“Closing is a process, not an event.” In any industry, objections will be heard and given quite often. In the life of an independent recruiter, this is amplified as objections can be given by clients AND candidates, sometimes over and over again in one deal or conversation. Paul Hawksinson, Publisher of The Fordyce Letter, updated the handbook on overcoming objection for Recruiting, Search, Placement, and Staffing Professionals, and some of his best tips are included below, and helpful to use as a guide or even a refresh when feeling stuck.
- If you cannot secure a major yes from the beginning, use strategies to get minor “yes’s” to get the other party down the path you need them on. For a client, ask “Her experience fits right in to the job you described, doesn’t it?” while for a candidate, “From your initial interview, it looks like a great place to work, don’t you agree?” This line of questioning makes them easy to agree with you rather than presenting negatives.
- When making follow up calls on openings that are no longer fresh try and have a candidate to tout, even if it is not a superb one. “Good morning Shirley, this is Sarah from Executive Recruiting. Have you found your VP of Sales in the past few days? (If no success indicated, continue). Well, I have some good news for you. I took 13 calls over 3 days but I have identified a candidate I feel strongly that you should meet. When I took this assignment you stressed the need for (list primary job specs that your candidate matches). Let me tell you what this candidate has accomplished in these areas and how they can meet your needs and benefit your company.” Then attempt to close for an appointment.
- You are worth what you charge. “When I need a heart by-pass, rest assured that I won’t select my surgeon on the basis of what he charges.” Recruiters are worth what they charge based on their expertise, confidentiality, speed, post hire downtime (hit the ground running), and negotiation.
- Get exclusivity. Even if you are not being hired on a retained basis, you can use the common less is more talking line to secure the exclusive. The fewer recruiting firms involved in the process, the greater the level of commitment you will have to the client. Use this line, “Would you rather have a small commitment from many firms or a full commitment from one carefully selected, competent firm?”
- For that candidate that keeps refusing interviews. “Okay Paul, then please tell me realistically, what it would take for you to make yourself available- and take a sick/vacation day- for an opportunity interview. I will only be calling you when I find such an opportunity or when I need to network, like today. I invite you to do the same. I will respect your time as you respect mine. That way, we can both benefit.”
- When a client is being difficult on the specifics. “Put yourself in my position for a moment. If our roles were reversed, would you be willing to commit your resources to undertaking a search before you had all the information you needed to complete it properly? “
Hopefully these points help on your next search. Please include any below that you use as a go-to with a tough candidate or client conversation.