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Recruiter Cold Calling: Warm Calls vs. Cold Calls

by | Oct 20, 2021 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

When it comes to cold calling in recruitment, you would be hard pressed to find search consultants who like making cold calls. Sure, there might be an old school, dyed-in-the-wool headhunter out there who loves recruiter cold calling. But those are few and far between.

For the vast majority, recruiter cold calling is not a lot of fun. However, a dilemma exists. That’s because the recruiting profession is a sales profession. And since recruiting is a sales profession, making cold calls is largely unavoidable.

Cold calling meaning in recruitment

Before we embark upon this blog post, though, let’s consider the meaning of recruiter cold calling. In other words, “What is cold calling in recruitment?”

The definition of cold calling in recruitment is the practice of making telephone calls to people who are not expecting to hear from you. In addition, these are people with whom you have not spoken before. Typically, these people are either professionals or they’re hiring managers. With this call, you’re contacting the professionals about great job opportunities. On the other hand, you’re contacting the hiring manager about the possibility of a job order or search.

It terms of professionals, you’re usually calling passive job candidates. This is as opposed to active job seekers. Passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a new job. However, they’re often among the best job candidates in the marketplace. This includes the top 5% to 10% of professionals in the job market. (In other words, exactly the type of candidates your clients want to hire.)

For those of you who hate making cold calls, I have good news. There’s a better way to do it. And to help us explore this way, we’ve enlisted the help of recruiting and staffing trainer Barb Bruno, CPC/CTS of Good as Gold Training.

Recruitment cold calling candidates

We are, without a doubt, in a candidate-driven market. However, as you probably know, professional recruiters and search consultants are not filling 100% of their job orders, contracts, or assignments. According to Barb, this underscores the importance of continually recruiting qualified job candidates.

“Most recruiters are not inundated with resumes or CVs from the top talent their clients want to hire,” she said. “That is why it is critical that you consistently recruit top talent. Your recruiting presentations can become warm calls when you target referrals.”

Sure, the labor market is tight and qualified candidates are in high demand. However, that does not mean your clients will hire just anybody. They still want to hire the best job candidates possible. And the best job candidates possible are already working somewhere else for somebody else. “You have to continually upgrade the talent you represent and always look for qualified candidates to represent,” said Barb.

Warm calls: more enjoyable, more success

However, instead of placing cold calls, Barb recommends placing warm calls. These calls involve professionals with whom you’ve spoken before or who have prior knowledge of you. But these are not prerequisites for a call to be considered a warm call. Any call to a professional that is not strictly a cold call can be labeled as warm.

For example, according to Barb, here are some examples of warm calls to job candidates:

  • Call any candidate who was referred to you by another job candidate.
  • Ask every candidate this question: “Who was the best [insert job title] from your last place of employment?” Now you have a warm call to make!
  • Take the time to convert a reference check into a recruiting presentation.
  • Call candidates who have replaced your current top candidates.
  • Contact leaders of associations within your niche.

As you might guess, your chances for success with these calls is greater. (And consequently, you won’t hate them quite so much.)

Recruitment cold calling clients

The same approach works for cold calling clients in recruitment. You may have plenty of clients, but could you use more?

“You may have an established client base, but if you are not representing the clients your candidates want to work for, you will not have a record year,” said Barb.

According to Barb, here are some examples of warm calls to job candidates:

  • Call any client that was referred to you by a current client.
  • Contact leads provided by candidates who were interviewed.
  • Market a MPC (Most Placeable Candidate) to prospective clients.
  • Call past employers of candidates who you’ve interviewed.
  • Once again, convert a reference check into a marketing presentation.

In essence, every conversation with a job candidate is an opportunity to source warm client leads. “Ask every single candidate where they want to work and make sure that you are representing most desired companies,” said Barb.

However, this is not a “once in a while thing.” Instead, it must be an “all the time thing.” That’s the only way that you can derive tangible and long-lasting benefits.

“Your top client this year could be someone you have never talked to,” said Barb. “You will fill more of the business sitting on your desk if you recruit and network daily.”

Cold calling in recruitment and WIIFM

It doesn’t matter if you’re calling passive job candidates or hiring managers. When recruiter cold calling, you must focus on the WIIFM. That, of course, means “What’s In It For Them.” When you make a cold call, you’re focusing on yourself and what you can do. When you make a warm call, you’re focusing on the benefit or the other person. People are less likely to hang up when they are the focus of the conversation.

“When you are warm calling, you must focus on the WIIFM of the person on the other end of the telephone,” said Barb. The WWD calls or What We Do cold calls don’t work unless the person understands that what we do can benefit them.”

Consistently communicate your value

According to Barb, professional recruiters and search consultants provide tremendous value. For job candidates, recruiters can be their lifetime career agent. For clients, recruiters bring them top talent that they could not attract on their own.

“Once you have mastered the basics of our profession, then you will know how to call and who to call, schedule the time to consistently make these calls,” said Barb. “Prospects don’t know you or what you can do for them. If they did, they would talk to you. You could change their lives for the better.”

Think for a moment about the top professionals in your industry. Now think about the top organizations. Do you represent both? Do you represent enough of both? If not, how do you accomplish that? Not necessarily through recruiter cold calls. Instead, try making warm calls that increase your chances of success.

“Top clients and top candidates don’t necessarily track you down,” said Barb. “If you have worked your referral process, you will receive incoming calls that result in clients and candidates. It is critical that you make prospecting calls throughout your entire career.”

Recruiter cold calling and recruiter training

Recruiter cold calling is just one of the areas in which Barb Bruno shares her expertise. Barb is one of the most trusted names in the recruiting and staffing industry. She has helped countless recruiters and search consultants enjoy more success on their desks and within their agencies. In fact, Barb is part of the Top Echelon Expert Recruiter Coaching Webinar Series and Training Library.

Below are three of her most popular recruiter training courses:

  1. “Fill More Business by Becoming a PROACTIVE Recruiter”
  2. “Overcoming the New Challenges and Objections”
  3. “Double Trouble: Clients That Don’t Hire Quickly and Outrageous Behavior and Demands from Candidates”

Barb is just one of the trainers whose videos are part of Top Echelon’s recruitment agency training courses. These videos and courses are absolutely free! We encourage you to browse our library and watch them at your convenience.

Cold calling in recruitment and your ATS

It doesn’t matter if you’re making recruiter cold calls or warm calls . . . or follow-up calls or prep and debrief calls. You need an ATS applicant tracking system to get the job done. The days of rolodex cards and spreadsheets are over.

The good news is that Top Echelon offers a recruiting software package for professional recruiters and search consultants. It combines a powerful, intuitive applicant tracking system (ATS) with a polished and refined CRM designed to promote communication and business growth. This software includes a robust Activity Planner. With this feature, you can schedule events, meetings, calls, and tasks. This way, you’ll know what you need to do, what’s completed, and what’s overdue.

Start a free trial OR request a live demo

The Activity Planner is just one of many powerful features of Top Echelon’s ATS. And right now, we’re offering a free trial of our recruitment software. The good news is that you do NOT need a credit card to start your trial.

However, if you’re not ready to start your trial, there is another option. Instead, you can request a live demo of our recruiting agency software. A member of our team will be happy to show you the many features and functionality of the software. They’ll discuss with you how it can help you streamline your recruiting process and help you make more placements!

Free Recruiting Software

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