Social recruiting is great. But don’t forget to PICK UP THE PHONE.

Here’s me in 1999.

My first recruiting gig was with Aerotek in Seattle in 1999.  On my first day, I was handed a stack of about 200 paper applications that were not yet entered into our applicant tracking system.  These were the forms people were required to fill out in the era right before 1999, when online applications were not yet the norm.  I was tasked with calling these people, screening them, and entering their profile into the ATS.  When I got done with the first stack, I pulled another stack out and called those people, and so on. 

About a year later I moved to Portland and started working for Kforce.  On my first day, my new manager handed me a stack of resumes, and told me to “smile and dial”, entering candidate info into the ATS and updating existing profiles along the way.  In both cases, it was kind of a drag.  But I’m glad I did it, and here’s why:

The whole time I was calling these candidates, I kept thinking to myself “Man, why are they paying me all this money when all I’m doing is data entry?”  Although these were candidates that were in my niche, not many of them were active and I needed to make placements TODAY.  I realize now, that this technique was probably used to not only help me build my passive candidate pipeline, but also to get me (and the other new recruiters) acclimated to picking up the phone and calling potential candidates.  Now I focus about 75% of my time on “req specific” recruiting, but throughout my career I’ve continued to use that other 25% to randomly call people in the industry who look like they are worth knowing.  I guess you can do this via LinkedIn or email, but there’s something about disrupting somebody’s day with a phone call that seems oddly efficient.  Mostly, because it is happening less and less due to our dependence on social media.

Today, I probably send 40+ outreach emails and 5 LinkedIn requests per day, but the communications I really remember are the phone conversations, which usually number less than 10 per day.  And not just when I call candidates, but when they call me.  On any given day, I can be found mass mailing candidates who look like a fit for the roles I have open.  I’m in my office, on my farm, in the middle of nowhere.  When the phone rings, I have to stop what I’m doing, and I’m brought back to reality and actually have to engage with the candidate, answer questions, discuss the business, ask for referrals, etc.  It’s easier to get referrals on the phone.  It’s easier to screen candidate quality over the phone, it’s easier to answer questions about the role over the phone.

The same thing happens when I call a candidate and they have to break their routine to talk to me.  Sure, they don’t always like it, but for the most part, they do.  And when they do, the communication is more poignant and the relationship is more real.

Jubal Ince

Jubal Ince

A recruitment marketing geek based in Portland, Oregon, Jubal Ince is a the Founder and Chief Talent Strategist at HireMob.

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