Cold Calling – The 4th Dimension of Recruiting

Author – Payal Paul/Amber Day


Cold calling is one of the most underutilized tools in recruiting. I have had success using cold calling techniques for recruiting and here I am just writing my thoughts and some pointers. In recruitment cold calling can be used as an important tool for name generation. It helps growing a recruiter’s network and getting the best candidates that are not found on the job portals. Cold calling is extremely effective if done the right way and targeted at passive candidates. The results from cold calling may vary and you can look at some very productive long term benefits.

There is a major advantage that a cold caller has, i.e. you can spend time going after the best of the best. The target ideally should be the superstar candidates, those elusive professionals who never go job hunting because the jobs always hunt them. These superstar placements are highly coveted by every recruiter because these candidates carry a lot of credibility to the recruiting company as well as to the clients.

When using cold calling as a tool, recruiters cannot directly use the techniques from sales there are a lot of subtle changes and it will work effectively only when supported by other recruiting methods.

Here are some quick pointers on the process of cold calling for recruiting:

  • Research: This is the most important aspect of cold calling for recruiting, the efforts invested in research will actually determine if you get reach your goal. Time spent on research should be the same or more than the actual time spent on the phone. Target candidates need to be identified first, either these candidates will come from the competitor companies or from using advanced internet research techniques. Research includes using different search engines, I am most comfortable with Google but when I tried Yahoo and Alta Vista I got different results. So do experiment with different search engines.
  • X-raying and Flip Searches: These techniques are perfect for target specific searches. Company websites are an excellent source of information for candidates. You can find names, email formats and entire directories in the websites. Specific department extensions are a good way to start cold calling. With a few names you can even research on websites like yellow pages, Dex online, etc. If you have the name of your target candidate you can look them up on social networking sites and contact them through these sites.
  • Preparation for the Call: First Impressions are the Most Lasting, and as recruiters we need to remember this as a rule of thumb. Once you’re talking to the candidate it’s the final call and there are no second chances, therefore it is crucial that you are at your very best with the candidates. You should sound as if you are speaking very causally but you should be very well prepared for every statement you make. The candidates’ questions and doubts should be anticipated and you should practice rebuttals for the objections that they could possibly have.
  • Phone Etiquette: Since you’re the person making the call without an invitation you need to be extremely polite and keep all the phone etiquettes in mind. There is always a thin line between being too aggressive and too passive; you want to sound assertive with the candidate on the phone. Detailed knowledge about the client and the job demonstrates thoroughness; not fumbling on the call demonstrates confidence to the candidate.
  • Scripting your Calls: At iPlace we follow a tried and tested method of scripting calls. This method has been very helpful to me personally because I find that every time I practice my script I always make changes to make it better. After your script is prepared you should practice it until it sounds like second nature to you. Your script should help you break the ice with the candidate and the script should be very interactive. The best sales people practice their scripts extensively and when they speak or they give their sales pitches they sound very natural. This is the goal for everyone working with a script.
  • Deal with Rejection: Such is the nature of cold calling, after preparing a lot and practicing your script with all the research you will still face numerable instances of rejection. It is a part and parcel of cold calling the best tip here is to take the rejection in your stride and move on to do the next call with more enthusiasm. (Easier said than done, I say!) But, knowing that you will face rejection a lot times helps you come to terms with it.
  • Network, Network and Network more: As a recruiter if a candidate says that he is not interested, that is not the end of the road for you. You can actually work on building a relationship with the candidate and adding him to your professional contacts. Keep in touch with the candidate and whenever they need a job or someone they know needs a job they will come looking for you. Now, this may not happen immediately but it surely will if you take the right steps. Always present the ‘what’s in it for me?’ side of the equation to the candidate.
  • Referrals:Everyone knows someone! As a recruiter your goal is to get introduced to everyone your candidate knows professionally. Ask for referrals on every call and don’t give up. Once you’ve built a relationship and the candidate trusts you more he will feel comfortable to you give you the contact information for other friends who you can recruit. Again the key here is keeping in touch with your candidates even though they may not be an immediate point of business.

The above mentioned tips have helped me considerably in my recruiting and cold calling efforts, please feel free to comment and add any more pointers that can be helpful for everyone.