THE RECRUITER WON’T RETURN MY CALL! WHY NOT?
Last week I posted on the talk I gave to the Business Executives Networking Group (BENG) on “Working With Executive Recruiters." Most of the discussion following the presentation was on the question of overcoming age discrimination. This is the primary concern for Baby-Boomer job seekers. Although the issue of age discrimination created the most discussion, it wasn’t the only question we discussed. The other questions were:
- Why don’t executive recruiters call me back?
- Why is it so difficult getting through to a recruiter?
- After all these years, why are educational credentials still an issue?
- How much information should I include in my LinkedIn profile?
- How does one find an executive recruiter that specializes in my professional niche?
The first question is interesting on many levels, as it has both social and technological components.
It was good etiquette and good business. It was viewed as a reflection of the brand. That discipline is part of our DNA. Of course, that was before email, smart phones, voice mail, caller ID, and SMS. When we began our careers, we had Secretaries and Administrative Assistants to answer our phones and take messages; today, not so much. I remember the angst created by the introduction of new digital phone systems that automated much of the receptionist function. The loss of a personal touch was considered abhorrent by many. The world has changed. We have more ways to communicate, and fewer human resources to help us. Technology has made us more capable so we are expected to be self-sufficient. Technology has changed the communications-etiquette-paradigm.
The issue isn’t exclusive to the Recruiting profession. I hear the same complaint from my colleagues regarding prospecting calls for new business. It is very difficult getting through to a decision-maker, hiring manager, or Executive Recruiter. Everyone is pressed for time and must prioritize their activities. Telephones are used differently today. Most people I know don’t even answer their phone if they don’t recognize the caller. They let the call go into voice mail to be addressed at a later time. If you are an unknown caller trying to sell your product, I will probably delete your message as if you never called. I gave up making cold calls years ago, to focus on networking and the use of referrals, (warm calls) to prospect for new business. It is much more effective.
I receive calls every day from job seekers who need help and want to build a relationship. Some are referrals from friends and associates. I welcome these calls and make time to schedule a phone conversation. That is good business etiquette! It affirms and strengthens my relationships. I invite these people to connect with me on LinkedIn and to join my mailing list. I use an auto-responder on my email to make the same offer to people sending unsolicited resumes. I use my website to advise prospective candidates about current search assignments and instruct them on building a relationship. These digital tools help me to be more efficient and therefore, effective. If you are a viable candidate for one of my assignments, I will respond to you immediately. If not, I realize that you might be a fit for a future search. I cannot talk with every prospective candidate as I am focused on the immediate needs of my clients.
To be most productive, I am a heavy user of email. I do much of my marketing and manage my search assignments via email. My initial contact with a prospective candidate is via email. I present the basics of my search and invite the prospect to respond back if they are interested or to advise potential candidates on their network if they aren’t. Only after we have established a level of interest via email correspondence do I schedule a phone conversation. Even then, that first conversation is limited to 15 or 20 minutes. It is about productivity. If the candidate is viable and interested then we will schedule a more in-depth telephone conversation, followed by a face to face meeting.
This is life in the New Normal. It isn’t personal, it is just business.
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Jim Weber, President
New Century Dynamics Executive Search
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal
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