[This is a guest post from Madeline Courvisanos, most recently sourcing specialist at Quest Research and co-organiser of the latest sourcing networking drinks]
Belying our geeky reputation (perhaps formed by our obsession with nuanced changes in search engine functions), we sourcers can be a pretty slick bunch. This I discovered when listening to this week’s SourceClub, where I learned some very handy techniques on the art of candidate seduction. I mean engagement. The parallels are there – woo your candidate, establish a lasting rapport and you have a valuable and enriching long term relationship. A fumbling or bullish approach, on the other hand, could lead to your name (or that of the company you represent) known for the wrong reasons.
- Preparation is vital. Scripting, research, and following examples of others who hit the phone with panache will help you feel comfortable.
- If nerves hit while on the phone, Ivan reminds us that we are the ones that need to take the lead – the person at the other end of the phone is likely nervous, too.
- Quickly explain yourself and the position, before focusing the rest of the conversation on qualifying the candidate and creating a dialogue. Sound out your ‘date’ to avoid wasting your time.
- Leverage your brand, find out your candidate’s sentiments towards the brand you represent and whether it would interest them to work there now or in the future.
- Use situational questions to open up the conversation (who/ what/ when etc)
The Bad First Date
But what happens when a call moves from awkward to downright disastrous and a (metaphorical) drink is thrown in your face?
- Nicole highlighted that you must determine why it is that you are being shut down. Is their boss is in the room? Is it a bad time of day?
- Set up another time to talk. Appointments are the aim of all first calls and serve a variety of purposes – they show politeness and professionalism on your part, as well as extending the relationship, giving you the all- important second date.
- Try other channels of communication to find the appropriate means of reaching your prospect – email or even text messages can be more discreet.
- To calm an irritated prospect, try being extremely apologetic and polite to the point that they feel rude for being so dismissive! Again, your aim should be to start over with a new appointment.
- Get on the phone again right away after a bad experience – don’t get paralysed!
The Other Woman (Or Man!)
Much has been said about getting past the protective ‘Gatekeeper’ – the diligent receptionist or PA – but to add to the more common tips to help get your call through, our panel suggested:
- Leverage the Gatekeeper if you know that the PA moves with their boss from job to job
- Using your own knowledge of the industry you’re working within – be specific and show off what you know.
- Leave plenty of details when leaving a message. It shows trustworthiness. Also be appreciative of the time the PA is taking to help you.
The Gold Digger
So when do you raise the question of salary? And how do you prevent any nasty ‘gold digging’ surprises at the end of the process?
- Find out the prospect’s range of motivational drivers from the very beginning. Beyond money, motivators may include travel (or lack of it), room for promotion, the opportunity to work on interesting projects or with talented teams. Find out all of these drivers from the start and limit the potential for nasty surprises at the end.
- If the conversation keeps getting turned to money, back away from the prospect. This may encourage them to reveal other motivators. Ivan recommends putting their questions back onto them: “what do you think the salary should be?”
- If they truly are motivated almost entirely by money, consider that they may not be a great hire – they may be easily lured away again. This may be fine for a contract position, but perhaps not for a permanent hire.