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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Peter - Believe it or not I agree with you when it comes to cold calls. However, when it comes to people you know and have a relationship with, it absolutely has to do with professionalism.
I too agree with Pam and Nick. You have to have a compelling reason for that person you are calling to call you back. I especially agree with Pam in regards to making fewer quality "warm" calls rather than a lot of cold calls. With elaborate websites, Linkedin etc. you are in an excellent position to do some research on the company and individual you are calling and craft your call to your targeted audience.

On another note, what I find extremely frustrating is when your client wants to do a telephone interview with your candidate, schedules a time to call the candidate and then forgets to make the call! A half hour later I get a call from my candidate saying he didn't get the expected call. This is just plain rude and reflects badly on the company and individual hiring manager. Being contingent recruiters and as such being on straight commission we have a sense of urgency. I guess salaries make people complacent!
Jill Rosenfield said:
Peter - Believe it or not I agree with you when it comes to cold calls. However, when it comes to people you know and have a relationship with, it absolutely has to do with professionalism.
I get it Sanda. I get everyones point in the discussion. There are 2 issues here though; not just one. Maybe I should have changed the title to "No one calls or emails anymore. Did relationships go out the door with the economy?" Instead of using the word "professionalism"

The first issue we are talking about is the cold caller or the candidate that dosen't fit the bill for the position. I understand why you can't call everyone back. Truly I get it by the overwhelming response.

Ok that being said and accepted;
The other issue...the warm or hot call to a desicion maker you have already built a relationship with, or candidate that comes strongly recommended who has already gone through the proper channels; was phone interviewed or had a face to face interview, still can't get a return call or email is what I call unprofessional.
I should have clarified this. I thought I did, but by the overwhelming response I obviously did not.

Sandra McCartt said:
Well Jill, yes it would be more "professional" to return all calls and emails. We try to respond to every candidate who calls us or emails us even if they don't fit anything we are working on. As of this morning there are 1200 emails in my inbox and 30 voice mails on my phone with it continuing to ring. If i responded to all of them i wouldn't get anything done today that i need to get done. The last ones on the list that may never be answered are the ones from people wanting to network to see what's going on, sell me something or even friends who aren't that busy and just checking in. It's not that they might have something to say that i might be interested in or a product or service that could be of value. It's just volume and time.

I like to think that i am a professional in the way i respond but if being professional means i have to respond to everything and everybody so they don't get their feelers hurt or think i'm not a pro then i guess i have to join the ranks of the unwashed. I just can't do it. My nail polish is chipping, i only sleep about 4 hours a night, my throat is sore from talking but my clients are my priority so maybe it's just that we have to adjust our priorities with other people in mind and their work schedule.
I attended my first recruiter’s work shop in September 1986. I unfortunately can’t remember the name of the presenter, although I do remember his diamond studded cufflinks, embroidered/monogrammed shirt, and a smirk that said, “90% of you newbies will never make it past the first 60 days.”

We had to learn the “pitch”, and it went something like this, “Hi, my name is Jack Young I’m an executive recruiter I take it you know what I mean.” Depending on whether you were cold calling a candidate or a client you then went further in your spiel with, CANDIDATE: “I’m calling you today because I just received a fabulous assignment to recruit a Director of Operations for a wonderful manufacturing company in your area, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in hearing about this opportunity?”

Jill, apropos your discussion from the CLIENT SIDE circa 1986, “I was calling you today because I just met an incredibly talented Director of Operations. I’m handling a search for another distribution company, and frankly, this particular Director of Ops is too senior for my current client company. Do you think you’d be interested in hearing about this very talented operations professional?”

