Recruiting with a sales mindset: Best practices for digital recruitment success in 2023

Looking for top talent in today's job market can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. But fear not! Digital recruiting is here to save the day and make you stand out. Not only is it efficient and cost-effective, but it also allows you to find, attract and pre-qualify job seekers across the national border.

In fact, with the rise of remote work and the competition for top talent, digital recruiting is becoming a must-have tool for companies of all shapes and sizes. And let's face it, with the amount of time we all spend online these days, it only makes sense to start recruiting where the candidates are - on their phones, laptops, and tablets. This is actually backed-up by statistics. Thrive found out that almost 90% of job seekers are looking for new positions on their phone and that not optimizing your website for mobile users can cost you up to 45% of chances to recruit someone successfully. Still convinced that digital recruiting is not worth taking a look at?

Michael Suitner
updated on
1 Mar

What is digital recruiting and what does it have to do with sales?

As the term suggests, digital recruiting is about digitizing the entire recruiting process: from the search for personnel to the application and processing of data. Within this process, the use of digital technologies like platforms and tools to attract, engage, and hire job candidates are key. Digital recruiting especially involves leveraging online channels such as social media, job boards, company websites, email and mobile applications to identify and connect with potential hires. Further, digital recruiting strategies can include targeted advertising, search engine optimization, employer branding, interviews via video as well as applicant tracking systems.

So far so good. But what does digital recruiting have in common with sales? Actually, they share a lot of similarities, particularly when it comes to the mindset and skills required for success. Both require a strategic and proactive approach, as well as the ability to connect with and convince people.

Nowadays, in this so-called war for talents, it is all about selling your company and job opportunities to potential candidates. Just like in sales, digital recruiters must be skilled at building relationships, identifying the needs and preferences of their target audience and presenting their offerings in a persuasive and engaging way.

And let's not forget about the importance of data in digital recruitment. Just like in sales, metrics are the bread and butter. By analyzing conversion rates, engagement levels, and candidate feedback, digital recruiters can fine-tune their approach and improve their recruitment ROI. It's like having a secret weapon in your arsenal - one that helps you make smarter, data-driven decisions and ultimately find the perfect match for your team.

So in our opinion, whether you are crafting an irresistible job description or trying to win a candidate over with a personalized message, having a sales mindset is crucial.

Building relationships with candidates: A sales approach to digital recruiting

Have you ever tried to sell something to someone who wasn't interested? It's like trying to convince a vegetarian to try a steak – an impossible mission. But with as ales mindset and the right understanding of your target group, you can even turn the most skeptical prospects into enthusiastic customers. And the same goes for digital recruiting.

So how can you really understand your candidate's needs, desires and aspirations? As mentioned earlier, it is all about building relationships and showing them how your company can help them achieve their goals. Since we know that especially the younger generations are not just looking for higher payment. On the contrary, they are all about self-fulfillment and work-life-balance. So no, it is definitely not just about filling a position – it's about finding the right fit for both the candidate and the company.

What does it need to be successful in digital recruiting? As a start, it is important tobe proactive. As in sales, where you don't just wait for customers to come to you - you have to go out and find them. The same applies to digital recruiting.You need to be constantly on the look out for top talent, even if you don't have an immediate opening. By building a pipeline of qualified candidates, you'll be ready to fill positions as soon as they become available.

And just like in sales, rejection is part of the game. Not every candidate will be a fit for your company and that's okay. What a sales mindset can help you do though is to turn a rejection into an opportunity. By keeping in touch with candidates and maintaining positive relationships, you'll be top of mind when a new position opens up. Who knows - maybe they'll even refer you to other top talent in their network. So go out there and start selling – your dream candidates are waiting.

Using data to drive your digital recruitment strategy

Data is king…or queen – not only in marketing or sales, but also in recruiting. It's like the GPS for your business strategy - without it, you're lost. But just like a salesperson, you need to know how to use that data to drive results.

The first step is to know your numbers. How many applications are you getting? How many interviews are you scheduling? How many offers are you extending? By tracking your metrics, you can identify bottlenecks in your recruiting process and adjust your strategy accordingly. If you are optimizing without tracking your data, you are not really optimizing. You are only pursuing performance-driven wishful thinking, but without any outcome.

But it's not just about the quantity of data - it's also about the quality. Therefore you need a structured approach before getting started. Ask yourself the following questions: Who are your top-performing candidates? What are the common characteristics of successful hires? Which data do you need to gather to base your future decisions on it? Only the right numbers can help you identify patterns and use that information to refine your recruiting approach. Everything else would be a waste of time.

 Another tip to learn from sales: you have to be agile. You can't rely on the same procedure forever – the market is constantly changing. By staying up-to-date on industry trends and adapting your strategy accordingly, you'll stay ahead of the curve and attract the best talent.

