Securing The Best IT Talent : 5 Top Sales Tips For Hiring Managers

Mark Freire

11th November 2014

All major IT job market reports agree that we are entering a challenging time for IT recruitment. Job availability is growing monthly, yet candidate availability is dropping. Put simply, demand is outstripping supply and superstar candidates are often finding themselves with multiple opportunities from competing companies.

So how does a candidate choose one company over another? Renumeration is obviously a big factor but for modern job hunters, pay is far from everything. Instead, there are a whole host of different factors which sell a standout opportunity  – the role, the projects, the management, the technologies, the culture, the progression, the benefits, the location, the team, and the after-work social life to name just a few.

This is where the sales skills of a hiring manager become so paramount. To secure the best talent in a candidate-short market, hiring managers don’t just need to administrate the hiring process, they need to actively sell the opportunity. Of course, many hiring managers are not natural sales people and don’t do sales as a day job. Yet it only takes a few changes in approach to make a big difference to your hiring success.

Here are my top 5 tips for selling a job opportunity.

1.    Understand what your company offers

One of the big secrets of selling is to know your product inside out. This is as true for recruitment as anything else. In order to sell the opportunity, you need to understand what makes it great. To do this, try to stand in the shoes of a prospective employee. Why is this position particularly attractive? Why is it better to work here than at a  competitors? The answers to these questions can become your key selling points when talking to strong candidates about the role.

2.    Understand the candidate and their individual motivations

Each candidate is an individual and has a different reason for choosing a job. The more you understand an individual candidate’s motivations, the more you can tailor your message around what matters to them. Taking time to read their CV and look at their social media profiles is a good starting point, but nothing beats starting the interview with a friendly chat about why they are here today, and what they are looking for in a new job. You can then frame the opportunity with these considerations in mind.

3.    Ensure a smooth engagement and interview process

Would you buy a car from a dealership which makes you wait when you arrive, skirts over the details, fails to answer your questions, and doesn’t call you back when they say they will? A good candidate won’t ‘buy into’ a job with a company which doesn’t look after them prior to employment. If you start to think about your job candidates as customers of your business, then your whole approach may change. By building your engagement and interview process around their needs, rather than your own convenience, you will ensure an efficient and effective hiring process.

4.    Be open

Top sales people know that trust leads to loyalty and commitment. To earn trust you need to be as open and honest as possible with a prospective employee. A good place to start is to tell interviewees a little about yourself and why you choose to work at the company. Other ideas are providing an access all areas tour of your offices, giving them time to chat freely with team members, and being honest about any areas of weakness and how management are trying to deal with them. By making a candidate feel like a trusted part of the company, they are much more likely to become one.

5.    Work closely with your recruitment agency

Recruitment consultants are masters at building relationships with candidates. This often gives the consultant an inside track on a candidates’ personal hopes, ambitions and motivations. Working closely with your recruitment agency will ensure that you get the full story on high quality candidates prior to interview – allowing you to tailor your message and even the role to their specific concerns. Likewise, the consultant will be able to reinforce your key messages and make sure the candidate appreciates the great opportunity your company can provide them.