Six Tips to Improving Your Recruiting Calls to Candidates

March 2, 2017

Calling candidates is one of the most efficient and effective ways to recruit. This is the traditional quick, easy, and logical way that typically produces immediate results. However, the way that you call a candidate from initial contact to the end of the conversation could change immensely depending on how you conduct the conversation. To capture their attention, you need to present an interesting opportunity and carry the conversation from start to finish. This impacts the outcome of that phone call and may lead to either an interview and potential job offer or a high quality referral. Here are six tips on how you can improve your recruiting calls with candidates to make them more effective and productive.

Determine the Market of Different Segments

To grab the attention of candidates, especially passive candidates, you need to figure out what motivates or interests them in looking at other opportunities, such as forward growth in their career path. Take some time, prior to contacting candidates, to understand what specific "market segment" this particular candidate pool is part of. Laurie Flanagan explains in "Recruiting Passive Candidates" that a particular candidate pool can be broken into different segments such as geography, demography, psychography, and behavioral.

To grab the attention of candidates, especially passive candidates, you need to figure out what motivates or interests them in looking at other opportunities, such as forward growth in their career path. 

Depending on the segment, the message you market to them can be altered to tap into that particular segment. Each segment is interested in different things that you can present to them. It's important to know and understand what drives a candidate prior to that initial first call. Flanagan explains that the "cookie cutter" approach just won't cut it. You need to come up with an attention grabber and the best way to do this is to hit a button that peaks their unique interest.

Establish Initial Rapport First then Take Back Information

Also, when calling a candidate, especially cold calling a candidate when they are not expecting a call from you, it is very important to get as much information as you can during that initial conversation. You do not want to waste you time on candidates that are not qualified. As you know, most of the people you talk to each day are not qualified, so you really want to make sure that, when you do connect with someone who could be a potential qualified candidate, that you spend your time wisely with them and come out of the call with as much appropriate information as possible.

All tend to agree that you need to spend at least the first couple of minutes with background or introductory information for the candidate to feel like this is a professional opportunity and one that they haven't wasted their time with.

There are different lines of thought on how long you should spend during that initial call establishing rapport with the candidate. All tend to agree that you need to spend at least the first couple of minutes with background or introductory information for the candidate to feel like this is a professional opportunity and one that they haven't wasted their time with. This is something that they potentially are comfortable in hearing more about.

Understand the Value of Their Skills

A third must have is to really understand the value of their skills for this particular position. Top passive candidates who don't know you will not likely want to spend any time hearing, much less discussing a potential opportunity with you.

Unless you understand the job and how it relates to their goals and career aspirations, there is no sense in wasting your time speaking with them. If you are able to present to them, in a credible fashion, the opportunity and growth this position presents, they are much more likely to be interested and want to move forward with further discussions.

Additionally, recruiters who know and understand the job and how it relates to candidates with similar backgrounds, are much more credible and confident in their delivery of the opportunity. Building the branch between a candidate's current position and future opportunity peaks their interest and desire to move forward in the process with you.

Know What Makes the Job Exceptional

"Would you be open to explore a situation if it was significantly better than what you're doing now?" This is the best approach to presenting a job that is a great opportunity for the candidate. You need to start with an attention grabber. What's in it for them? Why is this opportunity different from other similar positions? What makes it more exciting than what they're currently involved with?

Basically, you need to be able to sell the job to them and know why it's exceptional. Passive candidates are not going to be antsy to consider other opportunities, unless it involves something that gets them excited and interests them enough to engage in further conversation.

Stay Connected, Even with Seemingly Unworthy Candidates

Preparing your day so that you're able to talk to as many potential candidates as possible and not wasting your time on unqualified or "unworthy" candidates is very important. An unworthy candidate has been described as "someone who isn't competent or doesn't know any good people". While a worthy candidate is someone who is qualified for the position OR someone who may have a good referral.

This is a great idea. Even if you've realized mid-way through a call that the candidate that you are talking with is not qualified, continue the conversation as they may know someone else who may be interested and qualified. So turn that wasted phone call into a potential networking opportunity to seek out possible referrals.

Networking

This brings us to the sixth and final tip for improving your recruiting calls. You must proactively network with good candidates in order to reap the benefits of other good candidates. Most highly qualified people will not likely volunteer referrals unless you have shown them their due interest, and they have decided that your opportunity is not a good fit for them personally.

Only after will they be likely to give you the name of someone who might be worth your time. It might sound absurd, but being patient and remembering to ask for a referral to another candidate if your initial candidate rejects the position is a very good way to build your database and fill your job orders.

Doing your research and understanding the opportunity prior to calling a candidate is important in setting the stage for a successful call. Being able to present an opportunity and explain why it is an exceptional position, why it fits in line with a particular person's career path are both vital.

Remember to realize that every call is an opportunity, and to not only to seek out qualified individuals but to also use your initial calls as a networking tool to gain more connections to contact for current or future opportunities. Remember to realize that every call is an opportunity, and to not only to seek out qualified individuals but to also use your initial calls as a networking tool to gain more connections to contact for current or future opportunities.

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