I often get questions from recruiters in regards to making phone calls; in fact I just received a call from Vince asking how I deal with call-reluctance. While you can’t change the reaction of the person on the other end of the phone, you can change how you approach making your phone calls to better prepare yourself to positively engage potential candidates.
- Make sure you have the right equipment. I use a headset while I’m making calls because it’s beneficial for me to walk around while I am on the phone. I put my headset on at the beginning of the day and I never take it off. If I need to speak to a co-worker or get a coffee, I will disconnect my headset but never take it off. My headset serves as a physical reminder to my co-workers and myself that I should be speaking with clients and candidates, not wasting my time.
- I make sure that I know all of the details about the position that I am working on. For example, I go over the top three skills that I am looking for, why my client is looking, and what my client offers before I get on the phone with a potential candidate. It helps to have notes in front of you in regards to each potential candidate. In today’s busy environment you don’t want to waste your own time, or the time of the person on the phone with an ineffective telephone call.
- On top of knowing the position front and back, it helps to know whom you are speaking to when you call them. Personalizing the phone call a little bit shows that you’re actually interested in the person with whom you’re speaking and makes it seem a little less invasive. It’s important to capitalize on all of the information available on websites like LinkedIn.com and Jigsaw.com so that you can be sure your potential candidate is right for your opening.
- That leads to the next point; when I’m headhunting I always open the conversation asking for the person with whom I’d like to speak. When they answer, “That’s me,” I know I have someone that is engaged in the conversation. Never ever open the conversation with, “I have the perfect opportunity for you,” because you can’t be sure of that. You don’t know that person yet, and your client may not like them.
- I always use a call sheet. I will have a list of people to call and I will start at the top of the sheet and go to the bottom until I have spoken to or left a voicemail with each of the people. This is also a good way to organize your notes, placing the information next to the name and phone number on your call sheet. This also allows me to research for several orders at one time and then sit and make my calls at a separate time.
- My phone calls are always structured so that they are more of a conversation than an elevator pitch. This allows the person I am calling and myself to have a good experience while on the phone. Then the next time a call comes in or, I need to make a phone call I can feel good about picking up the phone.
- Timing is always important when scheduling calls. Everyone is busy, and time is money. The worst thing about making phone calls is playing telephone tag. I always schedule my initial calls and follow-up calls for 30 minutes at 9am, Noon, 3pm and 5pm. This helps ensure that I am speaking with someone and not leaving voicemails.
To recap, I deal with call-reluctance by simply being prepared to have a conversation with a potential candidate. I make sure that I am prepared with the equipment that will help me excel which includes a headset, and a call sheet. I also make sure that I am prepared with ample information about the candidate and the client, as well as with notes for while I am on the telephone. Plus, being certain to time my phone calls for a time of day when I know that someone will be ready to answer their phone is another important piece to add to the puzzle.
I’m sure that soon there will be a way to permanently implant your phone into your head, and I’m almost positive that the first people in line will be recruiters no matter how expensive the procedure.