Trying to sell from the very beginning
– what you want to get with the initial message is just a reaction –
I had the opportunity to see dozens, maybe hundreds of messages sent by recruiters from different countries and cultures. I wasn’t surprised to see striking similarities. Not only did they contain too much information, for a first message, but most of all, they were trying from the very beginning to convince the developer to take the job. And I think that is wrong.
Let’s be clear from the start: recruitment is sales, and sales means serving your customer through decision building process! What works in sales should work in IT recruiting.
By selling, if I would like to reduce the definition to the essence, I mean the construction of a decision-making process for customer, towards a product or a service that must necessarily address a need, problem or a goal. Without this direct relationship between the product and the customer’s need, the sales process is next to a scam.
What does it mean when I try to sell from the first stage with the approaching message? It means I am cluttering my candidates with information that they should process so that I can obtain from them a positive decision. Thus I try to to convince the developers that my job is what they looking for and is right for them at this point in his career. To make sure I am compelling, I throw away all the information in the first place. How do I do that? I try to them in a very positive light. In such situation I would think this will get me a positive decision from my candidates. In reality we believe only in the things we conclude, and not in the things we are told. I repeat: we believe what we conclude, not what we are told!
We believe only in the things we conclude, and not in the things we are told
For those who already have good solid sales experience and know what it means to help a customer take a positive decision about their product, it is already clear how such an approach, trying to sell with the first message, is wrong.
Convincing a customer is talking 20%, and listening, 80%.
I cannot stress enough the importance of the second: listening 80% of the whole conversation. If I try to sell with the first message, I would make a fundamental mistake of talking too much about the job I want to promote, regardless of my candidates’ interests, goals and problems.
Thus, I would fall into the fallacy of having unrealistic expectation from my first touch point with my candidates. Many recruiters think it is a good strategy to say almost everything from the very beginning and not probe the interest of the developer towards the conversation and the presented job. This is due to the fact that the closing a job is considered a matter of statistics of large numbers. You should contact enough candidates so that, probabilistically, you will get enough positive answers that you can rely on that will lead to a recruitment. The worst part is that such a strategy, from the point of view of the recruiter, can sometimes work. The basic condition: hard work! After all, anything is possible with enough perseverance.
Why do I say that when it works, it’s a bad thing? Because it hides from the recruiter the very high costs that this strategy has: to count the candidates not as a community (in which you evolve professionally, you develop, to which you come back), but as a database. I would obtain by aggressive approach type “sale from the first message” 10 developers who are willing to talk to me, and through the process I managed to alienate and make myself ignored by 10 times more of them, to which I will hardly manage to come back later on and get a response.
What’s to be done? Count the first message as just a touch point, an introduction by which under no circumstances do you want to make a sale or to close the project with that developer, but only to get a reaction, a minimum interest by which your candidates will tell you that they want to know more of your offer. Even if it seems to you that the whole process will be extended, and that you will find it harder to reach out to a sufficient number of candidates, you will see that out of fewer candidates contacted you will manage to have many more discussions that will give you a better conversion.
On top of that, you will be perceived as being more polite, with respect to your candidates and you will succeed and have more relationships with more developers and by doing so you will gain trust their eyes.
Don’t rush, build your introduction, ask for permission to interrupt, be curious and listen, gain trust from your candidates one step at a time.