Hilton Worldwide for example, uses data to identify which recruitment channels are most effective for different types of candidates. For one, the company found that social media was more effective for attracting entry-level candidates, while professional networks were more effective for attracting experienced hires. By using data to target its recruitment efforts, Hilton has been able to improve its recruiting efficiency and reduce its time-to-hire.


How crafting a compelling employer brand helps you win employees

Your employer brand is like your personal brand, but with a different goal. Just like you want to present your best self to the world, your company wants to showcase its best self to candidates. Nowadays, people are not just looking fora job to make money. They feel the urge to identify with the company’s values and that their work is purposeful. But how do you do that? How can you build an employer brand that brings across your company culture and attracts the most suitable candidates?

First, you need to figure out what makes your company unique. Sounds easy? Well, try to sit with the thought and make a list, you might be astonished. Here are some tips to get the brainstorming going: Maybe you have a fun, collaborative culture or cutting-edge technology that sets you apart from competitors? Are you offering remote work or granting certain benefits to your employees? Do you focus on offering opportunities for self-development or further education? Whatever it is, make sure it's front and center in your employer brand messaging.

But sure, it is not just about talking the talk – you also need to walk the walk. Candidates can absolutely tell if your employer brand is just a facade or if it's truly reflective of your company culture. So make sure your actions match your words.This ain't a fake-it-til-you-make-it kind of situation. A survey from Careerbuilder found that almost 80% of applicants form their opinion of a company by their overall candidate experience.

Engage with candidates on the most personal level possible, respond promptly to their inquiries and make them feel valued throughout the recruiting process. After all, candidates are like customers – treat them well, and they'll be more likely to choose you over the competition.

The role of active listening in digital recruiting: Lessons from sales

When it comes to digital recruiting, it's easy to get caught up in the latest tech and flashy recruitment tools. The right tools play an important role when it comes to digitizing your process, no doubt. But sometimes, the most effective tool is just your ears. That's right, we are talking about active listening.

In sales, active listening is a tried-and-true technique for understanding your customers' needs and delivering solutions that meet them. And the same principle applies in digital recruiting. By truly listening to candidates, you can gain a deeper understanding of their skills, goals, and values – and ultimately make better hiring decisions.

Of course, active listening isn't just about nodding your head and pretending to care. It's about engaging with candidates in a meaningful way, asking thoughtful questions and being open to their perspectives. And just like in sales (and in life), the more you listen, the more you'll learn.

So next time you're tempted to fire off a canned response or send a generic message to a candidate, take a step back and ask yourself: am I really listening? Taking this simple habit into account can get you way ahead.

Main benefits of digital recruiting

Digital recruiting offers numerous advantages that make it an attractive option for companies of all sizes. Here are some of the key advantages:

Wider reach: Introducing digitization in your recruiting process can help companies reach a wider pool of potential candidates beyond their local area. This means that they can tap into talent from all over the world and find the best fit for their team. Especially since remote work is getting more and more popular.

Greater efficiency: Digital recruiting allows companies to streamline their recruitment process and automate many of the repetitive tasks involved. This way companies save time and resources, while ensuring a more consistent and objective approach to candidate evaluation.


Better candidate experience: This one is definitely one of the most important benefits. Offering a seamless and convenient candidate experience is becoming a standard in many countries already. When a company enables candidates to easily apply for jobs and track their application status online, they feel more valued and looked after.


Improved data insights: Digital recruiting generates a wealth of data that can be used to improve the recruitment process over time. Companies can track key metrics like application rates, time-to-hire, and cost-per-hire to identify areas for improvement and optimize their recruitment strategy.


Cost-effective: Digital recruiting is a more cost-effective option than traditional recruiting methods, such as print ads or job fairs. It may take time in the beginning, but as soon as companies get the hang of it, they can save money long-term. This can lead to posting job listings on their website or job boards for a fraction of the cost, while still reaching a wide audience.


Overall, digital recruiting offers numerous advantages that can help companies find the best candidates for their team in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

Last but not least: Bring the fun back to recruiting

We've covered a lot of ground in this article, exploring how the principles of sales can be applied to digital recruiting. But before we wrap things up, we want to leave you with one final thought: recruitment doesn't have to be boring! 

Yes, we know, it can be a serious business, especially in times like these. But that doesn't mean we can't inject a little bit of humor and personality into the process. After all, we're dealing with people here, not robots.

So, how can you bring the fun back to (digital) recruiting? Don't be afraid to try new things. Recruiting is a constantly evolving landscape, so why not experiment with new tools, platforms and strategies? Who knows, you might just stumble upon something that works better than anything you have tried before.

 Furthermore, remember that recruitment is a two-way street. Yes, you're looking for the best candidates, but the best candidates are also looking for the best employers. Don’t just stick to the same questions, recruiters have been asking for years and years. Try getting to a more personal level with your candidates and help them get a vibe of your company’s culture and values.

We hope you're feeling inspired to embrace the power of sales in your digital recruiting efforts. Who knows, you might just find that you're having a little bit of fun along the way!