Cold calling is tough, there’s no other way to put it. Calling up a (probably skeptical) stranger and trying to capture their interest within a few seconds is not for the faint of heart. With the proliferation of email and messaging technology cold-calling has become less and less common. Simply stated, calling is more work than email and also runs the risk of being more uncomfortable.

As a recruiter it can be easy to sit back and think, “I’ll just send an email and hope to hear back.” However, even if you have a well-crafted, personalized email you’re not going to have the human touch of a real conversation. Cold-calling isn’t right for every candidate or every situation, but it can be a great way to break through the digital noise and set yourself apart from other recruiters. Even as a digital tool we at Hello Talent highly recommend using cold calls to talk to candidates. Here are five tips on how to make sure you do it right.


A key factor in an effective cold call is the timing. You need to try and find a time to call when the person will be able to answer while at the same time avoiding being intrusive. For instance, calling during dinner hours gives you a good chance at breaking through, but will probably interrupt the candidate’s family or social time. In such a situation you’ll have gained the person’s attention, but not in a positive way.

Calling in the morning, during lunch, or near the end of a work day will put you in a good position to avoid interrupting work meetings, but still be during normal working hours where a person is reachable and used to answering the phone to talk about work. If/when you do get through to someone be sure to ask if it is a good time before launching into your pitch. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll have to call back.


Do your research

Failure to do research about a candidate is a mistake that has plagued recruiters for years. Do it over email and you could find yourself on the #FightSpam Facebook group, do it over the phone and you’ll have an even more awkward time as the person can call you out live, leaving you with little chance to save yourself. Try and have a couple notes or a profile overview in front of you before you call a candidate. This will allow you to stay on top of the conversation and sound like you know what you’re talking about.

If you don’t have any information about someone take a few minutes to do so. Check out different social media profiles, see if you can find their CV, speak with contacts, etc. The more you know about someone (without being a stalker of course) the better able you’ll be to know just what you need to say.


Prepare your pitch

On a cold call you’ll probably only have a couple of minutes to communicate your message and grab someone’s attention. To use your time wisely prepare your pitch in advance. It should be no more than two minutes long (sixty seconds is better) and should quickly cover both who you are and the opportunity you are presenting the candidate. You don’t need to tell them everything, just the highlights. Your goal with the cold call is to get another call or interview, so build you pitch up to support that.


Keep it Short

Generally speaking your cold calls shouldn’t be too long. The main goal is to introduce yourself, gauge interest, and start establishing a relationship. It could be that the person you’ve called isn’t even right for the role you’re calling about, but if you focus on the relationship first you’ll have a better chance at scoring a placement down the road. Longer conversations can happen later.


Establish a Follow-Up

At the end of a call try to set a firm date when either you or the candidate will follow up. Failure to do this can result in both parties waiting for the other to act. By setting a commitment and outlining the next steps (even if its just to have another call) you will be able to set things in motion.


How Hello Talent Can Help

Hello Talent is the perfect recruiting tool to help you organize and manage candidates in talent pipelines. When working on cold calls Hello Talent can help aggregate information about candidates, keep track of your conversations, leave notes about calls, and nurture people through the recruitment process. Start your free trial today!


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