Recruitment: The Sales Job You Didn’t Know About

Have you ever considered that your next career step might be hidden in plain sight? If you’ve built a solid foundation in sales, honing your communication and relationship-building skills, the world of recruitment could be a compelling new frontier for you. Why? Because recruitment, much like sales, centres around identifying prospects, building relationships, and closing deals. The key difference? The product is our service, the people we partner with and the job roles and organisations we represent. Here’s why recruitment is essentially a sales job in disguise.

Understanding Sales: More Than Just Transactions

Sales forms the backbone of any business. It’s all about engaging potential customers, understanding their needs, and persuading them to purchase your goods or services. Be it face-to-face, online, or over the phone, the objective of sales is to boost the company’s revenue and profitability.

Unpacking Recruitment: Sales With a Twist

Like sales, recruitment also involves identifying potential ‘buyers.’ However, in this case, ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ are blue chip companies looking for talent and the skilled professionals who could be interested in their next great goal. The recruitment service is the product. While they share core traits, there are distinct features that set recruitment apart:

Dual Purpose

Recruiters are playing a dual role: they’re promoting their recruitment services to companies and finding top-notch candidates to fill these companies’ roles. Much like salespeople, recruiters must be adept at selling. But, unlike sales, recruiters sell on two fronts – to both clients and candidates. This requires a strong understanding of the market, client requirements, and salary trends.

Profit Structure

Recruiters often earn commission on top of a base salary, meaning they have the potential to boost their earnings significantly – a structure familiar to many in the sales industry. For those starting out, recruitment can provide rapid financial rewards and progression opportunities in line with the effort put in.

You can learn more about how recruiters make money in this handy article.

Cultivating Long-Term Relationships

In recruitment, building relationships is essential. Recruiters invest time into understanding a candidate’s career aspirations, interests, and skills and offer guidance throughout the process. Simultaneously, they foster strong relationships with clients to succeed in the fiercely competitive recruitment industry.

Time is of the Essence

Recruitment is a long game. It can take weeks, even months, to find the right candidate, conduct interviews, and negotiate job offers. While this requires patience, the payoff when the perfect match is found is significant.

Measuring Success

Recruitment and sales track success differently. Recruiters use metrics like time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and quality-of-hire, focusing on the efficiency of the hiring process. On the other hand, sales measures success via revenue, sales volume, and conversion rates, tracking profitability and growth.

A Real-World Example: Luke Percival

Luke Percival, our SAP Contracts Business Manager, began his career in sales. He experienced a successful transition into recruitment and shares his perspective:

Luke Percival Presenting an award

Luke Percival
SAP Contracts Business Manager

Straight out of college at 17, I ventured into sales, first with a broadband company and then several car dealerships. But by my mid-twenties, after a streak of bad luck, I found myself back at square one, living with a friend and barely a penny to my name. With a wedding on the horizon, I knew I needed more than just a job – I needed a career that offered financial stability. That’s when I considered recruitment.

My brother-in-law, a ten-year recruitment veteran, suggested I explore this field. After interviewing with several companies and dismissing a few sectors that didn’t click with me, like medical recruitment, I found my match with Whitehall Resources.

So, why do I love my job in recruitment? It feels like an ethical form of sales where everyone wins: the client finds a great candidate, and the candidate secures a job. Plus, the financial aspect is incredibly satisfying. The thrill of making placements was a real motivator when I first joined, especially with bills to pay. Now, as a manager, the excitement still kicks in when my team nails a ‘deal.’ Watching them grow, earn, and succeed is a joy I wouldn’t trade for anything.

For an insider’s perspective on transitioning from a sales career to recruitment, don’t miss our detailed article featuring Luke’s journey. His personal experiences and insights offer valuable understanding for anyone considering a similar move. 

The Verdict: Is Recruitment a Sales Job?

The evidence is clear: recruitment has a strong sales DNA. As a recruiter, you’re selling a candidate to your client and vice versa. It’s a balancing act that requires both parties to be satisfied for a deal to be successful.

