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Sales or Recruitment. One in the same or different jobs?

Date Posted: 4 February, 2016

Since moving to Dubai 5 years ago, I have evolved my career from pure 360 recruitment consultant to Business Development Director. This transition has happened during the social media revolution and as such, I made the decision to keep sharp the skills and mentality needed to be successful, irrelevant of market conditions and technology changes.

As I write this article today, my objective is to discuss/ challenge the differences between sales and recruitment, or lack of in my opinion. Let’s start with ten years ago, there was no social media, or very little, sales was taught and learnt at the desk and darks arts for name gathering, objective handling, deal closing were learnt through trial and error.

The modern day recruiter (sales person), in my experience, has far more tools at his finger tips that appear to make it easier to connect with people you want. I agree technology has moved on and we are in a more connected world, however the fundamental part of sales is that people buy from people and thus challenging the modern recruiter (sales person) to rely on the phone rather than email is becoming more and more challenging.

My discussion or topic of interest centres around the activity and work rate needed to be successful in an ever changing and softening world recruitment market. Take the Middle East as a region for example. It relies heavily on confidence and this is driven by the price of oil. Ask any recruiter now how the markets are and over 90% will say they are softer than before, usually driven by a lower oil price. The oil market itself does not affect all markets, however it does pass down the value chain into other industries as budgets become tighter, spending becomes tighter and people across the region become more aware. My feeling on today’s market is that everyone needs to do more to achieve the same result and that puts an ever brighter light on candidate’s ability to stand out from the crowd. Hence, the discussion around sales vs recruitment.

As Business Development Director and Director for MENA Resourcing at Mackenzie Jones, I am consistently striving to find the best candidates for our growing business units. With the recruitment market changing all the time and the need for sales skills ever more apparent, we are adapting our model to involve a three tier approach.

The three tiers will covers sales, account management and resource. The reason for this is that recruiting any staff is a challenge for all companies, let alone retaining them for long periods of time. With our new approach we can be more specific on how we search for people and skills that match each area of the business, then train, develop and retain them for longer as their careers will be more closely aligned to what they want and what they are best at.

What is causing the changes in the market and is there something to blame? Personally, I don’t think anyone thing, however the adoption and increase in use of social media is having an impact on the more traditional sales skills taught to new recruiters over 10 years ago.

The amount of work and effort needed to be successful in recruitment is usually not fully described when a new employee starts. You will always have the seduction factor of earning about six figure salaries, however not as much about the activity levels, work hours, time, effort and ratio’s you must maintain to get  this reward. Before Linked in and social media the art of recruitment was your ability to sell, source and find the best people in the world where others could not. With LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others the dependency on the soft art of sales and relationship building is dwindling all around us.

So for all those who are still in recruitment and want to do well, it is time to start thinking about increasing your inputs by 50% to get the same rewards and outputs. For those getting into recruitment, do it because you want to be in sales as this is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs in the world and one you should be very proud of.



Get in touch with:

David Mackenzie

Group Managing Director