What To Do If You HATE Business Development

The UK’s a recruitment market built on a 360 degree practice. If you don’t know what 360 refers to, you’re probably not a recruiter. Or, you don’t recruit in the UK. 360 refers to someone who performs business development (BD) and then speaks to the candidate for the role that needs filling.

There are circular analogies galore in recruitment, and a 360 degree Consultant is someone who’ll be working full circle, spinning lots of plates. Probably, chasing their tail. But enjoying doing so.

There are exceptions to the rule of course. In 180 teams you’ll see Sales and Research being split up.

This style of 180 practice is something American Recruiters will be used to seeing.

A “Recruiter” by American English is (typically) someone who looks after the candidate experience only. On the surface, the two processes are different in nature.

Where a Research Consultant or ‘Resourcer’ is likely to be meticulous, process driven and amiable a Sales Consultant is more likely to be gung ho and perhaps transactional in approach.

While the UK is becoming less revolved around 360, the US is becoming more so. In the latter’s case there’s an appreciation for a consultative ability for both candidates and clients.

For the former (the UK) the industry is seeing a change in structure and offering.

Times they are a changing

A lot of people online would have you believe recruitment’s dying. I don’t know who the first person to insinuate this was, but it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. It’s highly unlikely too, no matter how efficient technology becomes the human element will always be needed.

There are some however, who think that the basis of 360 recruitment may be about to change. Nicky Coffin’s blog post I saw her present some time ago argues this point. Splitting the full 360 cycle into three 120 models. 

This is, to a degree, what the recruitment industry’s already done in some cases. There’s Sales; Account Management and Research. 120 degrees each.

The rise of mini-RPO style businesses backs up this success, offering their services to clients, on a retained and internal basis.

While different to the classic RPO-style focus, businesses like Talentful, offer an element of account management and research, but the original sale has already been done. This means the only focus is filing jobs for the Consultant.

Girl with Watch On

Sales Alternatives

Many people who come into recruitment are often a little hesitant the first time they call a client. A lot of these people, then laugh about it later down the line.

But for others, Sales just isn’t for them. So what’s the alternative? Leave the industry, never to be seen again?

It doesn’t have to be like that.

1) First off, you can make a lot of money if you’re a Researcher in the right Search or Recruitment Agency.

So that’s one option. And, if the company or team is big enough, there’ll be an opportunity to build and run a team too.

Often in Search, you may find a glass ceiling. As the senior management will drip feed roles down to Consultants who then go to market. But, in the right environment, there are careers to be forged.

2) Secondly, Account Management could be worth a shot.

While it’s important to actually develop an account with internal networking, you’re not cold calling. It’s a warmer call than speaking to candidates. Plus in most cases, you’ll probably have a Research team behind you meaning your capability to earn money will be accelerated.

3) Thirdly, perhaps one of the more difficult ones to spot or get in the first place.

A ‘hot’ recruitment desk. Now, most people will sell a recruitment opportunity as hot. And most of them aren’t. But, if you do manage to land on one, your sales time will be more limited due to you trying to keep up with demand.

4) The fourth option that could be worth a look is Internal Recruitment. There are many more internal roles being hired for as startups and smaller companies start to sway against using agencies.

In all of these instances, your existing skill set of strategy, planning, amiability, and meticulousness will stand you in great stead.


If you’re being told at your current company that you’re ‘great at Research but you’re not great at Sales’ you’ve got the wrong Manager.

Being able to sell is paramount in any area of Recruitment.

You constantly sell your capability, knowledge, clients, opportunities… and the list goes on. Therefore if you’re filling jobs it’s likely you are an able salesperson. You just need the confidence to step up to clients.

It’s understandable to not like cold calling or calling to develop business. It can be tricky. But it’s something you can do. So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The good news is, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Recruitment provides room for that option, and it’s getting more plentiful all the time.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where you can find roles or companies that can offer this, look no further.


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