EPISODE 215   |   

May 3, 2024

Why Modern Recruiters Must Embrace Cold Calling to Stay Competitive

Danny Cahill

In the evolving recruitment landscape where LinkedIn and ChatGPT dominate the conversation, one tool stands resilient: the humble phone call. 

Is cold calling still a critical part of your recruitment and selling process? Can you be a successful modern recruiter while making zero cold calls?

I am thrilled to be joined by a veteran and successful recruiter, Danny Cahill. You will enjoy his insights based on his decades-long expertise in recruitment approach with a spotlight on the importance of using the phone for cold calls. 

Danny started his recruiting career right out of college at Hobson Associates. He became its rookie of the year and went on to become a top producer and the general manager by the age of 26. At 27, he bought the company and built it into one of the country’s largest search firms. Danny was the educational chairperson of the Pinnacle Society, 75 of the highest achievers in the industry.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [02:12] “Phone: Friend or Foe?” – insights on Danny’s talk at the last Pinnacle Society Summit.
  • [09:50] Recalling the good old cold calling days.
  • [13:08] Approaching the current landscape of a 5% call response rate.
  • [22:09] Why must modern recruiters understand and maximize the phone’s power?
  • [32:33] “The phone call is a birthday card.” – Danny explains why effort toward candidates and clients can be a strong differentiator.
  • [39:35] Can you be a successful recruiter nowadays without making phone calls?
  • [45:39] Flipping the order – why the phone should come before email.
  • [52:40] Thoughts and insights on AI.

How Veteran Recruiters Should Approach the Current Industry Landscape

I have known Danny for decades – he is a legendary recruiter and you can just imagine my delight when I had the chance to meet him in person at a Pinnacle Society conference last year. We discussed the talk he gave about using old-school cold-calling. Danny believes that using the phone is a critical skill for recruiters, especially before the advent of the internet. We recalled how exciting it was to not know in detail who you would be talking to, how skillful you should be when carrying conversations, and of course, going through gatekeepers before reaching your actual target.

But the landscape now changed. On average, you will only reach 5% of your prospects by phone. Danny believes that although it should be a combination of tools and platforms, making phone calls is more relevant than ever, as it can be a differentiator. This is how Danny puts it: 

“If this helps you with your identity crisis, the thing that made you great is going to be more important than ever because you’re not someone who just makes phone calls. The phone is your conduit to who you are, which is a storyteller, a persuader, an enabler of aspiration. We sell dreams. That’s what we do. And companies are going to always use us. If you have a level of contact and subject matter expertise so that I feel like you can get candidates I can’t get in a faster way.”

Flipping the Order – Why the Phone Should Come Before Email

On Hobson Associates’ website, you will see the line “We’re Always Available to You. By Phone. Online. Or in person.” This is aligned with how Danny wants the order in which their recruiters would reach out to prospects via phone before mail. I tried to pick Danny’s brain for this approach, and he explained the logic. 

“Yeah, well, because I think the phone has some real advantages and it is direct. You know, people often say, well, email is faster. Oh, no, it’s not. I see email exchanges all the time between clients.”

Danny also emphasized that the phone has some power to engage with prospects. “The power of the pause; the power of someone sighing. The thing about text, is that young people like text, because text can be filtered, text can be edited, right? You can wait and you can make a draft of it. Whereas with the phone, you can’t skim a phone call. Right. You’re on it. You’re on the hot seat.”

Can You Be a Successful Recruiter With Zero Cold Calls?

We have members of our coaching group who are not really into making cold calls. We see recruiters who are making consistent placements without making a single cold call. With the power of LinkedIn, Social Media platforms, & AI, you can do a lot of business development that can translate to end-to-end sourcing and placements. The question is, can you be a successful recruiter without making cold calls?

Danny shared a fact from SourceWhale: 60% of meetings come from the phone call. It may not be the primary way of reaching prospects anymore, but possessing the skill of doing cold calls is a critical part of becoming a successful recruiter. But of course, Danny pointed out that there are so many ways of doing business. Those who can make it work without the need to do cold calls should keep doing what they are doing.

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Today’s Guest

Danny Cahill

Danny Cahill started at Hobson Associates right out of college. He became its Rookie of the Year, top producer, and general manager by the age of 26. At 27 he bought the company and built it into one of the country’s largest search firms specializing in Software Sales, Bio-Tech Sales, and Industrial Sales talent. He is the only industry “guru” that runs a search firm every day. He does what you do.

He was the Educational Chairperson of the Pinnacle Society, 75 of the highest achievers in the industry, and he still personally mentors many members. He also owns and runs AccordingToDanny.com, an online training and mentoring company dedicated to enhancing the skills and jumpstarting the spirits of recruiters worldwide. His keynote presentations have made him one of the most sought-after speakers in the country.

He was elected to the NAPS Hall of Fame in 2006 and also received the Dave Knutson Lifetime Achievement Award. HireAbility overwhelmingly voted him the industry’s most popular speaker. AccordingToDanny.com was awarded “Best-In-Class” for Training Excellence from MRINetwork.

In his other life, as a playwright, he has had works produced off-Broadway and won both the Maxwell Anderson and the CAB Theatre Award for playwrights. He has written for CBS Television, Muscle and Fitness Magazine, as well as numerous magazines. He received his Master’s Degree in Literature from Wesleyan University and believes salespeople enjoy the world’s only job security.  Danny’s book, “Harper’s Rules”, a business novel/parable, which of course features a headhunter, won the 2011 Axiom Award for Best Business Parable. His screenplay, “Breakpoint” was optioned by Dialogue Pictures, and his new memoir, “Aging Disgracefully” is available now in bookstores and on Kindle.

About the Host

Mark Whitby

Mark Whitby is one of the world’s leading coaches for the recruitment industry. Since 2001, he has trained over 10,000 recruiters in 34 countries. Mark has helped recruiters to double or triple their billings and owners to increase their team’s sales by 67% in 90 days.

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