Pull out all the stops – going the extra mile in recruitment BD

In a job-short market, recruiters need to double down on every sniff of opportunity, working harder and smarter to secure new jobs and interviews.

Next-level business development goes far beyond firing off a cold email to a hiring manager or a copy-paste LinkedIn message. 

To really up your game, you’ll need to rethink your whole BD approach – now’s the time to pull out all the stops!


Mastering the process

Fully committing to BD means a big shift in mindset. In more buoyant markets, enough networking, emails, calls and voicemails publicising your services will make something happen.

But in today’s situation things are different – recruiters need to distance themselves from their competitors, and develop sales techniques that put their offering in a new category.

Most importantly – they need to convince clients to give them an opportunity to perform, and offer them a solution that’s hard to refuse.

More than ever before, recruiters need to make things happen.

It takes planning, it takes determination, and it takes hard work.



To maximise chances of success in a tight BD market, research is everything. Recruiters should look to build near-instant credibility and commonality with clients, built off a strong base of information on the role, manager and company.

Along with basic research on the business, this should also include any and all shared history:

    • Have you worked with their competitors?
    • What do you know about the company the manager worked at previously?
    • Do you have any common connections?

Researching the job itself goes well beyond reading the vacancy or ad.

To stack the odds of a successful intro call, try calling through your network to build understanding about the role and team before even thinking about approaching the manager.

As well as members of the team, consider other angles – maybe even the manager’s manager. 

Try and identify:

  • Who does the company (or team) usually hire from? What backgrounds?
  • Who are other key influencers in the hiring process?
  • Can you get direct contact information (mobile number) for the manager?


Quick source

Once you’re prepped, you’ll need to line up a candidate profile that will blow the hiring manager away – a profile so strong it’s a check-mate move to all of their possible objections.

This candidate may have:

  • Worked for a competitor, or a company they like to hire from
  • Have recent, relevant references already taken
  • Have completed recent skills tests or assessments (and aced them)
  • Have a long list of relevant quantifiable achievements (‘ROI examples’)
  • Have a pre-recorded video interview ready to send

With a well-mapped understanding of the role, client and hiring manager, together with your superstar candidate, you’re ready to consider your ideal approach.


Plan the pitch

Opening the dialogue with the manager means choosing the right route. 

Each one has pros and cons, depending on your knowledge of the company, the circumstances (how recently the job was posted) or any ‘ins’ you may have to take advantage of.

Choose between:

  • Direct approach – let the client know you saw they’re hiring, and go straight for the bullseye with how you can help
  • Indirect approach – without referencing their active hiring needs, present yourself and your services as a high value-add partnership, and break the ice before jumping to open roles
  • Referral – if you have a recommendation to get in touch or any mutual contacts, lean on this as a way to initiate dialogue
  • Call as a candidate – check job boards and your CRM to see if you have information on the manager as a candidate. If so, consider a candidate-first angle – introduce yourself and your network, and bring the discussion around to current hiring.


The current economy is about selling. 

Selling smart, selling persuasively, and not giving up at the first obstacle.

Your recruitment competition will slip up at every stage – poor planning, weak pitch, and happy to take the first ‘no’ for an answer. 

By digging deep and pushing for a new level of detail and precision in BD work, you can open up lucrative new engagements and prepare your teams and desk for the uptick ahead.  



About Hannah Keep

Hannah Keep is one of the industry’s leading recruitment coaches, starting her career as an SThree top billing contract & permanent consultant and working her way up to regional manager. She was trained by the best and has trained the best in the world, coaching over 10,000 recruiters and 3,000

managers worldwide over the last 17 years. Her time is now spent supporting recruiters (those working and furloughed) to survive and thrive through lockdown and beyond via her new training site Recruiting in Lockdown.

DOWNLOAD FULL EBOOK: ‘A Recruiter’s Guide To Maximising Billings’ here.