Despite the fact that the internet has become so integral to sourcing and recruiting, the telephone remains an indispensable tool – particularly when first contacting a candidate. Social media and digital tools – including Hello Talent of course 😉 – are powerful assets, but a phone call allows you to connect with candidates on a human level that is hard to accomplish via other mediums. These conversations are often more personal and make the art of persuasion just a little bit easier. This is not to say that calling is easy – it takes some preparation and the right approach to make it work.

In some instances you may engage in cold calling, as we’ve covered previously. During such calls crafting a short, but attractive pitch is key. However, cold calls aren’t the only types of calls you need to prepare for. Frequently you’ve already had some contact with someone before speaking with them, whether that’s because you met them at an event, emailed them previously, etc. For the purposes of this post we’re going to focus on calls where you are already acquainted with the candidate in some way.

Know Your Candidate

Of all the preparation you need to do before a phone call, perhaps the most significant revolves around doing your research on the candidate. This starts with having a firm grasp of the basics on their resume or CV, especially their areas of expertise. Some recruiters don’t bother to look at CVs until right when they call, but don’t make this mistake! It creates a much bigger risk of saying the wrong things and leaving a bad impression.

In addition to knowing a candidate’s CV it can be useful to research them a bit further. Look for blogs, public social media posts, and other things that can give you some insights into the personality and passions of the candidate. But remember, don’t be a stalker. Try to stick to publicly facing posts and content when getting to know your candidate. Doing this will not only help you understand how the candidate could fit on your team, but also to know the best way to pitch her on working for your organization.

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Tailor the Job’s Value Proposition to the Candidate

In the case of a planned call, you may already have an advantage over a cold call in that your candidate likely has at least a vague idea about the job already, and is hopefully interested as well. Nevertheless, you’re likely not close to a done deal, so it’s crucial to clearly present the value proposition of the job in the first call. To do so you’ll need to address the “What’s In It For Me?” question. What are the benefits that come with the job and the organization? This can center on any combination of compensation, growth opportunities, learning and development, company culture, etc. As you cover this be sure to tie it to the specific role you are discussing. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into a trap of generalities, but the clearer you are about the specific job and how it aligns with the candidate’s interests the better.

Choose Your Questions Carefully

Just like we as recruiters like it when candidates ask good questions, candidates feel the same about us.  Asking the right questions will not only help you to give a more convincing pitch, but also to better determine the candidate’s suitability for the role. Take this initial call as an opportunity to both pitch the job and assess whether the candidate is ultimately worth pursuing. If you’re the one reaching out, the best way to approach this is to formulate your questions in a way that is open ended and encourages the candidate to respond with stories and examples.

During this call you of course may discover that a candidate isn’t a good fit for the job in question. However, you’re still going to want to keep the candidate in your talent pool in the event that another opportunity arises. In situations like this is can be helpful to explain to a candidate what their strengths are, and that even if they aren’t a fit for the current opening you want to stay in touch with them should you find a position that can make better use of their talents.

Phone calls can be tricky, but with a little bit of preparation and the right questions they can be the perfect way to convince candidates to join your organization.

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