Your Recruiting Script
By Bill Radin
You can look at a job order
like most recruiters, and see a classified ad. Or you can look at it
like I do, and see an episode from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Think about it. Every day, a zillion candidates are being pummeled by
recruiters who use the black and white version as the basis of their
script that sounds strikingly similar to last Sunday’s classified ad:
“Hi, my name is Rob Petrie, and I’m a recruiter specializing in
broadcast media. Have you got a moment? Good.
“I’m working with a Fortune 500 media client in the Midwest that’s
looking for a Network News Anchor. The job requires a four-year
communications degree plus three to five years of broadcast experience,
preferably in news or features. The candidate must have the ability to
look directly at the camera, read from a script, observe visual cues and
take direction from staff writers and producers. The client offers a
competitive salary, a standard relocation package, plus an incentive
program based on Neilsen ratings. Do you know of anyone with these
Boring, Boring, Boring!
Why not hire a telemarketing
firm to read the ad and put the recruiter out of his misery? I’d rather
tell an interesting story and add value to my work, as in:
“Hi, my name is Bill Radin, and I’m a recruiter specializing in
broadcast media. I’m working with a news program in Minnesota that’s got
a bull in a china shop, and I’m hoping you can help me by making a
recommendation. Is this a good time to talk?
“Good. This is not too complicated, but it needs a little explanation.
Let me begin by saying that the current staff consists of a great bunch
of people, who’ve worked together a long time and really care for each
personally, as well as professionally. As a team, they’re first rate—their
writing is funny, insightful and award-winning, and they take great
pride in what they do.
“Unfortunately, the anchor on the show is totally out of synch with the
rest of the team. He can’t read what they write, can’t take direction on
the set, and—worst of all—spends
more time in front of his mirror than he does in front of the camera.
Because of the anchor’s obsession with style, not substance, the show’s
lost a lot of its credibility, and much of its audience.
“We know that the structure’s already in place to make the show a total
winner—all it needs is a
new front person to pump some energy over the airwaves. And, once that
happens, it’ll put the show right back on top, where it should be. Do
you happen to know of a TV personality that really sparkles, and might
enjoy breathing new life into a news show with great potential?”
Take your pick. Which presentation do you think would generate more
interest and elicit the greater response?
Four Steps to a Dynamite
It goes without saying that the
recruiter who tells a compelling story has a huge advantage over someone
who fails to understand—or
can’t put into word pictures—the
relevancy of a particular search. I’ve found that by
storyboarding my presentation, as in a Hollywood action sequence,
I can concisely convey information in logical, bite-sized bits.
The greater your ability to tell the client’s story in an engaging
manner, the more you’ll increase your chance to “hook” the
candidate--which is the first step in creating a dialogue, building a
relationship and earning the right to ask for referrals. Storyboarding
is easy, if you follow these four simple steps:
1. Set up your presentation. Explain who you are, why you’re calling,
and what you hope to accomplish.
2. Describe the dilemma. By its nature, a job opening creates a degree
of tension that demands resolution. The more you engage the candidate in
your client’s employment puzzle, the more the person will want to help
you solve it.
3. Suggest a happy ending. Ride into the sunset with the candidate by
describing the hoped-for outcome that would solve the puzzle and benefit
4. Ask for the candidate’s help. This is the proverbial call to action,
in which you hope your efforts will be rewarded—in
the form of a direct referral, a suggestion of where to look, or a
declaration of interest on the part of the candidate.
Recruiters often fall into the trap of trying to “close” a candidate
without having sold the person on the dynamics of the job and the unique
personalities of the staff. Then, with no new referrals in hand, the
recruiter has no choice but to move on to the next prospect, where the
cycle of failure is repeated. By strengthening your presentation, you’ll
shorten the search gestation period and reduce the sheer number
of candidates you’ll need to call in order to fill a position. After
hearing so many ineffective presentations over the years, I’m suspicious
whenever a recruiter tells me that he’s just talked to a lousy
candidate. I’m tempted to reply, “There are no lousy candidates, just
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