We celebrate technological advancements like they're the most important thing under the sun. And in many ways they are. But every once in awhile the simplest and most direct methods are best. Picking up the phone and speaking directly with job candidates is a prime example of the way that effectiveness should trump ease.
Certainly, it's easier to send an email. You send and receive them all day every day. But emails miss the personal connection, and a connection can give you a real edge. If phone calls, especially cold calling, make you uneasy, here are 4 tips on how to make yours a lot more fruitful.
#1: Work on Rapport First
Every passive candidate has a story to tell. It's your job to draw it out. The more that you learn in the first few minutes of a phone conversation, the more you'll have to work with during that call and in the future.
Building a rapport means nurturing trust. Career Builder recommends spending "at least the first couple of minutes with background or introductory information." It helps demonstrate that your opportunity has value. But don't do all of the talking. A rapport also requires some give and take. You don't want to send a signal that they aren't being heard. Plus, you can't learn anything about the candidate's qualifications if your call is just a one-on-one sales pitch.
#2: Don't Take "No" for an Answer
Perhaps the worst thing that recruiters can do on the phone is to end a call when a candidate says, "No, thank you." Of course, this doesn't mean recruiters should be pushy. It only means that ending the call at that point misses a golden opportunity.
When a candidate explains that he or she is not in the market for a new job, you have a perfect opening to learn more. Skip "yes" or "no" questions. ERE Media says that the best response is, "That's great!" Sound crazy? It's not. You can then explain that the best talent usually isn't looking, and then find out what the candidate might change about her current employment situation if she could. Maybe you can offer something better. But you can't if you don't ask.
#3: Use Caution Around Compensation Questions
No matter what anyone says, there's hardly a person who wants to work for free. Pay is somewhere in an employee's motivational factors. Just be careful about how it's addressed if you're asked. It's probably not the best approach to say that you don't know or to give a firm dollar amount. Again, that limits the conversation.
Instead, you could explain that the salary package isn't carved in stone. Let the candidate know that the company is "fully prepared to pay competitively and enticingly in the market for top talent," recommends ERE.
#4: Guide the Phone Call Toward an Interview
No candidate wants to waste time listening to a recruiter who won't discuss the job. The finer details are much better given in your conversation, not in an email. You can always send over the actual job description later. But try to work the specifics into the conversation.
If the candidate wants information that you don't have, you aren't required to say so. ERE recommends saying, "That's a great question for the interview!" Let her know that those details are much better addressed with the hiring manager, which helps move the recruiting process on up the chain to the next level.
It's funny how something as simple as a phone can give a recruiter pause. But with other technology so much quicker, it's easy to make the impersonal choice. Approach new candidates, especially top talent, with a phone-first attitude and you'll have opportunities that other recruiters don't. You'll have a rapport and plenty of information about the candidate to work with. They'll just have an email.
RealMatch helps recruiters make better connections, which lead to better hires.