enablement teams know that. So they deliberately create checkpoints in the cycle to keep salespeople on track and limit the risk of losing such a deal. Recruiting should be the same way. Each role should have defined competencies, and candidates must have demonstrated a certain level of competency to move on to subsequent rounds of interviews. As candidates check off these boxes, you’ll know you’re getting closer and closer to finding the perfect fit.

  • They are branding conscious - Sales teams don’t want prospects to get the wrong idea about the product they’re selling or the company they work for, ever. So the best sellers roll out the red carpet for every prospect. In that same way, recruiters need to make a conscious effort to treat every candidate as a potential customer, personalizing outreach, automating follow-ups, and nurturing relationships over the long term. In addition, recruiters need to uphold the company’s reputation by paying attention to glassdoor reviews, sending out candidate satisfaction surveys, and fixing anything that might be turning candidates off.

  • They generate inbound leads - There’s no denying that a majority of this is marketing. But reps play a role, too. Their behavior at industry events, over email and LinkedIn, on sales calls, and in negotiations gets around. If your company uses awful, manipulative sales tactics, prospects will look elsewhere first 一 no matter how good your product is. In addition, sales reps keep their funnel wide. They don’t judge prospects as they come in because they never know who might surprise them in the long run.

In recruiting, your goal should be to have enough standing that 90% of your leads are inbound. This is hard to do. It’s like Google-level recruiting. And again, a lot of this comes from marketing. You need recruitment marketing and brand awareness to drive traffic to your careers page. Then, adopt the sales teams’ attitude and maintain a wide funnel so that you can make a good impression on all applicants while still honing in on the most qualified prospects. Over time, you’ll run enough people through an efficient process that other potential applicants will start to notice and get the flywheel going.

Think like a salesperson

You need a buttoned-up process for filling up your candidate funnel and monitoring it until it reaches conversion. Your recruitment needs to be so good that even candidates who don’t make it to the final round rave about it. Only then can you hit the recruiting jackpot: inbound leads.

But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; your sales teams are already experts at this. So why not learn (and potentially steal ideas) from a free resource?

Even with that guidance and a straightforward process, recruiting teams still struggle to keep up with the constant outreach required to source excellent candidates. Your sales teams have been using automated follow-up tools for years, why aren’t you using them for recruiting? Luckily, there’s a tool that can help: Talent CRM delivers personalized candidate outreach campaigns that automatically follow-up.  Not only does this keep teams aligned with shared outreach history, it also boosts your chances of a candidate replying by nearly 100%. You can test it out yourself by signing up for a free trial today