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3 Responses for Overcoming Hiring Manager Objections

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Marketing, Top Echelon Blog

When we as recruiters make marketing calls, we’re actually finding the companies who don’t need our services. In so doing, we’re also finding the other companies that desperately need us, and adding their contacts to our recruiting software. Those are the ones that will make us rich.

Here’s a piece of advice from my favorite CFO, Ron Allen, who said that we always want to make sure that we are speaking with someone who can say YES and NO; too often,  we try to sell to those who can only say NO and because of that, we get a NO.

Objections come in many shapes and sizes. Below are some of my favorite responses to common hiring manager objections.

The “No openings” objection:

“No Openings” is the big one—the easiest way to get us off of the phone. It’s the one we hear with the most regularity. Here are four responses to this objection:

Oh, I guess I didn’t make myself clear. I’m a recruiter. I would venture a guess that 90% of the companies I place with don’t have openings when I call, but do want to be kept apprised of top-notch talent as that talent surfaces. One of the reasons for my call was to see if you wanted to avail yourself and your company of this unusual service.”

“What kind of person would you like to hear about, should I uncover that person in a subsequent search? Remember, I am a ‘contingency’ recruiter, so that means that it costs you nothing to speak with my candidates. Only if you make them an offer and they accept and they start to work does my service charge come into play.”

“Excellent. I assume no news is good news in that area. To what do you attribute your low turnover? (Answer) That sounds great. Of course, we are not solely in the business of filling openings. The majority of the placements we make and the relationships we have built are based upon a strong ability to locate, qualify, and refer high-performance rarities in our/your niche. We attract and recruit professionals who cost-justify themselves.”

“You are fortunate not to be concerned with an opening right now. On a scale of one to 10, one being the weakest link in your company, where do most of the employees fall? (The hiring manager says a six). With our recruitment and evaluation process, if I could locate a seven or an eight and keep your payroll cost equal to or lower than your six, would you like to meet that person?”

The “Too expensive” objection:

When the cost of our services comes up, try setting the value of the opening versus our service.

Explain to the hiring manager the following basic sales principle. There are three different methods to estimate the worth of an employee to their company: The Multiple of Compensation Method, The Contribution to Profits Method, and The Cost of Replacement Method. (Yes, for more information, you can “Google” all three). This following presentation is based on the first method. The verbiage goes something like this:

“Based on studies conducted by the top business graduate schools in the U.S., an employee’s value to their company is usually set at five times their salary. So, for instance, if your opening calls for a salary of $50K, then the value that person should bring to your company is $250K per year. My service charge, on the other hand, is just 30% of their realistic first year’s earnings, which in this case is $15K. Or, to look at it another way, my fee is merely 6% of this position’s value to your company and that’s only for the first year! You benefit from the $250K value year after year after year.

“My fee is paid only once. When you look at our fee structure in this way, we can definitely bring an advantage to your company. Conversely, taking the value of this position at $250K per year, and realizing that there are 2,080 work hours in a year, you are hemorrhaging $120 per hour for each hour that this position remains vacant. Think about it! That’s about $1,000 per workday, $5,000 per workweek, etc. Three weeks with this position open will basically equal my fee, and you’ll still have that vacancy.”

At this point, we can go into selling urgency again—that we are paid to circumvent the time factor, etc.

Universal response to most objections:

Here is a universal response that we can use on pretty much every objection that we hear:

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you had a sense of urgency, and as you know, we recruiters are paid to circumvent the time factor. When you say (state the objection), really what you are saying is that you don’t have any urgency and so don’t need my services right now. I completely understand. Should that urgency to fill your vacancy increase over time, please be sure to give me a call. I wish you the best. Good-bye.”

Formula for overcoming hiring manager objections:

The first time we hear an objection, we want to by-pass it and never answer it. “Yes, I can see why you might feel that way. By the way (go on with our presentation) . . .”

If the hiring manager brings it up again, that’s when we shut up and listen! This may be a condition of working with this client. This may be real.

Once we hear them out, we now question the objection. “Just to clarify my thinking, (name), what brought that to your mind at this time?” or, “Just to clarify my thinking, (name), what makes that so critical at this moment?”

  • Answer it fully.
  • Confirm the answer. “That clarifies it completely now, doesn’t it!”
  • Be diplomatic.
  • Don’t ever argue.
  • Don’t try to win; try to help.

If we give up when we face initial resistance without giving the hiring manager the information they need to make an informed hiring decision, then both of you lose out. Always remember that the objective is not to overcome all the objections; the objective is to make the placement.

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Bob Marshall of TBMG International, founder of The Marshall Plan, has an extensive background in the recruiting industry as a recruiter, manager, vice president, president, consultant, and trainer. In 2015, Marshall is celebrating his 35th year in the recruiting business. He can be reached at or at 770.898.5550. Marshall’s website is

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