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So You Want Less Cold Calling and More Relationship Building?

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by Lisa Johnson

over 2 years ago

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There was an article in Shortlist recently in which a panel of internal recruiters commented that they want less 'cold calling' from agencies and more relationship building. Say what? Let me get this straight, you want fewer people, who have never had the chance to talk to you before, calling you with the express purpose of finding out more about your business.  Instead you want more 'relationship building'.  Which has to happen, somehow, without someone actually picking up the phone and calling you. 

One recruitment manager commented, 'We get hounded by agencies daily, so if I were to choose one over another, I would choose one that hasn't hounded us and has taken more of a holistic approach in building a relationship with us.'  Sorry, I have to take a moment here, because I am laughing so hard that I can't see what I am writing.  This is like a woman saying that she isn't going to date the man who keeps calling her and wants to get to know her, but the one who never calls but whom she keeps seeing on Tinder. What the hell is a holistic approach?  Someone who sends you psychic vibes whilst doing yoga?  

Seriously, if that there was a soundtrack to some of the comments made in that article, it would be Redfoo singing, 'Lets get ridiculous,' and there is NO justification in the world for that horror! Another recruitment manager commented that they decided to go with one particular agency because a) she had an existing relationship with one of the consultants and b) because they refused to back down on their fees.  

Yeah that happens all the time. Not. Because this would be saying that the well documented pressure on margins that ALL recruiters are feeling across the board is a work of fiction.  And think of it like this: it's like a woman who has thrown out an ultimatum to get what she wants and then has to back down when she realises her partner is willing to walk away.  Things are never quite the same after that. But my favourite comment, the one that sent me running to the bathroom because I was laughing too hard, was the manager who complained that recruiters kept telling him the salary he was offering was too low.  

Now to be fair, the guy DOES find people for the salary he is willing to offer, but he admits that's because he isn't necessarily looking for top quality staff.  Recruiters are not often asked to recruit second best, so it doesn't surprise me that he keeps being told he isn't going to get someone good for the money.   

And I am going to be brutal here: we typically don't want to recruit second best people, because we end up with a hundred people on the database whom we cannot use anywhere else but who will keep hounding us looking for work.  Just not an effective use of our resources. 

The fact is the only way recruiters are going to be able to work with businesses is if we get an opportunity to get in front of key decision makers and find out specifically what will work for that business.  To get in front of you...we have to call you.  Believe me, it's just as tiresome for us, but it's a fundamental truth. To have a relationship with someone, you need to be prepared to put in the effort and call. There has to be dialogue.  

To compare it to my love life, I am way more interested in the man who contacts me all the time than the one who never calls.

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