Lesson from the Wolf Pack #1 When speaking with receptions

Lessons from the Wolf Pack is an ongoing series of recruitment advice articles taken from, or inspired by, situations and events observed during our phone coaching sessions with recruitment consultants making real, live calls to win business and find candidates. This is advice directly from the recruitment front lines!

Lesson from the Wolf Pack #1  

When speaking with receptions

Don’t talk to reception (except when they are disposable)

Where you have a name of a potential decision maker simply ask for that person when calling the company. You are not looking to talk with reception and the further into the organisation you get, and the higher up, the better quality, and more reliable, will be the information you receive back.

If a receptionist tells you that they aren’t recruiting or that they have their recruitment needs covered don’t accept that as a final answer and ask to go through to the decision maker regardless. You can always use what the receptionist has said as a conversation point with the decision maker but don’t accept it as accurate until you have had it confirmed by a more senior individual.

And now a tip on when to speak with receptions…

Receptionists and other gatekeepers can be disposable contacts

Let me clarify what I mean by a gatekeeper prior to explaining this point – a gatekeeper is anyone who is not a decision maker. That means a senior manager or director can still be a gatekeeper if they stand between you and the person who makes the recruitment decisions.

A disposable contact is someone within a client company who you will never speak with again. A common situation where this happens is when you ring one office to try to speak to a decision maker only to find that they are based at a different office.

Before hanging up the phone with this individual you can ask them any questions you like – the logic being that you are never going to speak with them so there can be no negative consequences to your question asking.

Useful information you can ask for is:

  • The exact title of the decision maker
  • Their contact details – direct line, mobile, email
  • Asking who heads up a particular department*
  • Asking how big the technical teams are etc.

*you should always be prepared to ask who heads up the different departments that you can recruit people for

A final point about this is … because you have already gained the information you primarily needed (about the decision makers location) you can ask as many questions as you like until the person stops answering and whilst we would normally be shy about saying we are recruiters you can be open and honest if that helps gain you additional information.

Your aim is to simply gain as much information as you like and you can be more pushy or open as required as you will most likely never be speaking with this contact again.

Naturally I would expect due professionalism and politeness is maintained!

The decision maker is out of the office

So you exhaust your list of decision makers to ask for (you did have more than one didn’t you?) so the next thing to ask, and this tip can really be a great time saver is to simply ask

“When will they be back?”

A very simple question that gives you a more accurate call back time than simply inventing one yourself. Naturally receptionists don’t always know but when they do you can put that time in your call back system and make the call at the appropriate time.

This question fits nicely after asking for the decision maker’s mobile number and having the receptionist turning you down.

Additional thoughts

Four Tips for Dealing with Gatekeepers is an article I wrote (almost two and a half years ago! on dealing with gatekeepers and receptionists. Feel free to blow the electronic dust off it and have a read.

More recruitment advice next week

That’s all the Lessons from the Wolf Pack this week – tune in next Wednesday for more advice from the recruitment front lines.

And remember if you’re looking for recruitment training or recruitment coaching for yourself or your team give Edenchanges a ring or drop us an email today – it’s what we do for a living!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart

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