In Association with 'The Recruiter Index'

Written By Sarah Potter

Selling To The Enemy - BD With An Internal Recruiter

I am the mortal enemy of all agencies. The living she-devil. Beeelzebub herself. Yep, you got it – I’m the Internal Recruiter. Also known as blocker of CV’s, gatekeeper of the fabled PSL and hater of recruiters.

Except I’m not.

Agencies are great, and I do not know how I’d cope without them. When you don’t know your Java from your Javascript or your UX from your UI, an agency relationship can be truly invaluable. This, though, means I speak to a lot of agencies. And when I say a lot, I mean hundreds. Have you ever seen anything as haunting as a full voicemail inbox? Because I’ve seen it a few times over and I can tell you for certain that hearing the same ‘Hi Sarah, it’s so and so from insert company name and I’d like to talk to you about your open roles’ is about as fun as a rave with Theresa May.

So, it’s safe to say I have some insight into how (and how not) to approach that funny old thing called BD. Whether you love it (or hate it) there’s some tips you can use to make yourself better – because who doesn’t love being better at something?

Build a meaningful relationship

Yeah, yeah, stating the bleedin’ obvious – I know. But this one is so important. Unless they’ve come through referrals from hiring managers within the business, the only other agencies we work with are the one’s that have taken the time to understand me and our business. There’s no crap generic email that you know has been sent to thousands more before. Nor are there constant phone calls all leaving the same boring-as-plain-porridge voicemails. You know what they’ve all got in common? They approached me on LinkedIn. Obviously, this wont work for everyone you’re trying to prospect – but they all took a look at my profile and noticed that I’m pretty prolific on the platform and thought to themselves ‘if she’s active on here, she’ll probably respond to my InMail’. They also took the time to actually read my profile and I can tell you now, I’ve had some brilliantly creative messages because of it. Many have mentioned my love of tea, some have referred to my articles and some have started right off the bat by sending me case studies and reports that they think I’ll find useful – without once mentioning working on any roles. Those are the recruiters I remember and those are the recruiters I work with. TL:DR? Understand your prospect, do your research, think of them before yourself.

Be honest

This one’s tough. I get it. You keep having drop outs and no shows and you’ve rinsed every job board imaginable – that doesn’t mean you’re a bad recruiter, it might mean that there’s something not right with the role. Is the salary too low? Is our process too long? Our candidates not liking what they read about us online? I need to know – and if you’re honest about this I’ll trust that you have our best interests at heart. If you really can’t find someone for a position, please don’t drop off the face of the earth. Pop me a message and we can talk through it and try to find a solution – even if it means me telling a hiring manager that what they are after is as rare as an England penalty shoot-out win.

Remember WHY Internal Recruiters exist

I may post stuff on LinkedIn and get stuck into some employer branding activity, but my main job is – you guessed it – to recruit people into the business I work for. It’s important that you understand this because if you don’t it’ll just feel like I’m battling you – and no one wants to work for some pompous git that likes to undermine them at every turn. Yes, I’m here to recruit – but I can’t do it all myself so try to understand the areas I might struggle with (developers being one) and please, for the love of all that is good in this world DO NOT GO STRAIGHT TO THE HIRING MANAGER. I don’t care how good you are, I will immediately hate you for this and there will be numerous *colourful* words attached to your name. Follow the process and don’t be a dick.

Please, please stop being so damn ‘salesy’

‘Always be closing’ is the bane of my life. ‘So, when can we meet?’, ‘I’ve put 4pm in my diary for a call’ – no, no and no again. Don’t talk at me, talk to me. It’s the classic ‘you have two ears and one mouth’ so use them in proportion. Listen to my concerns or areas that you may be able to help and put that in to action. You heard me say I struggle to place Web Developers? Use that to your advantage. Do some market research, find some industry content – show me the value you can add away from the typical flinging loads of CV’s and hoping they stick. Please don’t call to ‘touch base’, contrary to popular belief, I’m actually quite busy. Finally, and this one’s important – take your prewritten script, ball it up tightly and then promptly throw it in to the nearest rubbish receptacle. You’re a person, speak like one. I promise you I’m not actually a HR robot, so your prewritten objection handling and sales techniques will be completely lost on me.

Look, BD ain’t easy. Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt that says ‘do not put past the gatekeeper’ – but hopefully some of these tips will fare you well into power hour and beyond. Just remember, we’re not buying from your big, shiny, on brand agency – we’re buying from you. And if we like you? You’ll be the first person we think of when a hiring manager lands on our desk saying ‘we need this position filled in two weeks’.

Now, get back on that phone!