We love, I love, to say Recruiting is Marketing! I love Recruitment Marketing and the technology behind it, I think it’s brilliant! Recruiting is also not sales!
Why is Recruiting neither Marketing or Sales?
What’s the core function of marketing and sales? To welcome as many people as possible into your funnel so that all of those people will buy your product or service, or give to your charity, etc.
In Recruitment we in the Rejection business!
Can you imagine you walk into a Cadillac dealership? You saw the commercial for the new SUV, you decide you want that SUV. You saw the billboard for that same car, heard the radio commercial, heck you even saw an Ad on Facebook, it’s almost like they’re listening to your brain! You’ve got a pocket full of hundred dollar bills and you walk into the dealership because today you’re driving away in that brand new, beautiful Cadillac SUV!
Dealer – No!
Me – Um, what?!
Dealer – No, we aren’t selling you that new Cadillac SUV, you’re not a Cadillac “Man”!
Me – A what!?
Dealer – Yeah, sorry, you don’t get a Cadillac today, we’re saving those for only certain people!
It’s funny because we know this would never happen! I could walk into the dealership holding a severed head and the first words out of the salesman’s mouth would be “the trunk on our new sedan could hold a hundred of those heads!”
Recruiting isn’t Marketing or Sales, because true Marketing and Sales is in the business of ‘All’, not one. No one really gets rejected in marketing and sales if you have the means. In Recruiting, you could fit every single thing the organization is requesting and you will still get rejected. Recruiting is in the Rejection business, not the sales and marketing business!
If we/recruiting are in the Sales and Marketing business, we are in a really sick and twisted business! Hey, “Everyone” come and apply to our jobs, because I get really excited when I get to turn you down and say “no”! So, let’s not kid ourselves. Our business is about Rejection. Hey, come on over here and let me tell you what’s wrong with you, and then I’ll make the decision if we want you to be a part of our team or not.
Marketing campaigns sometimes try to fake like they’re being exclusive. “Only ‘you’ are being invited to buy this new SUV! You’ll be the first to own it! No one else!” Until next week when everyone will own it and actually have a better color than you. That’s not true rejection for those who don’t get it first, it’s just a game we play to increase demand.
So, why does this manner?
If we know we are actually in the Rejection business, and we are, we/recruiters have to have an empathy level that is off the charts if we want to survive. Let me get this straight, you want me to talk as many people as possible into loving our company, then you want me to reject 99.9% of them? Yes!
To be able to do that and not drink yourself to sleep every night takes a really high ego or an endless supply of empathy towards all those great people who just wanted you to pick them, but your organization picked someone else, but they left it on your desk to share the bad news!
This is probably the main reason so many candidates never get dispositioned. We can all just crush only so many souls in a day! It’s easier to ghost candidates than to crush their dreams!
Rejection business is a hard, hard business to be in. Sales and Marketing are easy. Can you imagine how easy your life would be if you were able to give everyone the job!?
Good one, Tim. Loved your take on “Recruiters being in the rejection business.” I supposed my only caveat: In theory, if Recruiters are both Recruiter:Marketer(s), I believe they would also be compelled to use their inate ability to micro-target with a well-crafted, personalized message to attract [more] of the right candidates early in the funnel; thus, moving the needle a little less towards the so-called ‘rejection-o-meter.’ Besides, candidates are really customers on a buyers journey. They have their own ability to hit the rejection button.
Interesting analogy, however, shouldn’t the thesis be “recruiting isn’t good marketing or sales”? Using the Cadillac analogy, the fundamental difference is information and transparency the auto industry provides vs the recruitment industry. Yeah the auto industry sells things like image and attitude (analogous to culture), but they also provide concrete pricing, side by side comparisons, consumer and professional (non-biased) reviews to potential customers. The model is efficient for the sales folks, because it delivers up prequalified, pre-motivated individuals to their funnel, and makes it easy for others to self select out. The goal isn’t to get the most potential buyers (analogous to candidates) in, only the most aligned by their own admission. I believe we can be better when we, first stop fooling ourselves that quantity is our value, and do a better job of developing an informed candidate pool.
Just my 2 cents.
Love your take on this.