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How will a career in sales make a successful recruiter?

04 Mar 13:00 by David Nesbitt


‘How will a career in sales make a successful recruiter?’ - The similarities and Differences between Sales and Recruitment

People often feel they are not progressing the way they want and find themselves in need of a career change. But how easy is the change from a job in sales to a job in recruitment? The shift from sales to recruitment can seem like a viable option, but there are also some differences to consider.

I used to be in sales and made the tranistion to recruitment.

We have compiled the similarities and differences between these two exciting careers:

Similarity: Process

At a base level, some parts of the process are very similar. For example, salespeople find leads, communicate with them, and then try to solve their problems with their product or service. In the same respect, recruiters also gather potential candidates (leads), communicate with them and then try to solve both the companies and candidate problems by finding a good match (the service).

Difference: Product

However, there is an inherent difference because of the service you’re offering. This may seem obvious, but it is important to analyse what the difference is from selling a product/service to selling a candidate. Whilst initially more difficult after the shift to recruitment – the outcomes have a greater impact on the people you build relationships with.

When you build a rapport in sales, it’s to reach your goal (them buying your product or service). Whereas in recruitment, your unique product is your customer. You are dealing with an emotional product who can change minds and drop you out-of-the-blue; you are dealing with a person’s future that can initiate big changes to their life, such as relocating or taking on a new career. You can also decide who you work with when in Recruitment. While the thrill of achieving a sale is already exhilarating, the thrill of finding someone their perfect job or perfect candidate is second to none.


Similarity: Working towards a Goal

The environments in sales and recruitment are often very similar because both roles require hitting demanding targets, working at a fast pace, and being resilient in order to make progress. The characteristics of both a salesperson and a recruiter are similar in that they are often motivated by reaching demanding targets and promotion opportunities. As a result, both are often heavily rewarded through commission or bonuses when they reach these targets.

Difference: Wages

In sales, either B2B or B2C, the earning is generally not as high. There are similarities between, but in sales there can be a limit to how much you can earn. In recruitment, however, you can reach six-figure salaries depending on your performance; the commission opportunities for recruitment is much more lucrative, as well as your overall earning.

Similarity: Building Trust

Understanding the importance of building relationships is vital for both jobs. In sales, success can depend on building relationships with potential clients to understand their needs and help close the deal. For this to happen, sales representatives constantly need to build trust and rapport with potential clients to influence them to buy their service or product.

The same can be said for being a successful recruiter. For recruiters it is very important to build relationships with candidates and the client company to make the right match for both. This is because the candidate needs to trust that the recruiter will consider their interests, and the company needs to trust the candidates the recruiter puts forward.


Environment is always a huge topic to consider when contemplating a career change. Because this encompasses a lot of aspects, there are clear similarities and differences between the two:


Field Sales in particular can often be quite isolating and lonely – especially if you work from home.  Whereas most recruitment agencies are in City Centres and surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars. There is a strong network and community aspect to recruitment agencies because of many opportunities for lunchtime and evening activities with likeminded people.



Both are persistent in their work by having lots of bumps in the road and setbacks before eventually reaching the solutions. This makes the determination and the problem-solving skills of a salesperson highly favourable when it comes to be a recruiter. These characteristic and environmental similarities mean salespeople are often able to adapt and thrive in the recruitment sector.

The crossovers between the two careers can help salespeople transition easier into becoming a successful recruiter. While there are differences, these are very positive and show how you’ll benefit from joining recruitment. If you’re in sales and are considering a career change, maybe recruitment could be a swift and exciting opportunity.

If you are a sales professional and would like to discuss recruitment oppourtunities we have at Core Talent, please contact me on 0161 832 1378, message me on Linkedin or email