If the thought of calling a hiring manager makes your palms sweat, you’re not alone. Even professional solicitors sometimes experience what the experts refer to as "call reluctance." We’ve all heard of actors who say they suffer from occasional bouts of stage fright, even after scores of performances. The difference is that actors and sales people use specific techniques to overcome their inhibitions. You can use them, too, to stare down fear and start dialing that phone.
- Nothing to fear, but fear: First, you need to approach follow-up or introductory calls to managers with the right mindset. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so don’t let negative thoughts paralyze you.
- Prepare: Job seekers are often fearful about calling because they’re unsure about what to say, which in turn, erodes their confidence. An effective call or message is simple and has three objectives: Share some information about yourself, ask for some information about the opportunity, and close on the next step, which could be an interview, an informal meeting over coffee, or even the chance to stay in touch with the manager, in hopes of securing a future opportunity.
To build the necessary skills and confidence, prepare two scripts, one for leaving a voicemail and the other for an actual conversation with the manager. Practice the dialogue – preferably with a friend playing the role of the manager – until you sound conversational and unrehearsed. You can tweak the scripts to fit the specific circumstances. Remember to have the contact’s name in front of you before you dial.
- Depersonalize and deflect: Don’t take rejection personally. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are five candidates for every job opening today, which means job seekers are bound to encounter some rejection. Try to secure a fall-back objective. This will allow you to deflect rejection and stay upbeat, so you’ll end the call on a positive note.
For example, if a manager isn’t currently recruiting, ask if he or she sees any additions to staff on the horizon. If the answer is no, ask if she knows anyone who’s currently hiring. If all attempts to secure a hot lead or referral fail, go for your final objective – to stay in touch or on an online network. If she says yes, chalk that up in your win column
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman