There is a crisis of understanding in our society, and it permeates our industry as well. If I asked a group of 100 people how many felt completely understood in all areas of their lives, maybe one or two would respond affirmatively. Our society tends to be self-centered, self-focused, and dedicated to meeting our own needs first. We have lost our knowledge of seeking first to understand.It is a crisis, and you can use it to your advantage on your next recruiting call. Candidates are so tired of hearing from slick recruiters that see potential placement prospects as walking invoices. They are sick of recruiters trying to pull them away from a good position, and then if the candidate is not interested the recruiter expects them to open up their rolodex to them for referral possibilities. Candidates wonder if it could get any more crass. Yet in search and staffing offices everyday, this is the standard method of recruiting candidates. “I need to make a placement so I need you to leave your company, pull your kids out of school, sell your house, and move to Cleveland.”Remember, what worked in 1999 doesn’t work anymore. You have got to be fresh and different and offer a legitimate relationship with those candidates before you even ask for anything, including an open mind, a referral, or a lead. Why should a candidate give you something so precious when they don’t trust you?I once asked a young couple of love birds who had been married for over sixty years why they were so successful in their marriage. “Give and take,” the husband responded. “But mostly give.”Relationships with candidates are no different from any other relationship in our lives. We cannot ask to take anything out of the relationship without first putting something in.Consider these three steps to take to increase the authenticity of your direct-hire/search candidate recruit calls:
- Clarify your own personal values, long before you make your first call. Executives and managers are more sophisticated in today’s competitive market. They’ve heard it all, seen it all, and rebuffed it all. Be different. Be authentic. Once you have created a crystal clear list of your beliefs, people will sense your congruence and confidence. Cash flow has everything to do with character. If you don’t believe me, just think back to your worst buying experience. It probably had more to do with the sales rep than the product or service you were considering.
- Write in your journal the things that you bring to the relationship, even before you make your first call. Perhaps its your expertise in the industry, your network of relationships, your rare and valued client searches or job openings, confidentiality, and a long-term potential of a career-enhancing relationship. By first understanding your true value as a recruiter, the confidence will come across in your voice.
- If the candidate tells you he or she is happy with their current position, find out why that is. “You obviously have a reason for telling me this, Joe. Would you mind sharing that with me?” Seek to understand his or her reasons for the level of satisfaction, and then move on to finding out what those issues really are. You can’t overcome an objection unless you first find out what that objection really is, so with an authentic relationship established, you now have the right and responsibility to take it to the next level to determine whether or not your client’s opportunity really is or is not a better fit for the candidate.
- Then follow up with this. “Joe, I certainly understand how you feel about that. What I’d like to do is spend a few minutes finding out where you are in your career, where you want to go, and see if this opportunity can help you get there. If so, that’s great. If not, that’s fine, too. Then you can decide for yourself whether or not you’d like to go forward. I’m fine either way. Is this a good time for you now or should we talk later this afternoon?”
And that’s it. That’s how every single recruiting call, every single initial relationship with every candidate you ever talk to will build your brand, build your relationship base, and build your reputation in the industry. Your success ratio of finding real candidates will be better and the likelihood of “surprises” happening at the tail end of the deal will minimize. I personally have not had a single counteroffer take a candidate out of my deals in the last three years, and I attribute it to this model of thought with candidates. Try it for a week, and email me (email@example.com) to let me know if this concept helps you. Remember, real and lasting achievement is making minor changes in major areas, and if we can have a fundamental shift in our relationships in the direction of authenticity, then our deals will become more solid, our fun-quotient will increase, and our billings will skyrocket.