I'm not going to lie - I had a couple of rough "first" calls earlier in my career as a young professional.
The first one was doing customer service as a youngster for a wireless company while I was going back to get my MBA. I went through three weeks of professional training and then the first live call came to me when I was on the floor on my own.
I froze like a deer in headlights. Couldn't even say my intro. I disconnected them and gathered myself. I'm guessing that didn't help the NPS scores, right?
I was young and relatively dumb. But still, c'mon. I froze.
Flash forward to my first call working as a recruiter for a contingency firm. Still remember the call. I cold-called a candidate from the database and proceeding to blather way too long to some type of IT Administrator, back in the day when that position had a form of market power.
I went on and on. The candidate - a female - was way too nice and allowed me to do it. It was as bad as just hanging up, maybe worse.
Which brings me to the point of today's post. What's a simple call strategy in a seller's market to connect with a passive candidate in the first 30 seconds of a cold-call to them? After all, if you get them to pick up the phone, you're likely a nuisance in the course of their day. You've got to say something in the first 30 seconds that makes them want to talk to you.
For me, it's simple - here's what I would do to hook a passive candidate in the first 35 seconds (I gave you an extra 5):
1. Tell them why you are calling - 10 seconds. Who you are, who you work for and what the your company does.
2. Tell them about the job - 15 seconds. Name of position, location and some company details - even if you can't give them the company name (for my recruiting agency friends).
3. Tell them one thing you see on their resume or LinkedIn profile that makes them different from other candidates you've talked to - 10 seconds.
The key, of course, is blazing through #1 and #2 and getting to #3. Vanity is the key, my friends.
Nobody wants to talk to a robot.
Nobody wants to talk to a transaction.
Everyone is willing to spend a little bit of time with someone who understands that something in their background is unique.
To tell them who you are and about the job in 25 seconds requires a script, rehearsal and discipline. But it's required.
Imagine getting through that in one breath and then saying, "I saw your resume and absolutely loved the fact you worked at <_______>. My experience is that people who spend 2+ years at <________> end up doing some great things in their career."
Lead with that, then stop talking. But it can't be bullshit - you actually have to have a take.
Try it on your next passive candidate call, and if you don't call anyone who doesn't apply for you job - how about trying to sell your job to someone who doesn't apply?