The Guaranteed Recruit Script

“Recruiting is the fun part of our business,” Phil Ross used to say.

Here’s the script I use for recruiting. Feel free to use it.

I call it the Guaranteed Recruit Script because it works every time. Well, nearly every time. Phil Ross used to say with a smile, “Nothing is absolute, and that’s an absolute!”

Hi __________?

Hi __________, Joe Pelayo, CEO at Joseph Michaels, Inc. I assume you know who I am? Seriously, you’ve never heard of me? I keep thinking I’m more famous than that! :

Well seriously __________, 21 years ago I began working with the CEOs and the CFOs around here (or in their industry), helping them to build their teams and find all-star financial executives like you.

Normally when I come to someone out of the blue, as I have you, they’re in one of two situations. First, of course, is save your breath, Joe, I’m not going anywhere. Second, of course, is: Thank God you called, Joe. Get me out of this place! :

Seriously, most guys I meet fall somewhere in between (I pause and say the “in between” Very Slowly), and I guess what I wanted to find out from you, ________, is where you might fit in (do not pause here!). How long have you been with XYZ company (Now pause), __________? And your current title or capacity there? Where did you work before? Have you had any interviews in the last six months?

Now you’ve got them talking, and I know you know how to handle it from here. Maybe something like:

Do you have an updated résumé you could email me, _______?

Article Continues Below

If I get interrupted with “I’m not looking” or “I’m pretty happy where I am,” I always ask this:

“Golden handcuffs?”

Those two beautiful words always seem to shake them up just enough and get their attention. I just let my two words sit there and do the work for me till the potential recruit says something. The something is usually “Well, I don’t know about that . . .” and then I’m back in business.

Joe Pelayo is a true self-made man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book Work Your Network! which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly newsletter, “The Network,” sent to 50,000 executives and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the soon-to-be-released training system, 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is past president of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a group of million-dollar-business owners under age 40. Joe is available for speaking and training and can be reached through email at His website is

Joe Pelayo is a nationally known executive recruiter, mentor and speaker who shows good recruiters how to move their game up a notch and enter the big biller leagues. A published author, Joe is the CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc. and on track to double his business for the third year in a row. He helps companies fill their most important and hardest to fill executive positions as well as contract and perm recruiting & RPO. If we don't have the recruiting specialty within our firm we are happy to refer clients to another recruiter in our network. (800) 786-1099 x1 /