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Applying Buying Habits to Your Recruitment Strategy

One definition of selling is “to persuade someone of the merits of…”. When a recruiter is conveying your company’s value proposition to a passive candidate, they are effectively selling the idea of working for your firm.

A recent report by CSO Insights indicates buyer behavior and expectations are changing rapidly and demand is increasing for:

  • Personalization
  • Transparency
  • Immediate Fulfillment

Understanding and applying what is known about buying habits to your recruitment strategy is critical to cutting through the competitive noise.

The Numbers

  • 70.2% of buyers prefer to wait until they have a clear understanding of their needs before seeing it necessary to engage with a sales person – in this case a recruiter. CSO Insights
  • A global shortfall of 3.5 million information security professionals is predicted by 2020 according to a Cyber Security Ventures job report.

The correlation between these two statistics is significant. In a hyper-competitive industry such as Cyber Security, there is a shortage of qualified technical talent. With that, it’s reasonable to surmise that since the talent pool is gainfully employed, they may not be aware that there is a “need” to hear about an alternative option within your organization.

Another Angle

  • 90% of respondents are generally willing to engage with a seller earlier if the buying situation is perceived as new or risky (CSO Insights).

Generally, making a job change is considered a new or risky proposition. This leaves an opportunity for your recruiting partner to meaningfully engage as they inform candidates about an opportunity within your organization.

The Intangibles

Buyers (candidates) are making four requests of the seller (CSO Insights):

  • Understand my business, know me
  • Demonstrate excellent communication skills
  • Focus on the post-sale
  • Give me insights and perspective

To successfully gain the attention of a passive candidate – an individual that is not on the market – making a positive first impression is critical. 


Based on the survey and analysis above, we know what the buyer (candidate), expects:

  • Personalization
  • Candor
  • Consultative Guidance
  • Crisp Communication
  • Industry Expertise

To meet these expectations, recruiters must be qualified and enabled to approach candidates in a way that appeals to their expectations and preferences. Here are a few items that will differentiate a recruiter’s outreach:

  • Address candidates directly and convey they’ve been approached after thorough research of their professional experience when bringing opportunities to their attention.
  • Communicating specific details about the employer as opposed to hiding the identity of the organization.
  • Understanding how the employer is positioned in the market and why it would benefit the candidate’s career to explore an opportunity with the company.
  • Taking time to understand a candidate’s expertise and career goals before telling them they are a “perfect fit” for the role.

Potential Pitfalls

Often, when a recruiter is not following these guidelines it is because they are in a tough spot. As outlined in our blog on partnering with recruiters, headhunters working on a contingent basis are hamstrung by factors outside of their control.

  • Since the likelihood of filling the search is low in a contingent situation, recruiters will need to hedge their bets by working on numerous searches. This reduces their bandwidth to spend the time needed to personalize and crisply communicate your company’s value proposition.
  • In a situation where headhunters are competing against other recruiters on the same search, they are not able to discuss your company outright. If they were to do so, a candidate might submit themselves directly to a company website, or another recruiting firm working on the same search.
  • Competition with other headhunters for the same role creates a race for candidate ownership. A recruiter is likely going to want to submit anyone that is interested – regardless of qualification – to ensure that person isn’t submitted by another source first. Not beneficial for busy hiring managers.

Creating space for your recruiting partner to navigate within your target market with full transparency is key to success. Pinpoint Search Group’s candidate engagement rate increases from 7% to 22% when we’re positioned to share specific details with a pool of targeted candidates.

A Call to Action

  • Buyers were twice as likely (61.8%) to say that salespeople meet their expectations rather than exceed them (31.8%) CSO Insights

Let’s work together to exceed candidate expectations. Contact us to discuss how we can help your firm attract tier-one talent in the areas of Cyber Security, Cloud and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

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