How To Create a Candidate Sell Deck and Use It To Win Talent

Before I joined OpenView as a senior talent manager specializing in go-to-market hiring, I was a salesperson myself. I was tasked with building out sales teams, and that’s when I fell in love with recruiting. 

At OpenView, I get to work with all our incredible portfolio companies, supporting their hiring efforts for go-to-market roles ranging from the individual contributor level to department head. I help with everything from identifying what kind of profiles we should be targeting, creating the job description, outlining the interview process, and managing the process all the way through to the offer. 

What I’ve learned is that recruiting is very similar to sales. You really have to understand what motivates who you’re speaking to on the other side of the phone (or Zoom call) and recommend and pitch relevant opportunities based on that motivation. A candidate sell deck is like the bridge between the two worlds of sales and recruiting—it’s used to sell a job opportunity to a candidate.

What is a candidate sell deck?

A candidate sell deck, also known as a recruitment pitch deck, is a piece of collateral that you can share with candidates to get them excited about  a role, company, and opportunity.

While the majority of the interview process is focused on assessing a candidate, in this competitive hiring market, candidates are being more selective than ever about which opportunities they chose to pursue. When it comes to opportunities available to them, the best talent has the pick of the litter, and they’re looking to make the best decision for themselves and their career. They’re interested in the actual and projected growth of your company, opportunities for professional development, and what they can expect from the job day-to-day. 

This is why a sell deck can be so valuable for keeping candidates engaged in the hiring process. It’s your chance to demonstrate how your company can benefit them and further their career goals.

What to include in your sell deck

There’s no one right way to build a candidate sell deck, and for the most part, the material you have to work with will depend on the size and stage of your company. On a very basic level, you want to demonstrate that your company is a great place to work and inspire them to want to be a part of your company’s future. Ultimately, the goal is to get them excited about an opportunity—enough to get them on the phone with a hiring manager or to progress to the next stage of the interview process. 

However you chose to approach it, what’s most important is that your sell deck addresses the following four topics:

Mission 

What need is your company addressing? How does your solution improve people’s lives and businesses? Explain why you’re here, and why your teams are excited to come to work everyday.

Buildkite mission statement

Buildkite succinctly defines what the company does.

Vision

What does success look like to your company? Where do you see the business in five years? If you think your business is going to be the next Salesforce, this is your chance to say so.

Encamp candidate sell deck

Encamp cleanly outlines the company’s mission and vision in their culture handbook.

Growth 

What successes have you seen already? Where are you hoping to land in the short-, medium-, and long-term? This is a great place to add growth-related metrics and infographics. 

Cypress Candidate Sell Deck

Cypress showcases growth metrics in an interesting infographic format. 

Culture 

What are your values, and how do you demonstrate these values to your people? Here you might showcase your competitive employee benefits or a “Best Place to Work” award. 

Persuit Culture Handbook

PERSUIT defines team values in their culture handbook slide deck.

*Note: Buildkite, Encamp, Cypress, and PERSUIT are a current OpenView portfolio companies.

How to integrate your sell deck into your recruiting process

The point at which you share a sell deck with a candidate depends on your business and the particular circumstances of each candidate. Generally, it’s used in two areas of the sell: getting passive candidates through the door, or closing the deal. 

When we use sell decks at OpenView, it’s most often the former—we’re trying to get a candidate on a call with a hiring manager at the beginning of the process. Here, the sell deck helps passive candidates learn a little bit more about a portfolio company we’re introducing them to. Not only does it provide a great introduction, but it furthers their excitement to get on the phone. 

Companies can also choose to share a sell deck in conjunction with an offer letter to help candidates make their final decision on an opportunity. At this point, the candidate already has context surrounding the company and their potential for growth. These sell decks highlight any and all benefits of joining the company and describe why it is a great place to work. 

Tips and tricks for building an awesome sell deck

  • Understand your why. Ask yourself, why are we here? Why are we excited to come to work every day? You should be able to communicate your why clearly and concisely. 
  • Make it look great. The content is important, but the design matters, too. It should reflect your branding and be exciting to look at. Use color, visuals, and infographics whenever possible. 
  • Keep it short. This shouldn’t be a long document that your candidate has to work through. It should be a handful of slides, at most. 
  • Use videos, if available. It’s probably not worth producing original content just for this asset, but if you have a video of your founder or leadership team talking passionately about the business, consider including it. 
  • Talk to current employees. You can really get authentic answers by just going out to people who work at your company and asking them why they like working here. It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated to be powerful. Keep it simple and authentic. 

Winning candidates in the most competitive hiring market we’ve ever seen is tough. Learn more about how you can hire, engage, and grow the best talent in your organization by downloading the State of SaaS Talent Market report.

Alex Maas
Alex Maas
Senior Talent Manager

Alex is a Senior Talent Manager at OpenView where she partners with current and future portfolio companies to identify and hire top talent.
You might also like ...
Hiring
A Founder's Guide To Hiring A CMO
The results are in! And unfortunately, they are not good. With the current economic situation we are in, the average...
by Harsh Jawharkar
Hiring
Your Guide To Your First GTM Hire: How To Scale Your Team To Accelerate Growth
Who should be the first go-to-market (GTM) hire at an early startup? This isn’t a new question, to be sure....
by Kyle Poyar
Hiring
The Fight for Tech Talent Isn't Over—How To Pivot Your Hiring Pitch for the Market
It feels like every other day there’s a new headline about another tech company’s round of layoffs or hiring freeze....
by Steve Melia, Maggie Crean