I am honored and excited to be named the newest member of the HireFriday and #HFChat leadership team. HireFriday is a community a million strong (the goal for 2011) where job seekers meet with recruiters and career experts to talk about the job hunt. Every Friday at NOON EST the HireFriday Chat (#HFChat) convenes on Twitter to discuss hot topics and ideas on the job search. This community is amazing and its reach is powerful.
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Telephone Names Sourcing – The Candidate’s Way
If you are new to phone sourcing, it’s a technology whereby those in the recruiting industry use the telephone as their primary method of sourcing – or developing – a list of names and phone numbers of people inside of a company who perform a specific job function, holding a specific title. These candidates are referred to as passive because they already hold jobs and are not necessarily looking for new opportunities. The researched list is then presented to the client, recruiter or hiring manager as a source of talent they can approach with their open positions.
I consult for and study under Maureen Sharib (@MaureenSharib), the Master in telephone names sourcing. She says:
“Phone sourcing is the fastest and most effective way to get ALL the names inside any company holding specific titles. Hands down it’s the best!”
She also says:
“The ONLY WAY to find ALL POSSIBLE POTENTIAL CANDIDATES that might be appropriate for your open position is to call into the places where they work. In order to do this you must be socially skilled. You must know how to talk with people. Surprisingly, this is a skill that is diminishing today amidst all the focus on “social media”. Much of sourcing today embraces the social media agenda of “web-based and mobile technologies”. Think Internet sourcing and texting. God forbid anyone would really talk to one another. If you know how to talk with someone you can telephone names source. I said before it’s not easy but it is simple. Here’s how I do it:
“This is Maureen Sharib. Can you tell me who the Manager is for your External Reporting group?”
Sometimes she knows and she tells me. Why does she tell me? It’s a very good question and one I have done a lot of thinking about. I think she tells me because of one simple thing. Can anyone tell me what that one simple thing is? She tells me because I removed the mystery.”
Phone sourcing has also been adapted for the sales community – or any niche that needs to get inside of a company structure to determine who is doing what. Here we will list some ideas you can use as a candidate in the job search to use the telephone to ferret out information from companies that you need to get in front of the right people. You can use this technique that recruiters are using to find you and use it to find quality intel.
I will not argue social media / internet vs. the telephone. We will leave that to the Twitter community. I will say that the best way to get results is to combine and use all the tools that have been laid at our feet. Now let’s get on the phone!
1- Research. Any good project starts with some prepping. Do your homework. Work in simple Word documents. At the top of your sheet you can list your name and the job title you are pursuing. After that, list a job description that fits the industry title you want.
Jason Lee Overbey – Director of Company Humor
“This position ensures the entire company balances business with levity. The D of CH develops hilarious content to disseminate by way of email, post in break rooms, and provide spontaneously on walk-throughs in each department. He or she also plans guest speakers for corporate events, provides nonprofessional counseling to dry coworkers, and works directly with the CEO to keep his speeches and content in compliance with corporate humor policies. The DCH also stays abreast of the competition’s humor policies and adapts internal policy accordingly. Monthly reports in a clown suit will be due and presented at board meetings.”
You are already setting a tone for your project.
2 - Next, list the requirements that are deal breakers for the position.
+ Must have a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Campy Humor
+ Must be certified in funny faces and imitations
+ Must be certified in Workplace Equality
+ Must possess 10 years of related laughter and knee-slapping scenarios
+ Must be able to travel and work weekend functions
+ Must be certified in First-Aid & CPR
3 - You already have a document setup that is now guiding your sourcing effort. You’ll be surprised at your newly acquired efficiency and focus. Next list the: Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email of the target companies you want to get in to and maybe 2 or 3 other companies you’ll place at the bottom of your list. List them in blocks. Leave a few spaces between each company for your notes. You are ready to start sourcing.
321 Zero Street
Everywhere, USA 11221
4 - Now you have to get on the phone. Sometimes it feels like the phone can weigh can 1,000 pounds. Take heart! Ease yourself into the project by reminding yourself that you are not calling about the job itself – yet! This is very critical. In recruiting we separate the sourcing of candidates from the actual recruiting of candidates. This gives each task a laser-like focus and prepares us for each succeeding project. It makes it manageable. It gives it a grit.
Remember that in most companies, and in all larger ones, you are dialing in to an operator or a secretary and not into the department you want to work in. This should ease some initial anxiety.
Remove the mystery from the call and avoid causing any suspicion that they gatekeeper or operator may have by identifying yourself. Like this:
Operator: “Thank you for calling Acme Tools – home of the best deal guaranteed. This is Wanda how can I direct your call?”
JobSeeker: “Hello, Wanda. This is Jason Overbey. Before you connect me, can you please give me the name and direct dial of the Vice President of Corporate Humor please?”
Do not be concerned with the exact title. They may go by a different moniker but if you have experience in the field you will know the variations. Help the operator out a little if she seems stuck, “Oh, they might go by Senior Communications Officer?”
Do not concern yourself with who does the hiring or how they do the hiring. Right now you are just focused on the information gathering and sourcing piece of your project. You are not doing anything with the intelligence yet. Just compiling data.
5 - The dreaded questions! What if I get objections or probing from the operator? Remember that Maureen Sharib starts her teaching by advising us to remove the mystery (see her latest here: http://www.slideshare.net/Maureen_Sharib/the-mystery-the-magic ). You CAN answer those without fear.
Gatekeeper: “May I ask what this is about?”
JobSeeker: “Sure, Wanda. I need to get in contact with them next week about some information I want to share.” This is not a lie. We do not have to be clever or sneaky.
Gatekeeper: “Okay? Well, who do you work for?”
JobSeeker: “I’m sorry. No, I’m not calling from a company. I’m at home.”
If you are prepared, you will pick up a feel for Wanda’s tone and you can mimic her and respond in kind. If she persists you can always politely thank her for her help and say you will try another way and end the call. You can then try during a different shift to get a different operator. But if you hang in there and stay on the call you will get results. If she persists:
Wanda: “Well, I’m sorry. Without exact details I cannot give out their information.”
JobSeeker: “Okay.I understand. I really need to get the information to them personally.” Then pause. It can be hard – but pause! Just hang in there. If no response try, “… what is their email and maybe I can present it to them that way.”
6 - If you get stuck on one company, skip it and go back after you have sourced all of your targets. Taking a break helps. Be sure to note any slips the answerer may give you in the way of useful information and note it on your sheet.
7 - Directly transferred. If Wanda didn’t listen very well and directly sends you to the department, try the same approach with the receptionist there.
8 - Remember to approach each call calmly and with your document in front of you, guiding you. This will remove any frenetic tones you may have lingering in your voice. People who work on the phone all day sense nervousness right away. With the document in front of you, you have that inner sense that you are doing a job – and you are.
9 - If you still can’t pick up the phone, try your sourcing with a list of dummy companies. Call three or four companies in another state that you have no interest in whatsoever and see what results you get there. It will be a great start.
Phone sourcing is a powerful tool. It gets you “now” information. What you find on the internet can be old and stale – and rarely updated. On the phone, you get information that is hot and reliable. You get those slips we talked about, like, ”the VP just got promoted and that spot is empty. I could give you…“ or, “…right now we are restructuring that department… marketing is filling in. You should talk with…”
I have presented you with a brilliant start to going after your target companies methodically and purposefully. Next time we will talk about using your list of titles and tidbits to call in for information about the job!
Let me know what objections and hesitations you are facing!