The Forgotten Art of Recruitment? Part 2

Expert AdviceEarlier this week we looked at how to select the right candidate and then build a presentation to market them effectively to a potential list of clients. Missed that article? Check out part one of The Forgotten Art of Recruitment? here.

Now what we are going to consider is how to put together a list of potential clients to talk to and how to deal with the up and coming buying signals that I have heard in the past described as objections, plus the one objection that everyone else seems to think is a green light!

Let us imagine for a moment we have a really good Java developer who has spent the last three years working in the head office function for a retail business. Even though the candidate may be open to considering other industries and sectors, there is a great deal of power in marketing them to other retail businesses. Putting together a list of retail organisations in the UK may take 20-30 minutes and it is a worthy investment of time (Remember the planning article now?). How would you put together a list of 50 Development managers from retail businesses currently running Java based applications?

Job boards: Search all developers, programmers and development managers who have Java and Retail companies on their CV. The list of companies must surely be target employers?

LinkedIn: As above.

Your own in-house CRM system: As above?

Google: Look for a Top 100 list retailers and all sorts of results get thrown back at you. Check out : This list could be cross referenced against any of the above applications.

A well targeted thought out list will take around 40mins to prepare. Well worth it considering the results that could be attained. Remember – we want to talk to line managers ONLY. No HR, zero, none. There are no exceptions to this rule. Why? The vast majority of people in HR can only tell you about the history and here and now from a recruitment perspective. Line managers and senior managers know before HR does, about any recruitment requirement.

Now we have a great candidate, a well rehearsed presentation and a killer list – time to hit the phone and make it happen. What happens next?

Set some objectives: All objectives should be commitment orientated. Commitment is vital in sales and recruitment. Tier the commitment you wish to gain and make sure you achieve one of the following:

  • Job order – with interview slots
  • Speculative interview for your candidate
  • Client Meeting
  • Future requirement
  • Commitment to use in the future
  • Accept CV from you to benchmark PSL (now or future)
  • Agree key skills they struggle to find for future Spec CV calls
  • Agreement for future contact on agreed date

Once on the phone be prepared for buying signals and objections. However you wish to name them they are necessary and welcome. All we need to do is know how to handle them. So as an additional tool to add to the feel felt found model I shall walk though some tried and tested rebuttals to deal with the most commonly encountered.

  1. “We’re not recruiting currently.” That’s not why we’re phoning either, so tell them! “I didn’t anticipate you would be, my call is purely speculative due to the quality of the candidate I mentioned. Tell me, how do they compare to people you’ve recruited in the past?”
  2. “Send me a CV” This is good – though the rookie may send the CV and try to follow it up. “Certainly! What do you like about them?” i.e. Start asking questions to ascertain the client’s interest and what has sparked it. This is the classic objection that many see as being a green light. Imagine sending the CV and then phoning the candidate to tell them the good news. “What did they like about my CV? What part of my experience were they interested in? What do they have in mind for me?” If you can’t answer those then you bolted too soon.
  3. “We have a PSL” Who doesn’t these days (allegedly)? “That’s an excellent way to recruit high volume positions, how do you recruit for particularly niche roles?” Now, I know that 85% of businesses have preferred recruitment partners, yet 70% have had to go outside those agreements to find the right candidate from time to time. Are you really going to accept the PSL rejection?? For further advice, see How to Break PSL’s.
  4. “Speak to HR” What for? Why do they say this? Answer – because it makes most recruiters go away. “I’ll talk to them straight after we have spoken. Who should I speak to? What is their direct line? Once I have agreed terms and conditions with HR and am in a position to supply, what is most important to you when you are recruiting?” See what happened there? Agreement to call HR then the call proceeds! Get as much commitment from them to help you win over HR by getting maximum commitment on the candidate you are presenting.
  5. “They sound good where do they work/how much are they/when are they available?” All these (and more) are true buying signals or expressions of interest. Remember – the answers to these questions could end the call (or not).


Client: “How much do they want?”

Consultant: “approx 70k”

Client: “That’s too much for us, never mind. We have a PSL in place….”


Client: “How much do they want?”

Consultant: “Money isn’t as important as the actual opportunity. Why do you ask?”

Client: “We may be looking for someone like that though our budget is tight.”

Consultant: “What figure do you have in mind?”

Client: “Max 65k at this stage..”

Consultant: “That’s not out of the question, tell me what’s most important in this position…”

See what I mean?

There are only a finite number of objections out there yet infinite ways to handle them. Get creative and start to pre-empt what may be thrown at you and prepare for it! Get on the phone and market out your best candidate this week. The results will be as good as the work that goes into doing it properly!

Did you find this post useful? Then take a look at these:

Why Recruiters SHOULD love their candidates

Unique Selling Points – do they exist in the recruitment agency marketplace?

Influence and Persuasion – How to get people to happily do what you want

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  1. Well said

    Ben Waugh 4 March 2010 at 9:54 pm Permalink

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