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Azazel the Agent: would you be so rude to your mother?

Welcome along, my little disciples, to another blog written by me. Last time I wrote I explained why I was important to you. One respondent said that contractors didn't need recruitment agents, as without jobs and candidates we would be out of business. Rubbish.

Some uppity creative freelancers find their own work, but not many HR contractors find their own work, nor accountant contractors, nor IT contractors... the list goes on and on.

So yes, you need me. That point is not in doubt. You don't want to do all the murky and grizzly cold calling yourself do you? And that leads me on nicely to the main point of this blog:

I hate cold calling contractors.

You are just a thankless bunch. I have a role that needs filling so find some CVs of people that have sent their details to us. I find one that matches the role, so I do that person a favour and give them a call. You would think that such a careful, methodical approach (i.e. actually reading about the person's skills and capabilities) would provide a great result, wouldn't you?

Actually no, hardly ever. So what goes wrong?

Let's run through some of the scenarios that can occur and I'll also offer you Azazel's advice on making the situation work better for both of us.

Scenario one - the "I'm in a meeting" contractor

They answer, and when you explain who you are they get abrasive and demand to know why you feel it suitable to interrupt the important meeting that they're in.

Well, I'm sorry, I wasn't in the room with you, I wasn't aware that a meeting whose importance rivalled the Munich Conference between Chamberlain and Hitler was taking place on your client site.

Azazel's resolution: Here's a novel idea: switch that phone off and don't blame me if it rings, hey?

Scenario two - the "quality family time" contractor

Pretty much the same as scenario one. As I'm being yelled at, I realise I've interrupted some quality "family time", a time when that contractor hates being interrupted by "pointless calls". Despite it being 2.42pm on a Wednesday afternoon, a time when many professionals are still beavering away.

Azazel's resolution: Same advice as scenario one really. Switched the damned thing off or use your phone settings to route all non-recognised calls straight to your voicemail. I'll happily leave a message and you can call me back at a convenient time.

Scenario three - the "I'm driving you idiot" contractor

I think this one does what it says on the tin. You call and say who you are, they get abusive and say they're driving and can't take calls. What's more, you're endangering their's and everything else's lives on that slab of tarmac.

Azazel's resolution: Ignore the call or invest in a bluetooth device, you idiot.

Scenario four - the "just send the details through and I'll call you back" contractor

"Howdy ho, it's Azazel the Agent here, I have an absolutely corking role that matches every single capability and hobby that you possess."
"Just send it through and I'll get back to you if it's of interest."

Woah! Hang on! Not so fast! I haven't found out some important details yet, such as whether you are available, what your rate is, whether you'll travel...

You might think that this is a good result, but it isn't. And if you're this contractor you know why. Because when I call back you'll get abusive and tell me you were never interested.

Azazel's resolution: Say from the off that you're not interested. It saves you time and it saves me time. Or if you are, just chat to me for a minute or two so that we can ensure that we're not wasting either of our time here.

Scenario five - the "I'm not available for work you idiot" contractor

They sent you a CV a couple of weeks ago because they were available, now you call and they've found another contract. Well, that's fantastic, but all you need to do is say that. Not be abusive about it. As Azazel's mother would have said: "I'm not a mind reader you know." You may have noticed that there is a recession on and most people that are out of work are grateful for someone with the possibility of work calling them.

Azazel's resolution: once again, just let me know politely. I'll end the call and we'll both stay friends.

Scenario six - the "I don't take cold calls" contractor

This one beggars belief. You're cut off and the person says that they don't take cold calls on their mobile. Well, just exactly how do you work then? And why did you put your mobile number on your CV?

Azazel's resolution: grow up and accept that all businesspeople receive a cold call once in a while. And not all cold calls are pointless.

I hope that this has introduced you briefly to some of possible scenarios that occur when a honest recruitment agent such as myself calls you about a potential contract. Of course there are more, but this site wouldn't have the storage space to list them all. Those were just some of the most typical.

So what do I want out of all of this? I want you to sit back and think about the last few calls you got from recruitment agents. How did you react? Was it rational?

Just remember, we're at the coal face, cold calling your next potential client or at the very least discussing their needs on your behalf (at least indirectly). So a little politeness when I cold call you wouldn't go amiss. When I was a young agent, my boss gave me the advice to always treat people how you would treat your mother. And always talk to people as you would like you would like someone to talk to your mother. So just think next time you're going to be irrationally rude.... would you speak to your mother like that?

Happy functioning all.


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