Sales professionals will find that many of their skills are directly transferrable to a recruitment role, making this an appealing career path to consider.

Are you intrigued by the potential of a career in recruitment? Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. We’re here to guide you every step of the way. Check out our latest vacancies and apply online today!

About the author

Whitehall Resources is a specialist SAP recruitment agency based in Colchester, Essex. We work with some of the biggest and best known brands in the world to find high-quality skilled IT professionals. Join us, and experience a new kind of sales journey.

After working at Whitehall for a number of years now, I look back and wonder why I didn’t get into recruitment sooner. The company values, team spirit and the atmosphere is what makes Whitehall the place to be. On top of that, the commission structure, company rewards and career progression are second to none and I am excited for what my future holds and the goals I can reach.

Nicola Saxham - Senior Consultant – International (DACH) team

Since I started working at Whitehall, I am the happiest I have ever been in my career. The company really do look after you and I enjoy coming into work every day. The operations team always get included in all the incentive schemes, so no one is ever left out. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me here at Whitehall.

Keeley Bell – Operations Coordinator

I have worked at Whitehall for a long time now and it has been a pleasure to be part of the company’s continued growth. It is an exceptional place to work, with a family orientated mentality, and you are rewarded for working hard and being dedicated. I have loved my time here so far and look forward to progressing further.

Jason Wood – Credit Control Supervisor

Whitehall has really helped me curate my career into one I can be proud of – starting as an admin assistant,  I was promoted to the Facilities & Senior Administrator after just 18 months! Just recently, I was part of a project to help the company become Carbon Neutral, which is the best news!! The camaraderie of the whole team is wonderful, and I would thoroughly recommend Whitehall to anyone who is looking to kickstart their career into something amazing!

Abbie Elwood – Facilities & Senior Administrator

I joined the company as an entry-level consultant in the newly formed Key Accounts team back in 2010. Throughout those years I have progressed within the company and have had multiple promotions along the way and have never once looked back. At the moment, I’m looking to continue the growth of my team by adding to the current headcount and in supporting their development to help them to achieve their aspirations.

Adam Edgell – Associate Director – Key Accounts Delivery

The environment here is second to none, I am constantly learning and improving thanks to those around me and from the support of my managers. This is a company that rewards hard work and gives you all the tools you need to develop and succeed. I would recommend Whitehall to anyone, from those looking to start their journey into recruitment to those who already have a number of years’ experience as you will be joining a close-knit team and have the opportunity to thrive and work with some of the best in the industry.

Nathan Joseph – Principal Consultant – UK Permanent – ERP & IT Client Development

Since joining Whitehall Resources, they have given me the opportunity to grow and develop from a trainee position. Whitehall Resources is the ideal company if you are looking for career progression.

Kirsty Small – Contracts Administrator

I joined Whitehall with no experience in recruitment or IT and I could barely use a computer myself. Since joining, I have built a career and a joined a family here. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I have been given and the guidance I have received from my managers and colleagues (friends). With hard work and a bit of tenacity, Whitehall can give you the chance to change your life for the better.

Jacob Lee – Executive Consultant – UK SAP Contracts

I joined Whitehall Resources with zero recruitment experience and a background in pharmaceuticals. Fast forward six years I have been promoted on multiple occasions and can vouch first hand that Whitehall Resources is a great place for career progression whilst having lots of fun along the way. On top of the career available you get to win lots of incentives including holidays abroad and overall, it is a great place to work.

Georgia Pike - Executive CSM - CSM

After joining Whitehall, I have really found myself within recruitment and even achieved rookie of the year! I am continuously learning and growing. I am looking forward to challenging myself in the future and seeing what I can achieve here at Whitehall.

Hannah Pile – Consultant – UK SAP Perm

I joined Whitehall in late 2015 as IT Support Engineer and have now progressed to Team Lead. Whitehall is a fantastic place to work, where hard work and a strong work ethic is rewarded in both Sales and Operations alike.

Dan Appleby – IT Team Lead

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