The House Call – Recruiter’s Nightmare?

So you get a phone number and call it in order to find a potential candidate. You assumed the number was an office or mobile. Then a voice picks up on the other end and says “HI!”…in a four year old voice. I am pretty sure that’s not your candidate.

You just stumbled on a home phone number, and now little Joey wants to tell you that he’s eating blueberries. Now what? Well, if you are well planned, you KNEW this may be a home phone number, and you are ready for it. In fact, you actually enjoy calling the house during the day, and trying to reach candidates. And why not? More people are out of work, some people don’t always list their phone numbers as a home number, many people work from home, and some people have devices that forward from one number to another.

Back to Joey. This is not the time to panic. Here are a few things you can do to accomplish your goal which should be reach the prospect. First off, don’t assume you can break into a 30 minute discussion with anyone while they are in their home. Its not the same environment as the office. In fact, you should consider it like you caught them in a security line at the airport. You know there is somebody who is eventually going to tell them to get off the phone abruptly. Your goal to arrange a call back or get their attention so you can talk to them later on their terms – either at home or in the office.

If Joey answers: Answer “Hi! Blueberries are fun…can I speak to Mr./Ms. Smith?” THEN SHUSH. Its likely you will hear a “daddy/mommy…phone for you”.

If/when an adult (any adult) answers – first off, assume nothing. This could be a sibling, child, parent, ex, whatever. Whatever your business is, its business, and its for the target’s ears only. Imagine if you called into a house and the couple is going through a divorce, and you start talking about opportunities for employment. You hate to see that drawn into court. Simply ask if they are available. If no, ask permission to leave a message and have it passed. Here is the formula for the message:

“My name is (first last). I work for (company). I am working on a recruiting assignment, and understand that X is in the (industry/market). I was hoping to network a bit, and see if they could help. This is the number I had. Would you mind if I left a message to have him/her call me back when convenient? (this is the permission – stay quiet now) Thanks – here is my name again and my number (slight pause in case then need a pen/paper). My name is first name is “First”, my last name is spelled “L-A-S-T” and my direct number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Did you need me to repeat that? (pause, they will likely read it to you or ask you to say it again). I really appreciate your help, and look forward to X’s call. Have a great day/night.”

Home numbers can be a viable way of getting people’s attention, and certainly can set you and your opportunity apart. But be aware that many people separate business and home, and may see it as an intrusion. Then again, calling them at work on their time is also an intrusion, so its simply about a point of view.

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