Each month we select from scores of upcoming HR/management conferences and feature the one we feel SmartBrief on Workforce e-newsletter readers should know about. This month’s featured conference, the ERE Spring Expo, takes place this week in San Diego. SmartBrief’s Sam Taute recently interviewed Jeremy Eskenazi, president of Riviera Advisors, one of the conference’s key presenters. Today, we feature Sam’s conversation with another headliner, David Szary, president of Recruiter Academy, to learn more about how recruiters can master the art of the cold call. An edited transcript of that conversation follows.
SAM: How far into the recruiting process should recruiters hope to get with a cold call?
DAVID: Well, if you get a prospect’s voicemail, then obviously the goal is to get them to call you back. If you catch the person live, I like to tell recruiters that you’re not asking them to marry you, you’re asking them on a date. For recruiting, this means that you’re trying to do three things: Generate interest; confirm that they do what you think they do; and determine their “wounds” — basically their motives, or things that you can use to get their attention.
How persistent should recruiters be prepared to be? How does one when to stop?
The first thing recruiters should keep in mind is that just because prospects are not calling back, that does not mean they are not interested. People are busy. In sales, it has been shown that it takes about five contacts to solicit a positive response. I encourage transferring this over to recruiting. This means that you should carry out a contact cadence of at least three attempts — which could be, for instance, e-mail, call and then e-mail again — and, if the candidate still has shown no interest do a “last ditch effort call.” Let them know that it’s the last time you’ll be contacting them, and see if that spurs a response.
Do you have any tips for overcoming the initial awkwardness of a cold call?
Recruiters should have the initial mindset that things are going to be awkward at first, no matter what you do. But remember, you’re not trying to sell them something, you’re making them an offer. It helps to disarm them by starting off with your name, and saying “we haven’t talked before.”
How do you strike a balance between professionalism and a level of informality required to make the potential recruit feel more comfortable?
Treat others the way you’d want to be treated — no hokey sales pitch is going to work. Just be honest and direct. Again, remember that you’re making an offer, not trying to sell something. With one of these phone calls you’re going to change someone’s life.
ERE’s Spring Expo is already underway, but registration is open now for the fall conference in Florida. Learn more about that event.
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