Here’s a laugh from these pre-scripted call days; I worked with another new recruiter “Bob”. Bob really took the training literally, and committed to memory the opening phrase, “Hi my name is Bob I’m an executive recruiter I take it you know what I mean.” Well, we all worked off of paper company lists at the time, and you simply were “dialing for dollars”, not paying too much attention to who, what and where. Bob is on his umpteenth call of the day, and about twelve of us in the “recruiting bullpen” were making calls, and hated hearing Bob and his inane rendition of, “Hi my name is Bob I’m an executive recruiter I take it you know what I mean.” Finally, Bob get’s the next potential client or candidate on the phone, and he starts his pitch when all of a sudden we hear him say, “Hi my name is Bob I’m an executive recruiter I TAKE IT I KNOW WHAT I MEAN”. Jill, I’ve laughed a lot during my years in this business, but maybe never harder than hearing Bob utter that one phrase. Imagine the thoughts going on in the mind of the person listening to that pitch.

It is amazing with this training I ever survived in the business. On and on, evolving and evolving we’ve trekked. Always trying to professionalize our approach, and gain entre' to the next great client, or superstar “Operations Manager”.

I find myself having morphed from newbie/novice salesman, agency proprietor, to seasoned showman/schmoozer. A day does not go by where I’m not formulating a strategy of how to break into an account. How can I reinvigorate enthusiasm with a long standing client company that’s been hit hard by the economic downturn?

No one returns my calls, where has professionalism gone was the salesman’s lament in 1986; it is still a challenge to overcome today in 2009. The biggest difference is that the snub can emanate from so many different forms of media. Our email can be ignored, our voicemail can be ignored, our text can be ignored, and the greatest indignity of all, our Tweet can be ignored…

I posted a blog on April 23rd. titled “I just want someone to call me” http://www.allowmetointroducemyself.com/blog/ from the 100’s of candidate calls I receive and their pleas for help in connecting with a potential hiring authority or recruiter that can offer them some hope.

Man, I don’t want to be preaching, (particularly to this choir), but many of us face the same challenge as the candidate(s) wanting audience with a hiring manager. Reinvent, or as our President sold us, “change”… and so I shall.

I’ve reinvented my recruiting model for the fourth time in 23 years. This incarnation is the most drastic, innovative, and circular in design. I’ve tried to consider the most glaring needs of the client, candidate, and recruiter. This new model gives me reason, and purpose to reach out to 23 years of connections. I won’t be sending a single postcard, letter or facsimile.

There’ll be links to PowerPoint presentations stored online. Announcements throughout the Social Networking community, and yes, old fashion phone calls to my most valued accounts. Jill, I need to be extraordinarily compelling in my message.

I need to be inventive in my service, and need to employ strategic risks that look good on paper, but are wholly unproven in practical application. I can do this because I am convinced my plan is solid, and the implementation benefits everyone.

I’m leaving emails regarding this launch that are being returned. I’m calling my client base with a message that goes something like this, “Hi, it’s Jack Young, and I would like to speak to you about a new recruiting solution for your company. I’ve crafted a unique way for us to work together that will dramatically reduce your cost in utilizing my service, and provide you greater access to my network.” I’m receiving a call back of about 90% of the time. As a maniacal Class A lunatic, the 10% not responding still drives me nuts. My attitude is once the program roles out and gains it’s first, and second success, the ten-percenters will come along as well.

Be compelling, be beyond excited, be positive – if you believe you are calling with a product or service that will definitely improve the functionality, productivity, and profitability of a company, and that belief is born from solid research and experience, keep calling until the CEO, President or owner of the company tells you to stop!
I completely agree with you on that point. It's actually not considered unprofessional, but rather rude, bad behavior and vulgar. I'm behind you on that point. That wasn't clear in your opening blog. I interpreted it to be just about "cold calls". But when/if it's someone with an established relationship, then not replying or returning the call is unacceptable.
Jill Rosenfield said:
Peter - Believe it or not I agree with you when it comes to cold calls. However, when it comes to people you know and have a relationship with, it absolutely has to do with professionalism.
Jill - you hit on a favorite topic of mine :-)....You are encountering the common disease known as SERS (Selective Email Response Syndrome)

http://community.ere.net/forum/topics/22210/

Rob
Hi Jack - Big THANK YOU! I really appreciate your response. I'm working from home today with bronchitis feeling pretty beat up not only physically from being ill, but emotionally with all the overwhelming negative responses to my sparked debate. It seems to be a sensitive subject on both sides but I'm probably debating a losing battle.

