Trading Places on Social Media: When Recruiters Sell Themselves and Sales Teams Headhunt


Trading Places on Social Media: When Recruiters Sell Themselves and Sales Teams Headhunt

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The increased use of social media as a business tool not just by marketers, but by all company departments, means that the nature of how specific teams work and communicate is changing. Two departments for which this is particularly true are sales and HR. For sales teams, connecting with clients and prospects on social media has become a priority; and has brought about a focus on sharing content that resonates with end users, rather than product-focused pitches. And for recruiters, social media is now an essential communication channel; but one on which the publication of job offers alone is not enough.

In this post we look at the challenges facing both recruiters and sales teams on social media; and how the latter is having a significant impact on how they communicate with target audiences.

Social Recruiting: Selling the Employer Brand

Traditional recruitment tactics involve posting job offers on the company website and / or recruitment sites, and waiting for the right person to come along. But on social media, recruiters must communicate about their story and what it’s like to be a member of the organization; they must sell the employer brand. The aim is to present as clear an idea of the company culture as possible; so that potential candidates understand the activity and values of the organization they’re engaging with.

Beyond posting job offers, it’s now the job of recruiters to communicate about workplace culture; to share insights into company events, and to publish content that provides an insight into the day-to-day activity of relevant teams. Asking candidates to sell themselves remains an integral part of the recruitment process. But ahead of this, recruiters must first work to attract those candidates by selling the employer brand; and also demonstrating that theirs is a company worth working for.

When Social Selling Meets Headhunting: Putting the Audience First

This may not seem like an obvious comparison; but the key similarity between social selling and headhunting is that there is a focus on the person being targeted. Of course, a significant part of social sellers’ activity involves sharing content in order to attract new prospects. But once a prospect has been identified, sales teams must tailor communication to that individual, just as headhunters do when they approach specific candidates.



Headhunters draw in candidates by presenting a new opportunity, and demonstrating the value that’s in it for that person. Social sellers, too, must draw in prospects by providing value. And more often than not, this value takes the form of relevant, carefully selected content; rather than direct yet generic pitches. Much like headhunting, the priority of social selling is to place the end user’s interests ahead of the product or service being pitched. Though the ultimate objective remains to close a deal, the aim is to engage prospects through communication that provides value for the individual in question; and to adapt subsequent communication according to their interests and objectives.

Changing Business Practices

As the use of social media spreads beyond marketing teams, there is a notable overlap between job roles; which, traditionally, haven’t really mixed. For example, both sales and HR departments can learn a lot from (and should aim to work with) marketers. One of the main reasons for this is that social media communication relies on the ability to put yourself in your audience’s shoes; and to share insights that will engage those audiences. This is something that marketers are used to doing; but also something that HR and sales teams must now integrate into their own workflows in order to compete on social networks.

For more on this democratization of business practices, read Employee Advocacy and the Uberization of Communication in the Enterprise and Social Selling: Bridging the Gap between Marketing and Sales.

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