Sales people. Those pushy, uninspired stains who invade your time, selling stuff you never asked for. They offer something useful for once? Yes we do. I say ‘we’ because I happen to slip in that function more often than not. Cotton candy words have gotten me far in writing, sales and … wait, no, it’s not that kind of article. Now, I’m not saying my sales trickery is great, but if I grew tomatoes - they’d come up sliced. The clumsy point I’m trying to make is that regardless of the negative image we carry, salespeople and (graduate) recruiters are two sides of the same coin.
The irony here is that the evil sales guys who bother you with cold calls and emails are probably the only people that will empathize with every struggle and strain you’re dealing with today. You are us. We are you. You have targets to meet, pipelines to fill, processes to improve and budgets to obliterate.
So, given that we live in the same cockeyed universe, here are a few sales tips that I promise won’t hurt your grad attraction efforts. In the off chance that my advice ruins your career and you’d like to press charges, feel free to get in touch with my attorney/dentist - Citobor Resnikov.
1. Pay attention to your copywriting
Tone of voice and impressive use of language are an often neglected artform. Especially in recruitment. How do I know? I’ve read what feels like thousands of job ads and received hundreds of emails from recruiters, and my eyes bleed halfway through their copy.
Before you ask, when I say “impressive use of language” I’m not talking about stuffing your emails and job ads with more jargon than the human brain can decypher. I’m talking about the less is more approach.
Think of who you’re writing this for. Students. Not your manager, not your team, not even the CEO. Students. Also known as - young people. Young people who are insecure and afraid of you and your entire company. Ease them into your world by using copy that is easy to understand and break down those barriers of communication.
Let your personality shine through your copy, so they can lower their guard and be themselves around you.
Forget business speak and write as you would to a friend. Students will appreciate the hell out of it.
2. Understand what drives your prospects
If a salesperson doesn’t get in the shoes of a prospect, it will be a lost deal, or a terrible business relationship at best. Same goes for recruitment. You’re either going to let the best talent slip through your fingers, or hire them and enter a one-sided, toxic relationship.
We know that companies like to live in a bubble where their vision, their mission statement and their needs are what motivates students to apply and work. I could spend the next few paragraphs shredding this to tiny wee bits, but I’ll cut to the chase - that’s not how the real world works.
The bare bones truth is that the main things students scan your ads for are what the compensation is like, what the recruitment process will consist of, what’s the vibe of the workplace and whether you’ll give them sufficient training that they can take with them and use in other companies, not just yours.
Being a great salesperson and a great recruiter requires you to be brutally realistic about how people think. Add these elements to your job ads, communication materials and interviews and reap the benefits of being seen as an honest employer who truly “gets it” and is not afraid to level with a student and discuss these topics.
3. Disrupt other recruiters’ pattern
This one’s my favorite. As it stands, both sales and recruitment are ridden with archaic methodologies of “how it’s done”. These are rules, often older than lava itself, that armies of proverbial sheep have been following for years and years. I get it, it takes less energy to follow the book instead of using it to create your own brand of communication.
Grab those low hanging fruits my friend, but the spoils come for the ones who think.
The flatness in skill levels in both recruitment and sales gives you the opportunity to stand out like a sore thumb. You can do this by being transparent, quirky, human and approachable, and you can convey that through your language alone. It’s all you need.
If the first rule of real estate is location, location, location - the the first rule of butt-kicking attraction strategy would be copy, copy, copy.
Communication that is transparent, human, real and smart already gives a slew of signals to students as to why they need to join your company. It shows that you think different, sound different, act different, are brave enough to be different and are therefore fresh, contemporary and challenging the status quo.
Combine this with actual transparency in what’s expected and what will be provided, and you got yourself an employer to student communication that will truly be appreciated by the only people that matter.
Just kidding - the holy students.