Cold Calling in Recruiting and Why I Don’t Do It…

Jason Pankow Always Be Closing, Candidate Pool, Jason Pankow, Recruiting, Sourcing

A while back, I was listening to a brilliant recruiter named Jennifer McClure, on an internet recruiting talk show.  When Jennifer mentioned that she didn’t cold call, there seemed to be an air of disbelief.  How in the name of Jehoshaphat can you be a recruiter without cold calling?

Well…I don’t cold call either.

*Grumble, grumble, that’s because you’re a corporate recruiter, grumble, grumble*Boiler room call

Sure it is.

The decision not to cold call has little to do with being a corporate recruiter.  Instead, it has everything to do with the fact that I hate receiving cold calls almost as much as I hate making them.

Picture this…you’re sitting at your desk, feeling good, steadily progressing toward your goals.  The phone rings.  “Hi there…this is So and So from Such and Such and I am calling about an amazing opportunity with Who’sHisFace and Associates.  I am wondering if you are interested or perhaps you know someone who is?”

Feels very similar to another situation that involves dinner time and a long distance telephone service.  In fact, some people see recruiting as another form of Spam.

Look…I’m not knocking cold calling.  Lots of recruiters do it and are great at it.  Personally, I am not.  It makes me uncomfortable and I do take no for an answer.  My point isn’t that cold calling is bad.  Only that it’s not the end all be all of recruiting.  I made an exceptional number of hires from outside the company last year and not a single one of them was from a cold call.  Not one.

Instead, I prefer to focus on the relationship.  Every candidate we hire and every qualified person we interview has a stack of friends, coworkers or college buddies.  I’m not going to be sitting there drooling over their contact list.  But, I do make sure that I maintain a relationship with those people I feel are connections to other potential hires.  Maybe at the next conference, my new hire will introduce me to his favorite former coworker.  Instead of standing there ready to pounce with a rundown of our benefits package, I shoot the breeze.  They clearly know who I am and what I do.  If they want to talk about opportunities, I am more than willing.  If not, that’s fine, too.  I’ll see you on Facebook.

Kris Dunn had a great post last year illustrating a “sales funnel” he built.  It starts with 423 total candidates and ends with 9 accepted offers.  An excellent method if you need to fill lots of heads in a very short amount of time.  In my world, however, if I’m looking at 423 people for 9 jobs, I’m pretty much spending my time confirming words on a resume.  This could make the close more difficult as I am not going to have much info other than how much money this person wants.  Plus, it leaves no time to develop the relationship beyond recruiter/new hire.  It’s much easier for me to get passionate to and about someone to whom I have given time and effort.

If you are good at cold calling, I salute you.  You probably make more money than me.  But, I am quite content exceeding my numbers without taking someone away from their Kraft dinner.