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December 13, 2017

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Finding the 'Yes' in Every 'No'

In a perfect world, every single recruiting call would be met with boundless interest and unbridled enthusiasm.

But as you know, that’s usually not the case. In fact, the majority of candidates we reach out to will probably respond with initial indifference or even negativity to new opportunities.

Buried in every “no” however, is a glimmer of hope, a piece of gold or a treasure trove of clues laden with enormous potential. And most of the time, all it takes is a little imagination to dig out a variation of “yes” from every conversation and put it to good use.

Seven Magic Questions

For example, if you call a candidate who says he’s not interested in your job, a typical recruiter response might be, “Gee, I’m sorry to hear that,” and move on to the next call.

Instead, you might want to try some different ways to navigate the “I’m not interested” objection. Hint: All seven will end with a question.

  1. “I can respect that you’re not interested. But tell me: What’s your situation with respect to looking at other opportunities? Is it that you’re already in transition, or have you decided to stay put for the near term?”

  2. “That’s a shame, since the job I wanted to talk to you about is with one of the top companies in our industry. Would you possibly know someone who might be interested in learning about an incredible opportunity for advancement?”

  3. “Can you think of any situation in the future in which you might want to consider another position; or anything in a new job that might be particularly appealing to you if it came along?”

  4. “Your opinion is very important to me. If I were to briefly describe the position, would you be willing to comment on whether you think it would be attractive to high-achieving people in our field?”

  5. “Question: I see from your LinkedIn profile that you used to work for AllTek. Is there anyone at AllTek you would recommend for a regional manager position in a $4 million territory? Or, is there anyone you think might be interested in a leadership role?”

  6. “My client mentioned three companies that might produce outstanding candidates: AllTek, BestCo and Utopia International. Can you think of any other companies in our industry that might be a source of great people?”

  7. “I was thinking of contacting Roger Smith, who I believe worked with you at Alltek. Would you consider Roger to be a top-tier sort of person; and if so, could I tell him that you think highly of him?”

These are just a few examples of how the right question can get your foot in the door. By opening a dialogue, you can potentially start a relationship, gather useful information or get leads or referrals.

Remember: Just because an initial response is “no,” it doesn’t mean the conversation has to grind to a halt. You never know where you might end up—and at the very least, you’ll probably learn something you didn’t already know.

- 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 Splits.org. The Radin Report is published monthly.