The Best Way to Approach Prospective Candidates

QUESTION: It still remains apparent that using an MPC (most placeable candidate) for marketing and/or business development calls still tends to generate better dialog and certainly return voicemails. The challenge sometimes is you do not feel like you have a strong enough MPC. So my question is how would you go about approaching prospective candidates and explore if they are open to new opportunities in this instance?   – Mark, Hartford, CT

ANSWER: What I have found is unless you are typically calling them about a career opportunity that it interesting, they are not going to return your voicemail which, as you know, is what we are typically faced with today.   

There are a couple moving parts here. One, maybe on the 3rd or 4th voicemail if saying “I wanted to talk to you quietly and confidentially” is not going to work, I would put something in there that is really intriguing about the opportunity, but still is mysterious.  

I might say, 

Hi Mark,
I have let you a couple of messages. (Maybe I put this in an email too.)  The opportunity that could be potentially stronger than your current situation and would allow you to ____ and ____, which is somewhat unique, or it is a company that does ____ and _____.  (Something that you found that is like, wow, that is interesting, something that maybe you know in your niche causes a reply).  

I would still do that. I have not advocated to go out and do a direct recruit campaign only for an MPC. I am not saying do not, but with all the people you have access to through all the searches, I would really go back and look at someone that you have already done an assessment on and gotten a resume on, and try to dig much deeper with them about their strengths, their accomplishments, and what they bring to the table.  

Unless you know Mary Smith over at XYZ Bank is just crushing it and she has got a great reputation, and I had maybe 3 or 4 of those people in my head, would I approach those? Yes. Because if I am going to try to approach 5 to 10 individuals that I know are outstanding about me marketing them, that is one thing, but to go into a marketplace and not know who is great and try to do a great recruit campaign to find one MPC, I think takes a lot of time and your time is better served elsewhere.  

That is one part of your question. So yes, if you know of a couple stellar people, would you try to recruit them in a small batch? Yes. Otherwise I would go to my existing database and pull somebody out.  

If you are having trouble getting return voicemail, 1) I am not sure if you are doing email and 2) set the hook in email. But then starting dripping in in the 3rd and 4th and 5th messages a couple elements to the opportunity. My 7th message is always, which kind of turns some people off, I got this actually from Peter Leffkowitz.  

Hey Mark,
I have left you a bunch of messages. I have no idea what is going on in your career. But as a matter of professional courtesy, if you could get back to me by the close of business today I would greatly appreciate it.  

The first time he taught that, I was like, whoa, that is a little abrupt. Every once in a while somebody calls and is like, who are you to tell me to call me? And 95% of the time, and it has a very high return rate, that 7th message says something to the effect of an apology. I am soooo sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Thank you for your persistence.  That might be something that helps you also, Mark.  

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