What Do I Say?

I know I’ve promised you step-by-step sourcing instructions, but before we get started, there are a few housekeeping things I’d like to get off my chest. Lately, potential customers inquiring about my service have been asking me, “What do I say when I talk to these names you’re going to give me?”

At first I didn’t realize what they were talking about. I’m in such a routine with my established customers that they give me my marching orders, I give them back the names, they do their thing, and I don’t hear from them again until the next order.

“Huh?” I thought to myself. “What do they think they’re supposed to say to them?”

Then the lightbulb went off.

Maybe these nibblers are asking me this because they view these possible candidates as intimidating because, after all, most of these “names” aren’t looking for a job or even thinking about looking for a job.

It’s not like calling someone whose resume came in over the transom or someone they found on Monster. With those people, it’s self-evident why they’re being called and many times the call is received with enthusiasm. It’s a sort of “order filling.”

But call someone who hasn’t thought about another job? That’s a horse of a different color. Or is it?

Remember, these “names” I give you come with a big advantage because they’re hard at work with heads down, shoulders to the wheel, many of them really aren’t thinking about another job or, more important, even thinking that maybe they should be thinking about another job. Surprise has distinct advantages. Let me explain.

When you call them, most of them are surprised at your query and will ask you, “How’d you get my name?”

“Your name was given to me as someone NewWonderfulOpportunity Corp is most interested in speaking with regarding an open position they have,” usually quells the curious, dumbfounding them. Filling the surprised silence, you say, “I understand you may not even be thinking about another opportunity, but if you have a few moments, I was hoping you’d share a little information about yourself with me. Is now a good time to talk?”

The possible candidate will either say yes or no (about this being a good time to talk) so let’s assume he says “Yes,” which most of them do. (If he says “No,” which a few will do, immediately ask if you might call him that evening, at home. Most will say yes to this, and this way you stay in control of the call.)

Continuing, at this point the sourced name (potential candidate) is on the verge of revealing himself as a candidate. About 60% of the people you approach (if your sourced names are sourced carefully) will actually be potential immediate candidates, even though about one-third of them are actually looking (this based on the fact that 15% to 25% of the labor pool is actively looking for new jobs at any one time).

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Those are pretty good odds, aren’t they? Instead of filling jobs with “volunteers,” you’re filling jobs with a field that’s hand-picked and chosen by you. “Be the chooser, not the chosen,” is one of those sayings that ring from my childhood in the back of my head.

Many of the sourced names I give you, though not actively looking and falling into that 15% to 25% mentioned earlier, will be very receptive to listening to your new opportunity.

You must believe this to be true for this avenue of opportunity to work for you.

This is one of the fundamental things I see wrong in recruiting today. People are afraid, yes afraid, to talk to other people these days. Calling a stranger feels like a cold-call and not many people want to do that. Believe me, it is one of the most enjoyable and productive things you can do for your career. You just have to get started doing it!

Once you start, it gets easier, and with practice, it really streamlines itself. Most of the people you call are going to welcome your call, just as many of them would welcome a stranger knocking on their door. Human nature makes us social beings; many of us yearn for the companionship of others.

One more set of numbers, and this is going to blow you away. About 20% to 25% of the sourced names I give you can become actual hires if you “pipeline them” correctly and develop relationships with them. Yes, if you talk to them and get to know them! It’s entirely up to you. Put on your warm and fuzzy slippers. They’ll feel good.

Before I close, let me give you some stats and tips, with thanks to Steve Lowisz, the CEO of Qualigence, and C.M. Russell of Allcountyjobs:

  • Only 15% to 25% of the labor pool is actively looking for new jobs at any one time
  • Companies spend an average of 80% of their recruiting budget on traditional recruiting activities
  • It may take six to eight persistent phone calls to get a passive to call you back
  • Recruiting a passive candidate takes a sales mentality

How Passive Candidates Should Not Be Handled

  • Don’t ask them why they want to work for your company
  • Don’t ask them to fill out an application or send a resume (initial contact)
  • Don’t lead the conversation with talk about compensation

How Passive Candidates Should Be Handled

  • Sell! A passive candidate needs to be sold on your opportunity and company
  • Keep all communications and documentation confidential
  • Focus on why the candidate should work for your organization
  • Be persistent; passive candidates need extra motivation to continue the process

Just imagine if recruiting departments started spending some of that 80% on sourcing. Let’s work to make it so!

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!