Doris’s Story

I have had the honor to work with a woman named Doris, who is 70+ year’s young (she’s not counting anymore)! Doris continues to work full time, “sourcing” 6+ hours a day. Now when I say sourcing, I don’t mean what most people define as “sourcing” today (scouring websites, advanced internet sourcing, emailing candidates, etc.). I mean actually picking up the phone and calling a person about a new job opportunity.

As we all know, there are two parts to sourcing:

– Name/prospect generation – identifying a qualified person with a certain set of skills
— Candidate Development – Making contact, developing a rapport, and soliciting interest.

Most discussions (and hype) I have seen lately on the topic of sourcing have been around the name/prospect generation. And rightfully so! If you don’t have a prospect, you can’t turn them into a candidate. Guys like Shally Steckerl are innovating how we all identify new prospects and driving us into the new age of “sourcing.”

But a prospect is just that; a prospect. A candidate is someone that is qualified and INTERESTED in an opportunity. Prospects are turned into candidates during the Candidate Development Process!

To me, Candidate Development is probably the true “art” of sourcing. Don’t get me wrong, while it takes a ton of creativity to identify prospects (also an “art”), I have found that many folks work on that part of their recruiting game a lot more than they do the Candidate Development piece.

Kinda like golfers. They go to the range and spend 80% of their practice time on getting off the tee. Little to no time is spent practicing how to get out of the sandtrap and/or making a 5 foot putt (half their strokes!).

Back to Doris’s story –

Doris actually spends 6+ hours a day making outbound calls (not hiding behind email) to people discussing/pitching new career opportunities. Now I have been recruiting for over 19 years and have always prided myself as a person that had the stamina to “pound the phones” with the best of them; but . . . 6+ hours a day? Day in and day out? I would say that is “Tiger Woods-ish” for our industry! I am humbled and amazed at her tenacity and stamina.

Each day, she gets up and starts recruiting candidates (other folks do name generation for her), promptly at 7:00 a.m. About 4 years ago, after observing her routine for over 3 years, I asked:

“How do you stay motivated? How do you stay fresh? How come you haven’t burned out after all these years?”

Her answer:

“David, I truly love what I do. I get to spend all day talking to interesting people. They become my friends and I often get the opportunity to find them new positions that they are truly grateful for. I enjoy finding that one person for a position that has been open for a long time. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It is a lot of fun. I actually get a chance to positively affect people’s lives on a daily basis.”

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Doris is not COLD CALLING, RAIDING THE COMPETITION, POACHING, or STEALING TALENT… Doris is changing people’s lives!

Think about it . . . If you have been recruiting for any length of time, I am sure you have recruited one person (or hundreds of people) to your organization (or your client’s), that is truly grateful for the experience you have provided them and their family. I am sure you developed life long friendships during this process. You have seen some of your “placements” move up an organization and turn into executives. You have brought families back together. You relocated families to a better lifestyle.

It is truly why I love recruiting more than sales (I am a sales guy at heart). It is the only sales job where you are not actually “selling” anything. You are “offering” something!

Now it is tough not to get caught up in the negative aspect of outbound solicitation. Heck – I fall into that trap all the time!

In this era of anti-spam, anti-solicitation, anti-social society, people often perceive the act of candidate develop as “cold calling.” In a general sense, yes, it might actually be a “cold call” because the person is not expecting your call; but again . . . you are not selling anything, you are offering something!

But, as Doris has reminded me time and again, we are not SELLING anything. We are helping others; we are networking with folks to help others; we are CHANGING people’s lives!

Tip for the day: Put a sign up in your cube/office/break room stating/asking, “Did you positively change someone’s life today?” Next time you get on the phone, do you truly have that mindset?

Not only will it make your sourcing efforts much more productive, it will make it a lot more rewarding!

David Szary is senior vice president and general manager, recruiting services, HealthcareSource. HealthcareSource is a leading provider of talent management solutions for healthcare.


5 Comments on “Doris’s Story

  1. I am proudly now 68 years young and also still “love” recruiting. It is not a surprise that Doris and I seem to have the same approach to “changing lives”. Perhaps it is a complement to our generation of professionals, who had a great mentor or maybe just the common respect and understanding that we carry a responsibility to our “candidates” in their process of making a very important life change. After 14 years as a corporate recruiter I still wake up and challenge my day, building relationships that stay connected. As a consultant recruiter my career has been enhanced by working with some very talented organizations that also provide a view of change in action. We seniors have significant value with our approach and each day I am grateful for having the opportunity to share in a “life change”. Yea!!!! Doris!!!

  2. Yawn…another article supporting “pounding the phones”. Cold calling is extremely inefficient. Our firm generates excellent results without EVER doing any cold calling. We focus on networking to build relationships and calling only “Warm Leads”. Also, I disagree with your comment about “hiding behind E-mails.” E-mailing is one of the quickest and easiest ways to communicate. In fact, some of our client reps respond faster to E-mails than to phone calls. I think you’re a bit too old fashioned for the recruiting game, and if you don’t catch up, you’ll be just another face in the crowd. My firm, on the other hand, stands out in a crowd even when we’re all sitting down.

