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Effective Cold Calling Strategies for Recruiters: What to do before, during and afterwards

While some HR insiders are convinced that the days of cold calling for recruitment purposes are long gone, there are still many Recruiters who apply this strategy on a daily basis. Here are some steps that Recruitment Consultants can follow before, during and after conducting a cold call which will help them to do it in an effective, professional and successful way.

Before making the cold call:

  • Know the purpose of your call and set specific goals: Do you want to make a visit, book an appointment, fill a vacancy, present a candidate for an interview or something else?
  • Prepare thoroughly. Do your research with regard to the company, their specific industry, the person you are talking to (their background and interests; find a common ground!) and the job position (if known already). Remember that the research is just one important part in the process, while the other focus should be on building rapport with the other person in a way that keeps them interested and engaged throughout the conversation.
  • Plan strategically as to how you will achieve your goal. Think about what kind of companies you want to target. If you are going to call companies make sure you get straight to the decision maker, no matter what that person’s role is. Find out by asking “Are you the right person to speak to regarding the hiring of ………?” Make also a list of all the companies, their phone numbers, the decision maker’s name and the desired outcome.
  • In order to stand out from the crowd it would be great to have already one or more candidates in mind who could be presented to the company for an interview. Knowing therefore in advance what the company is looking for would always give you an edge. This can be found out by checking their website, looking at online job boards, the local newspaper and their social media updates.
  • Be prepared and know how to handle any objection that your client may have (e.g. “You are too expensive.” or “We are using another agency that we love working with.” or “We don’t know how good you are.”)
  • Make sure you put yourself in a positive mind. Visualize in your mind how confident and positive you will come across and sound and how you are going to succeed at each call. Some people believe in better outcomes by: 1) standing while speaking and 2) smiling occasionally into a mirror (placed in front of them) which makes their voice sound better and more positive.

During the call:

  • In order to grab the other person’s attention instantly you must start with a strong opening sentence. The time you have to make an impact are usually 60 seconds. If you think it helps, write down certain phrases you want to say. Remember that the focus should be on the client’s need and not mainly on you or your company. Thus, it’s best to tailor your script for each of your calls and put the client and his company in the centre of attention. You could start like this: “I’m calling you for two reasons: #1 - I know that you are looking for a Software Engineer. I just conducted a highly interesting interview with a very suitable candidate for this position….. #2 - I heard about your latest product (xyz) and would like to know some more details about it regarding ……..” or “Last week I filled a similar job position with your main competitor and as you are aware, it’s very difficult these days to find the right candidate. Are you interested in knowing more about the research we’ve done in this particular area? …..”
  • Mention once in a while the other person’s name (remember the decision maker!). It will make the person feel more important and valued.
  • Have your job order form in front of you to make sure that you ask all the right open-ended questions with how, what, when, who and why. (Some examples: How long has this job position been vacant? What are the main duties of this vacancy? When is the person expected to start this job? Who does the person have to report to? Why did this position arise? Have you listed this vacancy with any other agency?). Bear in mind that by asking the right questions you will get the other person to talk and share relevant information about what they are looking for and you show at the same time your interest in them. This allows you to market your features and benefits appropriately.
  • Never interrupt the person during the conversation and show great listening skills. Use positive words with a positive tone of voice at all times.
  • Let the other person know that you have good market and business knowledge. You could try to add value to the conversation by providing the person with some industry or corporate information which they might not have known yet. Reading the latest news can therefore be very beneficial and set you apart from other competitors.

After the call:

  • Stay well organised and keep record of the status of all companies regarding their hiring needs. Follow up again at a later stage and stick to any promise you make over the phone.

Last but not least, if after following all these steps you are still struggling with making successful cold calls you might want to try another strategy: sending out “cold emails” by providing a CV for a job vacancy to be reviewed along with some company background information, website and other clients referrals. You could use this as your first approach which then can be followed up with a “warm call”. The advantage would be that you can start to discuss about the candidate straight away without having to make any further company introductions. Furthermore, it could also lead to fill other job openings that the company has. 

Thanks for reading! If you got any value out of this, I’d really appreciate if you share it.

Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, a Career Blogger at and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.
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