Just one word to say about cold calling.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
Don’t! Just don’t! Be very un-Nike-like. Don’t do it! Here’s what people are thinking when the phone rings. Mentally, they’re saying “Who is this and why are you wasting my time?” It may carry a little different tone when they say hello. Then again, it may not. Think quick, because that’s what it’s going to take to give them a good reason to stay on the phone for five more seconds. And “I’m in the job search…” is not a good reason.
Why put yourself in that position? Why not earn credibility from the start? Instead of cold calling someone, get a referral to that person. That alone should buy you the extra seconds you need to get what you want out of the call.
Learn from my friend, David. He told me about a great position he was hoping to get. It had his name written all over it, and he was very excited about it. With a little research, David figured out Jeff, the hiring manager, went to the same graduate school. Instead of getting a referral, David thought knowing the same fight song of their alma mater would be enough. Little did he know…it wouldn’t even be close.
David made the call, immediately referenced the fact they went to the same school, and hoped for the best. What happened was the worst. Jeff answered the phone -obviously bothered by the interruption (If he was so busy, why did he answer??). David tried to make small talk about the school, and then bring up the position. Jeff immediately (for whatever reason) decided David wasn’t a fit for the position, and ended the call. That quickly. Game over.
What could David have done differently? First and foremost, David could’ve found someone that knew Jeff – either through a work or school connection. Then, the call would’ve sounded something like this: “Jeff, my name is David and I was referred to you by Bill Schulz. Bill really thinks the world of you and suggested we meet. When might be a good time?”
Right now, Jeff is feeling pretty good about himself because Bill said something nice about him. His attitude is positive. He’s more open to a discussion. And, because the call was focused on a meeting that was Bill’s idea…Jeff is more likely to make some time.
In all my years of being in the job search (and believe me, I’ve had plenty!), I’ve had only one person that wouldn’t meet with me – at least initially. It was even a referral. I called Mike, used my reference, Becky, and suggested a meeting. Mike told me he didn’t have time. I called Becky and told her. She told me to call Mike back and tell him that she said he HAD to meet with me. So I did. Amazing how quickly his schedule freed up. Mike and I met the following week.
So when you’re in the job search, quit thinking that placing a call to someone is enough to keep them on the phone. Instead, get a referral. Turn that cold call into a warm call. Get a meeting. Just do it!