Five Sales Habits of Top Recruiters

May 18, 2009
This article is part of a series called Fordyce Forum.

I’m excited about my third-annual appearance at Fordyce Forum next month, and I really look forward to it each year. My topic for Fordyce 2009 in Las Vegas is Sales & Marketing Skills for Recruiters.

After all, recruiting is selling!

Everyone is always looking for the silver bullet that can take them to the next level. What we really need to focus on are the basics of selling skills. It doesn’t matter what your niche market focus is or what type of a recruiter you are, as I plan to focus my presentation on some of the most critical skill areas that impact your bottom line results.

First, we will cover some marketing topics, because you have to generate activity to be able to close deals. Recently, I joined Albin Engineering in the Silicon Valley as VP Sales & Marketing and I’ve been hiring and training recruiters for the last 13 years. During this time, my teams have placed over 15,000 candidates into perm (direct-hire) positions and thousands of temp/contractors as well.

In today’s market, leads are harder to come by, so being able to generate new clients and candidates is a valuable skill. Sure, you can wait for the phone to ring or scour the database, but new clients are out there and need you. So YOU have to figure out how to find THEM!

What is your brand image? How can you improve it? Where can you go to find top talent for you open job orders? How can you meet more hiring managers?

Let’s face it, hiring has slowed and there are fewer orders to fill today. This means that every job order needs to be taken more seriously. Recruiters are a wonderful breed of professionals and we love to ride the boom waves when hiring is going hot and heavy.

How can we expect to increase sales given current market conditions? Recently, I was talking with a recruiter and she was sharing her activity data on submittals.

I asked her what a submittal was, and she replied:

“Every time I email a resume to a hiring manager or to HR it counts as a candidate submittal.”

I stood there with a concerned look on my face, and she was wondering what I was thinking.

The reality is that anyone can send a resume and most resumes don’t sell the candidate very well. My belief is that we have to “Call & Present” candidates to hiring managers so that we have a chance to use our sales skills.

This concept alone can create a drastic increase in production when done well and consistently.

I don’t want to get on my soapbox here, but I can’t wait to be in front of the room in Vegas to share some of my ideas on how we can create more placements from fewer job orders.

Learning to be a better salesperson is a never-ending process. Throughout my career, I have continued to learn new tricks and develop new skills. What I have learned by hiring and training over 1,000 recruiters is that successful recruiters have certain habits that help them to stand out from the crowd.

Here is a list of five habits that I have witnessed in top-performing recruiters:

  1. Top recruiters spend more time asking questions and listening than they do talking.
  2. Top recruiters tend to probe deeper for more information, rather than jumping to conclusions.
  3. Top recruiters know how to sell by turning their candidates into solutions that will solve their hiring managers’ problems.
  4. Top recruiters have positive attitudes and deal directly and quickly with their clients and candidates on any issues that arise during the placement process.
  5. Top recruiters work hard, they are deal-makers but not deal-breakers, they know how to close, and they know how to qualify all opportunities.

Wishing you great success in 2009 and hoping to meet you at Fordyce Forum!

Until then, feel free to contact me directly at

This article is part of a series called Fordyce Forum.
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