Why “cold calling” isn’t just for recruiters – a candidate guide to cold calling
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn have made it slightly easier to job search, or even just to keep one eye on the market for that perfect opportunity. However, it seems it is getting harder and harder to stand out now. with everyone relying on the same methods: job boards, recruitment agencies and social media platforms; it seems the online job world is becoming saturated.
So what can you do that’s different? How can you stand out from the crowd? How can you even ensure your CV is being read? Yes, you’ve guessed it (although the title does give it away)… cold calling!
Now just the term cold calling is daunting for anyone. Especially if your job requires very little interaction or sales. Here at Prince, we’ve put together a mini guide to help:
Chapter 1 – Mindset Preparation
It may sound cheesy but before you even pick up a phone, you need to develop the right mindset for cold calling. And no, we don’t mean watch the Wolf of Wall Street just before you make the call!
We are all creatures of habit, we stick to what we know and what we feel comfortable with. What’s the definition of insanity again? Consider that if you are comfortable using the same job board and the same CV each time, then you are simply doing what you’ve already been doing, which will produce the same results as before.
However, if you are willing to call the Head of Search Marketing at Apple, than you will create a new result for yourself (even if it’s just acquiring a new contact). It may feel uncomfortable but give it a try!
Tip: Other candidates will be more than happy to do everything digitally – becoming fearless will give you a competitive advantage
Create possibilities, not expectations:
Before calling to follow up on an application or to try and create a role for yourself, set realistic goals.
Ask yourself, “What do I want out of this phone call?” You will be surprised at how much smoother and more productive your calls will be. Having laser focus will help you steer the conversation your way. You can start of small – “ the possibility of getting my CV noticed by the Hiring Manager” And then call him.
Chapter 2 – Getting Their Attention
Now HR, Line Managers and Decision Makers will be receiving calls all day. From business partners to Stationary Sales Reps. So how can you grab their attention? To answer this question you need to figure out what you’re ‘marketing’. When we say marketing we mean what skill set or value you can bring to the prospective employer. A simple “I’m a Marketing Manager” will not cut it!
So what should you say? Your compelling reasons to grab people’s attention should include:
- Include the end result of your skill set- how does what you do help a business make or save money?
- Create your very own USP (unique selling point), remember to specific (we will go into this shortly)
- Mention memorable results – by showing the impact you have made, the easier it will be for HR or a decision maker to visualise you in their team and business
- Identify their pain. We typically don’t go to the Drs unless we are sick. You need to position yourself as a solution to a problem they are having
Tip: Businesses hire based on their reasons and needs, not yours. Identify their issues, escalate those issues by showing the implications of their problems and then explain how you can help
Creating your USP: What value can you offer that would distinguish you from other job seekers?
Before you start creating anything, you need to fully understand what you are offering and why. You need to identify where you sit in the market, what makes you different and who your target audience is. Here are some questions to help you figure this all out:
- Why am I doing this?
- Who do I want to see me? Who will see me?
- What will my readers want to read/see? How can I give them value?
- What sets you apart in the industry?
- What do I stand for?
- What is my vision? What is my desired future?
- What’s my USP (Unique selling point)?
Warm up those cold calls: OK, OK the blog title does technically say cold calling, but we want you to get the best results when job searching.
To make things slightly easier and to make the person on the other end more receptive, prepare an email or LinkedIn message and send it to them before call. Here are some of the benefits of sending an email to warm things up:
- The Hiring Manager can read it in between their busy schedule – where as a cold call can be perceived as an interruption
- Informing your target business that you will be calling will diminish any resistance
- You have the opportunity to share several reasons why they should hire you and display your understanding of their business and industry
Chapter 3 – The anatomy of a prospecting conversation
When you finally connect with a Hiring Manager or HR representative, make sure you have a script to hand. A script isn’t something you need to memorise, nor does it need to be the length of a Shakespeare play. Think of it as a guide to help you keep your focus and attention during each call. Here’s a rough template to get you started – remember each script needs to be relevant and specific for each job you are applying for:
- Introduce yourself
- Provide them with a compelling reason to speak with you – remember your USP!
- Create a pressure free environment by getting permission to proceed with the call
- Guide them to the questions, needs or problems of the current live job
- Together – agree the next steps and when you will next speak
Chapter 4 – YOU’VE Made Contact, Now What?
Think about it, you’ve done some great work in making a great impression. Think of the countless hours you have invested in building your career and job search. Now picture this…
You have done your pre-call planning. You’ve had a great initial conversation with the Hiring Manager. An interview has been scheduled. A few days later you have your interview and it went great. The role sounds perfect and they seemed keen on you too.
Done deal right? Wrong! Regardless if it is the best interview you have ever had, you need to follow up! Before the end of the interview ask the decision maker “May I follow up with you to discuss and answers any queries you may have on my application or interview performance?”. Gaining permission to follow up puts you in the driving seat, it also makes you seem less aggressive when you do make that call. A win-win situation. The reason why this is so important is because they WILL see other people and they may just forget you….yes sounds harsh but interviewers are people and mistakes happen. By following up you remain fresh in their mind.
So what can you do that’s different? How can you stand out from the crowd? How can you even ensure your CV is being read?
- Set realistic goals before each call
- Have a USP (Unique selling point) to capture their attention
- Make the cold call warm by introducing yourself on LinkedIn first
- Identify their hiring or business issues, escalate them and then position yourself as the solution
- Have a script to hand to keep you focused
- Follow up – stay in their heads!
The team at Prince Associates hope this guide helps you stay ahead of the rest! Good luck in your job search, grab their attention and stand out!