You really hit the nail on the head for ME. One of those aha moments. Enthusiasm and belief in ones product or service is so very important, especially now in this economy. I know this, but, being reminded certainly does not hurt. Maybe I've just become less optimisitc and that's what people are hearing from me. I really need to think about my message and how I am being perceived, regardless of the fact that I really do believe my company provides value add! (Perception is Reality).

I've been in sales for over 20 years personally, but I have only been in this particular business for approximately 4 years. I love it believe it or not, but, even in my first year of recruiting and being an absolute novice I never saw the lack of response as I do now. I guess that's where my frustration lies.

I in no way intended this subject to turn into a pity party for Jill I just wanted to make my point hoping it would at least resonate for people who are on the side of the desk making hiring decisions or the decision on who to respond too and who not too.

Jack Young said:
I attended my first recruiter’s work shop in September 1986. I unfortunately can’t remember the name of the presenter, although I do remember his diamond studded cufflinks, embroidered/monogrammed shirt, and a smirk that said, “90% of you newbies will never make it past the first 60 days.”

We had to learn the “pitch”, and it went something like this, “Hi, my name is Jack Young I’m an executive recruiter I take it you know what I mean.” Depending on whether you were cold calling a candidate or a client you then went further in your spiel with, CANDIDATE: “I’m calling you today because I just received a fabulous assignment to recruit a Director of Operations for a wonderful manufacturing company in your area, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in hearing about this opportunity?”

Jill, apropos your discussion from the CLIENT SIDE circa 1986, “I was calling you today because I just met an incredibly talented Director of Operations. I’m handling a search for another distribution company, and frankly, this particular Director of Ops is too senior for my current client company. Do you think you’d be interested in hearing about this very talented operations professional?”

Here’s a laugh from these pre-scripted call days; I worked with another new recruiter “Bob”. Bob really took the training literally, and committed to memory the opening phrase, “Hi my name is Bob I’m an executive recruiter I take it you know what I mean.” Well, we all worked off of paper company lists at the time, and you simply were “dialing for dollars”, not paying too much attention to who, what and where. Bob is on his umpteenth call of the day, and about twelve of us in the “recruiting bullpen” were making calls, and hated hearing Bob and his inane rendition of, “Hi my name is Bob I’m an executive recruiter I take it you know what I mean.” Finally, Bob get’s the next potential client or candidate on the phone, and he starts his pitch when all of a sudden we hear him say, “Hi my name is Bob I’m an executive recruiter I TAKE IT I KNOW WHAT I MEAN”. Jill, I’ve laughed a lot during my years in this business, but maybe never harder than hearing Bob utter that one phrase. Imagine the thoughts going on in the mind of the person listening to that pitch.

It is amazing with this training I ever survived in the business. On and on, evolving and evolving we’ve trekked. Always trying to professionalize our approach, and gain entre' to the next great client, or superstar “Operations Manager”.

I find myself having morphed from newbie/novice salesman, agency proprietor, to seasoned showman/schmoozer. A day does not go by where I’m not formulating a strategy of how to break into an account. How can I reinvigorate enthusiasm with a long standing client company that’s been hit hard by the economic downturn?

No one returns my calls, where has professionalism gone was the salesman’s lament in 1986; it is still a challenge to overcome today in 2009. The biggest difference is that the snub can emanate from so many different forms of media. Our email can be ignored, our voicemail can be ignored, our text can be ignored, and the greatest indignity of all, our Tweet can be ignored…

I posted a blog on April 23rd. titled “I just want someone to call me” http://www.allowmetointroducemyself.com/blog/ from the 100’s of candidate calls I receive and their pleas for help in connecting with a potential hiring authority or recruiter that can offer them some hope.

Man, I don’t want to be preaching, (particularly to this choir), but many of us face the same challenge as the candidate(s) wanting audience with a hiring manager. Reinvent, or as our President sold us, “change”… and so I shall.

