Recruiting is Not Marketing Nor Sales!

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 nor 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 are 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!


MeUm, what?! 

DealerNo, we aren’t selling you that new Cadillac SUV, you’re not a Cadillac “Man”! 

MeA what!? 

DealerYeah, 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 are 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!?

7 thoughts on “Recruiting is Not Marketing Nor Sales!

  1. I recall the Cheers! episode where Norm is cajoled into being the “rejector ” or employee “terminator” as he could sob on command. Initially, he was sincere, but later could not weep(aka empathy) on demand for those endless hacks that got the axe. Norm quit.

    Empathy in recruitment. That’s adorable.

  2. How’s about investing in a Talent Rejection team?? We can then get lots of TR tech too! The team can work closely with marketing, employer brand and HR.
    Leave TA to do their own stuff 😉

  3. You’re thinking B2C marketing Tim, where you have everyone to focus on, it’s not so true in B2B marketing where you may have a limited audience and need to segment that audience further to focus on those who really fit your ideal client. You made some generalisations at the start of the piece that don’t stand up though, as usual, I still enjoyed the article! 🙂

    • Totally agree! also, everyone does prospecting, even the b2c salespeople. And when we do our shortlisting it’s prospecting.
      I love the angle Tim has but our jobs are a combination of marketing, sales, and HR

  4. Is it recruiters who are really doing the rejecting? They are trying to make you interested in the organization and get you to apply for the job. The hiring manager does the rejecting.

    Carrying out your analogy, the car salesperson or marketing person gets you in the dealership and makes you interested in the car, but when customers get transferred to the finance office to finish the paperwork, it is not the marketer or salesperson who is the final arbiter.

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