As recruiters, salary isn’t always enough to convince a candidate to accept a new job. In many cases, a job candidate is near the top of your salary range already, and will need other motivation to consider a new position.
There are three key areas that I find useful when recruiting for a position that appears to be a lateral move for many of my candidates, or when I cannot fall back on salary as a selling point.
1. Sell the company itself.
At my recruitment agency, I focus on the biopharmaceutical industry so I focus on telling candidates about exciting new treatments that companies are developing in their product pipeline. I also talk about future company plans, recent growth, increases in stock price, recent press releases and news stories, and more.
Usually, candidates will at least consider taking what appears to be a lateral move if the organization they’re joining is dynamic, exciting, and growing. A certain product or idea within the company can create this type of excitement too. It’s your job to become knowledgeable about the companies you work with and share some of the highlights with your candidates.
2. Sell future growth potential.
Career advancement isn’t a linear progression; finding the right path forward often requires a few lateral moves along the way. As recruiters, it’s our job to explain this to candidates.
I’m currently retained on a director level position for a 50,000 person company. The hiring manager specifically wants to hire somebody who is already at the director level. More often than not, this means that I am unable to use salary as a strong selling point.
However, I’m able to sell the fact that this director level position can advance to the VP level in just one step, based on information the hiring manager shared with me. This could take three or four steps in other organizations of similar size, so I’m able to use this to my advantage. It’s important to talk to the company you’re working for and find out about future career progression and sell this information to the candidate.
Another approach that I’ve found helpful is to find out who previously held the vacant job opening. Assuming it’s a backfill and not a newly created position, it’s likely that the person who previously held this job was promoted upward. I often share this information with my candidates.
Finding out the hiring manager’s story and how he/she progressed through the company is also a great way to dig up useful information that can be shared. This type of story is a great way to highlight how eager the company is to promote from within.
3. Sell the experience they’ll gain.
I often tell candidates in my industry that nobody at the director level or above got where they are by only gaining experience in one type of work environment. In order to advance your career to this level, you would want to acquire experience in companies of varying sizes, and with a variety of products.
As a recruiter, if you can’t focus on salary as a selling point, why not focus on how great this experience will look on a candidate’s resume?
You can also look for technical skills that the position emphasizes that might be lacking in a candidate’s current resume. Examples could include direct management, project management, product development, sales, etc.
In conclusion, it’s no accident that all three of the tips listed above are focused on the big picture and long term career progression. Whether or not you can use salary as a selling point, it’s always a great idea to educate your candidates about the types of experience they should be looking to acquire in order to reach their career goals. By taking this consultative approach, you will find more success as a recruiter while helping others find long term career success as well.
Biron Clark is a Senior Executive Recruiter specializing in the sourcing and placement of hard-to-find candidates in the Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Medical Device industries. He also runs the CareerSideKick Blog. Photo Credit Celestine Chua.
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