Human Resources

Effectively Attracting Candidates in Building Materials

How to Manage Your First Conversation With a Candidate

Recruiting the Non-Sleazy Way

Once you have your list, once you have your roster of candidates, some people wonder, what exactly do I say?

The traditional method is okay, you throw out there, “Hey, I’m hiring salespeople. Do you want to work for me?” That is just a bit too brash, especially given the current times – we have to lead with value.

Stereotypically, recruiters get a bad rep because many times they are far too aggressive – RecruitingDaily even did an article on why candidates traditionally “hate” recruiters

We have to lead with what we’re doing and more importantly, how we can add to their career by them joining our firm.

Show Them the Light

You want to think in funnels, you don’t want to force anybody through this funnel, but you do want to incentivize them to take the next step. If they’re a responsive, you want to be able to get on the phone with them. If they’re opening your emails, you want to try to get a reply. Give them the information and show them the value necessary in order to pique their interest and want to learn more about your company.

Initial Communication is About Them Not You

The focus here is really on them and not you. Make sure that you’re taking the time to understand how they’re wanting to grow their career. Understand the current gripes they may have with their current employer, opportunities for improvement, and really understand them as a person and how they see their career trajectory going over the next five years. That way, you can ultimately make a good decision when it comes to long term retention.

Aim for the “Richest” Form of Communication

Whenever you’re communicating with these folks, getting on the phone is going to be better than just getting an email out to them or getting an email back from them. If you’re getting emails back, you want to make sure that they’re seeing some of the landing pages, or maybe watching some of the videos or reading articles about your company. Focus on driving a degree of interaction.

You’re driving it up as much as possible in order to make that phone call easier to get to. Don’t be too on the nose with everything you don’t want to aggressively sell the opportunity. You don’t want to make a candidate feel like they aren’t in control.

Especially if you want to retain them long-term, they need to feel as if  this is a decision that they’re not being pushed into. You’re just showing them exactly how you can accelerate their career or improve their work life balance or improve their career all around and letting them make the decision

Learn More about Your Market from Those in the Market

Here is another great opportunity to enrich your macro data. As you’re talking with somebody at company and you’re recruiting salespeople, figure out how many other salespeople are on the team. If there’s five on company A, whenever you talk to company B, figure out how many are at company B. Figure out what the entire roster of the local market looks like. That way you can effectively fill it out and know exactly who all is dealing with your customers, your products, and operating in your territories.

If the candidates you’re screening seem like winners, make sure to prepare for the first (official) interview – check out some tips here: “How to Properly Interview in the First Round” 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you. .

By James Aiken

President of Legacy Search, James Aiken has been dynamically involved in recruiting the elite candidates within the building materials industry for many years. With strength in sales and operations, James has built out multiple sales teams for manufacturers and distributors alike. Email him at

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