When I started out in recruitment, like many others, I wanted to emulate the top performers on the floor.
The people everyone else seemed to bow down to. The first billers to get handshakes when the MD was on the floor.
These were my role models.
Unfortunately for me, the top biller on my team (and also in the top 3 for the business) communicated with both his clients and candidates as though he was in a confessional. He was so quiet, I could have been sitting in his lap when he was on the phone, and still not heard how he was closing all those deals.
He was recruitment’s answer to the Horse Whisperer.
Which left me with a problem. Who was I going to mimic in order to unlock those PSLs?
Unwittingly (which coincidentally was also how I got into recruitment in the first place), this problem may have actually helped me out. I was forced to find my own style, rather than try to parrot someone else’s lines.
If you want to be a recruitment legend, or a top biller like my silent-but-deadly mentor, you need to learn as many techniques as you can. But you’ll also need to be yourself. And that means applying those techniques in your own way.
Which brings you to the question… “Who am I?”
Now, before your inner philosopher takes control, and we all sit down for a mug of gin and some soul searching… I’m going to try to give you a little practical advice to help you on your way.
You’re going to need it, a lot. Self awareness is a really important quality for a recruiter to work on and you need to be aware of when you’re just talking, and when you’re closing. The change of tone, pitch and pace is a trigger that you need to be in control of. But it will be something that’s unique to you, and is you at your most persuasive and authoritative.
If every time you use an assumptive close you end up with a rejection, then use another method! There are so many different ways to ask questions, or gain commitment. You’ll find that some of them just don’t work for you, even if they seem to work for everyone else.
Not something that’s built out of NFI. This might be your most valuable tool when applying your sales techniques, and also potentially your biggest weakness. Recruiting Managers (like dogs) can sense fear. So when dealing with them, remember what makes you feel confident. Familiar phrases. Strong statements. A sprinkling of self-praise won’t hurt.
Anyone who has ever delivered a speech, been an actor, or told a lie, will know that the most important thing you can do is learn your lines. Know what you’re going to say, and then you can put the effort into how you’re going to say it. That’s what makes it a strong message. But if you don’t know what you’re going to say, then it’s going to be difficult to apply any kind of personality to it.
This was a lesson I learned from a client of mine, who actually told me that she didn’t enjoy talking to me on the phone because I always sounded so serious. She asked if I ever smiled. I laughed. We both relaxed. I’m not saying you have to recruit with a maniacal fixed grin. Although I’d like to see you try. But if you’re being natural, you’ll allow yourself a smile every now and again, and it’s going to help everything to run along smoothly.
For now, I’ll leave you with this.
What do all of the best Recruiters have in common?
The rest of it’s just you.
Martin Jones is a Recruiter. From 1999 onwards, he’s worked across multiple sectors and geographies, generating revenue and leading teams. He is a Partner at KnownFour, building a pioneering recruitment business.
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