From a young age, I always wanted to be a teacher. It was what I was comfortable with, I had the experience and the education, but it didn’t pan out due to lack of openings and budget cuts. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has found herself in an unexpected field; it happens all the time. When I found myself second-guessing my desire to teach, I asked my Dad what he thought I would be good at. Without skipping a beat, he said, “sales”. *

…Fast forward a couple years: I find myself in the recruitment industry. Recruitment can get a bad rep, but it also has many redeeming qualities that keep me here. Both companies I have worked for have helped so many exciting organizations to find amazing talent and have helped people find jobs — why would we ever get a bad rep, we’re doing amazing work! 🙂 My most memorable stories involve people who have been struggling with their job search, or companies that desperately need someone quickly. That’s where we come in.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. How can we ensure we get the right candidates answering us? We need to be persistent. We need to push back. But there’s a fine line between being tough in defense of what’s right and being too harsh, which is something I struggle with constantly. Finding the line between helpful and pushy is the key to success; you need to know when to push candidates to take risks and when to back down. In order to do this, you need to truly know your candidates — and your clients.

I sometimes find it difficult to be persistent with people. I always find a way to get over that feeling, but still question, how many times are you allowed to reach out to someone? Some ways that I overcome my concerns are by doing extensive research on each person’s background to ensure I am bringing something valuable to the table. I also realize that in those 10 + calls a day from recruiters, I have done the best job finding something relevant and appealing to them. I have taken the time to research their backgrounds, interests, and projects they have done. In the end, they appreciate my call (even if they are not looking!) and we build a relationship. While it’s not an easy job, it is rewarding. Like I said, why would we ever get a bad rep, we’re doing amazing work!

So how many times IS too many to follow up? If I can connect with someone, being persistent is easy. I consistently follow up with people 4–5 times, in an effort to make that connection. One day in my office, I asked a candidate what motivated him to come meet with me. He said, “Well, you kept emailing me”. He was not on the market or looking, but I built a relationship and was sure I would find him something when he was ready. Fast forward two months from then: I found him a job he loves and he is happier than ever.

Persistence, not pushy. There is a fine, but very important, line between the two.

As I approach my first complete year in recruitment, I have quickly learned that being persistent, following up, and pushing back is a vital part to being a good sales person — as long as you’re doing it in the right way.

*I guess my thought out arguments for eating dessert before dinner has paid off!