Cold Calling is Soooooo 20th Century…

Jason Pankow Candidate Pool, Communication, Jason Pankow, Recruiting

Yes, I know I’ve said it before. Every time I do, I need to be prepared to take some flack, particularly from third party recruiters and career sourcers.

But, I stand by it. Cold calling should go away.

Just so there is no confusion, let me clarify. Cold calling is getting a phone number for a person that you know, in some capacity, may have the experience you are looking for. It is an actual audible call to their residence or cell phone. This person is not a referral. It is not a person who has posted their resume or applied to your company at any point. A cold call is a person who will find your call completely unexpected.

A recent article in the New York Times pretty much sums up my feelings on cold calling. The writer, Pamela Paul, says it quite well, “Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward.” Miss Manners (aka Judith Martin) is quoted saying, “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.”

But, let’s move beyond the manners of cold calling. The larger point of this article is this: Who the heck likes to take unexpected phone calls, anymore?

“It’s at the point where when the phone does ring — and it’s not my mom, dad, husband or baby sitter — my first thought is: ‘What’s happened? What’s wrong?’ My second thought is: ‘Isn’t it weird to just call like that? Out of the blue? With no e-mailed warning?’

In the last five years, full-fledged adults have seemingly given up the telephone — land line, mobile, voice mail and all. According to Nielsen Media, even on cellphones, voice spending has been trending downward, with text spending expected to surpass it within three years.”

To summarize… not only is cold calling annoying, but it also doesn’t work anymore.

Last time I posted on this topic, I had a lot of people comment that I have an easier time getting in the door because of the brand I support.  Yes…I work on a killer product within a large, reputable company.  But, that doesn’t magically make it easy to find people.  Microsoft isn’t making millionaires, anymore.  Potential recruits aren’t knocking down our door.  If they were, I would have time to post more on FOT.  I still need to hunt.  I still source.  But, just like 2 years ago, I still don’t cold call.

If you’re going to reach out to someone who doesn’t expect it, technology has given you a million ways to do so that aren’t so intrusive. Send an e-mail. Find them on LinkedIn and send an InMail. Find them on Twitter or Facebook. Whatever!  By reaching out in this way, you are not interrupting dinner. You’re not waking the kids or sending someone scrambling for the phone when they are in the middle of a killer game of Halo (I freakin’ hate when this happens!). You let them respond when they are ready.

“But, Jason… you give them too much opportunity to not respond. You need to hook them early and let them hear your pitch.”

But is it really better to call someone directly and force them to listen to you rather than feel like a jerk for cutting you off so they can get back to watching Fringe? By sending an e-mail, you guarantee that you will get your entire pitch in front of them. Unless they just delete your mail outright, in which case they would likely ignore your call once they saw you on caller ID, anyway.

Get over the phone, people. If you’re a talker, that’s fine. But, make the cold call through the web.