Tom was in a rut: No hot jobs to work on, no brilliant candidates to run
withand no sympathy from his boss or co-workers.
I wish I could help you, said Ellen, Toms supervisor. But until you pick
up the phone and start making calls, nothing will change.
Been there, done that, said Tom.
Not according to our phone logs, said Ellen. From what I can see, you
spend a lot of time staring at your Blackberry.
Guilty as charged, admitted Tom. I just dont know what to say to people.
Im sure youll think of something, said Ellen. But one things for
certain: unless you dramatically increase your phone output, youll
continue to struggle. Believe it or not one of the hardest things for a
recruiter to do is, pick up the phone and call someone.
Pickup Lines for Recruiters
Tom considered his options. He could either continue down the path of
least resistance and suffer the consequences or get down to business and
start burning up the phone.
So, Tom made a bold decision: Since he didnt feel he had much to sayor
to sellto employers or candidates, he would let them do the talking. And
the best way to get them talking would be to ask them a set of
questions. By framing the questions as though he were conducting a
survey, he could quickly present his credentials, get a conversation
started and gather useful information.
Tom knew that if the situation presented itself, he might also be able
to pick up a job lead or two, or even uncover a placeable candidate he
might want to partner with. Toms questions to be brief and to the point.
And he made sure the responses could also be short. If the person wanted
to elaborate or engage in a dialogue with Tom, well, that would be just
To help break the ice, Tom wrote a little opening script: Hi, my name is
Tom, and Im a recruiter who specializes in your industry. I have a
one-minute survey Id like you to take, and then Ill on my way.
Then he asked one of three questions. Scripting your calls, makes it
easier to make the call but harder to be engaging.
To the employer he asked: What skill sets or job functions are most in
demand at your company (or in your group)? In other words, what types of
critical openings are the hardest to fill?
To the candidate, he asked: Which of these characteristics will be most
important the next time you look for a job: (a) work/life balance; (b)
technical challenge and acquisition of new skills; (c)
compensation/benefits/job security; (d) corporate culture thats
consistent with your values; or (e) something else?
Or, he designed this question to ask either the employer or a candidate:
Which websites, blogs, online magazines, print publications or trade
shows do you use to stay current or that give you or your company a
competitive advantage? And do you belong to any industry associations or
professional development groups?
Tom was amazed at how receptive most people were, and how much activity
he was able to generate from his survey approach.
Weve all walked or will someday walk in Toms shoes. We need to write
jobs and arrange sendouts. And yet, how do we create activity out of
thin air? Simple answer: By picking up the phone and starting a