How do you get past the I don't know anyone looking response when networking with candidates?

That is the hardest obstacle that I have yet to get over.  So, I am sending this out to other recruiters out there to get their take on this response from candidates that are not interested in moving at the time that you call them. I believe in networking and looking for referrals on every call that I can.  I call an Attorney and he says yes when I tell him that I would like to take a minute of his/her time to discuss an exceptional opportunity that I am working on in their area. The Attorney listens politely and than says well thanks so much but I am not interested in a new position right now. I than say OK you now know what type of background that I am looking for whom do you know that would have the right qualifications to fit this opportunity but I also state that I understand you may not know anyone who is currently looking at this moment but you may know someone who would be qualified and they still come back with the same answer, yes I know some people but not anyone looking at this time. I am posing the challenge what do you say to get past the I don't know anyone looking statement.

Thanks to everyone out there that can help with this issue.

Happy Hunting

Theresa Hunter 

Views: 507

Comment by Susan Canarick on May 2, 2012 at 10:09am

Theresa,  I believe all good networkers have faced that " I don't know anyone that's looking" challenge.  People assume you have to be 'looking" to be interested in a a new job.  Au contraire!  What I explain to my folks is that finding the right candidate is like linking clues to find that "ah hah" moment - it's beneficial to talk to as many qualifed colleagues because you just never know who might want to take a look at the opportunity.  They may not have been even thinking about looking for a new opportunity, but the one you presented is a good one and hey, perhaps it's in the town they grew up and they'd love to be back, close to family.  It's all about connecting with as many people as possible and sharing information.  Candidates, for the most part,  feel flattered that you've reached out to network with them.

Comment by Patricia Morrison on May 2, 2012 at 10:22am

Bottom line is that some people will refer sometimes and others won't refer ever. In my experience, few people are born networkers and even though they don't know you, will have suggestions of who you could call. Remember that giving names and if you are lucky, e mails addresses or phone numbers is a very personal thing.  The person's is thinking of their reputation because you are going to mention their name when you call.

I suggest that you focus on the ones that may sometimes refer under the right circumstances.  Present the job as a great opportunity for the right person and wouldn't it be great to give someone else the chance to hear about it even though you are not ready to make a move?  Now they are thinking that they could look like the nice guy and not thinking that they may be invading someone's privacy by giving you the contact. My philosophy is that it is always worth the try and I don't get frustrated if I don't suceed.  Hope this helps.

Comment by Cindy Cremona, CPC on May 2, 2012 at 10:47am

Theresa - this is another reason we get paid the big bucks - we don't give up and we persist. I happen to work in accounting and finance. It's my primary desk focus and unlike the other disciplines I recruit for, it's the stingiest for referrals - always has been, always will be. Some types of recruits are just not givers, they're takers. They hoard job leads like candy. With these types of recruits, it's either them or no one. Nonetheless, I always get an email address, send a follow up email with my information, do the typical if you know someone qualified, blah, blah, blah, and move on to the next call. The one size fits all recruiting scenario does not fit for every niche or candidate base. You have to understand your target market and manage it accordingly. Bemoaning the fact that your recruiting calls don't always result in great networking chains won't get your jobs filled or the check in the mail.


Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 2, 2012 at 11:10am
I don't ask if they know anyone looking. I ask them to tell me who they think are the most respected people in their space or if there is a firm that specializes in IP work or who they would refer clients to if they were unable to take a new client. I may ask for the name of the professor who teaches IP at a law school in the area where I am focusing. Law schools often keep in touch with former students or have local attorneys teaching on an adjunct basis. I also ask if they know of anyone who has recently retired from active practice. The older attorneys many times know a lot of the younger ones and will tell you who they think are the best or the up and comers.

A lot of people draw a blank when you ask them for a referral or don't want a colleague to think they siced a recruiter on them but don't seem to mind giving their opinion as to who they think is good. Jr. Bar association president is usually a good source to speak with also.
Comment by Theresa Hunter on May 2, 2012 at 11:55am

Hi All, I appreciate all the responses from everyone. I make a lot of calls and never give up just because someone does not give me a name. I work with Attorneys and trying to get an email address is near to impossible unless they tell you that you can have it. I like your response Patricia on wouldn't it be great to give someone else the chance to hear about it even if they may not be ready to make a move.  I also let the candidate know that I do not reveal how I got the referred persons name unless they give me permission to do so.  I tell them that I will cold call them just like I did them so they don't have to worry about their friend or colleague coming back to them saying why did you have a recruiter call me.  I am not bemoaning the fact but just thought that there might be another way of skinning the cat so to speak on a response that gets the candidate to say Oh in that case let me give you so and so.

Comment by Theresa Hunter on May 2, 2012 at 11:59am

Thanks Sandra..some good suggestions.  I have asked people if you were to build a team whom would you like to see on that team.  I will keep those thoughts in mind.  I do a lot of research when it comes to locating law firms but like the idea of asking them about an IP firm that they would refer clients to if they were unable to take on a new client.

Comment by Ben McGrath on May 2, 2012 at 7:02pm

Love the responses.........My only suggestion for this, is to perhaps let the initial contact know that the person they refer to me may not be looking (currently), but someone they might know is. Also, perhaps telling them that just making the introduction may be advantageous to someone down the line.

As we know, it's who knows who knows who knows who, infinitum.

All the best,






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