“They didn’t quite meet the brief”  

This is the sentence recruiters dread the most

After promoting a candidate to a client, it’s frustrating when the client doesn’t want them – especially when you know that candidate was perfect. So why aren’t you successfully selling your candidate? 

One reason may be that the candidate wasn’t right for the role, which means you didn’t do your homework properly. However, what if the reason is you didn’t tell your clients what they needed to hear?  

Before selling a candidate profile to your client, it’s imperative to understand that your window to discuss potential candidates with your client is limited. Recruiting into the role only takes up a small portion of their day, so it’s essential that you fill this time with the information that will convert this introduction into an interview.  

Let’s explore how to successfully sell your candidate with Active Listening. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), there are four principal methods that we use to communicate. It’s important to note that, unlike talking, reading and writing, we are not taught how to listen. CIPD notes that although we spend a lot of time ‘hearing’, experts estimate that only 25-50% of this time is spent ‘listening’. 

Active Listening 

Forbes highlights six strategies that can help recruiters to improve active listening skills — and secure talented new hires.  

The use of Active Listening is beneficial when presenting a candidate to your client, particularly ‘Remembering’ and ‘Reflection’. Whilst this is usually used in face-to-face meetings, you can apply verbal cues to highlight your candidate as perfect for the job, as well as to impress your client with your interest and dedication to the role. 

Remembering details, ideas and specifications from previous conversations prove that you have understood and considered what they said. Make notes of any buzzwords they say about the role and the type of candidate they want. Have a look at our expert blog on 5 must-ask questions to your clients before you start sourcing the right candidates.  

These will form the foundation for your Reflection. Closely repeating or paraphrasing what has been said to you will show your client that you have listened to them. Recalling the buzzwords, they used and applying them to your candidate will help you to present them as right for the role.  

You should bear this in mind when going through the following pointers for what to say about your candidate: 

  1. 4 Crucial Questions to Cover In your pitch meeting

When you’re sharing your overall impression of the candidate with your client, try covering these questions in your meeting.  

  • What makes this candidate stand out for the role? 
  • How did they present themselves? 
  • How did they communicate? 
  • Why are you putting this specific candidate forward? 

Tip: You can use their CV and cover letter as a base for this, especially if they have a strong opening statement. 

At Sonovate, we understand how challenging it is for recruiters to scan through thousands of resumes and source the right candidates especially after the pandemic and with the rise of flexible working.  

Book a demo 

We’ve got you covered!  See how UK recruitment businesses scale faster on the Sonovate platform. See how they transitioned in terms of growth and revenue when partnered with Sonovate. Before looking at the next expert tip, have a look at our recent success story where we helped to scale Capu Search, a recruitment specialist in permanent and contract recruitment in the medical and diagnostics sector.  

  1. Highlight how the candidate profile matches the key job criteria

Select a few of the most important ones and highlight how your candidate matches them. Depending on the role, the focus may be more on a candidate’s technical or personal skills and picking up on this will help you to sell them better.  

The same approach should be taken with their skills and qualifications. Rather than sharing all the skills they have, focus on the ones that are essential for the role and, if necessary, then explain their broader range. 

We understand how difficult it is to filter the right candidates in this competitive market. There are several aspects to consider starting from technical skills or skills related to learning ability and adapting to new tasks.  While your recruitment agency focuses on the core operations, we at Sonovate can help you with funding and back-office support or just funding-only solutions to keep your business going.  

Get started now to know more.  

  1. Give an insight into their career highlights with quantifiable metrics

If relevant, share your candidate’s professional achievements with your client. The highlights should resonate with the job objectives and showcase key metrics that demonstrate the achievement. Have a look at this example- A sentence like “significantly increased new overseas client acquisition” can mean a broad range of performance results to a broad range of readers, whereas a direct quantity such as “delivered 32% growth in new overseas client acquisition” states specifically what this candidate has achieved. 

If your candidates do not have quantifiable metrics, it’s not worth mentioning them at this point.  

It’s crucial not to overload or overwhelm your client at this point with a long list of achievements. You’ll most likely lose their attention and lose the deal.  You can always look up to social media to headhunt the right profile. Here’s our expert take on why social media is increasingly popular amongst recruiters for headhunting. 

  1. Ask for relevant references

If you have your candidate’s references to hand, they’re a good card to play to highlight just how great they are. Having the opinion of someone who has worked with the candidate before will make your pitch deliver more of a punch.  

As with the above points, your focus here should be on matching your client’s expectations. So, if you focus on the points in the reference that reflect what your client has said about the role requirements, you’re good to go.  

  1. Being Transparent on Candidate Expectations and Availability

When selling your candidate to your client, it’s best to put this information on the table now. This way you don’t waste their time further down the line. 

  • What is your candidate’s availability? How soon can the candidate join? 
  • What is their salary expectation? 
  • Do they have any flexibility on either of these? 

Bonus Tips to Ensure Your Candidate Pitch Stands Out! 

“The difference between being ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”  

Add that little extra in your pitch meeting with your clients by prepping the answers to these questions- 

  1. Do I know exactly what my client is looking for? 
  2. What skills does my candidate have that match the role requirements? 
  3. What personal attributes do they have that my client will find attractive? 
  4. Do they have professional achievements I can use as a selling point? 
  5. Am I ready to sell my candidate so that they meet the brief? 

Now that you know all about pitching your candidate successfully, here are some tips from top billers in the recruitment space, to close your Q4 deals successfully and end your year on a high! 

How can Sonovate guide you in your journey? 

Sonovate makes it easier for you to focus on your clientele and recruit the right candidate for them while we take care of your back-office admin work and cashflow issues. Our embedded finance platform serves a multitude of purposes starting from invoice financing to back-office support for your recruitment agencies. Learn more about invoice finance to scale your recruitment business. 

Blog updated in February 2023