Stan Fincham, a consultant with two college degrees and years of marketing explained all the intricacies of sales, motivation, understanding your customer and closing the deal. After about two hours, I feel he only scratched the surface. Some of the concepts that Mr. Fincham stressed was to avoid "no" words, ask questions that can't be answered "yes" or "no," and use the potential recruit's name, e.g. "What has drawn you to be here today, Richard?" and "What other things are you considering other than law enforcement?" He then suggests getting side by side and setting yourself up as their guide or helper through the steps or process (avoid the word "tests"). Another great question is, "What's a good time to set you up for a department tour or ride-along?" You always "understand"," then spin it in your favor. Mr. Fincham emphasizes observing and listening to the candidate and mirroring their thoughts and behaviors. He is a big fan of Milton Erickson and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a system that exploits the relationship between neurology, linguistics, and observable patterns of behavior.
Another stop I made in understanding recruiting was to the experts, the U.S. Military. In your community, almost always you will find that military recruiters are more than happy to spend time discussing their techniques with you. Consider inviting them on a ride-along, and at job fairs go over and spend time talking to them. I've also found this a fertile recruiting ground to recruit them, especially the part-timers or those near retirement.
In the military, you'll note that each branch has their own style. Detective Farwell particularly was impressed with the U.S. Marine Corps. Also, there are recruiters for active duty, reserve and the guard. All are helpful and I always try to return the favor and send potential applicants their way, especially those that are under 21 or have potential but can't currently qualify for the department.
The military has "their way" and it can de dogmatic but still educational. They sell duty, honor, and esprit de corps. They sell the benefits, travel, money, self-improvement, etc. One of the most important techniques I learned from the recruiters was to listen. Listen to the candidate and see what their needs are. Find their "button." Selling retirement and medical benefits to a fit, 21 year old may not be the right button. It might be money, action, etc. In some cases it may be working hours. A sheriff's department may sell their agency by saying, for example, that over 60% of their shifts are day shift because of the courts, jail, transportation, detectives, special assignments, etc.
It very well may not be selling the agency. I chose a switch from my California agency to the Reno Police Department partially due to the quality of life, clean air, cost of housing, recreational activities, Lake Tahoe, etc. Sell to the family. The spouse may really be the target. Sell the educational system, housing, community, etc. If you don't have this info available, you are not doing your job properly.
After listening and finding the button, you "spin." Spin is not deception; it is putting a positive slant on the truth.
Example: "I hate graveyard."
Spin: Graveyard earns an extra 5% shift pay and you have all day or evening with the family, to run your errands, no traffic jams to and from work, etc. Only 15% of all sworn positions are on "the yard."
Example: "I don't want to work the jail."
Spin: We have all types of jobs, including patrol, but later in your career you may want to work the jail as a break from the street. Our jail personnel work a 12-hour shift, so you have 3-4 days off weekly. Working the jail is the best training you can get for understanding criminals. On a police department, you may get stuck on patrol.
Example: "This town is crowded and expensive."
Spin: We are one of the top paying agencies in California. After 20 years you can retire at 60% of your pay and move to wherever you want. That kind of money will buy you a lot of nice housing in a small town. If you work in a nice area that pays poorly, it will affect you the rest of your life.
Sergeant Mike Couturier is in charge of his agency's recruiting staff. He is not only a former Army recruiter, but he was recruiter of the year! Sgt. Courtier likes to turn the tables on an applicant. "What do you offer us? We get plenty of applicants; we need good officers with strong work ethic and some background. What do you have to offer?" I've seen Sgt. Couturier work, and it takes the candidate aback and really is effective. He also likes to dangle a carrot and ask, "If I gave you $100,000 right now, what would you do with it?" The answer will tell you the button or buttons that motivate the candidate. Then, you sell.
Watch a good salesperson and see how they will also talk about some unrelated subject with the candidate, whether it's fishing, golfing, sewing, needlepoint or the customer's recent root canal. They will appear to show genuine interest as if it were the most fascinating thing they ever heard!