Being on the corporate side of the recruiting world I regularly field calls from agency and independent recruiters looking for business. There is nothing wrong with this, and I actually enjoy many of the conversations I've had with these recruiters and salespeople. Many of them are quite personable and have begun to cement a pretty good relationship regardless of the number of jobs I can have them work on.
Earlier today I got a call from one such person, but rather than feeling good about the call I hung up feeling worn out, frustrated, and a bit disappointed I picked up the phone.
The call started out just fine. This salesperson hadn't spoken to me in a while and just wanted to touch base to say hello and catch up a bit. We exchanged a few pleasantries and discussed a bit of what is new and exciting at the moment. Had the conversation gone no further it would have been perfect and I would have been quite happy that this person took the time to call just to build the relationship.
Then came the beginning of the end.
"Yeah, it's just really bad out there right now. I mean, we could definitely stand to have more work to do. It's just scary right now things are so bad."
Even though this was not necessarily a sales call I couldn't believe me ears. This person, a prospective supplier to me, is complaining about the economy, a lack of business, and the state of the industry. I cringed, my head hurt, my eyes started to roll back in my head, and my toes curled inside my shoes. This is the kind of thing I never want to hear during a sales call!
Now I don't want somebody to call trying to spread sunshine and rainbows when I already know that things aren't going well, but for heaven's sake don't call and gripe about how bad things are to me! Moaning and complaining about how bad things are isn't exactly the kind of thing that makes me want to jump at the opportunity to do business with a recruiter or agency. I'd rather hear a couple of recent successes that have come despite hard times. This type of thing might set the agency or recruiter apart from the competition having the ability to overcome hard times and is worth the fee they charge.
No, the conversation was not about success, perseverance, or setting oneself apart. This was a conversation about struggling just like everybody else and it made me wonder how a call like that was supposed to build a relationship or earn future business.