No one returns emails or calls any more. Did professionalism go out the door with the economy?

I was pondering today on what exactly it takes to get a decision maker to return a call. It seems that I can make 100 calles a day and I might get lucky with 3 return calls if that. I'm looking for some suggestions on what you do to insure a returned phone call or email.
Jill Rosenfield
HireVelocity

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Jill,

Yes, professionalism went out the door......I think well before the econonmy went south. It is absolutely amazing how unprofessional so many people are out there. It really makes the professional people stand out. Here are my answers.

1. The solution with that given person is to be pleasantly persistent. Keep following up and be professional and with many eventually you get what you need. Some will get upset but they are not worth working with over the long haul. Some will come back and apologize for being tied up (and unprofessional even though they won't say that), but you can slowly mold many of those relationships with your professionalism.

2. Keep working to find the professional people to deal with. There aren't as many of them so it takes a lot of time and patience.

3. Take the example of the unprofessional people to heart and know that by being professional, returning calls and showing empathy you will stand out in a big way. Over the long haul that helps build great business.

Todd Kmiec
I don't mean to play Devil's Advocate here, but how many phone calls/emails are hiring authorities receiving from recruiters/account managers with which they have no prior relationship? 10 a day? Hundreds a week?

I personally receive anywhere from 8-10 unsolicited phone calls from unqualified candidates per day and well over 100 unsolicited email resumes a week. Everyone of those people expects me to find them a job. We all know this is completely unrealistic. I work 12+ hours per day already and I'd definitely have to tack on an extra hour or so per day if I indulged everyone who reached out to me. When I say indulge, I mean having a thorough conversation to make the candidate feel like they received personalized attention.

Let's flip the script. When I call a hiring authority, I assume they are already inundated by other staffing professionals trying to make a living. The fact they don't respond isn't because they are unprofessional. In fact, I think it is quite to the contrary. That person earned the authority to make decisions based, in part, on their professionalism. Part of being a professional is knowing how to manage your time most effectively, while avoiding complete burnout.

When they don't respond, I assume it is because I took the wrong approach. I didn't do enough to stand out or I didn't think about WIIFM.

We have to remember that the hiring authority is the customer and, in this economy, they have many, many choices. I realize this can be frustrating, but pursuing business is a very competitive, strategic endeavor - survival of the fittest at its finest.
Stephen,

I think you are right, but I don't think that is where she was coming from. A cold call or a prospecting call to a hiring manager is one thing. However, I think professionalism has taken a much bigger hit than that part of it. You are hitting on a big key that is missing these days. Most people in business have a complete lack of empathy, they don't understand what it's like to be in the hiring manager's shoes or the other parties shoes, whomever that is. And that is a big reason why professionalism is lacking out there.

TK

Stephen said:
I don't mean to play Devil's Advocate here, but how many phone calls/emails are hiring authorities receiving from recruiters/account managers with which they have no prior relationship? 10 a day? Hundreds a week?

I personally receive anywhere from 8-10 unsolicited phone calls from unqualified candidates per day and well over 100 unsolicited email resumes a week. Everyone of those people expects me to find them a job. We all know this is completely unrealistic. I work 12+ hours per day already and I'd definitely have to tack on an extra hour or so per day if I indulged everyone who reached out to me. When I say indulge, I mean having a thorough conversation to make the candidate feel like they received personalized attention.

Let's flip the script. When I call a hiring authority, I assume they are already inundated by other staffing professionals trying to make a living. The fact they don't respond isn't because they are unprofessional. In fact, I think it is quite to the contrary. That person earned the authority to make decisions based, in part, on their professionalism. Part of being a professional is knowing how to manage your time most effectively, while avoiding complete burnout.

When they don't respond, I assume it is because I took the wrong approach. I didn't do enough to stand out or I didn't think about WIIFM.

We have to remember that the hiring authority is the customer and, in this economy, they have many, many choices. I realize this can be frustrating, but pursuing business is a very competitive, strategic endeavor - survival of the fittest at it's finest.
Good point, Todd. My reaction was influenced, in part, by the title of the discussion...

