How Can Recruiters Win Business Online

There are some pairings that are as old as time. Strawberries and cream. Gin and tonic. Tea and biscuits. The recruiter and a telephone. These things just go together without question, but as the internet has changed the way we work, being able to sell online has become a much-needed skill. It’s no longer about cold calling and ringing telephone numbers all day in the hope of making a sale. Of course, these things still have a place in recruitment, but being able to sell online, build relationships and communicate your value has now become a priority.

I recently sat down with Tony Restell from, an expert in social selling and the things recruiters can and should be doing to win business online. Unlike cold calls, the sale isn’t so instant or satisfying, but rather the wins are in the long game and the relationships made, which far outnumber any that could be made from single telephone calls.

1: Have conversations

Although you’re hoping to convert people into customers, whether that’s clients or candidates, selling online is a slower process that requires a subtle touch. Talk to your social media audience. Talk in LinkedIn groups. Speak on Facebooks pages. Discuss in industry forums. Reply to posts. Get involved in the comments section. Whatever platform you choose to exist on, ensure you are always cultivating conversations. Social media and online is there to open the door to have a phone call or meeting with someone, that’s the powerful thing. Cold calls and trying to get through gatekeepers should just evaporate with selling online.

2: Have one-on-one conversations

Most people think that to sell online you need to constantly broadcast messages for everyone to see, however, they prove not as effective as personalised messages and one-on-one conversations. Of course, you can build a following online, but then ensure you’re consistently reaching out to that audience on a personal basis. That might include crafting a nice message about staff retention, or whatever your area of expertise is, and sending it out to twenty people. Your response rate will be much higher than a generic post.

3: Understand the platform you’re on

Every online platform will favour different types of content, and each algorithm works in different ways, so ensure you really know what your platform wants. For example, LinkedIn is giving massive weighting to text-only updates without any links or images. Even though the video is important, they want to see conversations starting, instead of just promoting products and services.

4: Be yourself

On social media, and indeed online, the more authentic something looks, and the less it looks like an entire PR department is behind it, then the better it does. If you want to produce some video content, sometimes you walking along with headphones in talking is an authentic piece of content that does really well.

5: Create a process

Just because you’re selling online, it doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into a process you refine and implement month in and month out. That will differ depending on the platform, but for example, it could be following someone on Twitter who looks like a potential client, and once they connect, send a specific message and try and start a conversation with them. Test different messages and see which one is most effective, they’ll always be a standout winner. So many recruiters are guilty of copying and pasting huge chunks of text into every new LinkedIn message.

6: Personal messages always win

Where you can, personalise your messages as much as possible. Think about what your audience might want to hear from you, and remember that everyone likes to be asked for their opinion. Instead of trying to sell something, ask people what they think of a specific situation, for example, how Brexit might affect recruitment, and ask for their input. Things like that will often open the door for further conversations, instead of putting people off with a hard sell.

7: Twitter & LinkedIn are great for recruiters

You might find certain platforms work well for your style, audience or intended message, and it’s definitely up to you to decide what’s right. However, Twitter and LinkedIn lend themselves as a fantastic channel for starting conversations with people and getting connected. Facebook is arguably the biggest advertising platform and you can do a lot there with a very modest budget, but LinkedIn and Twitter are the main places we see results.

8: Use tools

To start conversations and keep up with your audience, use tools to help you out. Social media and selling online takes effort, and it’s hard to keep up with it on your own.  There are loads of tools online for helping you do that such as Followerwonk, Buzzsumo and Audiense. They pull from the internet to see what content people are engaging with the most, and who are the influencers within those spaces. These tools will save you time, energy and effort.

9: Have patience

This is a big challenge in recruitment as everyone is given monthly targets and call KPIs, so there’s always the pressure to accelerate results, but the best results from online come if you show a little patience. You have to build connections and let them see you as valuable on LinkedIn or Twitter or whatever other platforms you choose.

About Alex Moyle

I have spent the last 14 years helping 000's of recruiters be better at what they do. My goal is to make recruitment simple. I love using analogies that connect a recruiters job with the things they have already experienced. Please comment or ask questions below, I try to answer everyone. To stay updated with our latest blogs and videos sign up below.