How to Make Better Introductory Calls to Candidates

How to Make Better Introductory Calls to Candidates

Cold calling candidates remains one of the more efficient and effective ways of recruiting and hiring as it usually leads to instant results. The first phone call with a candidate is so important that it can either make or break your relationship with your candidate, as well as influence their interest in the role you are trying to fill. It can determine whether you can secure a candidate submittal, conduct an interview, or schedule an interview between the candidate and the hiring manager.


To boost your chances of a successful introductory call, here are a couple of tips that you can implement now to improve your first round of calls to make them more effective.


1. Be Extra Prepared for the Call

It is good practice to be adequately prepared before reaching for the phone. After all, calling without any preparation might cause you to sound uncertain which might be off putting to a candidate. But that isn’t always enough.


Be Extra Prepared for the Call


Regular preparation involves reviewing a candidate’s profile and any information you have on them, as well as looking through the job description of the role you are hiring for. Go the extra step and look for public social media profiles that share a bit more about their personal interests.


Lastly, have a set of questions that you want to ask the candidate. You should also rehearse what you plan on saying to sound more natural over the phone.


2. Create a Stress-Free, Low-Pressure Conversation

When a candidate picks up your phone call, it might make sense to start going through your list of questions and asking away right off the bat. However, doing this might potentially scare away a candidate especially if they are receiving an unsolicited phone call in the middle of the day.


In most cases, candidates will have questions running through their head when they receive a call from an unfamiliar voice. This can include concerns such as, “Is this recruiter reliable, sincere and trustworthy?” as well as determining how comfortable they are in sharing information with the recruiter.

Create a Stress-Free, Low-Pressure Conversation

It is important to first establish a stress-free phone call to allay these concerns. To help candidates be more comfortable, always check in with them to ask if they are comfortable moving forward at every step of the call, giving them the feeling of control. You can also put them at greater ease by informing them that they can end the call at any time.


Remember, being pushy and probing too much and too quickly into a candidate’s career history, goals and motivations may end up turning them away. Take your time to build trust with your candidate before diving into more personal questions.


3. Ask Open-Ended Questions and Listen Actively

Make sure that your list of questions is open-ended because this gives the candidate more opportunity to share their work experience, skills and interests. Avoid asking questions that warrant a yes/no answer as it does not give you much insight into the candidate.

Ask Open-Ended Questions and Listen Actively

At the same time, it is also important to actively listen to the responses of the candidate and ask relevant follow-up questions. While you may have a rough plan for the conversation and a list of questions you want to ask, it is best to approach the call with some flexibility to allow the conversation to flow naturally, as well as allow yourself or the candidate to ask questions at any point of the call.


As a bonus, listening actively to the candidate also allows you to effectively evaluate their communication skills to see if they can articulate their thoughts well.


4. Highlight the Exceptional Opportunities of the Role

Rather than rattling off a series of bullet points from the job description, which can be stale and not particularly engaging, it is best to present the job as an exciting opportunity for the candidate.


With at least 40% of all professionals receiving calls from recruiters at least once a month, it is important to stand out from other recruiters and grab the candidate’s attention for the job opportunity right from the start.

Highlight the Exceptional Opportunities of the Role

To do this, you will have to understand a candidate’s motivations, as well as evaluate what makes the job so exceptional and appealing to them. One way of doing that is to get the candidate to visualise a long-term career plan in this new role. Selling both tangible and intangible benefits of your role will make for a better first impression.


5. Stay Connected, even if the Candidate is Not the Perfect Fit

It might seem like a “waste of time” to speak to someone who is unqualified or not appropriate for the role you are hiring for, but it helps to keep a good relationship with all your candidates even beyond the initial phone call. After all, several unforeseen scenarios may happen: the hiring manager may loosen or change the job’s requirements over time, the candidate may refer someone whom they know is a better fit to you, or you may be hiring for other roles in the future that would be perfect for them.


A good rule of thumb is to end the call off on a good note and, if appropriate, inform them of the next steps in the hiring process to keep them in the loop.



Nailing that introductory call is always a challenge, but with enough practice and preparation, it will become less stressful and easier to conduct. These are some good practices to adopt when establishing the first contact point with candidates, which include adequate preparation, making the candidate feel at ease, and keeping them excited and engaged by presenting an exceptional opportunity to them.


Be sensitive to the candidate’s motivations, concerns, and feelings throughout the entire call, and that will put you in a better stead for the long run.


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