How the skills of a recruiter should mimic sales reps

Posted December 12, 2017 by


If recruitment is marketing, recruiters must be marketers. The skills of a recruiter vary, but more and more, organizations should expect recruiters to have the skill set of a good sales rep. Here we’ll discuss what mistakes college recruiters tend to make, and what skills a good sales reps has that recruiters should adopt.

Ineffective college recruitment tactics 

Relying too heavily on core schools. Catie Ewen, Content and Digital Marketing Specialist at GradLeaders, says one big mistake she sees is when recruiters only focus on core schools. “While it takes time to cultivate these relationships and it’s certainly valuable to maintain them, recruiters may

be overlooking talent outside of their core schools.” Technology plays a big part in the solution to reach beyond core schools, by saving recruiters time.  “Another ineffective tactic I’ve seen is the use of either career fair or technology alone to conduct sourcing. I’d caution recruiters to avoid relying solely on in-person interactions at career fairs, or technology by itself. Smart recruiters use a healthy blend of both technology and personal touch to land the best candidates.”

Overuse of jargon. One common mistake is using use internal terminologies and jargon. Knowledge of job-related terms may not have to be a requirement, especially for entry-level roles, so just cut it out of your recruiting vocabulary. Candidates can learn the terminology during the interview process. Even if you think a qualified person would understand your jargon, remember that recruitment is marketing so you need to use captivating language.

Jargon will confuse your job candidates

Ending communication with non-accepted candidates. A final mistake that employers make at the end of the hiring process is to put non-accepted candidates into a black hole.  Especially for entry-level candidates who are unfamiliar with the process, don’t damage your brand with this disengaging practice. Instead, develop a pipeline. Keep in touch with the qualified candidates who you didn’t hire. Ask them to opt into a career newsletter, follow your LinkedIn company page, or just set reminders to email them with occasional company news. This saves you loads of future work as well. As the average tenure for employees has gone down, it won’t be long until you’ll be looking to fill again.

Related white paper: Making or Breaking the Entry-Level Candidate Experience: Turning Common Mistakes Into Opportunities

What sales reps do that recruiters should learn 

Ewen offered the following tips:

  • Sales reps often conduct in-depth preliminary research on prospects. Similarly, recruiters should take an in-depth look at average salary, age, education level, language ability and skillset in their industry to better target the correct person, predict what their salary might be for budgeting purposes, and ensure success with the company. There are many great tools available to do this. One of our favorites is JobPulse by Burning Glass.
  • Just as marketing and sales teams use marketing automation platforms to filter out unqualified leads using behaviorial scoring and qualification systems, recruiters can use technology to eliminate unqualified candidates based on real-time labor market data, online personality assessments, and artificially intelligent skills-based matching tools. They can leverage technology to help craft job postings to ensure that job description and qualifications align with the current taxonomy of today’s job market.
  • Job-seeking students don’t want to feel like a number, and are more likely to respond to outreach if it is somehow personalized for them. Sales reps often use first names, a prospects personal interests and company information to make a deeper connection.

What is wrong with the “post and pray” method of recruiting college students and grads?

Don't just hope that your recruitment will workThe duration-based model puts the risk of the job posting not performing well on the employer (or their advertising vendor). At College Recruiter, we know we have a lot more control than the employer over how many people see a posting, and how many people click to apply. Factors like salary and the quality of a job description are all relevant, but it’s our job to get people to the ad to begin with, so the risk should lie with us. Now, the job board is forced to actually deliver enough candidates to that employer so they can hire enough people.

Also read: Confused about pay for performance? Get a peek behind the curtain [podcast]

Ewen puts it this way: Proactive sourcing of candidates is simply a new way to approach the rapidly evolving landscape. The next generation of our workforce is accustomed to a fast-paced, technology-driven world where suggestions (such as what Netflix show they should watch next) come to them; not the other way around.  Recruiters should follow this trend and reach out to desirable candidates rather than waiting for desirable candidates to come to them.” 

College recruitment trends, including on-campus and digital

college recruitment trendsFirst, Ewen says that the jobs on the top of the list for many students and grads are in healthcare, accounting, teaching, and tech. Across industries, however, one trend Ewen is seeing “more candidate touchpoints. Job seekers don’t want to get lost in the black hole and they desire constant feedback.” She also sees more employers engaging with students virtually, “before they meet in person at the career fair.” Overall, she says, contact is increasing between the employer and the candidate during the hiring process.

Related white paper: Fall 2017 College Recruitment Emerging Trends and Challenges

Other college recruiting trends:

  • Most organizations have a need for applied tech skills but many recruiters have a poor understanding of what they really are and how to identify them. A candidate who is able to integrate people, processes, data and devices has applied tech skills.
  • Smart recruiters are expanding the majors or degrees of recent grads when recruiting. They focus more on candidates who have soft skills and want to learn and be trained, and not just have the ideal degree or come from a top program. Similarly, in addition to skills-based hiring, recruiters are looking closely for cultural fit within their organization, recognizing that they may have to invest in more skills training to get new employees up to speed.
  • Employers who have a mobile-friendly job application process will see an increase in applications.


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