If time means nothing and you’re independently wealthy, cold-calling prospective candidates makes a lot of sense. But, if like most of us, you find there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what must be done and you cringe when the phone bill comes, you’re probably ready for a better means of contact. Contact thousands with the click of a mouse. No phone charges, no answering machines, no hang-ups. Better yet, do it automatically in the course of a couple of hours. In fact, do it while you’re actually interviewing live, interested prospects. Enter email. I know what you’re thinking. It’s too hard to collect that many addresses. You’ll be perceived as a “spammer” and have your ISP pull the plug. It need not be that way. With a couple of different software packages you can send out a robot, collect email addresses, and then send the mail easily. (We’ll look at those over the next few weeks.) And, if you do it right by targeting your audience and crafting a letter that means something to the recipient, you won’t be accused of spamming. Bill Craib, a recruiter turned AIRS Internet recruiting trainer says that “getting a response to the bulk email you send begins with caring a lot about what the person at the other end thinks of you.” And while email won’t ever replace the phone, it can make your phone time more productive since you’ll only contact prospects who’ve indicated an interest. In fact, Craib discovered that by bulk mailing just 500 emails a week, he developed about 200 new relationships a month. That’s a 20% response rate – just about enough to put a smile on the face of even the most serious of recruiters. The Letter: When you compose your letter, look to make a connection rather than advertise a job. Explain who you are up front and what type of recruiting search you’re doing. Ask for their help. Remember, too, to acknowledge the recipient. We all need to be recognized for who and what we are. So, in your letter explain why you’re writing to the particular person. Craib’s letters often say something like, “I’m asking for your help. Your company is at the forefront of research and this is a difficult field to find people in. If you have any avenues to suggest to me, I’d be grateful.” Add a line near the end of your letter where you offer to remove them from your mailing list. This accomplishes three things:
- You get an idea of who is interested in maintaining contact
- You know who isn’t interested
- You conform to recent spam legislation
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The Results: If you send 500 emails a week, you’ll end up making from 50% to 75% more contacts than you could by phone. Maybe 25 people will ask to be removed. Maybe 25 will send you a resume. And, if you write the letter well, like Craib, about 75 will send you ideas of where to look for other contacts.