The Discerners A NEW Series by Steve Levy and Maureen Sharib
Chapter 1 Ballscon / Day One / Morning Session
Thanks for filling your sheets out.
Steve has collected them and as you can see he’s busy collating them and in a little while we’ll see on the board behind me what topics you’re most interested learning about these next two days but during the break as I circulated through the room and visited your groups a common theme I heard was how do I find telephone numbers – direct dials for people – to be exact – of people you find on the Internet?
There’s an answer to that and we’ll cover that but before we move into all that let me introduce myself.
My name is Maureen Sharib and a few of you know me as a phone sourcer. For those of you who don’t know what a phone sourcer is – a phone sourcer is someone who uses the telephone to find information out rather than relying on the Internet for information.
This doesn’t mean I don’t use the Internet – rather it means I use the phone first generally and as a backup I go to the Internet when things get rough to help me form a footprint to help me try again to “get into” a target.
In other words, I collect enough information from the internet to give me footing to place myself inside a target to continue my quest for the information I need.
You see, I spend my days – and some of my nights – traversing – and this is how I think of it in my head – the halls/offices/campuses of companies around the world.
My mission is (usually) to ferret out whole teams inside companies – sometimes even whole organizations. That means I don’t rely on what’s on the Internet to give me a few members – I have to get all the members and to do this I have to get inside the heads of people inside the companies to gather this information and the best way I know to do this is to get inside their hearts.
The best way to get inside someone’s heart is to speak directly to it and the best way for me to do this –outside of speaking to someone face-to-face – is to speak to someone on the telephone.
The telephone is my medium and it’s where I shine.
I’ve been using the telephone to communicate with people for several decades.
There is no faster route to information than through the telephone (unless, of course you’re in its immediate presence!) and it’s the best way to gather the most excellent and up-to-the minute information. Telephone-gathered information isn’t usually dated when you have faith in the source and an experienced phone sourcer learns pretty quickly what sources can be trusted.
I call the telephone the fact checker for a good reason. Many times companies will send me information that has been Internet sourced. Usually, they’ll send it to me with supreme confidence in its veracity because it’s been sold to them as highly reliable.
This subject ties in to today’s popular subject of “Data.” In our jobs “data” is about how information integrates into our worlds to make our jobs more fluid; to make our jobs more contextual.
Most sourcers today are no longer challenged to find information; they’re challenged to make sense of the information. As such their jobs is not so much to “source” at the spigot but to “discern” meaning out of the information spewing out of the fire hose attached to the spigot under pressure.
I always listen patiently as I’m told what my job is to be – that “all” I have to do is “call the people on the list and engage them in conversation; interest them in this or that job – yadda yadda yadda…” - you know the drill.
Sometimes I’m asked to find (or correct) telephone numbers - or email addresses – whatever it is I’m being asked to do the list I’m sent is sent to me in high regard and I approach it with such in respect for the customer.
It takes me about an hour or so to know what I’m dealing with as far as “the list” is concerned – but suffice it to say any list beyond a year old is – at best –about 70% accurate and you push back beyond two years your percentages start dropping – fast!
Add to that any list that contains telephone numbers – unless those telephone numbers were painstakingly gathered – one by one by calling – and that’s your answer to the common theme I heard in your groups – a good percentage of the phone numbers on any list are wrong.
Now, it surprised me a few years back when companies began to ask me to come and talk to their employees about talking on the telephone.
“Really?” I asked. “You want me to come and talk to your employees about how to talk on the telephone?”
I thought they were kidding.
Then I began to put two and two together.
I was doing phone sourcing work for some companies and the managers were having a heck of a time getting people to call the people on my lists. The lists would languish until I would get asked to do the calling and my workload was exploding with profiling and we all know how time consuming this part of the sourcing-recruiting continuum is – after all – once you pick up the phone and talk with candidates you’re recruiting – right? Who here disagrees with me on this one?
I was a phone sourcer – not a recruiter and to date my work – most of it – had been in phone sourcing and I did profiling – the calling – the first touch part of the recruiting process – as a courtesy when my customers were time-pressed.
Suddenly they all wanted me to profile because nobody in-house wanted to do it! They were all emailing (actually at that time they were all Inmailing) and that was just fine with them – they were getting a few responses here and there and those, along with the responses that jumped in the boat from the company job ads were enough to get by I guess and the phone was a bother and they were getting away with it so why not?
Who’s guilty of this in here?
Oh – nobody wants to raise their hands?
OK – I’ll let it pass.
Oh – there’s a brave, honest soul.
There’s another one. And another.
Thank you for that. I won’t ask for anymore. That’s enough to prove to the rest of us that it happened – me included – that I wasn’t imagining things.
There are tools emerging today that promise to help you in this business of engaging with candidates. The one everyone’s talking about at the moment seems to be the “Crystal Knows” app, which promises you “the best way to communicate with any coworker, prospect, or customer based on their unique personality.” It’s an interesting application and those in the know describe it as anything from a witch’s crystal ball to an arrow shot into the bull’s eye of a circle.
I find it interesting.
