I recently read Maureen Scharib’s blog post and it really got me thinking.  Maybe it was the timing; because prior to reading it, I was looking at my own call-sheet (calls made/calls returned/people reached) wondering what to do to improve the results.   So, I was thinking a lot, about the telephone!

So here we are!

This is the beginning of my 22nd year as an agency recruiter!  Ok, it’s not as long as Doyle Brunson been playing professional poker, but it does feels like I am starting out all over again.

Don’t get me wrong; it has been an enjoyable ride.  I started out with pretty good training.  I did all the things that I needed to do to learn and grow in this business and it has paid off.   As a result, I have accomplished many goals both personally and professionally.  Even though headhunting has been a very difficult business, I never considered what I do as work.  That’s because I’ve embraced the challenges, rolled with the punches and became humbled with each experience.

For some, it may be hard to believe, but the telephone is a very important recruitment tool that is rapidly being overlooked and underutilized.  Why?  Because the current social trend is shifting away from talking and listening towards reading and writing!   This is also what recruiters are being told that they need to do to engage, evaluate and motivate the people that we are interested in hiring/placing.

As I thought about it; I realized that I’ve earned a good living using the telephone, building relationships with people that I have never met.  And it’s also ironic that I met my wife on the telephone.    Without a doubt, my reliance on the telephone has made me a better recruiter, a better listener and a better communicator.   

Behind the telephone I had the freedom to be me or whoever I wanted to be.  

After spending many years on the telephone, I have developed a unique gift that has enabled me to see others for not only who they truly are, but also the potential of whom they could become.    Just by engaging in a simple dialog, I can tell the authentic from the insincere- the distracted from the interested- the qualified from the unqualified-the buyer from the shopper -the passive from the active.

Even with my eyes closed, I can tell the real diamonds from the cubic zirconia when evaluating talent. 

I do believe the telephone is the direct link to the person’s heart which allows me to see what is inside of the person without the distraction of their appearance on the outside.  And to be a great recruiter, one must be skilled in developing relationships in order to make placements.  But in order to develop relationships, one must show empathy.  And empathy cannot be displayed without being able to see life through the lenses of others. 

In the hands of a real pro, the telephone is an extraordinary device that can facilitate this unique connection.

Sure, with just one click you can uncover mounds of resumes on LinkedIn or Monster.  With just one click you can send the same email to multiple job applicants, while on your drive home.   You can even simultaneously text to another person while you are conversing with others, in a sports bar. 

Yes, the latest technology sure is faster, but are we fostering relationships?

Or, are we just taking short cuts with the most valuable/expensive asset and the most important decision making process of a person’s life; their livelihood?




Views: 182

Comment by Tom Byrne on March 14, 2011 at 12:35pm


Good post. I especially liked what you said about "Just by engaging in a simple dialog, I can tell the authentic from the insincere- the distracted from the interested- the qualified from the unqualified-the buyer from the shopper -the passive from the active."   Some recruiters, especially newbies tend to talk too much and do not listen enough. Not just listening what the candidate said but what he/she implied via tone, voice inflexion, etc.   This cannot be picked up in an email or text message. Today's technology has helped me as a 3rd party recruiter however, it is just a tool no different than the phone.  Relationships, long lasting give and take, trusting relationships happens over time and via phone or in person meetings.   Technology can be a hinderence if you allow it to be. 


I too took a hard look at how I can improve my production.  I have been a recruiter for almost 23 years now and still look for ways to improve. One thing I came to realize was "time blocking" which is not a new concept but is often overlooked. I block out 2 hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon to make calls. I do my best to avoid looking at emails and responding to emails during these times. I found by disciplining myself to time blocking on a daily basis to be very effective.  I do my best to tune out distractions.  You can be very productive by having a good daily plan and disciplining yourself to execute it.  I no longer get caught up in social media like I used to do. I found it to be too time consuming and frankly I have yet to see a return on investment (my time) of any significance. 


Gotta run, time to pick up the phone and make something happen! 



Comment by Maria Mull on March 14, 2011 at 1:28pm

I agree with both posts.  A good recruiter will be able to engage, converse and uncover the needs and wants of their clients (employees and employers).  While writing and emailing can be good tools to compliment your services and promote your offerings, these tools should not replace the human interaction component.


We all know (at least the good Recruiters do) that people buy from who they know,  trust and feel comfortable that they understand them.   Become an expert at leaving voice messages and making calls, see how many return calls you can get.  It is very rewarding!!!!!!!   Pick up that phone and speak to people.  Your competition is hiding behind writing and emails.


Kepp in mind if what you are offering is of value then you wil lhave little to no issues.


Comment by Ken Forrester on March 14, 2011 at 2:48pm
Yes, having great telephone skills along with savvy recruiter intuition will certainly give you a leg up on your competition, especially now that there are millions of candidates on LinkedIn.   Maureen indicated that to get someone live-you have to call 5- 6 times, because folks aren't picking up the phone and voice mail messages are not as effective. Other that dialing-for-dollars, what methods if any do you see gaining traction in getting call-backs?  Anyone?
Comment by Maria Mull on March 14, 2011 at 3:35pm
I almost always get  "Prospective Client" call backs.  My value proposition is to leave a message that I know will result in curiosity.  Part of my success is  I "research" the prospect prior to calling in order to locate a pain position.  Then I leave a message that touches that pain just a bit.  If they do not call back, I will call with another pain I have uncovered, eventually they do call back.  Not IF just WHEN.
Comment by Christopher Poreda on March 14, 2011 at 6:12pm

Hallelujah Maria!!!  You've got it right!  With the technology available there should never be a pure play cold call...dialing for dollars makes the activity managers happy, but puts little in your pocket.  


When I was recruiting I always believed that everyone is in the market all the time...EVERYONE!  Find the pain, heal it, and you've got a placement.  Refreshing to see someone shares the strategy.

Comment by Donna Brewington White on March 15, 2011 at 4:05am

Some really good thoughts here, Ken.  I was especially struck by your words... "Because the current social trend is shifting away from talking and listening towards reading and writing!"  

I am an avid user of "social" tools and email and don't believe it has to be "either...or" -- i.e., written vs. phone.  In recruiting, I generally start with written contact and then follow it up with a telephone call.  But, I'm an exceptional writer and this is a strength that is within my confidence zone and helps me to be successful.  It also touches on the "marketing" aspect of recruiting, whereas the phone call is more the "sales" aspect -- I like to think that in some cases, one sets the stage for the other.


However, the real relationship building happens over the phone -- and in many cases, in person -- since one thing that can be lost in written communication -- as you well remind us -- is listening.  And, of course, this is where good business development and good recruiting begin.  Thanks for the reminder.

Comment by Frantzeska on March 15, 2011 at 6:25am
Spot-on!!  Agree 100%!!!
Comment by Julie Closter on March 16, 2011 at 9:40am
"I block out 2 hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon to make calls." Excellent advise!


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