You have a list of hot prospects in front of you and you’re ready to start cold calling or emailing. But your response rate in the past hasn’t been great. How can you cut through in your calls and up those email responses to create immediate interest?
It’s all in your pitch.
Recruiting is often likened to the sales process, but we think it’s a little like speed dating, too! First impressions count – and you don’t have much time to impress. There might be nerves; you don’t want to seem desperate, pushy, or worse – stalkery. And, we guess, you’re not just after a short-term thing. So how do you hook prospective talent – and increase the chances they’ll stick around?
Make a connection
First, find some common ground to engage them. Don’t launch into a rehearsed spiel. Get them on side with something that links you both – whether it’s people or past employment in common, the same college, or LinkedIn groups.
People respond to connection. It establishes trust and credibility, and they’re more likely to listen if you have something in common.
Pro Tip: Use a tool like Charlie App to quickly glance a candidate’s latest online activity in a flash – what they’ve written, posted on Twitter, and what interests you both share.
Ask, don’t sell
It’s not about you, it’s about them. Just like successful sales and marketing focuses more on what the customer needs than a brand’s products or services, effective recruiting must start with finding out what a prospect wants from a role and employer. And it’s not just a better salary. So, once you have their attention, it’s time to ask – then listen. What does their ideal role look like? What does it feel like? Tapping into emotions is a great way to hook a lead.
Consider asking questions like:
- Do you feel your current role is your dream job? If so, why? And if not, what’s missing?
- How would you describe your dream job?
- Are you still challenged in your current role, or just going through the motions?
“Job satisfaction” is often touted as what drives people seeking new opportunities – but this is meaningless unless you put it in context: For the career mom who wants flexible hours so she can still pick up the kids from school, extra-curricular courses might not be as important as they are to the millennial, who wants to fast-track their skillset.
You talkin’ to me?
After gauging your prospect’s needs, their current role and experience, they’re likely to be asking you some questions. And you can bet they’re listening: for how your offer might meet their needs, how well you answer any of their concerns, where they’d fit into the organization – and yes, the salary/benefits package.
At this point, you really need to refine your pitch. According to the co-founder of Fundable.com Wil Shroter, a successful pitch has a simple structure: problem, solution, and market size. Starting with this applied to your company, in no more than a few sentences, will set a strong foundation as they think over the opportunity.
Then you can go into detail, covering things like:
- Outline what makes the role exceptional and why they’d want to work with you (without gushing!)
- What’s the scope for room to grow/ professional development? Do you have incentives and rewards for achievement?
- Describe the work/life balance
- Where is the company is headed and how does that affect their job security?
- How they’ll matter – does their role have a greater meaning?
- What are the company values/mission/purpose?
Again, research pays off here – by knowing who you’re talking to, you can deftly deal with a “what’s in it for me?” query, only giving relevant answers, and keeping the candidate engaged.
Get your branding in check
It’s a no-brainer that psychology plays a role in recruitment. So use it! We’re not talking aptitude tests and personality profiles, but a sales-style approach.
Let’s start with brand awareness and perception. What’s your company’s public image? You can be sure that in a market where candidates have the upper hand, they’ll be actively looking for signs to reassure they’re making the right call. The better your organization is represented in the media, or by word of mouth, the more attractive it is to potential employees.
So if your prospect is aware of your company, use that advantage to highlight any recent media coverage or even name-drop well-known brands or clients.
Caption: Medalia chose to take their branding a step further, creating a fun video that dominates the conversation, and conveys company culture.
Take a crash course in neuroscience
Like it or not, gender matters. Neuroscience shows that male and female brains are wired differently, which has an obvious impact on recruitment. A male prospect will respond differently than a female talent to your pitch, so tailor your language accordingly:
Studies also suggest that the intonation and pitch of your voice reveal much about your intellect. While these studies specifically looked at job candidates pitching to employers, it’s bound to work both ways. The greater the variety in your voice tone, pace and pitch, the more enthusiasm and intelligence you convey, making you more appealing and engaging to a prospective hire.
Look beyond LinkedIn
Social media is fast overtaking cold calls and emails as a way to contact and engage with top talent. But broaden your efforts – and approach – beyond just InMails and Twitter @replies. Cosmetics retailer, Sephora, uses Facebook to sell the employee experience and recruit new talent. Their fan page keeps it fun and entertaining, which reflects their brand.
Google’s approach to the short and snappy pitch is, well, typically Google. One employee was lured into applying for a job while he searched for a specific programming term!
Put your pitch in context
Your pitch approach depends on the context and setting. Emails are prone to misinterpretation; while on the phone, voice is your primary gauge – and theirs. Face to face is the most immediate and revealing approach. If you’re approaching a prospect at a networking event or conference, you have to consider body language, facial expressions and personal space. Rehearsing some scenarios with a colleague or friend can help finesse your approach.
Don’t give it all away!
The purpose of your pitch is not to give everything away from the get-go. So don’t reveal everything about the opportunity. Creating a sense of intrigue can have the prospect probing for more answers, which keeps them engaged.
Don’t oversell the role/or gush about it either – be real, upfront, balanced.
Which brings us to…
Busting through blocks
You can’t avoid dealing with objections from prospects, but you can turn them to your advantage. When a prospect says “I’m not looking to move”, it’s a great opportunity to ask them why – and then scope for referrals.
Tech recruiting dynamo, John Vlastelica has some excellent scripts for handling objections.
Remember that your first contact with a prospective candidate is rarely going to result in a “Yes! Where do I sign up?” response. You’re building a rapport and relationship here, and these things take time. But armed with these tactics above, you can increase your prospect engagement and your chances of success.
QUESTION: What do you consider essential tactics when trying to sell a candidate on a role?