July 15, 2018

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Maintaining Control of the Conversation

Yesterday I was conducting a webinar for a group of legal recruiters. I was emphasizing the importance of not just pitching jobs when we make our initial recruit calls. In my own opinion, when a candidate cuts us off and says, ‘Just tell me whatcha got. I’m really busy right now,’ you should respond to it with a question. Questions are a way to guide and lead and control the conversation. Such as, ‘Whatcha want?’ but phrased this way:

‘In that case let’s not waste each others time. I’m not in the habit of pitching jobs and hoping that I might randomly hit on something you want. Instead, our firm works a little bit more effectively. Since I have several opportunities that could be a fit, I’d rather focus on where you want to go in your career. If that’s in alignment with one of my client’s opportunities, then I’ll tell you all about them and you can decide for yourself if you want to go forward, whatever you want to do is fine with me.’

If this seems awkward, then test it. Don’t just assume that people aren’t going to answer your questions. They’ll run you over and push you around if you let them. We train people on how to treat us. If you let them keep control of the conversation by capitulating to their dominance, then you are letting them do that. If they give you an attitude, give it back and mimic it. Then they’ll respect you and will start treating you as an equal, not a subservient kiss-up.

If you think this won’t work, then it probably won’t. Your belief in yourself and your expectation all factor into this. So test it and be bold and see if this works for you. Then you’ll know for sure if it does.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Love

Scott Love is a leading authority in the field of executive search and high level selling. In addition to working as a high-stakes headhunter for Washington law firms, he is a popular keynote speaker at sales meetings for all types of recruiting and sales organizations. Companies that want more influence with prospects hire him to speak at their sales meetings and conventions. To learn more how you can gain more influence with high-level clients, visit his website at