Candidates are one of the best sources for sales leads when you’re doing business development in recruitment.
Generating a constant flow of leads is key to succeeding in a job-short market, so this should become part of the conversations you have with candidates every day.
Here’s some tips on how you can start generating sales leads from your candidates….
Find out current company growth plans
Asking a candidate about their current team is part of any interview, but you can use this information to gather vital leads about their current employer by asking about growth plans in the team.
For example, you could ask your candidate questions like
“How is your team structured? Are they planning to keep it that way?”
or “What would a step up in your current job look like?”
This will open up the conversation and provide you with the following information that you can then use in future BD calls:
- You learn what the structure of the team looks like, so you have a better understanding of this if you’re ever trying to win business off them in the future.
- You learn which roles the company is recruiting for now – or in the near future.
The more you know about a company, the easier it is to pitch for their business. Note down any information the candidate gives you in your CRM so you ready to talk in depth about the business.
Ask if any colleagues are planning to leave too
When one person leaves a business, it’s often the case that a few others follow not long after. Therefore, it’s always worth asking your candidates if they know anyone else planning to leave the company.
When you ask your candidate why they’re leaving, just add in “Are other people leaving too?”.
Even if their colleagues have already found new jobs, this is a great way to find out about jobs that are about to come onto the market (and might not even be advertised yet). You can then build a shortlist for the role before your competitors even know about it.
Ask for a reference
Taking a reference is one of the easiest sales calls you’ll ever make because technically, it’s not a sales call!
A reference call is the perfect opportunity to have a conversation with a potential future prospect if you take the time to build rapport with their old boss at the same time as discussing your candidate.
If a candidate doesn’t want you to speak to their current employer, ask to speak to an older reference. It’s in their interest as sending over a positive reference with a CV can really boost their chance of getting an interview.
It’s likely that candidates will be more relaxed giving you someone to call for a reference since Covid-19, as many candidates are parting ways in good terms right now due to redundancies. This also means it’s the time to probe the referee about open roles in their business or how Covid-19 has been treating them to see how you can help.
Backfill positions and create your own leads
Whenever you place a candidate, you create a new lead for yourself.
And when you’re backfilling a role, you have the advantage of knowing all the duties and responsibilities of the previous employee (because you’ve just placed them!) so you have a massive advantage over your competitors.
Always make sure you have a candidate ready to spec in. You know the type of person they previously had in the role, and you’ve hopefully built rapport with their boss when you called them for a reference – use this opportunity to your advantage.
Ask about previous managers
Asking about old managers can tell a thousand stories and, more importantly, present you with new sales opportunities.
Asking your candidate “Who was your favourite boss and why did you like them?” will not only tell you if the candidate will get along with your client – it’s also a way to gather new prospecting leads.
You can also probe for information that will tell you how to approach your sales call with their old manager by asking things like “Did your boss ever give you progression updates” or “Were you ever given good feedback for the great work you were doing?”.
If you then later pick up the phone to their old boss, you know exactly how to speak to them and can use a bit of flattery like
“I was speaking to an ex-employee of yours who told me how much they loved working for you.
I have a candidate who’s looking for your type of leadership.”
If this doesn’t present an instant opportunity, it will certainly put you on their radar.
At this point, you know exactly who your new leads are. But do they know who you are? Follow the steps in the eBook below to warm up your prospects so they’re expecting your call.
Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.