Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Should a Recruiter “Sell” an Opportunity to a Candidate?

Should a recruiter “sell” an opportunity to a candidate? The other day a candidate criticized me for not “selling” an opportunity to them. I've never favored “selling” a candidate. I've always believed that a recruiter’s job is to provide accurate information and be a resource for discussion. But a recruiter should not “sell” a candidate on a job. In this situation I had contacted the individual whom I've known for a number of years. This person had told me at various times over the years that they wanted to stay in a certain region of the country. When I called with the opportunity they again said that while it sounded like an excellent opportunity and something they would otherwise be interested in, they wanted to stay in the region where they were at and their family would not be interested in moving to that area. I followed up a few weeks later only to find out that they had interviewed for the position. I contacted the candidate and they told me that I had not done a good job selling them.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “sell” as: 
to persuade or influence to a course of action or to the acceptance of something

As a recruiter am I to persuade or influence the candidate into interviewing? Okay perhaps it is a fine line, but I still like to think of my job as providing information about an opportunity. Provide information as to why the opportunity could be something that would be a logical career move based on their interests and expectations. If I have to convince someone to explore an opportunity that to me is selling them. And if you have to sell someone on a job, my belief is that the odds are it won’t work out. More importantly perhaps, if you have to sell the candidate and their family on moving to an area of the country they have never been interested in previously, my experience is that in the long run it typically does not work out.

Now a discussion about the benefits of exploring an opportunity based on fact seems perfectly fine. But, if I have to influence someone, that in my opinion is selling them on the job or a location.

What are your thoughts?

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