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The Worst Sales Call in Recruitment

By July 16, 2015No Comments

This post is kind of the like the opposite to those cold-calling sales scripts you sometimes see in recruitment.  You know the ones foisted upon you by recruitment managers who typically still use Blackberry phones, sit in a cubicle, and have egg down their paisley tie.  The ones designed to increase your productivity and sales effectiveness by converting you into a robotic, humourless and unwavering sales automaton.

It’s the opposite, because here is a “script” that is designed to achieve the opposite of a recruitment sale, a non-sale, an un-sale, or an anti-sale if you will:

Recruiter:  [send LinkedIn message saying “Can you call me”] – Tip:  Deliberately omit things like question marks or any personalisation in order to further reduce the chance of successfully connecting

Client:  (miraculously) calls you on the number provided.

Recruiter:  “Do you have any roles?”

Client:  “I’m a bit confused.  Do you mean do I know of any roles coming up?”

Recruiter:  “Yes that’s right”

Client:  “Not in my business, no.”

Recruiter:  “If you know of any roles can you let me know?”

Client:  “What type of roles?”

Recruiter:  “Oh anything like account management”

Client:  “Account management for what type of business?”

Recruiter:  “Oh anything”

Client:  “So are you recruiting for Auckland roles now?”

Recruiter:  “Oh are you in Auckland?”

Client:  “Yes.”

Recruiter:  “Oh no not Auckland. K thanks bye!”  click……………

The saddest part of this is that it’s not even a “script”.  This is a conversation that actually happened earlier this week, out there in our very own recruiter land.  The “client” above is an Auckland based business person who I got chatting to in Christchurch at our virtualRPO launch party down there (*waves* to Christchurch, thanks for your hospitality guys!)  I was so incredulous I asked for it to be written down and sent to me so I could try and get my head around it.

So, pop quiz time!  Is the above “recruiter”:

  1. In utterly the wrong job
  2. Being forced into making pointless sales calls in order to hit some arbitrary KPI
  3. So disengaged from their job that they’re just killing time
  4. Bereft of all hope or knowledge in the value good recruitment services can offer businesses
  5. All of the above

Everyone in our game knows that recruitment is first and foremost a sales job, but come on.  The above exchange is nothing if not pure harassment and time-wasting.  One of the foremost rules of sales is that you have to believe in your product or service.  If you’re making sales calls like above, then I promise you your spirit and soul is dying a little bit more with every call and confused rejection you will undoubtedly receive.  Face up to the fact that you can’t do this job, go and do something more positive with your time, and stop giving the rest of us such a bad name.

Righto, I’ve got that off my chest, thanks for listening 🙂  Gotta dash, lots to catch up on after my Christchurch trip this week (thanks to all the clients, recruiters and HR peeps who attended and make up such a cool little community down there).  Might even make some sales calls – at least I now know exactly what not to do.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.