"No one returns emails or calls any more. Did professionalism go out the door with the economy?"

I think the real root of the problem being discussed here is the total lack of barriers of entry to become a recruiter. In theory, anybody with a phone and a laptop can become a contingent recruiter. I don't have any numbers to back this assertion up, but I wouldn't be surprised if a good majority of "staffing professionals" out there operate without the faintest understanding of the life of a decision maker or any formal sales training.

Those without sales training or perspective will make common mistakes, such as leaving a VM that is either too long or too familiar. If a decision maker gets enough of those VMs/emails, the rest of us become noise. At best, a distraction from work. At worst, an absolute nuisance.

Good recruiters - the kind who understand full life cycle recruiting and operate ethically - are paying for the sins of the novices out there.
I don't believe this has anything to do with professionalism. It has everything to do with "have you earned the right to establish a relationship with the person you're calling?". And if your answer is "no", then you have no right to expect a return phone call.

Like some of the others on this post, as in internal recruiter who happens to manage the full cycle recruiting process for my company, and I've been at this for about 2 decades right now, let's get this straight. We ALL use agency or contingency staffing from time to time. Some more than others. So we do call out our hiring needs and we do accept phone calls. But when I get about 20 calls per week from agency recruiters I don't even know (or maybe the sent me a previous or follow up email before/after their message), that's still not building a relationship with me. And quite frankly, I don't have the time to call all of you back. However, I do return the calls from those at the agencies I have used over the years and regardless if I have a need or not, I do continue developing the relationship. I don't envy contingency staffing recruiters. Not in the least. I realize it's a tough gig and thankless at times. But so is internal recruiting. I think the key is to find out who I "use", and "why" I use them and then take that approach. For me personally, something on the emotional will get my attention rather than the script you're using. That does not work.
Did professionalism go out the door with the economy?

YES
Hey Everyone - thank you so much for all your responses. First and foremost I'd like to clarify my perspective and explain where I'm coming from.
Typically in my role, I am calling on Directors of Talent Acquisition, VP's of HR, and Staffing Managers/Directors. Occasionally it’s a CEO when I'm working with a small or midsize company. By far the majority of my business is working with the Fortune 500. (Just for background information, and not to sound like I’m selling - I work for an RPO). Typically in a week I may make 50 to 100 cold calls, and the rest of the week I’m calling on current or past clients that I have a fairly long and good history with. I pride myself on the fact that most, if not all of my current clients, as well as past clients have, or are, extremely satisfied with my company’s services. In addition people I have not done business with but, have a long history on the phone with; I believe justifies a response!

In my job function, I'm typically presenting solutions to challenges specific to recruiting, or creating recruiting solutions for companies that don’t have recruiters. I’m not presenting candidates to recruiters or to hiring managers, that’s what my colleagues in office do. So I probably come from a different perspective then most of the members on Recruitingblogs.com.

BUT – there are two points I want to make about my title – “No one returns emails or phone calls” Did professionalism go out with the economy? “

Because the economy has changed, so has my approach to Decision Makers but… Decision Makers must also change their approach!
Also my approach to people I know vs. people I don’t know differ.

My approach typically for decision makers - I HAVE a relationship with is simply this…. I may just want to network. Do you know someone that could potentially use my service? OR, I had a friend who recently lost their job and maybe based on their req. openings, I’m doing them a favor by introducing the two of them. No fees, No obligations just regular ole’ networking.

I have GREAT people networking with me daily who maybe out of work and because of who I call on i.e Decision Makers; great candidates call me all the time. The name of the game these days is Networking, Networking, Networking. Both on the corporate side and the agency side.
I do also want to add - I do clarify why I am calling or emailing.

Additionally, I may just want to call a decision maker I know simply to learn about general business conditions at their company so I know NOT to bother them. The point is this - JUST RESPOND! Even if it’s I’m busy, or this is not a good time.

