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Recruitment and Sales, what’s the difference?

Tod Bamber

After almost eight years in the sun-drenched Eastern suburbs of Sydney, I recently took the decision to relocate to the not-so-sun-drenched suburbs of East London. A large contributing factor for the move, was for a change of career. I had spent the previous seven years in direct sales, I’d sold many products across many strategies, trained many people across many states and ran many teams in many offices. I loved my time in direct sales, from starting at the tender age of 21 and finishing at 28, it played a huge part in my personal development, but my overriding feeling was that it was time for a ‘change’.

When I started discussing potential career choices, one kept being mentioned by friends, family and colleagues; ‘Recruitment’. Time and time again I heard, “it’s the same as sales”, “your good at sales, you’ll be good at recruitment.” This got me thinking, maybe recruitment is for me. 

Fast forward six months, and I have just completed my third month with Harrington Starr in the world of Fintech Recruitment. Granted, I have found several similarities between the life of a recruiter and that of a sales person; they often work in target driven environments, they cold call and prospect for new business, they work long hours in return for commission, they are assessed against targets and KPIs, and earn financial incentives and rewards if successful. 

 However, there is one major difference, and that is people and relationships. 

 The vast majority of sales roles often involve marketing and generating interest for their product or service, overturning objections, selling the benefits and closing the deal. The straight forward part of selling products or services is that, provided you are selling credibly and honestly, then your product should do ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. One product I particularly enjoyed selling was a Google Maps Virtual Tour, and as previously stated, it did exactly that; it was designed for SME’s to grow their online presence and help with their SEO. There was no chance this product would ‘change its mind’ or potentially not turn up, once it was in, it was in. 

 As a recruiter, you market a unique product - an emotional product.A product that can change their mind, switch allegiances or even disappear. Fortunately, if a recruiter does everything right, they can increase their success but some things will always be out of their control. 

 From a personal perspective, my first three months in recruitment have been an absolute whirlwind. The learning curve has been steep, and there has been a very level serving of ups, and downs. All in all, it has made me incredibly excited to see what the next three months and beyond has to offer. 

 If the words ‘career change’ are on your lips, and you happen to be in a sales or business development role then hopefully this gives you an insight into the worlds of both, and who knows, recruitment might just be for you.