Trump InMail By Going Old School. Use the Phone

The battle for quality, unique candidates is starting to resemble a cage fight. 

Why do so many recruiters treat it as though they are in a pillow fight?

I am not easy to shock. Especially when it comes to recruiters and recruitment.

Yet, here is the transcript of a recent conversation between a smart, experienced (3 years) recruiter, and myself,  that left me (almost) speechless.

  • Smart Recruiter: Greg, I am so frustrated. I found this perfect candidate on LinkedIn and she won’t respond to me.
  • Greg Savage: What have you done so far to contact her?

  • SR: I have sent her three InMails.
  • GS: And…?
  • SR: And she won’t reply. Such a bummer. Have to find someone else.
  • GS: (Exercising massive restraint.). Have you tried calling her?
  • SR: (A little condescendingly.) Ah Greg, but don’t you realize, most candidates don’t list their phone number on their LinkedIn profile! (Triumphant smile.)
  • GS: (Losing it.) Seriously, how hard is it to find someone’s phone number if you know where they work?
  • SR: (Not missing a beat.) Yes, I suppose I could find it. But calling someone at work? That’s rude isn’t it?


Right, and spamming them via LinkedIn is polite huh?

It’s an epidemic of missed opportunity. Some LinkedIn candidates are getting up to 40 emails and InMails a day! Why do you think LinkedIn is choking your ability to send Inmails? Mostly (not that they admit this) it’s because the user experience is getting fouled by untargeted recruiter and other vendor approaches.

And some of it is the most basic of random crap. I know. I am connected on LinkedIn to 8,000 recruiters. And I live in Sydney, Australia. And it’s pretty clear from a cursory glance at my profile that I am not looking for an Apprentice Chef job in Wigan, UK, but I get spam InMails asking me to apply nonetheless.

Is this what it’s come to? Is that as good as we get?

And the facts support my outrage.

Most recruiters simply do not use the phone to contact quality candidates they identify on LinkedIn, or through other sources. Yet, candidate response rates are at least twice as high using the phone compared to other methods. (thanks Social Talent for the research).
Get this.

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As a candidate generation strategy, phone sourcing hammers InMail or email.

And yet this is a recruiting skill as old as the profession itself. Maybe that’s why we have deserted it. Because it’s not shiny, and digital, and we can’t hide behind the technology.

  • Candidates online (especially LinkedIn) are weary (and wary!) of mail.
  • Privacy is the new advantage. The best candidates are “hiding” online, and certainly won’t respond to recruiter spam.
  • Easily found candidates are often the dregs.
  • Technology identifies. Human beings recruit.
  • Phone sourcing is the weapon of a true “Skills Hunter.”

So wake up! Getting candidates that others cannot is your competitive advantage.

The phone is right there.

Pick. It. Up.

And if you are not sure what to say once you have, read my upcoming blogs. I will tell you. I am helpful that way.

What do you think? Do you give good phone? Let us have your comments below please.

Note: This post originally appeared on The Savage Truth.

Over a career spanning 30 years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

After graduating with Honours in Psychology, Greg started his career in Executive Search in Australia, before he went on to manage the London office of the United Kingdom’s largest accounting recruiter for two years. In the early 1980s he returned to Australia to run the Sydney office of Accountancy Placements (now the Hays Group), where he was invited to join the Board of Directors at age 27.

Greg founded Recruitment Solutions in 1987, and rapidly built the start-up across Australia and New Zealand, culminating in eight offices, 200 staff, and annual sales of $60,000,000. Such was Recruitment Solutions’ success that, in July 1998, the company was successfully listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, with Greg at its helm as both Executive Director and COO.

April 2001, Greg joined Aquent as Asia-Pacific CEO. In 2005, he was promoted to Aquent International CEO, and assumed responsibility for all Aquent businesses outside of North America.

In 2010 Greg acquired the Permanent and Search business of Aquent in Europe, Asia and Australasia, via a management buy-out, and founded Firebrand Talent Search. He quickly created a global brand for this specialist Digital and Marketing recruiter, and successfully sold the business, in 7 countries, in January 2013

In recognition of his contribution to the Australian recruitment industry, Greg was made an Honorary Life Member of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) in 2004.  He was subsequently elevated to Fellow (FRCA). In addition Greg was the inaugural winner of the highly prestigious RCSA “Outstanding Contribution to the Recruitment Industry” Award 2011.

Greg now provides consulting, advisory and training services to recruitment, professional services and social media companies across the world. Subscribe to his blog, The Savage Truth.


2 Comments on “Trump InMail By Going Old School. Use the Phone

  1. I 110% agree – I was getting lazy (that is the only word for it) … I learned first day as a recruiter to call and “ruise” for names (for hours on end) and then calling those individuals – one by one …. I often have to tell myself – NO LI today – print out and make those calls!!!!
    QUESTION: is there a resource to FIND direct phone numbers (you know how difficult the “gatekeepers” can be) or resources to find potential Candidate’s cell phone numbers? MUCH appreciated if anyone can adivse ….

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