“The Phone Rang…” Lessons From Robocruiter, Part 3

Editor’s note: Last week, we gave you part 2 of “The Phone Rang…” Robocruiter series. This week we continue this short series from Bob Marshall with part 3.

For those of you who haven’t been exposed to Robocruiter before, buckle your seatbelts.  I am going to take you on a brief flight through some of his more memorable (to me) recruitment technique snippets.  By the end of our journey, you will be able to appreciate his complete mastery of our profession. This week, we will look at:

  • Marketing with FAB
  • The “I have arranged…” close

Marketing with the Feature-Accomplishment-Benefit (FAB)

I am a great believer in making scintillating presentations.  In fact, one of my claims to fame is that I was the first person to introduce the FAB concept to Robocruiter.  He then took it, molded it and made it his own and uses it to this day with great success.  By implementing the FAB, marketing can be fun!

The FAB presentation is an easy format to learn and can be used with either an ‘Idea’ presentation or a Most Placeable Candidate (MPC) presentation.  It works with either, although I prefer the MPC avenue.

Now, if you use a candidate as an MPC, you can very easily apply this FAB principle.  The Feature is what the Candidate does.  The Accomplishment is how well he/she did what he/she does—these are usually spelled out in ‘concrete’ (number) terms.  And the Benefit is how those Accomplishments will benefit a new company—a company to which you are going to take the Candidate.  Now you are armed to make a scintillating presentation.  You will be able to answer the prospective HM’s non-verbalized question (“What can this Candidate do for me?”) and you can easily avoid the “No Openings” box.  The FAB presentation also allows you to get excited about the Candidate and that excitement will be contagious.  To reinforce this last point, remember sales training icon Cavett Roberts insightful quote that, “People are more moved by the depth of our conviction, than by the height of your logic.”  FAB an MPC and you’ll see what I mean.

I have arranged…

Once when Robocruiter and I were talking, he told me that he had a 100% Presentation to Send Out ratio on his Company Matching Calls (A Matching call happens when a JO pre-exists and you are calling back the Hiring Manager to present a candidate for the opening).  Most of us run a 25-50% hit rate on this call, but Robocruiter was at 100%.  This is how he explained this critical call to me.  (Special Note:  This approach can also be used when you Market).

Robocruiter said that most of us make a fundamental mistake when we initiate this call.  We tend to be so excited to have a recruit to present that we go willy-nilly into our presentation without re-qualifying the JO and/or setting the stage for the subsequent interview.  We just call in and present our candidate.  At the end of our breathless monologue, we hear the Hiring Manager say, “Gee, he really sounds good, Bob.  Send me his resume.”  Or, “Well I don’t know, let me think about it and I will get back to you.”  So, we have basically arranged nothing.  This isn’t quite fair when you consider that we were given the JO, or search assignment, with the expectation that it was an urgent matter.  We already won once when we wrote the JO.  Based on that victory, we then went to our marketplace and expended a lot of time and effort (for free if this was a contingent assignment) betting that anyone we would find would be a match.  And now we have received nothing for our hard work.  Woe is us!

Robocruiter approached this task a little bit differently.  First, after he had recruited his candidates, he would call the HM and re-qualify the JO.

“John, remember when you gave me the information on this search assignment you said that the title of the position was ‘X’.  Is that still the same?  Yes, well that’s good.  And that the duties and responsibilities were ‘Y’.  Has that changed at all?  No.  Good.  And that the salary range was ‘Z’.   Is that still the same?  Good.  And that you agreed to pay my 30% fee.  Are we still OK there?  Good.”

Then he would set the stage.

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“Then I have some good news for you.  I have canvassed the area.  I have talked to many potential recruits.  And finally I have refined the list down to three who are qualified and are good matches for you and your company.”

Then he would set the hook.

“So, John, this is what I have done.  I have arranged for these three recruits to be available to speak with you next Monday and Tuesday (as we had pre-arranged) at 9, 11 and 2.  Now let me tell you a little more about them.”

Robocruiter always presented his candidates to his client companies in this way. He first re-qualified the JO, he then set the stage and finally he inserted the “I have arranged” close. His central focus was that he had arranged for those people to be there. In his mind, it was a done deal, so to speak, because it had already been arranged.

This approach works for a couple of reasons.  First of all, HMs, and indeed most business people today, have things arranged for them.  So what you’re doing is fitting into that nice neat package of how they do business anyway.  Also, if something’s arranged, it’s going to take place.  Robocruiter used to say to me, “When you come up to visit me in my office, if I said to you, ‘let’s have lunch some time while you are here’, we wouldn’t have lunch.”  “But if I said, ‘I have arranged for us to have lunch at noon on Wednesday at Ruth’s Chris and this is what I want to discuss,’ then now, all of a sudden, it’s arranged.  You can actually picture Ruth’s Chris restaurant and can even visualize the table where we will be sitting.  It’s an accomplished fact.  It’s done.  As opposed to me saying, ‘Let’s have lunch this week’, and then the luncheon never taking place.”

This approach works.  Try it and you will see.  Just like Robocruiter, you too will attain a 100% SO to Presentation ratio when you call back your HMs on the Job Orders you have already written.

That’s it for part 3. Over the coming weeks, we will cover the qualities of Recruitable Job Orders (JOs), How to Qualify JOs, the five reasons why AEs don’t close, the thirteen paths to motivation, and the five things you will lose by implementing all of these techniques. Stay tuned…


“The Phone Rang…” by Bob Marshall is a series that defines what we, as recruiters, do for a living. This article series ran in The Fordyce Letter over the past year and we are proud to bring you the series online. To subscribe to the print edition of The Fordyce Letter, click here.

Bob Marshall began his recruiting career in 1980 when he joined MR Reno, NV. In 1986 he founded The Bob Marshall Group, International, training recruiters across the nation as well as in the United Kingdom, Malta, and Cyprus. In 1996, he returned to working a desk full-time, while continuing to train recruiters. In late 2011, Bob will begin licensing his proven training system in selected U.S. and international territories.

To learn more about his activities and descriptions of his products and services (including the Double Production-guaranteed program), contact him directly at: 770-898-5550, www.TheMarshallPlan.org, or bob@themarshallplan.org.

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