Actually, I won’t be returning your crappy cold call voice mail. Here’s why.

Fortunately I don’t get these very often… I’m one of a handful of recruiters and rather new to my company, so the vultures haven’t caught up with me yet.  However – earlier this week I had FOUR horrible voicemails in a row, from FOUR awful sales people.  Three agencies and a job board.  It went a little something like this –


“Hi Amy, this is (first name only) with (unintelligible company name).  I’m calling today to introduce you to my company.  We are the (premier/best/top/only) provider of (IT/Staffing/Placement/Advertising) solutions in your area and I’d like to schedule a time to (buy you coffee/meet with you/tell you all about me).


Please give me a call back at (phone number)and let me know when would be a good time to meet.  Thanks!”


Who would call this person back?


So much is wrong with this.  First of all, I don’t know who you are.  I don’t know who your company is.  I probably couldn’t write fast enough to jot down your phone number even if I wanted to call you back.  (Sometimes I’m a masochist that way.)


Secondly, you have given me no indication that you even know who I am, what I want, or how you can solve my problem.  Do you know what my problem is?  Do you know if I even HAVE a problem?


So what do I WANT to hear?


“Hi Amy, it’s (First Name, Last Name) calling.  I am a (Title, as long as it’s not a stupid one) with (Company Name).  My phone number is _______.  I (found you on LinkedIn/got your name from [Name]/read your amazing blog at RBC) and found out that your company (has over 100 current openings/will double revenue in the next 3 years/is the 3rd largest IT reseller in the US).  Very impressive!  I’d like to talk with you about your recruiting efforts, what’s working and what’s not, and see if (my relevant product/service) might be able to boost what you’re already doing.  If nothing else I’m prepared to bribe you with free (coffee/chair massage/babysitting).  Again it’s (name) at (phone number).  Have a great day!”


Ok, I’m kidding about the bribery part.  Well, not really.  See, it’s funny.  I like funny people.  If someone can’t laugh at themselves, they probably won’t be laughing along with me at this crazy business.  So while that's not the greatest voicemail script ever concieved, it beats the pants of what I've been subjected to lately.


And if the call went like –


“Hi Amy, (name) with (company).  Heard you lost your (job title) recently.  Not sure if you’re the person trying to replace him, but I know a guy who’s in a similar role right now over at (your competitor).  He’s not looking right now but I could sure put some feelers out for you.  What do you think?  Give me a call at (phone number)."


Now if I got THAT call, I would not believe you but I’d be intrigued enough (and admire your chutzpah) that I would probably call you back.

Views: 14401

Comment by Ken Forrester on August 19, 2011 at 8:29am

Amy, I like your version of the voice mail.  It is very professional and effective in at least getting someone's attention. 

It is also unfortunate that great telephone skills are no longer taught/practice as other forms of communications are more widely used.  But is it really the content or the delivery of the message or is  the messenger that is the real issue from the corporate recruiter perspective?

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on August 19, 2011 at 11:07am

Hi Ken - let me make sure I understand your question.  Are you asking if I, in my corporate recruiter hat, am bothered by the message, or the messenger, the messenger being a third party recruiter?


Obviously I can only speak for myself here.  I love TPR's.  I think they are some of the smartest, bravest, and toughest sales professionals out there.  I spent many years as a successful TPR and TPR manager.  I have made these calls myself and taught other people how to make them.  Back in the day I was taught how to make cold calls by grabbing a phone book and ringing up the receptionist with "hi do you use staffing agencies"?  Yeah that didn't work either. 


So what's my real issue?  That I'm no more than a tickmark on the call logs of people too lazy to find me on linkedin/RBC/Google+ and the countless networking groups (online and off) that I'm part of.  Don't call me if you don't have even the first clue how we might be able to work together.  I'd be just as annoyed with a crappy e-mail, inmail, facebook message, tweet, or smoke signal.


Recruiters - Rule #1 - KNOW THY AUDIENCE

Comment by Charron Myers on August 19, 2011 at 11:33am

Great piece Amy! (I'm going to add bribery!)

I agree finding the right voice mail/email or smoke signal has to be compelling! Not only for them but myself. I don't want to talk/work with some boring professional. I want to engage and work with passionate people!

-Getting to "Know Thy Audience" is part of the challenge and reward of the search -gotta love it!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on August 19, 2011 at 11:39am

@Morgan - I hope that's not the case... but understand it's pretty likely.

@Charron - thanks!  Not everyone will find that amusing, but like you said I want to work with fun people.  :)  If someone has taken a few minutes to learn just a little about me they should know how to get my attention - I used that "heard you lost this person" a lot, and that's just from watching linkedin and job boards for people who've recently left the company.  It's not like this business is hard.  lol  It's no different than how we approach candidates, right?  Who calls candidates with "hey I'm a recruiter and I want you to let me find you job!" ...really?

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on August 19, 2011 at 12:31pm
@Bill - where do I send a check?  :)
Comment by Ben McGrath on August 19, 2011 at 12:37pm

I would be interested in seing input from members, on the VM script that they use and the success rate of returned calls, to those script.

I think that one among us has a decent script that generates a positive response. We could all potentially learn from these examples.


Enjoy the weekend.


All the best,



Comment by Kelly Sudsbury on August 19, 2011 at 12:40pm
GREAT blog!!!!!
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on August 19, 2011 at 12:47pm

@Morgan - that can work, if you know the company hires that kind of person, and needs that kind of person at the moment...


Thanks Kelly!  very therapeutic to write it.  :)

Comment by Beth on August 19, 2011 at 12:56pm
Love it.  Voicemails are like commercials at this point, for me.  I might check them to have some background noise while I'm reading my emails.  I might.  Otherwise, if you aren't calling me with a solution for one of my problems, I'm not going to respond with a solution for one of yours.  :)  Kudos, Amy, for your thoughtful, honest commentary.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 19, 2011 at 1:18pm

"Hey Amy, I don't want your business i have all i can say grace over right now but i have gotten such a kick out of you that i wanted to reach out and visit with you a minute when you have time to put down the whip and chair that it takes to keep my fellow recruiters and all the recruiting technology sales sharks from clogging up your voice mail.  Let's talk about writing a blog together from the standpoints of internal and external recruiter viewpoints on the same subject or question."


@Ben if you are looking for a "script" you have already lost the call back game.  The reason that everybody hates calls from recruiters looking for business is that they are reading a script or sound like a trained monkey puking peanut hulls.  I mean really, would you take the phone book and call every female name in it and say.  "Hi, my name is Ben and i'm looking for a date, call me back if you are interested in going to dinner with me."


It's my take that the scripted recruiter calls or the hype about the worlds greatest candidate is right up there with an obscene phone call only most people don't get 15 obscene phone calls a day.  Geez guys! And for God's sake don't start a phone call with "How are you today?"  If i don't know you it's none of your damn business how i am today or you will get my scripted reply, "I was fine until i had to stop what i was doing to answer this call, what are you selling?".


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