Why Recruiters Need to Be Good at Sales

BY THE TALENTDASH TEAM | January 4, 2017

There are many skills that any recruiter worth their salt must possess but the most important is undoubtedly the art of selling. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that recruitment is sales. And why is that? Well, read on to find out.

There is an old line often heard in sales circles ‘If you want a sales recruiter, hire a salesperson’, and while we won’t focus on sales recruitment in this article, we feel that it’s an adage that holds true for the entire industry.

After all, what is recruitment only sales? Not a day goes by when a recruiter doesn’t need to don their sales hat. From selling an opportunity to a candidate to then selling that candidate’s talent to the employer, it’s plain to see why honing those sales skills is top of many an aspiring recruiter’s to-do list.

There are many reasons why a person with a salesy nature would make an ideal recruiter but here are the four that we think are the most relevant.


Writing Ads
As any seasoned copywriter will tell you, crafting an ad that converts is no mean feat. And in the case of recruitment that means an ad that attracts the right candidates from the talent pool and entices them to hit that ‘apply now’ button or even pick up the phone.

Writing the copy for postings on jobs boards or print advertisements is an undertaking fraught with danger. Use the wrong words and you run the risk of alienating a percentage of potential candidates or ruffling a few feathers unnecessarily. And then there’s also the chance that you may oversell the job by making it sound a little too good to be true. 

A recruiter with good sales skills will not only know how to attract the right candidate using the correct emotional triggers but also when to stop writing. Although it might be tempting to do so, going over 800 words is probably a little overkill.

Selling Jobs to candidates
It’s easy finding someone that wants to take on a position, but what’s not easy is finding the right someone. And with the recruitment industry becoming more competitive year after year, convincing that right someone that you have the position of their dreams isn’t the simplest of tasks.

Possessing excellent sales skills allows a recruiter to approach candidates and sell the opportunity for all its worth. They will know what language to use in any email correspondence and how to respond to any queries with a positive spin.

However, the fact remains that many candidates aren’t fully on board with the prospect of taking an advertised position. Sometimes they don’t even understand the benefits of changing career or taking on a new challenge. What they need is guidance and a gentle push in the right direction which will allow them to make the best decision for their future. The perfect scenario for a sales minded person.

Selling talent to employers
No matter how perfect a recruiter thinks a candidate is for the position, they still need to sell the candidate’s talent to the employer or their CEO. In theory, it should be a relatively straightforward process. Recruiter recommends candidate, employer hires said candidate, but it’s never quite that easy and with good reason.

No CEO wants to see six months wasted on an employee that ‘didn’t work out’ so they will do their best to ensure that recruiters leave no stone unturned in the talent hunting process. And it’s at this point that the recruiter’s sales skills kick into gear. They sell the candidate’s suitability to the role, sell their experience, sell their skills, sell their personality and anything else that might see them through.

With the company about to invest a great deal of resources into this person, a recruiter will need their best powers of persuasion to ensure that their candidate makes the cut.

The negotiation process
Negotiation and sales go hand in hand, in fact, it’s nearly impossible to have one without the other. So it should come as no surprise that people that excel in sales will also strike the best deals on the negotiation table.

They say money isn’t everything, but at the end of the day, it plays a vital role in determining a recruiter’s success. From salaries to holidays, relocation packages to benefits, there are many items up for negotiation, all of which cost the company.

A recruiter will want what is best for both the candidate and the employer, but there may come a time when they need to sell a certain aspect of a salary package or benefits to a candidate. Profit sharing, for example, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and if a recruiter can convince a candidate to accept a lower salary in lieu of a share of the profits or even company equity, then that recruiter has the sales savviness to become a great success.

With so many aspects of recruitment requiring exceptional sales skills, it’s little wonder that many people with a background in sales excel in this industry. Their attention to detail with regards to the financial aspects of the job make them indispensable to CEOs and their companies. While it’s their natural understanding of the various nuances and facets of the human psyche that ensures they will always gain the upper hand in a sit-down negotiation.

With every year that passes and each new recruiter superpower we discover, we here at TalentDash grow ever more impressed with our friends in the recruitment industry. From hiring big talent for small companies to selling candidates’ skills to reluctant CEOs, it seems that there’s nothing today’s recruiter can’t do.

Now there’s an idea for an upcoming post; the recruiter’s superpowers. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

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