On the odd occasion, I’ll venture South to The Windy City. I tend to catch her on a good day more often than not, allowing me to do that thing which is proudly presented as a benefit to Welly life; walking to meetings. She’s a bit dicey heading down there these days, a bit of a Covid hotspot don’t you know? If I’m walking about, it’ll be in a hazmat suit riding atop my high horse dodging plague rats by the dozen. Sorry Tonians, but it’s been nice to not be in the firing line of disapproving tutt’s echoed around Aotearoa. In truth both cities are great; they just have wee differences. I definitely notice one whenever I take a brief.

Recruitment is essentially sales. That might be hard to hear for people who hold those who dare to charge for a service/product in contempt. It’s baffling to me but I’ll often get the requirement for a person who isn’t a salesperson for a sales role? In Auckland, it’s a little less prevalent although we still like to avoid people who are “too salesy” and look, I 100% get that. You don’t want someone who’s too pushy and the idea of being a ‘wheeler dealer’ is an insulting insinuation (see Harry Redknapp) But is it just semantics? I mean clients like people with “fire in their belly” or “a bit of hustle” so where’s the line? Probably when tenacity drifts into annoyance, when a client complains or the downside of the consultant outweighs the money generated. Like it or not selling is a huge part of this role. You sell your agency’s services to prospective clients; you sell the role you’re recruiting to potential candidates and, you sell that candidate to organizations you’ve partnered with.

However, salesperson is not our title; it’s consultant. We’re a trusted confidant in a candidate’s search for a new role, navigating them through the choppy waters of indecision to a vocation they can be certain of. Let’s say your client really wants a candidate, they’ve increased the offer, moved the start date and sprung for a car park. The day comes to sign the contract the candidates had for over a week and they go with another option. Does your client says “we’ll get the next one” thanks you for your work and bids the candidate all the best? You’d hope! Sometimes, there’s a subtly undertone of slight resentment. There’s a suggestion that you perhaps haven’t ‘sold’  correctly, that perhaps a refresher on their offering and values is required? At some point during the process, we’ve actually got to listen to what that candidate wants. My life would be so much easier/affluent if I could make decisions for candidates, I probably wouldn’t be borrowing Sean’s skiing gear for the second winter on the bounce! (please mate 😊)

If we don’t advise candidates on what would be right for them based on their needs and wants, aren’t we the very thing that we claim we don’t want? Sales Person? The selling should really be done by a representative from the company. After all, they’ve been in the candidate position and decided to join the organization. Our job is to present options to candidates and bring those candidates to the table. That’s why it’s important to not only prep the candidate but ensure the client knows what the candidate’s hot buttons are and what’s important to them. If anything, we have to impartial due to the little control we have in both camps. If you hold one opportunity above another and the client has a change of heart, you’re left with the perceived second choice. It just doesn’t make sense.

I genuinely believe whenever a consultant has an aversion to BD/sales it’s usually from a lack of belief in their value add. They feel that their call is a disruption to someone’s day. That’s why it usually goes away after they’ve made a couple of placements and can see that what they are doing is making a positive impact. We’re in a privileged position currently; jobs are plentiful and candidates are in short supply. I’m not predicting the pendulum swings so much that we’ll ever be candidate rich and job short. However, in time jobs will become a little harder to come by and relationship managers will be expected to get out there and manage some new relationships. Sales shouldn’t be discounted or sneered at, it should be applauded. In a world that is becoming increasingly singular, the ability to pick up the phone and talk to a stranger is less common than ever.

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