You would love the phone to ring with inbound job orders. You can will the phone to ring. You can pray the phone will ring. How else can you ensure that you are allowing for the highest number of inbound calls? There are several approaches that, when combined, make certain that you are covering your bases. Your first step could be to post an assignment for a senior level position – one that you are aware of but may or may not have a signed agreement. All incoming candidates who are a fit for that senior level position are more than likely potential hiring managers. This kills two birds – recruiting for an open position, and business developing for new openings. Your second step really involves the Branding, Advertising, and Public Relations that you are doing in your marketplace, and that we will discuss further in another marketing approach section. Last but most important, it is critical to build a reputation for doing good work within your industry, exceed expectations, and make your client list your reference list. Get a written testimonial from each client and candidate that you place – both sides of the equation are evenly important. These testimonials can be posted to your social networking pages, attached to your emails, or uploaded on your website.
You surely have heard the phrase “act as if”. Act as if you are a leader, and you will become one. Act as if you cannot fail, and you will not fail. This same principle can be adopted from a marketing perspective as well. Act as if there are open positions, and you will bypass the typical smokescreen resistance that other recruiters will encounter. You eliminate the first and obvious knee-jerk reaction that most clients will give you when you inquire about open positions – you ask “do you have any needs”, and they hear “do you have any needs that I can help you fill.” Not only will this approach help you sidestep that initial objection, but you will be perceived as a market expert who has the inside information and your thumb on the pulse of your industry.
The Follow-Up Marketing Approach is truly a two-step process. The heavy lifting is done on the first call, setting the stage for any follow-up calls to be targeted and value-added. If you’ve ever called a client just to ‘check in’ or ‘touch base’, you have done a poor job of creating a value proposition for your subsequent calls. You must ask the client sophisticated questions to solicit specific answers regarding what information will get them wanting to answer your calls in the future. When they tell you they are interested in new business development ventures, and you call back two months later with a prospective introduction for business, the call will surely be returned.
Flipping a recruiting call to a marketing call can be one of the most comfortable ways to ease into a marketing presentation, especially for those who are just learning how to market. The key to this approach is to flip the call when you have identified that you are speaking with a decision maker; otherwise, you are qualifying someone who ultimately cannot move the process forward.
Reference checking is a great way to make a warm call into a new company. The process begins as a reference check call but with a dual purpose to ‘flip’ into either a recruiting or marketing call for new business. The call itself is one that is easily executed, because you will not encounter much resistance when you are calling to facilitate a reference check. You then build credibility because this prospective client now knows the caliber of both candidates and opportunities that you represent. However, most hiring authorities are savvy to this approach, and it’s best executed when you introduce the dual purpose of the call up front. This is typically received more openly than when you flip to marketing midway through the call, with no prior notice.
Your challenge as a recruiter is to bridge the gap between the professional fees you charge and the value or perceived value that you provide for companies. One of the best ways to bridge the value gap with both clients and candidates is to develop true expertise in a very specific industry or niche: this is called Market Mastery. By gaining in-depth industry insight beyond the obvious, you position yourself to bring unique knowledge to the marketplace – knowledge worthy of your professional fees.