What Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Can Teach You About Sales Recruiting
Being a sales recruiter is a rewarding but high-pressure career. You have to adapt to changing hiring needs while juggling relationships with hundreds of candidates. This is why it’s always important to be on the lookout for reminders of why your job is fantastic.
In May, Facebook COO and bestselling author Sheryl Sandberg delivered a commencement speech to the MIT class of 2018. There are a lot of inspiring points in her speech that can help sales recruiters get excited about their careers again.
Here are some of the highlights:
The Importance of Diversity
“There are still skeptics out there when it comes to the value of diversity. They dismiss it as something we do to feel better, not to be better. They are wrong.”
It wasn’t too long ago that the majority of sales representatives were middle-class white men. Because of that, many processes remained stagnant. It wasn’t until companies started to see the value of new perspectives that change began to happen.
As a recruiter, you have the power to continue this positive development. By finding more diverse talent, you’re also bringing fresh ideas and experiences to the organization. This is incredibly important in sales because it means being able to understand and relate to a wider customer base.
If you’re having trouble finding diverse candidates, consider tapping into different talent pools. Reach out to minority professional networking groups to see if you can come to a meeting. Another option is recruiting out of community colleges. These institutions tend to attract a wide variety of students from diverse backgrounds.
Thinking Outside the Box
“Things won’t always end up as you think. But you will gain such valuable lessons along life’s uncertain path.”
Job hopping has become more and more popular, especially with young talent. As a result, candidates’ resumes often contain lists of seemingly unrelated jobs. Just because a candidate has taken an unconventional path doesn’t mean they don’t have all the skills necessary for the job.
It’s your job to uncover the candidate’s story and how each experience ties together to make them the right person for the job. One tactic that helps is asking candidates to explain how they got each job on their resume. Instead of having them describe what they did in a position, find out how they decided to take on a new challenge. This will reveal a lot of important information about them as a candidate. If they were let go at one point, they can tell you how they overcame that setback. If they discovered a new interest, you’ll see how they approach learning and developing new skills.
“One thing I remember from graduation is that feeling of turning one corner — and not being able to see clearly around the next.”
While this section of the speech was about Sandberg’s own career uncertainty, it also applies to how candidates feel during the hiring process. When you approach a candidate with a potential job, they’re often not prepared. They’re going into the hiring process completely blind, and they are trusting you to lead them through it.
Put candidates at ease by providing background information, not just about the role but also about the company values, culture, and mission. This will help candidates get to know the organization and begin to see how they could fit in there.
Also, be sure to give candidates a clear timeline of the interview process. Let them know what the steps will be and how long they should expect to wait in between. This will keep them from getting anxious and giving up on the job.
The Power of Human Relationships
“They understood that the most difficult problems and the greatest opportunities we have are not technical. They are human. In other words, it’s not just about technology. It’s about people.”
Technology is an important part of sales recruiting, but it can never replace human connections and ingenuity. The moment you see candidates as nothing more than entries in your ATS, you’ve failed as a recruiter.
Find ways to keep the focus on who your candidates are as people. Ask about what they do in their free time. What are their hobbies? Where’s their dream place to travel? Are they a dog or a cat person? While their answers will have little to do with their qualifications for the job, they will help you get to know candidates and create better relationships with them.
These conversations also help candidates feel valued as people. They’ll be more relaxed during the hiring process, improving the entire experience for them and the organization.