Lead generation is actually pretty simple. You talk to lots of people in your niche, and ask lots of questions. You’ll quickly find out “who’s who” — who’s hiring, who’s firing; who’s expanding, who’s downsizing; who’s won the contract, who’s lost the contract; who’s hot, who’s not.
Lead generation should be one of your objectives for every conversation, every day, with every client and every candidate. If you don’t have more leads than you can handle, it’s for one of three reasons. One – you’re not speaking to enough clients and candidates. Two – you’re not asking the right questions. Three – you’re not asking the right questions in the right way.
Most Recruiters Gather Leads in the Wrong Way
The way most of us were taught to gather leads – and the method that many recruiters still rely on – is actually the least effective. The standard approach is to trick the candidate into giving away their current interviews. The classic technique is: “Which companies should I not send your CV to – for example companies where you’ve already attended an interview recently?” This is followed up with the gambit: “Who did you meet there, was it Jane Doe?” in hopes that the candidate will correct them and disclose the interviewer’s name.
Those old school tactics don’t cut it in today’s market place. Candidates are more streetwise, and hustling them for leads will only undermine your credility and erode their trust in you. Instead of using the same stock phrases your competitors have already tried, try asking candidates this one instead: “What jobs have you interviewed for recently that you’re no longer pursuing?”
Get Good Leads – ethically and effectively
The secret to getting good information from candidates is to induce the law of reciprocity. Focus on helping them first, then ask them to help you in return. Once you demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart, they will gladly tell you everything you want to know.
Explain that you want to build a long term relationship so that when they’re hiring they’ll come back to you as a client. Tell them that you want to be their representative in the marketplace, and contact employers proactively on their behalf (if that is really what you intend to do). Once you’ve got their buy-in, all you need to do is ask the right questions.
For example, “Where ideally would you like to work? What companies were you planning on sending your CV to? Let me do it for you, we can use our contacts to give you an inside track.” Another approach that works well is: “Who are your direct competitors? Which of your competitors would you be open to interviewing with? Which ones would you NOT work for and why?”
More Simple Strategies That Work
Sometimes the most straight forward approaches work the best. For instance: “Who did you report to in each of your last 3 positions and how can I reach them to obtain a reference?” Then take up those references (yes even for permanent candidates) and at the end of the conversation ask the employer: “What’s the best way for me to build a business relationship with you and your organization?”
Be sure to keep in touch with your key candidates – even the ones you don’t place. When your candidate leaves her current job, you’ll be well positioned to find her replacement. And once they’ve secured another position, there’s no harm in asking them which jobs they turned down in favour of the one they accepted. If you’ve done your job correctly, they might even introduce you to their new boss once they’ve settled in. Finally, remember that your candidates of today are your clients of tomorrow.