The road to riches is never found on the path of least resistance! I believe this is true in life but there is no profession where this concept is more important than recruiting.

While good things can be achieved through social media and using email effectively – I see too many recruiters who use this as a path of least resistance versus picking up the phone. This was reinforced during a conversation recently with fellow member Jim Lyons. Jim is passionate about targeted recruiting – perhaps Jim is our next guest blogger on the subject! Anyway…Jim and I agree on the point that the art of picking up the phone and engaging a candidate or client seems to have faded from the forefront of recruiting for many. The most successful recruiters are winning through person-to-person contact!

Stretch your comfort zone! This translates differently for everyone but you will increase your potential by making the decision to stretch yourself every day. This can be as simple as those moments where you wonder…”do I call him/her” – just do it! Here are 5 strategies to be bold and stretch your comfort zone.

Call C Suite Executives – or department heads in larger companies. What you will find if you “work up” in an organization is that people are often easier to deal with than their subordinate counterparts. They may or may not be the right person to call but they will likely point you in the right direction. That next call will be much easier as you use their name to pave your way. Try it!

Use Take Away – if someone is showing questionable interest or not engaging you then find a way to re-establish control. This is done in our industry through a take away. This can be subtle IE “I’m reading through the lines here that you are losing interest” or less subtle “I’m happy to call and let my client know you are not interested.” If they let you take it away, then they were never on the hook in the first place.

Ask Hard Questions – talk less and ask more questions. Soft selling never moves a deal forward. I define soft selling as pushing information you think impresses a candidate without knowing if you are hitting the target or not. Asking questions like, ”Any reason you would turn down this job?” or “Why are you hesitating to commit to being interested?” will give you information that will help you move the candidate forward or stop wasting your time. Be bold with your questions.

Move Faster – Time kills deals in our business. Calling people will shorten the process by days. You can also speed the process along by anticipating the next step. Candidates - get interview availability prior to presenting candidate to client, check references at first interview, cover counteroffer before they get an offer and calling candidates at home in the evening will build trust and help you move things along. Clients – educate on importance of moving quickly, understand their complete process before candidate goes in for first interview, ask the hard questions, send references before they ask for them etc. I like the tennis euphemism of “taking the ball early rather than letting the ball play you.”

Use the Phone - Identify people through social media and call them. In-mails have their place but this is not the best way to recruit people. Conversations, asking tough questions, identifying objections and related conversations… all need to be done over the phone! Prepping candidates, debriefing candidates, getting client feedback…these should be phone calls not emails. You will not be able to uncover critical information to move things forward over email.

This might not be new material or insightful to those of us who have been in the business for a long time. I’ll remind you that execution is not about what you know but what you do.

Happy Hunting.