Compelling Pitches: Your Company’s Journey and Role Significance

Learn to personalize interactions, grasp candidate needs, and close conversations effectively, fostering genuine connections in recruitment.

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Nov 8, 2023
This article is part of a series called Crafting Culture: The Art of Candid Conversations in Sourcing.
Welcome back to the second part of a four-part series, where I provide sourcers with strategies to navigate candid conversations about company culture. From discussing company culture to handling Glassdoor reviews and addressing salary concerns, this segment focuses on tailoring your pitch to each candidate. As sourcers and recruiters, we are essentially salespeople, and our product is the company we represent. So, let’s put on our selling shoes and get to “smilin’ and dialin'” and “zoomin’ and groovin’.”

Understanding Sales in Recruiting

Before we get started on crafting our pitch, it is crucial to understand the essence of selling. It is not about making everyone say yes but creating a comfortable environment for candidates to make a decision, whether it’s a yes or a no. It is essential to accept that not every candidate is the right fit. There are no magic words; instead, it’s about fostering genuine connections and leaving everyone, regardless of their decision, in a positive mood, potentially leading to future opportunities.

Finding the Need, Asking the Right Questions, and Addressing “Window Shopping”

To tailor your pitch effectively, understanding the candidate’s needs is paramount. Some candidates openly express their requirements, but for others, asking specific questions is necessary. Addressing their needs, motivations, and potential challenges will guide your pitch. Be vigilant about identifying “window shoppers” – candidates open to new opportunities but not actively seeking a change. Challenge them to evaluate their current situation thoroughly before making a decision.

For the candidates who don’t open up their needs right away, here are a few questions you can ask:

  • Candidate, I want to make sure I put you in the right role for XYZ company. What does your next ideal role look like?
  • In your next ideal role, what would you be doing on a day-to-day basis?
  • What are you missing in your current role that has led you to talk to me about future opportunities?
Answers can be wide-ranging. It can be money, lack of upward mobility, change in leadership, looking for more flexibility, contract coming to an end, starting to feel burnt out, the list goes on. The key is in the follow-up questions:
  • I hear you on that, and I want to make sure I understand fully. Explain a little more about what (the reason the candidate wants to leave) means to you.
  • I believe I have a role that fits your needs! One last question though, have you spoken to your manager or leadership about (the reason the candidate wants to leave)?

You want them to really dig into their reason for leaving for a couple of reasons. First, it helps you understand as a sourcer or recruiter what you should highlight as you tailor your pitch. Leadership could mean a large team or ownership of a whole practice. Flexibility could mean remote or better hybrid options with more work-from-home days. What are they burnt out on? This is what you want them to dig into.

I have had more than a few candidates say that they have not spoken about their needs to their current manager or leadership. The way I have handled this is I challenge them to bring it up on their next one-on-one with their manager, and we catch up afterwards to see if they feel like the situation is going to improve without them having to leave.

How to Pitch the Company, a Story in Two Parts

A compelling pitch has two components: a general overview and tailored specifics. Start from the 20,000-foot level, highlighting the company’s history, recent growth, and unique selling points. Gradually narrow down the pitch to the team and the specific role. Tailor the pitch based on the candidate’s needs identified earlier. Allow them to validate their fit and encourage questions to maintain engagement.

The simple outline should look something similar to this:

Set the stage.
I am about to spend the next few minutes going over XYZ company, but please don’t hesitate to interrupt with any questions you may have. I want to keep this as conversational as possible. Sound good?
Start with the founding of the company and its purpose.
XYZ started out 26 years ago when the founder thought, ‘Hey, this would be cool, let’s do that.’
Highlight any significant growth or changes that have happened within the last 5 years.
A few years ago, we added this really cool service that many people have been using.
If there are similar companies out there, bring up what sets you apart.
Some of our competitors include ABC and LMNOP, but what sets us apart is that we do it this way.
Begin to narrow the pitch down to the team that the candidate will be joining.
The team you’ll be joining oversees XYZ’s super-important thing. They make sure it works the way it’s supposed to and work with these tools to do their job.
Why the role is open.
The reason we are looking to add to the team is we are seeing tremendous growth.
The reason we are looking to add to the team is we had someone leave.
Be transparent on the why if the role is a backfill.
The second part is where you want to begin to tailor it. Remember those questions we asked earlier to determine those needs? This is where that comes back in. Hopefully, you took good notes.
Tailor it to their needs and wants.
    • New tech
One of the things that I think you’ll like is that we work with XYZ technology.
    • Leadership
Our team is looking for a leader to help us grow the team.
    • Make an impact or have more responsibility.
This is a brand new team, and the chance to make a large impact is there.
Validate it.
Based on what I shared, why do you feel the role would be a good fit for you?
Emphasize the why! This is the part that makes them sell themselves on the role or, conversely, let them tell you that they aren’t interested.
Open it to questions.
I know I just went over a lot, but I want to ensure I covered anything you wanted to know about. Do you have any questions for me?
Now that you have your pitch outline. Build out your pitch, write it down, and practice it in front of a mirror. You should be able to say this in your sleep because you want to be able to handle any interjecting questions that may come up with the candidate, and you don’t want to lose your place and sound really awkward by repeating something you’ve already said because you lost your place. Feel free to have this open on your first few calls, but do everything you can not to sound like you are reading it.

Knowing When To Close On the First Call and Not Oversell

Avoid overselling by focusing on one or two key aspects that align with the candidate’s needs. Recognize buying signs – thoughtful questions, enthusiasm, and expressed interest. Your goal is to get them past the “buying line,” not overwhelm them. Avoid sounding like an overly eager salesperson; maintain authenticity and transparency.

How To Close On That First Call

Before I got into recruiting, I sold insurance door-to-door for 5 years. One thing I learned during that time is that you never ask, “Do you want to buy it?” The reason is that it creates unnecessary tension. Instead, you ask a series of questions that help them come to a decision that is ultimately a yes or no, but you help them get there through logical steps. The same goes for recruiting candidates. These are the questions I ask every single time I start to wrap up the call with a candidate.
  1. We are nearing the end of our allotted time, but before we end the call. Our interview process is X number of steps. I’ll be sure to prepare you for each and every step. With that in mind, what is your general availability to do the next interview?
  2. Perfect! I’ll be sure to email you a follow-up so you can share more specific times. I want to make sure I have the best email for you, though. Is it (read their email address)?
  3. And what is the best number to reach you by in case I need to call or text?
  4. Great! Once I receive feedback, if it’s positive, I’ll call you to confirm the interview. If it’s not positive, I’ll email you to let you know, and then we can schedule a call to discuss why. I hope to have that feedback in the next 48 hours, but if it takes longer, I’ll send an update to let you know I’m still waiting. Do you prefer I text you or email you that update?
  5. Perfect, that’s all I need from our call today. Do you have any questions for me before we end the call?
Boom, now you are a closer. By following these steps, you can craft compelling, tailored pitches that resonate with candidates, creating a positive candidate experience. In the next two installments, I’ll be sure to cover some tougher conversations, like negative Glassdoor reviews and, of course, that elephant in the room that shouldn’t be that big of a deal: the salary talk.
This article is part of a series called Crafting Culture: The Art of Candid Conversations in Sourcing.
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