Recently I have been experiencing a large number of people hanging up on me. What is driving the increase of this kind of behavior? Is it because my searches have been targeting the "Open Source" community (more radical "techies"), or do "greenhorns" just not know how to properly conduct themselves? What fosters such negativity to the recruiting community in general?
You're describing classic rude behavior -- and there are lots of reasons why people act this way, according to those who track these things
. You mentioned two reasonable possibilities (although this research
might indicate that you're dialing for dollars among the elderly
), but one doesn't have to look far in the recruiting community to see the disconnect (sorry, bad joke) between prospects and recruiters.
Maybe it's what you suggested. Or maybe it's you? Most often the truth lies somewhere between extremes. You can't avoid rude people -- but you can be accountable for your part in the exchange with them. When I need a reality check for my own fishing skills I go back to the basics:
1. Do the homework.
One of the biggest complaints of passive candidates is that recruiters don't know the basics before engaging them in that first conversation (check this
out for lots of real world examples). If you are working from a list of names, try a simple Google search to learn something - anything
- about the person you're calling; you might just learn that your purpose and their experience aren't in sync, and you've added value to both of your days by asking them a more relevant question ("who do you know?" instead of "does this sound interesting?").
2. Ask permission.
Is it a good time for a short conversation? Don't assume that you're the interruption they've been waiting for all day; the candidate had a life before you called, and will go back to it after hanging up the phone. Your opening line should address who you are, why you're calling, and then give them the control for what happens next. "My name is Claudia, and I recruit in your industry. I'd like 5 minutes of your time; can we speak now?" Short and sweet.
3. Get to the point.
Before you pick up the phone, hone your message. Write down your points, or the entire script if you need to, so you can present the opportunity in less than a minute. Think speed dating, and go for the highlights; remember that if you end with a question, you respectfully put the option of continuing where it belongs: back in the hands of the candidate.
4. Don't take it personally.
Cardinal rule of cold calling: "No" happens. Give yourself credit for a respectful approach, and move on.
And if all else fails and you simply must retaliate, consider a reverse phone campaign with the goal of hanging up before they do. I'd block caller ID first, though.
In my day job, I’m the head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
Do you have a question you'd like answered in this weekly forum? Drop me a line