In this segment, I want to briefly go over a commonly overlooked, yet critical, aspect of the talent acquisition process. Whether you are a corporate recruiter, agency recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone hungry for additional talent (which, in this market, is just about everyone), you probably find yourself in situations where referrals can be asked for. Let’s say you are calling an exciting candidate. You’ve vetted the resume and the phone is ringing. This candidate is unbelievably qualified so you are energized and prepared with your pitch to show them just how amazing employment, with your organization, could be. Unfortunately, as you quickly learn from the initial moments of your conversation, the candidate is no longer on the market. You wish the candidate well and, before parting ways, ask off-handedly if they know anyone who is looking. The candidate says they will keep their eyes open and amicably hangs up. While you are still slightly disappointed by the candidate’s lack of availability you also resign yourself to the reality that no referrals are coming and move on to the next resume.
So, what went wrong? For starters, we lost the energy we went into the call with and only asked if the candidate knew someone without truly selling the opportunity. The candidate sensed lackluster energy, and thus, brushed off the question as easily as if it hadn’t been asked at all. Here are a few steps we can take to make sure the next call goes better.
Sell the referral with energy.
When we ask for a referral, we need to start by making sure the individual has a few minutes to hear about the opportunity. We need to sell the opportunity with the same energy we would have if we were talking to the ideal candidate directly. If we don’t get the individual excited, they aren’t going to take the time to call their most qualified friends.
Know the opportunity.
This is a huge one. So many recruiters don’t truly know the opportunity they are recruiting for overall. Sure, we know the title, description, and salary but what do we know about the departmental culture? What is the team dynamic like? What are the greatest parts about working for that specific organization? What does the organization stand for? Why do people stay long term? To know all of this is to know the narrative. To know the narrative is to have the power to recruit for it.
Ask for a specific referral.
Now that you have done a dynamite job of pitching the job, company, and culture, now it’s time to ask for the referral. This doesn’t mean to ask, “who do you know?”. What this means is to ask if the person knows someone who could be ideal. Let them think for a moment. If they say yes, or maybe, ask who it is. Would it be OK for you to call this person? If not, can I expect a call from this person? While you don’t want to be too pushy, you need to remember that you have an opportunity of incredible value, and you have the right to pitch it assertively.
Remember, this person could have the ideal candidate right in their network. Don’t make the mistake of letting this be a one-and-done interaction. If you haven’t heard back from this person in a few days, call them back and ask if they had any further thoughts. Who do they know now? What can you expect from them moving forward?
It is incredibly easy to ask who you know, hang the phone up, and leave it at that. If you spend the time selling the referral on every call, you will find yourself with a more robust pipeline of prospective talent – guaranteed. I wish you well in the hunt.
About BANKW Staffing
Through its portfolio companies, KBW Financial Staffing & Recruiting, Alexander Technology Group, The Nagler Group, Sales Search Partners, and KNF&T Staffing Resources, BANKW Staffing, LLC is the leading regional provider of temporary and direct-hire staffing services in the areas of finance, accounting, information technology, office and administration, legal, human resources, and sales.
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