  3. Let me get this straight – using a telephone as a starting point (cold calling) “to network and build relationships” to the point where they become “warm leads” is bad, inefficient and doesn’t work while using email as a starting point (cold emailing) to do the same thing is good, efficient and “generates excellent results”.

    The truth is one way is not inherently better than the other and they both work. One should use whichever they are most comfortable and effective with. Even better is to use the one that the potential contactee is more comfortable and fully communicative with. Surely it’s best to use different strokes on different folks.

    By the way, people do hide behind email all the time. It’s a little passive aggressive game where they either don’t fully answer a question, answer a different question than the one you asked or answer only one of the three questions asked. I grew up with the telephone and so I can much of the time “hear” when someone is being less than fully honest with me and have learned what questions to respond with in order to get the information I want. Someone who grew up on email might be better at doing that in an email situation. Evasive semi-communication happens in both formats and we have to learn how to handle it either way.

    An excellent example of “hiding behind email” Chris, is your response. It’s very easy to blurt “I think you’re a bit too old fashioned for the recruiting game” while hiding behind a masked web identity. Maybe you’re right or maybe you’re not but no one knows whether to listen to you because no one knows what your credentials are, if any. If you want to “stand out in a crowd” you should start by standing up in one.

    Tom Keoughan

  4. Tom,

    You’re missing the boat:

    1) I didn’t send an E-mail to this site, I posted a comment.
    2) I am not hiding behind anything, as this is the only way you can leave comments to any article on this site.
    3) Cold calling has been proven ineffective and inefficient more times than I can count by real experts in the field.
    4) I know how to cold call, since I used to be a telemarketer, and a highly successful one at that.
    5) The fact that you “grew up on the phones” is just more information speaking to the fact that you too probably should think of new ways to do your job better. Innovation, Tom, is the key to success, not pounding phones.
    6) Warm leads are not made by cold-calling, not at all.

    They’re made through referrals and social networking. If I am on LinkedIn, I can see who visits my page. If someone sees that I’m a recruiter and I see that they are looking for a career, I contact them. That is not a cold call, because I already know what I’m getting myself into. I NEVER call someone who I have no prior relationship with if I don’t know exactly what to expect. Phone calls used to be effective before technology redefined how we do our jobs. What you’re saying is equivalent to saying that GPS navigation should be disregarded, as the old method of shuffling around with multiple maps is “tried and true”. Guess what, Tom… Just ’cause you grew up on something, doesn’t make it the best way to do it. Learn. Grow. Evolve. That’s what we do at my firm.

  5. Dude,

    Spout away but without an identity you simply have no credibility. Without credibility you’re just throwing a public tantrum (well, not all that public since your remain too embarrassed to put yourself into context). Frankly, I think we’re all getting a little bored. That said; let’s take time to tediously wade through your screed.

    If you look to the right of your screen you will notice that many of the people who have posted comments identified themselves fully. Yes, it IS possible. Yawn…it’s very easy to shoot your mouth off while hiding behind a mask. It’s also a tremendously cowardly thing to do especially for someone who used to be “a highly successful telemarketer”.

    Cold calling has been proven effective and efficient by “experts in the field” just as many times if not more than it has been proven to be ineffective and inefficient. You can find studies to prove just about anything you want. If you were able to read and retain what I wrote it was that: each can be effective and efficient and that it’s probably best to determine how to approach someone based on their communication styles and preferences. You can go ahead and argue against that if you want. The rest of us will take a short break to roll our eyes a bit.

    Done? Okay. I am always thinking up new ways to do my job better, that’s why I do it so well. If you had even a modicum of internet research skills you would know that I already have “the keys to success”. I’ve been doing this very successfully and very consistently for a very long time. I’m not making this up. It’s out there. Do a little homework. It may not have been important for you to research who you were responding to because after all you’re just throwing a tantrum.

    Warm leads are NEVER made by cold calling. NEVER? Only an idiot would say something like that. All I have to do is come up with one single incident of a cold call turning into a warm lead and you have lost your argument. By the way, calling someone just because they looked at your MySpace – oops, sorry – LinkedIn page IS making a cold call. It certainly is NOT “a relationship”.

    Technology has not redefined our jobs it has broadened the number of tools we have to do our job. I do a lot of hiking in the mountains (like Alps, dude) and rather than carry GPS OR topographic maps; I carry both. I even bring a compass too. Imagine that, I’m sure that sounds stupid to you…..until something goes wrong.

    Yes, I grew up on the phone but if you were able to read and retain what I wrote you would have remembered that I didn’t say that was the best way to do things. I said that both worked and that one should use whichever was most effective for the situation. You can argue against that if you’d like, while the rest of us just roll our eyes again.

    Read. Retain. Discern. Decide which of the many tools at your disposal will work best in a given situation. If you have something worthwhile to say – take credit for it. If you are too embarrassed to take credit for what you say – it probably wasn’t worth saying. It’s certainly not worth the rest of us listening to it.

    The grownups are getting bored and are moving on to more fertile pastures.

    Tom Keoughan

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