The Cold Call: Why Are You Afraid?

Remember how you felt as a kid on the playground and you didn’t know anyone?  It’s still true today.  The popularity of social media is that it gives people a mask to hide behind.  It’s kind of a pretend world we can play in. – Maureen Sharib

I often get emails from junior recruiters asking me general questions about how can I find candidates email addresses, then, how can I write the right email to get them to me respond to me. My response is always the same blunt answer; you need to pick up the phone and call them. In a world of LinkedIn, Facebook, texting, Twitter, and Snapchat we have gotten so use to the lack of real human interaction. We seem to have become terrified of rejection in the most real of forms by talking to people. We simply do not communicate well anymore and seem to be in denial of real human interaction.

What in the hell are you afraid of?

Ok, I know that I have been around for a long time now, and I have had more rejection in my life that if I had a dollar for all the candidates who said no to me I would never need to work anymore. So maybe I am jaded and actually, expect rejection? I am and you should too.

The real problem is you not the candidate. The generic email that you send or spam out with nothing about actually chatting with the candidate. You send an email, they respond with, wait for it, an email. You then respond by sending another email with questions on it for them to answer, they again respond via email. At this point, a great deal of time has passed, and I like the old adage, “time kills deals.”

While you are crafting these mindblowing emails to try and get your response rate up, there are people like me picking up the phone and dialing for dollars. That’s right you get out ten emails while I have had a conversation with five people I sourced. I did not send out an email and hope for a response. I have screened and gauged the interest of five new candidates now on their merry way to my hiring manager for review. Listen if you can find an email you can find a phone number. Spokeo anyone?

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This is my advice for you when you are on the phone talking to the candidate:

  • Address them by their first name and tell them WHO you are and the company you work for.
  • The first question should always be something of a personal nature; I like to ask how they are or how is their day going.
  • Have the role open or better yet printed out if you do not have multiple monitors so you can talk directly to the role.
  • Ask inciteful questions based on the resume. Have them tell you about themselves.
  • Listen, just stop talking and listen.
  • Take copious amounts of notes and get them into the profile for future use.
  • Lastly keep in touch with the candidate, by phone, throughout the process.

I get that email is a very useful tool so much so that I use it frequently. However, my emails to candidates have a different tone. You see in my email I ask the question, “when would be a good time for us to chat?”  That my friend is how you win this stupid thing we call a talent war, don’t get me started on that mess. #truestory

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.

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