In our last discussion, I outlined two of the five steps that allow you to connect your previous sales expertise to the recruiting process.
The first two steps—developing a relationship with the candidate and identifying the candidate’s needs are critical to the process. If this important groundwork is not laid at the beginning of the recruiting sequence, the remainder of the interaction with the candidate will feel “sales-y.” Talented candidates shut down and run the other way when they detect an interview heading down this path.
Assuming you’ve laid the proper groundwork, here are the remaining components of the recruiting strategy:
Preventing/Overcoming Objections: Although objections are inevitable in any sales process, the key for successful sales professionals/recruiters is actually preventing objections. By asking the right types of questions in step 2, many objections that would have occurred in the process are addressed before the candidate has an opportunity to bring them forth. Keep in mind that some objections are inevitable, that they are often training responses, and that most are emotional and not practical.
It is not uncommon for candidates to experience “buyer's remorse” at some point during the recruiting process. After the initial attempts to build a relationship and share information, candidates often get cold feet. If this should happen after an interview (during the follow-up process), reminding your candidates of why they started down this path in the first place may help them get back on track.
Filling the Need/Providing Benefits: Identifying the need (step 2) is considered the most crucial skill in sales or recruiting; filling the need (step 4) is the second-most critical step to ensure success. Often recruiters and sales professionals alike pay little attention to step 2, and focus solely on step 4.
Like many sales professionals, recruiters often focus on what is commonly known in sales language as their “product knowledge.” They have an in-depth understanding of the organization they are recruiting for, they understand every detail of the position and its function, and they completely understand the requirements of the role.
Armed with all of this product knowledge, these untrained recruiters contact potential candidates and attempt to “tell” them about every benefit of the position and company they represent, never addressing the real needs of the candidates. This is a common mistake that is made by most sales professionals and is illustrated further in this article.
Most of our recruiting coordinators (ie. the individuals who first make contact with candidates) have been advised to not over-share information. While many of them do have the “product knowledge,” that information is best shared by the hiring manager later in the process (if it even needs to be shared at all). If a candidate is told everything about the career and company, there is little reason for the person to invest time in an interview.
When a hiring manager is face-to-face with a candidate, it’s important to only address the unique and specific needs identified in step 2 of the process. At this stage of the hiring process, the candidate’s needs are the primarily concern. Product knowledge and information overloading just muddies the water and makes it difficult for the candidate to gain clarity in an important career decision.
Advance/Close the Sale: In recruiting and sales, advancing the sale is the final objective throughout every step of the process. By filling the need in Step 4, you are in a position to advance the sale to the next step.
In recruiting, closing is most commonly compared to presenting the offer and gaining acceptance from the candidate. At this stage recruiters often focus on the practical aspects of the offer being made: compensation, benefits, perks etc.
Effective recruiters and sales professionals alike understand the importance of re-emphasizing the emotional drivers identified in Step 2 of the sales process prior to presenting the practical aspects of the solution.
In the real estate recruiting process, there is often more “advancing” and less “closing” required. After learning about the candidate’s unique situation, figure out a reasonable first step (or next step) in the hiring process and attempt to get the candidate to commit to that step. Mutually select a date when the next step will be completed and then hold the candidate accountable to the target date.
Without “closing” a candidate on the next step, the hiring process will not gain and maintain momentum. Seemingly great interviews result in disappearing candidates—i.e. individuals you never hear from again after the interview is finished.
Knowing what to ask, when to ask, what to share, and when to listen is fundamental to both the sales and recruiting process. Here’s to becoming an expert at both!
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