July 20, 2018

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Using Surveys to Create Activity

Tom was in a rut: No hot jobs to work on, no brilliant candidates to run with—and no sympathy from his boss or co-workers.

“I wish I could help you,” said Ellen, Tom’s supervisor. “But until you pick up the phone and start making calls, nothing will change.”

“Been there, done that,” said Tom.

“Not according to our phone logs,” said Ellen. “From what I can see, you spend a lot of time staring at your Blackberry.”

“Guilty as charged,” admitted Tom. “I just don’t know what to say to people.”

“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” said Ellen. “But one thing’s for certain: unless you dramatically increase your phone output, you’ll continue to struggle.”

Pickup Lines for Recruiters

Tom considered his options. He could either continue down the path of least resistance and suffer the consequences or get down to business and start burning up the phone.

So, Tom made a bold decision: Since he didn’t feel he had much to say—or to sell—to employers or candidates, he would let them do the talking. And the best way to get them talking would be to ask them a set of questions. By framing the questions as though he were conducting a survey, he could quickly present his credentials, get a conversation started and gather useful information.

Tom knew that if the situation presented itself, he might also be able to pick up a job lead or two, or even uncover a placeable candidate he might want to partner with. Tom’s questions to be brief and to the point. And he made sure the responses could also be short. If the person wanted to elaborate or engage in a dialogue with Tom, well, that would be just fine.

To help break the ice, Tom wrote a little opening script: “Hi, my name is Tom, and I’m a recruiter who specializes in your industry. I have a one-minute survey I’d like you to take, and then I’ll on my way.”

Then he asked one of three questions.

To the employer he asked: “What skill sets or job functions are most in demand at your company (or in your group)? In other words, what types of critical openings are the hardest to fill?”

To the candidate, he asked: “Which of these characteristics will be most important the next time you look for a job: (a) work/life balance; (b) technical challenge and acquisition of new skills; (c) compensation/benefits/job security; (d) corporate culture that’s consistent with your values; or (e) something else?”

Or, he designed this question to ask either the employer or a candidate: “Which websites, blogs, online magazines, print publications or trade shows do you use to stay current or that give you or your company a competitive advantage? And do you belong to any industry associations or professional development groups?”

Tom was amazed at how receptive most people were, and how much activity he was able to generate from his survey approach.

We’ve all walked—or will someday walk—in Tom’s shoes. We need to write jobs and arrange sendouts. And yet, how do we create activity out of thin air? Simple answer: By picking up the phone and starting a conversation.

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and The Radin Report is published monthly.