On the other hand, I understand when you make a COLD CALL and you don’t have a relationship with a decision maker, expecting a call or email back is a maybe a lot to ask. (I’m not totally convinced of this though). I do understand that the types of people I call on have to prioritize their time and they get bombarded by 100’s of agency’s &vendors as do the decision makers I have a relationship with.
So what else is new?

Again my point is this….. Even those people I don’t know, and who don’t know me - may learn that if they took the time to respond, they may find true value. Not always, but, you never know. By responding to an email or phone call – it shows acknowledgment and integrity. You show your worth to people who want to know you – or do they? Even if the response is a No - How hard is it to respond???

Put yourself in the shoes of other people; a person out of work; a salesperson trying to make a living; a recruiter trying to network. You might just find you’re in those same shoes some day. It becomes awfully humbling when you’re on the other side of the desk.
You obviously don't come from a place of empathy. And you also need to read the discussion before you respond!
I have to agree with Stephen. First, As a company president, my time is devoted to my customers and my staff and I simply don't have time to respond to every voice mail and email received from all varieties of sales people. I simply MUST be very selective and judicious of my time.

Also, it does seem that many people who can't make a buck in the financial services business (mortgage folks especially) are now calling themselves recruiters and our clients tell us that they are inundated with calls from them- from all over the world now. Sales people often forget that their jobs offer a lot more freedom to manage their time than most other jobs and they should not expect anyone to stop what they are doing to help them make money.

Yes, it's a tough world right now. As I suggest to my teams, it's not just about the number of calls you make, it'a about the quality of your relationships.

Shannon Erdell, President
TLC Staffing

Stephen said:
I don't mean to play Devil's Advocate here, but how many phone calls/emails are hiring authorities receiving from recruiters/account managers with which they have no prior relationship? 10 a day? Hundreds a week?

I personally receive anywhere from 8-10 unsolicited phone calls from unqualified candidates per day and well over 100 unsolicited email resumes a week. Everyone of those people expects me to find them a job. We all know this is completely unrealistic. I work 12+ hours per day already and I'd definitely have to tack on an extra hour or so per day if I indulged everyone who reached out to me. When I say indulge, I mean having a thorough conversation to make the candidate feel like they received personalized attention.

Let's flip the script. When I call a hiring authority, I assume they are already inundated by other staffing professionals trying to make a living. The fact they don't respond isn't because they are unprofessional. In fact, I think it is quite to the contrary. That person earned the authority to make decisions based, in part, on their professionalism. Part of being a professional is knowing how to manage your time most effectively, while avoiding complete burnout.

When they don't respond, I assume it is because I took the wrong approach. I didn't do enough to stand out or I didn't think about WIIFM.

We have to remember that the hiring authority is the customer and, in this economy, they have many, many choices. I realize this can be frustrating, but pursuing business is a very competitive, strategic endeavor - survival of the fittest at its finest.
I agree with Nick. Especially in reference to cold calls. You may want to consider tweaking your message, to create a more compelling reason for them to return your call...make it clear what's in it for them? Unless they understand what the value is that you offer and feel they have a need for it, then there's no sense of urgency to return your call.

Generally, with cold calls I see it as a timing thing. If they have a need and something in my message resonates with them, maybe I'm aware of an opening and reference a possible candidate or how my specialization matches what they need, then I may hear back....if there's no need now, then I certainly don't expect a call back. I understand that though, as there's only so much time in the day! But, I'll keep checking in, and eventually the timing will be right.

I also take Nick's approach too and do a lot of upfront research before making a single call. I may make fewer calls than other recruiters but I will have targeted well and usually it pays off!

Nick Leslie-Miller said:
I am sorry, but if you dont get a reply to a call or email then tough, the client is just not interested, move on.
You as a recruiter need to give that client a very good reason for him/her to call you. Client personnel are not paid to indulge recruitment or sales people. If you understand that then you are halfway to succeeeding in this business.

