Improving Sourced to Applicant Conversions with the Recruiting Pitch

Jun 21, 20236 minutes read

Eric Guidice is a founder at headcount365, a headcount management software that replaces spreadsheet based recruiting management with a platform that connects your HRIS & ATS, to the Hiring Managers, and Finance team. Prior to starting headcount365, Eric’s consulting firm Unicorn Talent, provided recruiting advisory to over 100 startups, following his experience as an internal recruiting leader for companies like Uber, Bird Scooters, and Clutter.

It’s no secret that sourced candidates compete with qualified referrals for the highest conversion rates in the recruiting funnel. When I was an individual contributor recruiter, I converted 50% of sourced candidates who agreed to take a phone screen into engaged applicants with two key tools.

  1. A comprehensive recruiting pitch
  2. A sourced candidate interview script

A Comprehensive Recruiting Pitch

Here’s what you need to know to build an effective recruitment sales pitch.

And to access the full Recruiting Pitch Framework tool, click the button below.

Candidates Take Jobs For Two Reasons:

  1. The job is better for me today (Compensation, Title, Manager Skill, Job Scope, Location, Perks/Benefits, etc.)
  2. The job is a better vehicle for my career development (Company Growth Trajectory, Career Growth Trajectory, Equity upside, Candidate Pedigree Increase, etc.)

Recruiters, hiring managers, and all interview participants should have a clear understanding of each pitch point, as consistency in messaging is a key data point for candidates of how real these benefits actually are. 

Let’s break it down a little bit further.

The Job Is Better For Me Today

Here are six key points passive candidates often find compelling:


If a sourced candidate is motivated by compensation, recruiters should be able to clearly articulate all aspects of compensation against given inputs. There have been many cases where the base salary wasn’t a huge jump, but I could explain the annualized value of perks, or benefits to make up the difference.

Job Title:

A major mover in sourced candidate conversion is a job title increase. From senior to principal, or manager to director, these are tangible increases that candidates like to publicize to their peer group.

recruiting pitch

That being said, all “director” titles are not created equal. The title means something totally different at a 2,500 person enterprise vs a 25 person start up. A key factor in converting sourced candidates to engaged applicants is the interviewer’s ability to equate the job level or title of the role you are sourcing for with the one the candidate is exiting.

The candidates are 100% doing this when listening to your pitch, so it’s best to be proactive.

Hiring Manager Skill:

A large contributor to a candidate’s happiness in a role is their relationship with their manager.

Being able to articulate your manager’s experience,  pedigree, management tactics, and the general ability to “go to bat” for their employees, is a huge factor when converting sourced candidates to engaged applicants.

Job Scope:

Employees change roles for a perceived bump in job scope on a day to day basis. Non-manager → manager is the easiest role to describe a scope increase for, given the tangibility of people management.

However, there are many other factors that denote job scope. You can usually find these on your company’s leveling framework including things like revenue impact, strategic impact, outcome accountability, and other career development opportunities.


This one’s easy! Commute time, remote work options, and office quality are tangible factors you can compare 1:1. Don’t forget to include this value in your pitch when it makes sense.

elevator pitch

Perks & Benefits:

If you can not clearly articulate the cash value of perks and benefits, your sourced conversion rates will be lower.

Not only should you understand the cash value of your package, but you should be able to articulate it as a net cash value variance from their current perks package cash value.

When a candidate can see you are being honest and transparent, versus overselling these perks without consideration of what they are giving up, they will be much more engaged.

The Job Is Better For My Future

A good recruiting pitch also builds a narrative explaining how a job opportunity fits into a candidate’s positive future growth. Some unique selling points to consider include:

Company Growth Trajectory:

Define and articulate the company’s growth roadmap, citing historic growth numbers to give credibility to future estimates.

This will reinforce growth-related compensation with equity value and career growth trajectory, as natural role scope increases should be factored into a sourced candidate’s projections of a new role’s value.

Career Growth Trajectory:

A passive candidate doesn’t take a new role to stay in it forever.

Having a clear career trajectory with examples of current employees will build confidence in that candidate’s ability to do the same. Know your timelines-to-promotion, career ladders, professional development programs, and leveling framework to compete 1:1 against the career development trajectory of the incumbent employer. 


A clear, real understanding of equity, and its value is crucial to driving sourced candidate conversion rates.

For candidates who don’t understand equity, having a simple explanation with third-party resources to validate your claims will help them bridge the gap in perceived value.

For candidates who do understand equity, a real conversation about its current value and estimated value will build credibility in you as a trusted recruiter and whether or not the company’s goals are realistic. 

recruitment sales pitch

Candidate Pedigree Increase:

What does having your company’s name on the candidate’s resume do for their pedigree? What jobs do your ex-employees take once they are done with a successful stint at your company? Having a good story about the impact of having your company on someone’s resume is the icing on the sourced candidate pitch “cake”.

This could be the key to someone taking another conversation — as a real way to get out of the specifics and talk about macro impact.

A Structured Recruitment Pitch for Sourced Candidates

Sourced interviews were always my favorite conversation in the hiring process, because they are more exciting than an inbound applicant interview. I have an opportunity to convince talented candidates to move forward, because I found an exact match to the role I am trying to fill.

I start every interview with the same exact question:

“Thanks for taking my call. I know you aren’t looking, but there is a reason you got on the phone. There’s something I could say that would make you interested in exploring more, so let’s start there. What would make you convert from being someone who’s interested in exploring, to officially becoming a candidate? Compensation? Job Scope? Equity? Let me know and I will dive right into it.”

Every time a candidate responded, I knew exactly what to say — and in the first 5-10 minutes, I could get them to be “officially interested”.

Once that was done, I could get the key information to populate a scorecard that I would attach to their official resume and BOOM they were in my funnel. That was it. I got right to the point and converted 50%+ of all potential candidates who got on a call with me. 


Generating the sourced candidates at the top of the funnel has never been easier with companies like who pre-qualify high-quality candidates to ensure they will be a good fit with your opening.

Maximizing candidate conversion means having a deep understanding of the value your company provides to a candidate, then applying it objectively and honestly in a conversation to show tangible value.

recruitment pitch

Converting sourced candidates into engaged applicants significantly increases funnel efficiency, producing more hires with fewer resources.

And that is something everyone is being asked to do in today’s environment.

For more ways to supercharge your recruiting pitch, click the button below to download the Recruiting Pitch Framework provided by Unicorn Talent.

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