Do Great Sales Figures Make a Great Recruiter?

I recently saw a recruiter posting a picture of their ‘Best Salesperson of the Month’ award and it got me thinking. Whilst we’re all trying to make a living, isn’t true recruitment more about candidate and client satisfaction, than sales?

Double Glazing comparisons?

Measures around sales volumes all seems a bit short term.  When I was at college, I worked part time as a telephone canvasser for a national double glazing company.  I started and I was great!  I got a few leads early on, got a bit of a commission and thought that this was easy money!  But, alas, just a month later I found myself struggling to even have a conversation with people. 

What had changed?  Maybe the note of desperation in my voice! Or maybe I’d begun to sound like all the other sales people who had been doing it a long time. To this day, I genuinely don’t know why this was the case but, suffice to say, I soon found myself without any shifts as the boss subtly let me drift into the fast food industry… but that’s another story!

My point is, in the double glazing industry there is rarely going to be repeat business, as long as the windows are as good as the sales pitch that goes with them! So, the focus was and still is on ‘sales’ and a sales person of the year in this type of ‘one off sale’ industry is definitely a measure of success and should be celebrated.

Reputation is key

However, what sort of a reputation does the double glazing industry have?  Money grabbing, scam artists, hassling you with cold calls, trying to sell you something you don’t need etc. If the recruitment industry focuses on the same ‘sales’ oriented KPI’s and measures, then it’s only going to lead to a degradation of the already damaged reputation the industry has.

As a former hiring manager, employee and contractor, my dealings with some recruitment agencies and agents (not all, by the way) led to a general feeling toward the recruitment industry similar to that of most to the double glazing industry… and I know I’m not the only one!

So, for recruitment, where the focus is on placing good candidates with good employers, shouldn’t the measure of success be different?

Recruiting a candidate is not a one off sale, from a client or a candidate perspective. A positive experience for a client will definitely lead to repeat business, but equally important is the candidate experience, whether successful in a role application or not.

That candidate’s negative experience could lead to a ‘I wouldn’t use them’ word of mouth reference. It could also lead to a negative feeling towards an agent or consultant, which could be harboured throughout a career… and who knows which major firm, in a major role the frustrated candidate could end up in?!

More importantly, a sales focused approach generally means a negative experience that will lead to an overall view of the entire industry that all recruiters are the same and, the truth is, they’re not.

How can this change?

The change has to come from within the recruitment industry. There has to be a shift in focus from the ‘sales person of the month’ KPI’s towards client and candidate satisfaction feedback measures. Couple this with a collaborative approach to resourcing, FOR clients and not FOR the recruiters target and BINGO! Show people that you genuinely care about them and their business, and sales will happen. It might not be as quick as a ‘sales focused’ approach but, a successful business is a most definitely a marathon type race and not a sprint!

“To have a good friend, you need to be a good friend”

I love this quote and firmly believe it applies in Business. Trust is built over time, feelings develop and get stronger over time in any relationship. Cultivating and maintaining a strong relationships takes effort, but the benefits continue to increase over time.

At Finstech, we are not recruitment agents and we’re not a recruitment agency. We are hiring managers, employees and contractors who have been there, done the work, and seen the good and bad in recruitment from a client and candidate perspective. That is why, we do not have sales targets for our recruiters and this is not something we’ll ever use to measure the success of our people.

We will be fighting hard to change the perception of recruitment companies for the better, by putting our clients and their resource needs ahead of our profits.

But if that fails, there’s always my old telesales job at Zenith…