How to Get a Job in Sales Recruitment

Sales recruitment is an exciting career opportunity for many sales professionals. Working in recruitment allows sales professionals to try something new, while still making use of their core skillset.

To succeed in sales recruitment, you’ll need many of the same skills that make for a successful salesperson: strong communication abilities, a familiarity with technology, and persistence. To wit, many recruiters have compared the recruitment cycle to the sales cycle, and sales is the number one previous job among recruiters.

So, how do you get that first job in sales recruitment? We recommend the following:

1. Evaluate your skill set and determine which ones can be used in recruiting.

Before moving to a career in recruitment, it’s helpful to think critically about what skills and experiences you bring. Create a list of your strengths as a sales professional, and consider how these skills might be transferable to recruitment.

Be as specific as possible in your self-evaluation. Don’t just say that you’re good at selling. Dig deeper into what parts of selling best exemplify your strengths. Are you particularly good at closing a deal, or researching prospects? This will impact how you work as a recruiter and what position will best enable to succeed.

2. Find a mentor in recruiting.

Recruitment is a vast field, and trying to navigate it without mentorship is a mistake. Comb through your professional network; consider people you’ve met at industry events, as well as recruiters you’ve worked with in the past. You may also be able to connect with recruiters on social media, as many are active there.

Once you’ve identified potential mentors, ask the right questions so you can learn more about the field. Make it clear that you don’t expect your mentor to get a job for you per se, but rather that you want to learn about the state of the field and to gather tips for entering it.

3. Familiarize HR tech tools.

To succeed as a recruiter, you need to learn about an entirely new set of tools. Even if you’re not taking a full certification course, pursue resources that will allow you to learn more about recruitment technology. Listing these skills on a resume can be a real differentiator.

Here are a couple of HR tools that you’ll definitely find useful:

  • HRMS (Human Resource Management System): The quantity of information that is required to be processed, stored and supervised by the HR department is colossal. Thus, tools like Erecuit are absolutely crucial.
  • Performance solutions: Tools that track the performance of employees throughout the year, valuable information for a recruiter in order to asses the performance of new hires. Here’s where ADP and other tools like it will be useful.
  • Recruiting software: Tools in this category are vital for recruiters, helping them with posting job ads, accepting applications and managing the applicants. Workable is the tool to use if you are interested in succeeding as a recruiter.
  • Payroll service: Without the help of a good tool, payroll processing can be an exhausting and time-consuming task. Tools like QuickBooks Payroll will definitely make your life easier.

4. Discuss opportunities with your current manager about getting into a career in recruiting.

As an individual contributor in sales, you probably don’t have many opportunities to gain recruitment experience. To get that experience, it’s worth talking with your manager to find out if there are opportunities at your current position. It’s likely that your manager will be grateful for assistance in the recruitment process.

If your current company works with a recruitment partner, talk with a representative at the firm. They may also be able to provide opportunities for involvement.

5. Research the landscape of sales recruitment firms.

There are many recruitment firms out there, but not all of them are reputable. Before determining which firms to target, conduct general research about the industry. There are key differences depending on which fields the firm targets, and what kind of a compensation plan they use for recruiters.

Again, talking to people who are successful in the field is helpful. If you’re considering a job at a particular firm, contact recruiters who used to work at the firm to learn more. (LinkedIn is very useful for this!)

6. Maximize networking to find advocates at your target companies.

Contacting a potential advocate at the firm you’re targeting is always a plus. By doing this, you’re demonstrating that you have networking skills—which are critical for success in recruitment. Use LinkedIn or your professional network to find someone who might be an effective advocate. Drop them a brief note explaining who you are and your interest in recruitment.

7. Carefully cultivate your social media presence.

Social media has become increasingly critical for the recruitment process. You want to show that you can succeed by cultivating a social media presence that shines. Pay particular attention to your LinkedIn and Twitter feeds.

Cultivating your social media presence doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be dishonest. You just want to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful professional with skills to offer. Solicit testimonials for your LinkedIn profile to make it stronger. Across all platforms, spend time sharing useful information instead of just promoting yourself.

8. Be proactive in searching for job opportunities.

If you’re active in sales, you probably get regular calls from recruiters. Use your next recruiter call as a learning opportunity. Ask the recruiter how they got their current job and what they would recommend for aspiring recruiters. By doing this, you can demonstrate that you’re the kind of go-getter who is a good fit for recruitment.

They may not be able to point you directly towards a job, but gathering more information is always a plus.

9. Start applying for open recruiting positions.

Once you’ve gained familiarity with the field and have reached out to contacts, it’s time to start applying to open positions. Since many recruitment positions aren’t openly advertised, it’s also helpful to send thoughtful Linkedin messages to HR stakeholders to find out if a company you’re interested in has any openings.

10. Nail the interview!

Practice practice practice. Before you actually get into the interview, know who you’re speaking with, know what roles they recruit for and know what role you’re coming in as. Knowing what to expect will give you confidence and that impresses interviewers. Going to the interview prepared will increase your chances of getting hired.

Roxana Mead

Roxana is a Senior Manager and the Head of CloserIQ's Boston office. Previously, she was a Senior Account Executive at Hometeam Care and a Sales Associate at ZocDoc.