I’ve reinvented my recruiting model for the fourth time in 23 years. This incarnation is the most drastic, innovative, and circular in design. I’ve tried to consider the most glaring needs of the client, candidate, and recruiter. This new model gives me reason, and purpose to reach out to 23 years of connections. I won’t be sending a single postcard, letter or facsimile.

There’ll be links to PowerPoint presentations stored online. Announcements throughout the Social Networking community, and yes, old fashion phone calls to my most valued accounts. Jill, I need to be extraordinarily compelling in my message.

I need to be inventive in my service, and need to employ strategic risks that look good on paper, but are wholly unproven in practical application. I can do this because I am convinced my plan is solid, and the implementation benefits everyone.

I’m leaving emails regarding this launch that are being returned. I’m calling my client base with a message that goes something like this, “Hi, it’s Jack Young, and I would like to speak to you about a new recruiting solution for your company. I’ve crafted a unique way for us to work together that will dramatically reduce your cost in utilizing my service, and provide you greater access to my network.” I’m receiving a call back of about 90% of the time. As a maniacal Class A lunatic, the 10% not responding still drives me nuts. My attitude is once the program roles out and gains it’s first, and second success, the ten-percenters will come along as well.

Be compelling, be beyond excited, be positive – if you believe you are calling with a product or service that will definitely improve the functionality, productivity, and profitability of a company, and that belief is born from solid research and experience, keep calling until the CEO, President or owner of the company tells you to stop!
Ah is that what you call it? I love it! ;)
Let's get that into the wikipedia! Or can we make it a twitter term- maybe call it TWITSERS?

Rob McIntosh said:
Jill - you hit on a favorite topic of mine :-)....You are encountering the common disease known as SERS (Selective Email Response Syndrome)

http://community.ere.net/forum/topics/22210/

Rob
Maybe someone brought this up - I didn't read ALL the responses.
Jill clarified when she said:
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.

One thing that might be happening is the people you're calling on, Jill, may no longer be there! Believe it or not, company voicemails are not always kept up to date (I know because I've cruised thousands!) It could be your message is being left in a black hole. I maintain that staffing and HR departments are decimated these days and only skeleton crews remain at many of the Fortune 500 you're calling on. You think that receptionist (Gatekeeper) knows, or even cares, that Mike Moriarty, Staffing Manager, was let go in February? There's a good chance she doesn't know and he's still showing up in her directory. If what you've noticed, Jill, is a drop-off over the last year especially, I'd start doing some sleuthing on the front end of your next calls to find out if the person you're calling, maybe listed on a network like LinkedIn or an info service like Hoover's or even in your own database as being employed there, is, in fact, "still there." Chances are expanding that he's not. In most cases, his duties are now being handled by whoever was above him (a couple steps above him) in the food chain.
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Hi Jill,

I think the answer to your question is yes and no! I think it was always tough to get a return phone call, but I think the economy has just made it worse! I was feeling that today, as well, so I'm glad I ran into your post.

I don't think there is a real method to getting phone calls back. I think you keep trying and decide what your limit is and then move on!

I also find this lack of professionalism when I'm trying to reach out to other recruiters!

Good luck!

Leah
Hi Leah,
I appreciate your input. And you are right!.... the answer is yes and no. I just want people to be a little more understanding on both sides of the equation. In my opinion the lack of response seems to be more rampant in this economy.
I understand when it comes to cold calling you must come with serious value add for some one to return a call, but again as I've stated in my earlier posts, people you have relationships with that dont respond.. it's just frustrating.

Leah Rosen said:
Hi Jill,

I think the answer to your question is yes and no! I think it was always tough to get a return phone call, but I think the economy has just made it worse! I was feeling that today, as well, so I'm glad I ran into your post.

I don't think there is a real method to getting phone calls back. I think you keep trying and decide what your limit is and then move on!

I also find this lack of professionalism when I'm trying to reach out to other recruiters!

Good luck!

Leah

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