How to Sell an Opportunity That’s Not Particularly Enticing

by Liz Carey

Some job orders on a recruiter’s desk are easy sells – the ones for companies that offer generous packages and great working environments with on-site gyms, or roles in locations that are hotbeds for that industry, or clients who hold spots on “Best Places to Work” lists. Then… then there are the other orders – positions in rural areas, roles at companies that aren’t so “sexy,” jobs that require long hours or lots of travel, etc.

How do you post the job order or present it to a candidate when you don’t have a great first line like: “Work for a booming startup in the heart of Manhattan; this client offers great perks like a company vehicle and generous PTO policy…”?

Of course, you have to be honest… you can’t tell a candidate that your client offers something that is totally false. But there is always a way to spin a negative into a positive (for example, rural areas can be lauded for their low cost-of-living, and long hours might be the first steps in a company with a road to advancement). You need to be up-front about any drawbacks regarding the role — 1) to prevent a potential fall-off, because 2) the candidate will eventually find out anyway, and you will likely ruin the relationship with them because they won’t trust you anymore.

Here’s some tips on selling your “less-than-perfect” job orders:

  • Emotion is always number 1. While fat paychecks and great benefits are always a plus, candidates want to work for a company they align with and feel connected to. What is at the core of the organization’s mission and value of its work?
  • It’s easier to sell jobs at big companies who are leaders in their field. If your client is a smaller business/organization, stress to your candidate that its employees may have more opportunity for advancement, or they may have more “say” in decision-making, etc. Big fish, smaller pond.
  • Not located in a major city or desirable location? Stress the company culture – a strong culture reduces turnover, improves employee productivity and satisfaction, and is linked to greater profits.
  • What if the candidate thinks they could get a bigger salary from the same role elsewhere? Explain that your client is in a location with a low cost of living, low taxes, low crime rates, high quality of schools, etc. Do some research on the area and present this to your candidate – they may prefer small-town life, and realize that it all equals out – a higher salary elsewhere will also come with a higher cost of living.
  • If the workplace itself is difficult — long hours or problematic leadership — point out the room for opportunity. Without challenge, there is no change. Working in a challenging environment can build skills, and can create more opportunities in the long run.

As a recruiter, you must be honest and point out your client’s challenges and shortcomings, but also do some research to emphasize the overall opportunity for the candidate.

 


7 Questions to Help Independent Recruiters Take Better Job Orders

by Dave Nerz

It is a tough market for independent recruiters, right? The work you do to fill an open position is 2 to 3 times more than what was necessary before the recession. Clients are slow to move and seem to change their minds about what they want, require and expect with each candidate that you expose them to.

So, are you taking good job orders?

  • Is the client being asked to think their requirements through? Or are you doing mind reading?
  • Is there agreement about what the client asks for? Is it written down and confirmed in writing?

Maybe you have a recruitment process; feel free to share your recruiting process via comments to this blog. If you don’t have a formal process, it may be because you have an informal process that has been working…good for you. Does it ever fail you? Maybe you don’t want to “waste the client’s time” when you know what they mean and you have candidates ready to go or can tap into a recruiter networking group to support you with a quick turn on candidates. As a frequent hiring manager at one point in my career, I can tell you my requirements changed from hire to hire, even with repetitive fills. Sometime you just need different skill sets to work with your team chemistry. Maybe a special skill is required to work a special project or with a specific client. I would not assume anything, as the cost of making that assumption is a waste of your time and the time of your recruiter networking group. Independent recruiters who work on a contingency basis only get paid for the time invested that makes a match. Are you really interested in taking on additional risk?

What if you created a simple form that collected some basic information about the job and then asked 7 straightforward questions of the hiring manager?

Basics: Company, Location of the Job, Job Title, etc

Question 1:  Money

  • Base Salary Range…more for exceptional candidates?
  • Bonus…how realistic is a bonus? Based on what?
  • Commission or other compensation available?
  • Benefits…fit to the market…better/same/worse?

Question 2:  Process

  • Who is available to interview?  Three reserved dates  _________, __________, __________.
  • What is the date you want this hire to start?

Question 3:  Required Skills and Background

Must haves:

  • bullet 
  • bullet 
  • bullet 

Question 4:  Not required but would make a candidate a standout. Dig deep here…get 3 good things!

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

Question 5:  Why would the candidate choose to leave a good employer and take this position?

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

These better be good…career path, company equity, flexible hours, high quality co-workers, etc.

Question 6:  The key duties of this job

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

 

Question 7:  What will this candidate accomplish in the first 3 to 6 months if they are off to a great start?

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

Sign it, and ask the hiring manager to sign it, too. Now I can sleep. I hope you will sleep better and make more placements. I know that doing this will separate you from the crowd of independent recruiters that don’t take the time to do this. It is a good investment and it brands you as a quality recruiter.