I get embroiled a lot in the whole `is recruitment a sales job?` argument, basically because it isn’t. In my opinion. Of course.
The question always rears its head because there is a perfectly valid argument that every client communication, every candidate communication and every job discussion is a sell; as such. It was the last example however that has twice grated me recently.
Ok, 16 years ago, I was taught to `sell` a job to a candidate. Why? To increase the chances of them saying `yes` to going forward for the position. Why? To have more candidates for the job. Why?… I don’t know… save face, maybe??
I quickly learned that `selling` candidates jobs was tantamount to what Estate Agents do to enhance their viewing figures. It’s worth a go – they may not buy, but it was good for them to see it.
But hold on a minute. The more relevant lesson in my days of training, was that the benefits of a recruitment service are to save the client time and money?
So beyond that, there is the difference between a salesperson, and a consultant. Both ways they are the middle man, the opportunity carrier. But the sales person has 1 objective. The sell. The Consultant has different objectives that centre around advising on, and satisfying the needs of the 2 parties for which he/she represents. Now where does sales fit in that process?
You see, to call recruitment a sales job, is frankly demeaning the substance of the responsibility that we gleefully charge a fee for. I charge a fee to consult, not to achieve sales figure targets. My client pays me to save time and money and deliver experise, not for me to crowbar a job-seeker towards a role they are barely 70% keen on, just to satisfy the content of the `pitch`. I have a client that over the course of the recent December/January period I had 7 ultimately completed roles with. I was in competition with 3+ other agencies, and placed 5 of them. To achieve those 5 placements, I had 8 interviews. To achieve those 8 interviews; after consultation on the client’s very specific needs, and the needs of the range of candidates I considered; I sent 10 CVs. THAT is called saving time and money for client, and finding a solution that satisfies my own personal financial goals.
I recognise that 90% of recruiters are considered `sales people`, but over 50% of recruiters change jobs every year. Because of sales? Because of lack of success? Well a combination of all sorts. I am convinced that many of them just want to be good consultants. Sadly they get pigeon-holed into focusing only on on sales and KPI targets. And that’s demoralising for someone with great talent recognition and client consultancy skills.
And it’s demoralising for the reputation of the industry.