Overcoming Objections During the Job Sourcing Process

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“I’m not looking to change jobs right now.”

Do phrases like that sound familiar?

If so, you’re probably wondering why you encounter those sorts of objections when you reach out to tech pros to present job opportunities. Given the numerous surveys that suggest the vast majority of professionals would gladly change jobs for a more competitive salary or a chance to enhance their skills, it seems like they would welcome your call.

“Every time we recruiters point a finger at tech pros for refusing to talk, there are three pointing back at us,” said Barb Bruno, president of Good as Gold Training. “An objection is actually a buying signal, you need to reposition it as a request for more information.”

What can you do to get cold prospects to migrate from “go away” to “sounds interesting, tell me more”? Here are some ways to handle the five most common objections from technology professionals during the sourcing process.

“Why are you calling me? That position doesn’t begin to match my skills, interests, level or career goals.”

One way to deal with objections is to avoid them in the first place. In this case, you can sidestep rejection by becoming a career builder instead of a job pitcher.

“I don’t encounter that objection because I don’t pitch jobs to strangers,” admitted Carmen Hudson, principal consultant with Recruiting Toolbox. She thoroughly researches a prospect’s background and invites them to participate in a career discussion before deciding if (and when) it’s appropriate to present a specific opportunity.

As Bruno noted, most tech pros are open to changing jobs—they just don’t want to be subjected to the hard sell. So if you pitch an inappropriate position at an inconvenient time, they are going to hang up on you. Instead of inviting “no” right out of the gate, schedule a convenient time to talk.

“You can’t have a quality conversation with someone about their frustrations or unmet career goals when their boss or co-workers are sitting within earshot in the next cubicle,” Bruno said. “Recruiting isn’t a nine-to-five job, you need to call tech pros after business hours when they can talk freely.”

“I’m not looking to change jobs right now, I’m happy.”

In the sales world, this is called indifference. It’s when a prospect sees no need to change the status quo. To counter indifference, reframe the objection by asking questions to gain a tech pro’s interest and get them thinking about the future. Here’s a game-changing example from Hudson:

“When was the last time you sat down and seriously thought about the next step in your career?”

Ask about the things they don’t like in their current job or the things they’d like to change. No job is perfect, and asking the right questions can help a prospect understand the risks of not exploring the market.

“There’s something they’re not getting, whether it’s professional development, flex time, unlimited vacation or bonuses,” said Jason Johnson, chief marketing officer for Qualigence. “Get them talking about the stuff that really bothers them.”

Supplying tantalizing information about compensation, emerging roles or marquee companies that are hiring may also pique a candidate’s interest and nudge them from indifferent to interested.

“What’s the compensation? My absolute minimum salary is X.”

Clarifying this objection can help a candidate re-evaluate their priorities and move to a more flexible position with regard to a job opening. For instance, Bruno starts by empowering the candidate so they feel like they’re in control of the situation.

“I take my direction from you,” she tells them. Then she restates the candidate’s priorities and proposes a few scenarios to get them thinking.

“When should I pick up the phone?” she might ask. “If I have a job that has everything you’re looking for, but it pays $149,000 and not $150,000, should I call you? What if it pays $140,000?”

It is amazing how many tech pros will budge, provided that you ask the right questions in the right way.

“I’ve heard bad things about that company. Not interested.”

This objection provides the perfect opportunity to redirect the conversation toward a tech pro’s likes and dislikes. Acknowledge their concerns and ask open-ended questions about their ideal career opportunity and environment. Top-performing tech recruiters don’t hear “no”; they hear “not now.”

“I don’t work with recruiters.”

To overcome this objection, you must first explore the candidate’s reasoning. Did they have a bad experience? Do they think that they can get a higher salary by eliminating the recruiter from the equation? Draw the prospect out. Once you better understand their objections, you can explain how you’re different or why his or her fear is unfounded.

However, don’t dwell on the past or argue. “Why would you go there?” Hudson asked. “Volunteer to research salaries or invite them to meet your executive team over coffee or get their permission to stay in touch.”

It’s not always about turning “no” to “yes,” she added. Sometimes the best outcome is simply agreeing to continue the conversation.

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