The Charlie App kind of weirds me out as it has that “hail fellow well met” feel for me – that stalker thing that makes me want to get OFF the phone with you/not stay ON the phone with you. But that’s me.
Here you go/knock yourself out: https://charlieapp.com
Archively is another app that “captures the workflow and best practices of discovering people in a web based world” and is an early entrant in this help-you-connect business.
As good as this technology all is – and it is good in my opinion and I’m not a technology nerd as most of you know – the fact of the matter is – and we’re going to go here over the next two days – you don’t need any of it if you’re willing to sit down at your desk with as little as a telephone and a lists of names and telephone numbers, a paper and pencil and start making phone calls.
I know that’s blowing your minds and you’re thinking to yourselves, “But what about my applicant tracking system?”
What am I going to do with all that data I’ve so painstakingly accumulated on my hard drive?
What about this and what about that?
Forget about it!
All you really need to do is concentrate on two things – your list and making calls.
It’s very simple and the act of dialing the phone and talking to people will put you into another world very fast – a world away from the digital world most of you are used to inhabiting and another space and time that will become (in a surprisingly small amount of time) more comfortable than you can imagine sitting there now.
It’s a natural world we as humans were born to inhabit and when you return to it, it feels like a fish returning to water. It’s invigorating and fun. I promise you – and I know some of you are scared sitting here today – you’re going to leave this conference with a new take on this subject.
It’s going to be like a walk through a forest. It’ll be scary sometimes; it’ll get hot in places but there will be long, cool spots and there will be shade.
I’m not suggesting you have to give up your laptops – of course you don’t – in fact I work on mine as I make my calls. Everything I hear on the phone is imprinted on my monitor through my fingertips as I hear it. When I worked at a desktop in the old days the keyboards were clickety so I’d buy rubbery silent ones (that were expensive and wore out pretty quickly) but my Apple is pretty quiet so I’m relatively confident nobody hears me typing on the other end.
Confidence. This is a hugely important subject.
The reason I make my calls on a desk phone is a desk phone NEVER FAILS ME.
It never drops a call – it rarely fails to connect when I dial and it always delivers a clear sound BOTH WAYS.
I have CONFIDENCE in all these facts and I spend NO TIME worrying over any of them.
I believe the reason many of you are not making as many calls as you could be – should be – is because of the technology you have available to you to make the calls.
How many of you have a desk phone?
How many of you have a cell phone?
How many of you have a smart phone?
There are about 7 billion cell phones in the world and about a billion smart phones. I think most of them (the latter) are owned by recruiters and those younger than thirty.
I’m not sure about that fact but I’m pretty sure.
They say smart phones will approach the cell phone number by the year 2020.
It remains to be seen.
IT’S HARD TO MAKE A PHONE CALL ON A CELL PHONE.
It’s easy to do just about everything else – send a text to the planet Mars, get underwear delivered through Amazon within six hours, watch movies that haven’t been made yet and maybe soon get pizza delivered by drone but make a telephone call? Man is that ever a pain in the ass.
Therefore I don’t think many are getting made and about half the households in America have given up their landlines.
(Many are regretting this decision by the way and there’s an uptick in re-upping on this one. The problem is many copper-wired landlines have been dismantled and many homeowners/property owners aren’t aware that it wasn’t the phone company’s RIGHT to dismantle the copper in the first place and when the request is made to reinstall the owner is told, “Sorry, m’am, NO CAN DO. If you live outside the states of California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio (these states having already agreed telecom resources would be better redirected into modern telephone technologies and innovations, and will kill copper-based technologies in the next three years or so, forcing people to go wireless!) you’re better armed to force your carrier to reinstall the copper at no cost to you.)
Expect future legislation on this and much more public discussion as people become more and more aware of the limitations and disruptions and inconveniences of cellular technology.
When you make a call on the telephone – when I make a call – it’s important that all my energy be focused on THE CALL.
I have no energy to spend worrying about the call maybe dropping after I’ve sent several minutes being transferred from pillar to post reaching this prospect and then capturing the prospect’s initial interest in what I have to say to the point where he or she is actively listening to me or, worse yet is saying something to me – only to –POOF! Have the phone go dead mid-sentence – what could be worse that that?
Maybe a sharp stick in the eye or a poker up the nose.
I don’t know – I can’t think of anything worse – can you?
When I’m on a cell phone that worry is always in the back of my mind – always on the periphery of my consciousness – and it makes my job all that much harder because I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof – always poised to jump and I know it doesn’t make me better – it makes me tense and I’m not my best on the call when I’m tense.
Calling is a HEAD GAME and if I’m not relaxed I’m not in the game so all these small points make up the game.
Let’s take a fifteen-minute break and I want all of you to take a few minutes and write down what happens to you when you make a call. Go over in your mind what your normal call routine is - start to finish – what time you normally do them; what the circumstances are that surround your calling – any details you feel are important to the story. Tell us the type of phone you use, what kind of a database you work from, how the calls are set up – do you use a script or not; again – anything you think is of importance.
We’ll be collecting these and we want you to sign your name to these if you’d like so we might consult with you individually on these. That’s up to you but you’ll find it useful – I promise.
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