Theresa Lowe, a recruitment specialist out of our Chicago branch, shared her thoughts on how a simple action has enhanced her career. We have a feeling this advice doesn’t only apply to recruiting!
When I first got into recruiting, my sole focus was on building relationships with candidates that I was looking to place in their ideal jobs. Once I had gotten my candidates their desired positions, they would refer me to their friends and family, and “my brand” would grow. And, it did; however, not as quickly as I wanted it to.
I wondered what I was missing—what could help me get to the next level?
After a couple of months of black hole submittals, it came to me. Most of the time, I would submit my candidates into a vendor management system (VMS) and then I would never hear back. Important questions went unanswered…Was I on the right track? Was the candidate too highly priced? Why didn’t they like my candidate? Sure, I would email the hiring manager requesting information as to why they passed on my candidate, but I would rarely get a response.
A couple months and many black hole submittals later, I finally had my “Ah-ha!” moment. While a majority of the candidates I placed had to be submitted within a VMS tool, others were sent directly via email to the hiring manager. I began to see that these direct submittals to managers offered direct interaction opportunities that helped to develop relationships with decision-makers. I mention that the submittals were in email format, because—in this day in age—we primarily email and text. Rarely do we pick up the phone and introduce ourselves. Who has time for that? Right? Wrong. Picking up the phone, as simple as it may seem, was one of the best things I have done for my career as a recruiter.
Luckily, when most hiring managers replied to my emails, they included email signatures with their contact information (one of my biggest pet peeves is a missing email signature). After a few email exchanges with one client in particular, I picked up the phone to personally introduce myself. To my shock, he—let’s call him Bob—actually answered his phone! I believe Bob was shocked to actually hear my voice. It wasn’t an emotionless email or a text message, but a real-life person taking the time to call him personally to see how he was liking or not liking the candidates I had sent him. Unfortunately, I was off the mark a bit, but he hadn’t had the time to email me back with those details, since he was so busy. But…he was very happy that I had taken the time to call him and have a conversation. We spoke in detail about the role for twenty minutes. I learned exactly what he was looking for and he learned what I was currently seeing in the marketplace.
After we hung, up I sent him three additional submittals that week with most of the requirements he was looking for. He interviewed all three and one of those candidates got the job. Bob was impressed with my attentiveness. I called him again about a week later to see how my candidate was doing on the job. But, to be fair, I also had another motive: asking if there were any additional positions he needed help filling. I knew that he used at least one other agency and if you Google “recruiting firms in Chicago,” at least 60 different agencies come up. There are so many different companies to choose from, and I wanted him to come back to me.
So, I took a deep breath and simply asked the question, “can I fill another position for you?” Yes, he replied enthusiastically. That was over a year ago. Bob doesn’t email the other agency anymore; he picks up the phone and calls me. I have his cell phone number and he has mine. I later learned that Bob previously used four other agencies, but has only used ours recently because of the relationship he and I share. Success!
Over the years, I have done this with other clients and I have been successful being the go-to. Mostly gone are the black hole submittals, unanswered emails, and lost text messages. Don’t get me wrong, I still employ all of these communication channels, since that’s the way the world works.
For me, though, picking up the phone and simply asking the question has made my recruiting career a whole lot sweeter.