Thursday, March 1, 2012

The People You Need to Call

I was discussing strategies with one of the headhunters on my team this morning and we were trying to develop the answer to a question:

How do you reach the maximum number of people per day?

This question follows a long line of questions that ends, theoretically, with "How do you make more placements?".

One area that is overlooked when strategizing around this question is the people you've already called.

The ones that have said no.  That they're not interested.  That it's a bad time.  That they're totally, one hundred percent, absolutely thrilled with the role they're in now.

Why should we call these people back? When should we call these people back?

I believe that calling back the people who have told you no is just as important.  Usually I wait for a day.  If the role I'm hunting for is unchanged - and the urgency to fill is unchanged - I'll call that person again, regardless of why they dismissed the opportunity last time.

This is a principle I learned in door-to-door sales, where I would keep a 'no' sheet of all the houses that did not want my service. Talking to them later in the afternoon tended to result in homeowners that saw how much work I had done by that point, how hard I was working - and might have talked to their spouse at that point, who was actually interested in what I had to offer.  All it took was for me to come back.

Why do this as headhunters? Firstly, many people that you called the day before that rejected you have likely spent a portion of the last 24 hours thinking about the conversation they had with you.  Between that call and the next one the day after, that candidate has likely discovered one or two reasons why they might have actually considered the role.

This is especially true for those that rejected your offer early into the conversation, without being willing to hear the details.

Now that you've got them on the phone again, this candidate may or may not be willing to talk to you again.

Secondly, now that you have spoken with this candidate once, and have either sent them an email, or gotten a resume, you've increased your rapport with that candidate.  This should cause them to be a bit more open - and a bit more honest with you.  This will be especially important, as mentioned, for those candidates that 'stonewalled' you on the first call, for whatever reason.  Their conviction was very high - but the next day, it may be low enough for you to have a more extended, open conversation about their actual career happiness.

This will result in having more effective conversations with your candidates, and utilizing your existing pool that much better - while creating candidates that will be very appreciative when you've landed them a job that they initially dismissed.

Thirdly, this gives your candidates that 'stonewalled' you an effective chance to learn what they're saying no to. This is an important observation in any sales environment: make sure that those who tell you no, know what they're saying no to.  Tying back in with the first point, once you've had a chance to be heard out about the role, and have discussed the particulars with the candidate, they may realize right on that call that the job sounds better than the one they've got. At that point, if the candidate says no again, at least you are convinced that they know they don't want it.

Also: don't worry about someone complaining that you've called them twice.  Most people won't be that irritated that you're trying your hardest to fill your role.  I've occasionally called candidates back three or four times, and had success - but most I stop at two with, since by the second conversation, I can generally 'feel' whether a candidate will be a fit or not based on their feedback to me.

Try this out - and see how effective it is for you.