I get through by conducting lots of research about International labour markets. I have researched the engineering Universities of Romania and Poland, the aerospace industry of Ukraine, the water Industries of Poland and Romania, the offshore Oil & Gas operating companies on sakhalin Island. With in depth information about skills, language standards, names of personnel, earnings in labour markets there are a lot of doors that can be opened higher up the management chain. It is the job of most recruitment managers to know as much about their skills markets as they can. They should know exactly what companies will employ the people that they are looking for, both locally and outside of commuting distance. They should know the type of University courses that candidates will have completed. They should know what their competitor employers are paying, what benefits they are offering and if possible they should know what and who they are failing to attract.

If you want to open doors and set yourself apart from other recruiters then this may be one way.
I don't think your argument is very strong. I get your point of view, but it's weak in regards to your expectation of a reply from someone you don't know. The universe does not evolve around us and our needs. It evolves around "current" needs and that's pretty much it. Your topic is provocative, but no response in any way implies non-professionalism.

Jill Rosenfield said:
Hey Everyone - thank you so much for all your responses. First and foremost I'd like to clarify my perspective and explain where I'm coming from.
Typically in my role, I am calling on Directors of Talent Acquisition, VP's of HR, and Staffing Managers/Directors. Occasionally it’s a CEO when I'm working with a small or midsize company. By far the majority of my business is working with the Fortune 500. (Just for background information, and not to sound like I’m selling - I work for an RPO). Typically in a week I may make 50 to 100 cold calls, and the rest of the week I’m calling on current or past clients that I have a fairly long and good history with. I pride myself on the fact that most, if not all of my current clients, as well as past clients have, or are, extremely satisfied with my company’s services. In addition people I have not done business with but, have a long history on the phone with; I believe justifies a response!

In my job function, I'm typically presenting solutions to challenges specific to recruiting, or creating recruiting solutions for companies that don’t have recruiters. I’m not presenting candidates to recruiters or to hiring managers, that’s what my colleagues in office do. So I probably come from a different perspective then most of the members on Recruitingblogs.com.

BUT – there are two points I want to make about my title – “No one returns emails or phone calls” Did professionalism go out with the economy? “

Because the economy has changed, so has my approach to Decision Makers but… Decision Makers must also change their approach!
Also my approach to people I know vs. people I don’t know differ.

My approach typically for decision makers - I HAVE a relationship with is simply this…. I may just want to network. Do you know someone that could potentially use my service? OR, I had a friend who recently lost their job and maybe based on their req. openings, I’m doing them a favor by introducing the two of them. No fees, No obligations just regular ole’ networking.

I have GREAT people networking with me daily who maybe out of work and because of who I call on i.e Decision Makers; great candidates call me all the time. The name of the game these days is Networking, Networking, Networking. Both on the corporate side and the agency side.
I do also want to add - I do clarify why I am calling or emailing.

Additionally, I may just want to call a decision maker I know simply to learn about general business conditions at their company so I know NOT to bother them. The point is this - JUST RESPOND! Even if it’s I’m busy, or this is not a good time.

On the other hand, I understand when you make a COLD CALL and you don’t have a relationship with a decision maker, expecting a call or email back is a maybe a lot to ask. (I’m not totally convinced of this though). I do understand that the types of people I call on have to prioritize their time and they get bombarded by 100’s of agency’s &vendors as do the decision makers I have a relationship with.
So what else is new?

Again my point is this….. Even those people I don’t know, and who don’t know me - may learn that if they took the time to respond, they may find true value. Not always, but, you never know. By responding to an email or phone call – it shows acknowledgment and integrity. You show your worth to people who want to know you – or do they? Even if the response is a No - How hard is it to respond???

Put yourself in the shoes of other people; a person out of work; a salesperson trying to make a living; a recruiter trying to network. You might just find you’re in those same shoes some day. It becomes awfully humbling when you’re on the other side of the desk.
Pam - I would agree with that. Researching a prospect and learning their needs to provide value add is most important. They will not return a call unless they see value. I do get that. Why is it so hard to just respond saying, thanks but no thanks? That takes about a second.

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