Basic Recruiting Tip - Applicant Objections

Your software tool for recruiting, executive search or staffing has delivered you a list of applicants to call. However most applicant tracking or resume databases stop here and let the recruiter to their own devices. We believe this is a mistake and an incomplete recruiting software system because the most critical part of the entire recruitment process are those first few seconds with the applicant or client. Why should your staffing software go deaf and dumb on you? With our software, recruiting, executive search and staffing firms can provide aids for dealing with applicant objections and the aids can be customized and evolve as the recruiters learn.

Now that you know exactly what you want to say when you get a potential applicant on the phone, you want to be prepared for how they will respond. Then, of course, if you can predict how the applicant will respond you will be ready with your response to his or her response and everything will be wonderful!

Objection 1: 'Sounds good, I'm interested'. Great! Go on and perform the steps as outlined in the next sections.

Objection 2: 'I don't deal with/like headhunters'. Again, the grand strategy is to keep the conversation going and get information. Some good opening questions: 'Did you have a bad experience with one?' (Don't speak until you get a reply). 'Maybe I'm in the wrong business, could you tell me why?' 'It would be helpful if I knew why, so I don't make the same mistake.' 'Bob, suppose you were the owner of this recruiting firm, and you knew that recruiters had an image problem. What would you do?' (don't speak until you get a reply). Then say to him/her that you are doing exactly that, embellishing of course on your response depending on what they describe. After this initial statement and some words of wisdom from them, you can go back to your selling sequence. 'I think you can agree that there have to be some very good headhunters. It's just finding them that's the problem, isn't it? I have found good jobs for people who otherwise might have taken something less rewarding. Don't you agree then, that I could be a good guy and that I might be helpful to you?' Another good technique; infer that only experienced professionals use executive recruiters. Entry level people have no choice but to answer ads in the paper and subject their resume to an endless stream of bureaucratic red tape. If their resume happens to capture the attention of a personnel agent, it may be forwarded to the hiring authority. In almost all cases, professionals are represented to other professionals by executive recruiters.

Objection 3: 'I am happy with my job'.This should be a two-phase approach. First phase, get them to talk: 'What about your job do you like?' When they reply, ask another question to get more specific information. 'Yes, I can understand that. The best performers are usually happy with their jobs. I think good people and job satisfaction go hand and hand, don't you? How long have you been with the company?' Second phase: 'Yes, it sure sounds like your company is taking care of you; but what if you had an opportunity to enjoy all these advantages plus ....' Mention whatever has not been brought out as a plus or negative. 'Don't you agree that if you had the same advantages (describe them) at another firm, plus (describe other advantages) , it might make sense to look into the opportunity?' Other approaches: 'Great, my client is only interested in the most qualified applicant, and since you are satisfied with your current position you wouldn't qualify. Do you know of anyone who would qualify because he/she may not be as satisfied as you?' 'That's great. I'm sure you agree that you are in the minority.' Wait for the yes, then pounce, 'who do you know that's not as fortunate as yourself?' 'If I do run across an excellent opportunity in your area, would you want me to pass it by you?'

Objection 4: 'I just started here'. 'When did you start?' 'What attracted you to the position?' 'How did you find out about the position?' 'Did you interview a lot before you decided?' 'Where did you interview?' 'What type of work are you doing now?' 'Where was your last job?' 'Who did you work for there?' 'Why did you leave?' 'What was your position?' It is pretty obvious here that you are looking for information that you can work with, for example, potential job orders from their prior employer or companies where they interviewed. Some probing questions to find out if they are completely satisfied: 'What originally interested you in the position?' 'Now that you have been there for a while, are your original reasons for accepting valid?' 'What were they?'

Objection 5: 'I can't talk' and won't provide home number. Not much you can do here, but this is a good area to emphasize the point that subtle changes in how the question is asked can bring totally different results. A lot of average or poor recruiters have a vague idea of the move to make here but it comes off something like this: 'When will be a good time to call back?' This is a poorly stated question that puts the applicant in charge. He/she can reply in many ways; 'Not this year, I'm on a hot project.' Or, he/she may just say 'next week' and continue to waste your time. 'What time do you get to work?' or 'Could I call you tomorrow, first thing or would tomorrow afternoon be more convenient?' These are much-better questions because they assume a time and only give the opportunity to respond positively.

Objection 6: 'I plan to stay until retirement/project completion' or 'I need the training/medical coverage'. If they plan to retire soon, they are probably not good applicant material but they may be even more valuable if cultivated as a referral source or used as a 'who's who' in their company. Talk to them! If they answer with anything else repeat the objection. 'You have until?' Then wait for them to speak with more information. 'If the total opportunity to move right now more than made up for what you're accomplishing by staying, would it make sense for you to explore it?' 'Great! Now here is your opportunity ....' The most important thing is to get a specific date of when the project, training or need for medical coverage ends. If they are not retiring, ask for address information to keep them abreast of the industry with job market information, 'I will leave it to you to contact me if there is an interest.' Get them to talk about their job and then go for a referral. 'What would lure you away?'

Objection 7: 'I'm not interested' and doesn't state a reason. Try to provide something of possible value and in the exchange get address information. 'We do send out some very interesting information on the job market, salaries, interviewing techniques, career suggestions based on first hand experience,' etc. 'So let me have your address and I'll let you get back to work.' After they give this, go for the home number, then go for the birthday. Try to nibble at them and see if you can get them talking. If you can't, you will at least come away with a home address. Also, always look for an opportunity to find the reason for their lack of interest.

Objection 8: 'I'm not interested' because of salary, location, company or type of work. 'Tell me your ideal job.' 'We cover every firm hiring people in your profession and the chances are very good that we will have that opportunity for you when you're ready.' When they respond, fall back into selling a position or at least try to get a resume or referrals.