In the last few blogs, I spent a lot of time showing you, the professional recruiter, why talking about a “new” opportunity is more effective than talking about a “better” opportunity.

Our subconscious minds don’t like to admit that we’ve entered bad territory; that there’s a better job out there; that we made a mistake in staying with our current employer for much too long.

What our minds do like, however, is the idea of “new.” Think about buying a new car versus a used, slightly better car. Which one would you prefer? Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with a used car. But there’s a difference between the excitement we feel when we buy a new car.

Initially, this concept of “new” was only intended to apply to recruiters who have already started a dialogue with a candidate. Some folks reached out to me last week to ask how to apply this same concept to the initial outreach stage of recruiting. You know, like how to get candidates to actually respond to voicemails, InMails, or emails.

Let me offer some new advice: don’t pitch jobs and opportunities when you reach out for the first time. Okay, pitching a job in your first outreach might get a few people to respond, but the majority will delete the message and go about their day. If you really want to increase your odds of getting a response, here are 3 reasons to stop pitching. Keep in mind that the following advice only applies to individuals you reach out to on LinkedIn, Facebook, or another channel you use to chase target candidates.

1. One of many

Candidates are bombarded by recruiters. Everyone’s selling “great opportunities” for “great companies” with “great benefits.” It gets old. I personally get hundreds of these emails from candidates all over the country. And let me tell you: it’s eerie how similar they all sound.

How do you stand out as a recruiter when you sound like everyone else? Why should the candidate respond to you? Would you respond to your message? Odds are, you wouldn’t.

2. The cart before the horse

If you’re silly enough to think you can sell a candidate without forming a connection first, well, you shouldn’t be recruiting. I know that’s harsh, but this business is about people. When you pitch a job to a target candidate before you know anything about them, you’re selling what you want them to buy–not what they might need.

Your goal should be clear when you reach out to candidates: get a response. You should never assume they’ll “buy” the position from you. That’s the epitome of the phrase, “putting the cart before the horse.” Not good!

3. Pitching vs. selling

Some recruiters and salespeople are little more than telemarketers. Imagine you’re sitting down for dinner. The phone rings. You reluctantly answer, and the person on the other end is pitching some credit card or financial opportunity. You don’t need it, and you sure don’t want it. The experience is disruptive and inconvenient. Selling a job through an InMail or email is the same thing: a pitch for something you want the candidate to buy, not a solution to something they really have.

The 80/20 rule rings true in both recruiting and sales for that very reason. Twenty-percent of salespeople/recruiters do 80% of the business because they’re the ones who can actually sell. Professional selling is just another term for solving a problem or filling a need. You can’t solve a problem without understanding it first. When you spam candidates with job descriptions or “great opportunities,” you’re no better than the dinnertime telemarketer.

I could go on, but those are just 3 reasons why recruiters are sometimes seen as unprofessional. It’s no surprise that with no training or direction, we resort to what comes easier: blasting out the same message everyone else is sending and hoping for a reply.

If you’re going to be a successful recruiter in this tight economy, its time to hang up the overused sales pitch. Stay tuned for next week when I outline different approaches that increase the odds of developing real connections with candidates.


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