Recruiters entice clients to book meetings with them based on their words, either spoken or written. With this in mind, word choice is incredibly important to be effective in our industry. An emotionally charged phrase might compel a client to sign a retainer, but an off-putting one could kill the opportunity completely.
If you’re a recruiter, you likely spend the bulk of your day talking to clients and candidates. During your next conversation or email exchange, audit your communication for these three phrases. They might just be to blame for flagging numbers, or disengaged clients.
1) “I’m just checking in”
Recruiters often start follow up calls or emails with this seemingly innocuous phrase. Clients don’t like to feel rushed or pressured, and recruiters hope to impart a sense of ease about the interaction with these words. The danger here is you set the belief that there is no agenda attached to the communication, when in fact, the recruiter does want to get something out of it. Here’s an example:
Recruiter: “Hi, Lyndsey. I’m just calling to touch base with you.”
Potential Client: “Oh, okay. Well, things here are fine.”
Recruiter: “That’s good. Soooo do you want to hire this candidate I’ve got?”
Slow down! Even though most recruiters will warm up their potential client a bit more before diving into the ask, it’s still a jarring transition that will put the client on edge because they were not expecting it.
If you’re picking up the phone or writing an email, you obviously hope to get some information to advance the process. So don’t kick off the exchange with “just checking in” or “touching base”. Instead, ditch the flowery part after a warm greeting and dive into the purpose of your call. The client will appreciate your directness and you’ll achieve a lot more.
2) “And” / “Or”
How could two of the shortest words in the English language derail a deal? Like so:
“I’d love to get your thoughts on this industry trend and how it’s affecting your businesses ability to get talent, and how you expect it might change in the future. Or is it a totally different issue that is the most pressing?”
Even though the recruiter poses the above as one question, it actually contains four separate queries:
- What are your thoughts on this industry trend?
- How is it affecting your ability to get talent?
- How do you expect this trend to evolve?
- What’s the number one challenge for you today?
Rolling up all four questions into one produces a long, confusing, run-on sentence. Can you blame potential clients if they don’t know how to answer it (or don’t want to)?
If your question includes “and” / “or,” it’s probably too long. Parse out the distinct thoughts and set them out as separate questions to ask your potential client during the conversation. This enables the conversation to flow back and forth and keeps the potential client engaged.
3) “Just” and “Only”
Starting meeting requests with “just” or “only” is all too common in recruitment. I’ll bet you’ve written or said a variation of the following before:
“The call will only take 15 minutes.”
“Just a half an hour long meeting is all I need.”
I get it – potential clients are busy and you want to reassure them that the meeting won’t take too much time. But recruiters don’t book meetings based on duration. They book meetings based on value.
Think about it this way. If a potential client agrees to a call with a recruiter, it’s because they expect to get something useful out of it. They probably wouldn’t accept an invite for a meeting they see no purpose in - even if it was only for 10 minutes.
So the next time you’re trying to nail down a meeting, drop the “just” or “only,” and focus on selling the value instead of the time limit.
Try ridding your speech of these treacherous phrases, it will boost your trust with potential candidates/clients - not to mention improve your sales. Win-win!
Cameron McLennan works within recruitment technology industry. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family and playing golf.