Getting the Recruit To See You As A Counselor

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Mar 14, 2013

Note: This is the final part of a four part series on cold calling. In part one, Terry talked about the first 30 seconds of making a cold call. Three goals must be achieved in that time, he said: Get attention; Avoid rejection, and; Establish a dialogue. In part two, Terry explained how to begin a dialogue with a client explaining why it is you called them and what you can do to help them. Last week he offered a number of openings that will get the attention of a candidate, even one who’s been hearing from other recruiters regularly

Setting a proper frame of reference with a recruit should be a primary objective during your first in-depth discussion. This will determine whether or not the recruit views you as an asset or a liability.

For the purposes of this article, we will define a recruit as someone with whom you have initiated the first contact, and someone who, at the point of that initial contact, was not actively seeking a change in employment.

Remember: The decision a recruit makes will impact their life to a greater degree than it will impact yours.

Keeping this in mind, it is imperative for you to quickly identify with the recruit any and all potential motivations they may have for a possible job change. This can best be accomplished by asking certain questions. The answers will quickly establish a realistic frame of reference between the two of you, and serve as a foundation for your relationship.

Two Questions to Ask

Once a directed dialogue has been established and you are discussing the recruit’s possible motivations for change, consider framing the subject with the following questions:

(Recruit’s name), based on what you have already shared with me, it appears as if you will need to answer two primary questions before proceeding. First, is now the time in your career where it is in your best interest to seriously consider making a job change?

If the answer to the first question is ‘yes,’ the second question is:

What specific criteria should you be using to evaluate which opportunity is best for you? At this point in our relationship, my primary responsibility is to help you answer these questions. Does that seem like a reasonable approach?

Before proceeding, it is imperative that you gain a positive response from the recruit. You have just posed two very important questions and the recruit may need a moment to consider their ramifications. Once you receive their positive response and/or address any points of concern, continue in a manner similar to the following:

Let’s begin by taking a closer look at the first question. Perhaps the best way for you to determine if now is the time in your career where you should seriously consider the possibility of a job change is to ask yourself a couple questions most frequently posed by professional career counselors:

  • Are you still being challenged, rewarded and satisfied by your work?
  • Are you still growing, learning and developing as a professional?

Work through these questions very carefully. Do not rush this process. Help the recruit explore his or her feelings regarding each point on an in-depth basis. Chances are pretty good they have never been through a process of this nature and will find it very beneficial.

You’re Seen as Helpful

Through the proper use of these questions, and by carefully listening and appropriately responding to the answers, your role in the recruit’s eyes will change from being an opportunity broker to a potential career manager. One role has situational power, while the other has relationship power. If you possess a long-term perspective on your role as a recruiter, you will appreciate the benefits of relationship power.

Most recruiters move too fast and sell too hard. Although this approach may create a positive response from the recruit, that response is generally situational and many times does not reflect a serious motivation to pursue a job change. The recruit’s natural curiosity is misinterpreted by the recruiter who then moves ahead with a process not based on a valid point of reference.

By properly utilizing the questioning approach outlined above, you create a positive frame of reference with the recruit, leading to a more in-depth discussion, which most often will reveal the recruit’s true motivations. Once these motivations have been identified, evaluation criteria can be established and a process put in place to facilitate and support the recruit’s ultimate decision. In this manner, you can ensure the proper outcome will be achieved and that everyone involved will benefit from the relationship.

As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are most welcome.

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