July 20, 2018

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How to Get a “Yes” on 80% of Your Recruiting Calls

Are you looking to open a strategic dialogue, or just sell a job?

If you are like a lot of recruiters you start off the conversation by attempting to sell the job opportunity first.

But pitching a job, or asking for a referral right off the bat, puts you in a low level, transactional sales conversation with your candidate.

If you lead off with a blind sales pitch, top performers will likely see you as a tele-marketer rather than a career consultant.

These conversations tend to be very transactional, closed ended, and don’t build trust.

Rather than leading with your position, use this question (created by Lou Adler) that will get you a “yes” 80% of the time, and will put you in a more consultative role:

“Would you be open to exploring a new career opportunity if it was clearly superior to what you’re doing today?”

Most sane candidates will answer “yes” to this question. Why wouldn’t they?

When they do say “yes”, don’t tell them about the job yet. In fact I’ve used this question many times when I didn’t have an opening at all, but knew this was an “A” level candidate I wanted to work with.

If it’s a marketable and motivated candidate, and I don’t have an opportunity for them, I may want discuss the idea of actively marketing them to several companies they respect.

The idea is that rather than leading into a pitch blindly, without knowing what’s important to the candidate, you’re first going to ask about their career and aspirations. Then you’ll make your pitch in a more targeted way based on what’s important to the candidate.

You might respond with, “Great, why don’t you give me a quick overview of what you do, and more importantly what would excite you about a new opportunity, and then I can give you a quick overview of the opportunities we have”.

Most people you call are not going to be interested in your position at the moment you call- but they usually know people they could refer. The referral is much easier to get if they trust you and feel that you have a sincere interest in their career. Try to establish a professional relationship before pitching an opportunity.

Doing this will take an extra couple of minutes, but pays off big in terms of having deeper candidate relationships and more targeted referrals.

- Gary Stauble

Gary Stauble is the Principal Consultant for The “Recruiting Lab”. He offers several Free Special Reports on his website including, “$1 Million Time Management”. Get your copies now at His new website is called, “Done By Noon” and is focused on Time Management & Lifestyle Design training. You can get his new Report, “3 No B.S. Strategies for Increasing Productivity” at