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Always Be Connecting: Why Sales Is A Crucial Part Of Recruiting

If you’re a hiring manager or anyone involved in helping to find, interview, meet, greet, onboard or train new hires, I have news for you: You are also in sales. Embrace it. Good sales is about connection.

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Recruiting

Source: Forbes.com/Bob Bennett

Recruiting is a challenge right now. While the falling unemployment rate is certainly something to celebrate, it has also spurred intense competition for companies looking to hire top talent. This competition is even fiercer now that remote work has expanded the pool of potential employers across the world. Getting ahead in recruiting will require transitioning from a buyer’s mindset to a sales mindset.

If you’re a hiring manager or anyone involved in helping to find, interview, meet, greet, onboard or train new hires, I have news for you: You are also in sales. Embrace it.

Good sales is about connection. Listening, building a rapport and gaining the trust of your prospect is the most effective way to sell anything, from an innovative new consumer product to a software license — or, most relevant to this discussion, an open job.

Listen And Build A Rapport First, Pitch Second

Just as salespeople need to understand the ins and outs of a product and how it helps people with a variety of needs, hiring managers must understand what matters most to a specific candidate. They need to sell both the company and position as a good fit for people with different personalities, desires and personal responsibilities.

This requires getting to know the candidate. It’s why great marketers invest in research on their target audience — their desires, pain points and needs — so they can build a product and story that meets those needs. Your interview with a prospective hire is market research in real time.

Where did they grow up? What are they most proud of in their personal life? What drives them? Going deep to understand where a candidate has been, where they are now and where they’re going, on a personal level, shows that you care, which hopefully reflects your company culture!

The prospect, or job candidate, should do most of the talking. The hiring manager should note what matters to this person and repeat back what they hear, naming the desires and needs of the candidate aloud. A connection will start to form because you’re listening to the candidate and showing that you care.

To further solidify trust, it’s important to then go beyond just reflecting the needs and goals of the customer, prospect or job candidate — you must actively align your goals to theirs. You need to want what they want and become their partner in helping them achieve it.

You need new hires who want to grow, learn new things and contribute to a supportive environment. What specifics can you outline in the new role to create a reality personalized to them? How can the company meet the candidate’s needs and accelerate their goals? What does the company currently do to accelerate the goals of its employees? The answers to these questions are how you make your case.

Make It Real

Everything above assumes that you already have a culture in place that accelerates and supports both the career paths and personal goals of its employees. If you don’t, then more introspection and action are required by the business before you can expect to adequately keep up in this hiring market.

Assuming your company is worth selling to potential employees, you now need to back up the rapport you’ve built with the candidate by taking action. That means creating a tangible plan together to achieve the goals you both agreed upon.

Some examples:

• “You said you wanted to get to a place in your job where you not only feel valued for the work you’re producing, but you’re able to share your knowledge with others who are new to the field. What do you think about joining our mentorship team or working with me to start a reskilling program?”
• “It’s important to continue coaching your daughter’s basketball team and traveling with them for out-of-state tournaments from time to time, so you’ll need a job with flexibility. How do you feel about tag-teaming with a couple of colleagues on the West Coast so nothing goes unfinished and you don’t have to check in at all hours?”
• “You’re the primary caretaker for your father. Managing his medication, doctors, appointments and groceries sounds like a full-time job. We have a generous caretaker leave policy and flexible schedule so you can handle errands for him during the day when it’s less crowded.”

Connection Matters

Building relationships is one of the main factors that contribute to happiness at work, which we should all strive for, given that about a third of our lives are spent at our jobs. To attract the best candidates globally right now, adopting a sales mindset should be a priority for every hiring manager.

Ultimately, sales and recruiting are both about connection. To recap, the main tips for building connection are:

• Listen: Ask personal questions to help get to the core of who your potential hire is as a person, what they want in life and career and what they care about most.

• Build rapport: Reiterate the candidate’s needs, goals and desires.

• Take action: Make a plan together for how this job and company will meet the candidate’s needs, help them achieve their goals and support their dreams and desires.

Talk to your hiring managers and ask them what they’re doing right now to create personal connections with potential candidates. And don’t forget that a hot job market means it’s a hot market for all your employees. Make sure every leader at your company is listening to the people on your teams, building rapport and actively helping them achieve their goals on a regular basis. Remember — without your employees, you’ve got nothing to sell.

“Always be connecting” applies to every phase of the employee journey, so keep on connecting with your colleagues and team members, wherever and whenever you can.

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