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Be Phone-Smart: How Strategic Calling Can Take You The Whole Way

There’s a lot of people who will tell you cold calling doesn’t work for recruiters anymore, I disagree. Used well, it can be a useful tool for building relationships with employers and placing people in roles.

While working in recruitment I lost count of how many times I picked up the phone to a business and was told “you’re the hundredth recruiter we’ve had on the phone today, no we don’t have any openings”. End of conversation. I quickly realised I was going to need a more strategic approach.

So, here’s what I did. I stopped thinking of the call as an attempt to place someone in employment and started thinking of it as a fact-finding mission; a quest to find out what their business needed.

Here’s three steps to making cold calling work for recruitment:

1. Do your Research

First things first, I only picked up the phone when I knew the candidate and employer would be a good match. This is an important starting point – as I’m sure you know!

Find out the name and job title of the decision maker and make sure the objectives of the call are clear in your mind before you pick up the phone.

2. Drop the Hard Sell

Next up, I always began my opening statement with “I wonder if you can help me? I’m looking to place a candidate, he’s a qualified accountant with a proven track record in business development…” and so on. This approach, believe it or not, got me a long way with a lot of employers because I sought them out to help and presented them with the candidate’s strong points.

3. Ask Questions (and don’t forget to listen to the answers!)

The next stage of the Recruitment Sell is to find out what the business needs. This involves asking lots of open questions and letting the employer explore for themselves where they may need someone new. I would then refer to my list of ‘5 Key Candidate Assets’ which I’d obtained from competency questions with the individual and make the sell:

“This is your problem or need, I’ve got just the person to deal with it and here’s why”

And there we have it. Sales and Recruitment are really one and the same because both derive success from active listening, discovering the missing link and providing the solution to a problem.


Julie Futcher - The Sales Manager

01604 532004