Cold calling is an effective method of introducing yourself to potential hiring managers to enquire about employment with their company. However, what should you do if the hiring manager doesn’t answer the phone and you reach their voice mailbox?
Typically, if you call 10 hiring managers, you might be lucky if you manage to get three or four of them live on the phone. In other words, you might end up reaching the hiring manager’s voice mailbox more often than not.
Personally, I think if you have made it this far on the call, you might as well leave a message rather than hanging up and calling the hiring manager over and over again until you get them on the phone live.
The best way to leave a voice message for a hiring manager is to script a short, relevant marketing message about you that lasts less than 60 seconds in length and use this as your voice message.
I feel better about scripting a voice message than a live call, because, with a voice message, there is no chance that someone will butt in and interrupt you. With a live call, who knows what the person on the other end of the phone will say?
Your script could go right out the window if they say something you don’t expect!
Your goal should be to become so comfortable with this voice message script, that you will quickly be able to recite it by heart and make it sound natural and unscripted.
Here is the model I use to put together a marketing message when I am cold calling an employer regarding a specific candidate and need to leave a voice message. In this case, I have identified a job searcher who I believe is someone that this company needs so I am contacting the company to try to arrange an interview between the candidate and the hiring manager:
“Hi, this is Carl Mueller. I’m representing a Certified Database Administrator with five years of hands-on experience. She has excelled in both small and medium-sized environments and her former manager spoke very highly of her troubleshooting skills. I understand that you have an opening for a database administrator and since this candidate matches your requirements and as she has just finished a short contract and is available to begin a new job right away, I thought you’d be interested to meet her. Please call me back at your earliest convenience at 555-1234. Again this is Carl Mueller and my number is 555-1234. Thanks.”
I actually used this script to leave a voice message for a hiring manager who was advertising a job for a database administrator that was advertised on the company’s website.
I got a return call from the hiring manager two hours later, got an interview for my candidate four days later and helped my candidate get the job two weeks after that.
Let’s look at the structure of the marketing message that I left:
• Opening sentence: I introduced myself. The hiring manager didn’t know me so I told them my name as a method of introduction.
• Second sentence: I introduced the job candidate I was calling about and mentioned that she is a certified database administrator (they wanted someone certified) and that she had five years of experience (they wanted someone with three to five years).
• Third Sentence: I mentioned that the candidate has worked in an environment similar to the company’s to illustrate that she would fit in nicely with them. Further I mentioned that I’d already done a reference check with an outside source (her former manager) and that he spoke very highly of her troubleshooting skills (the company wanted an experienced troubleshooter) to add credibility to her background. You could simply refer to a former manager who would verify a specific skill that you have that would be relevant to the company.
• Fourth Sentence: I referred to a specific job that the hiring manager had open that I’d seen on the company website that my candidate would be suited for and that my candidate could start the job right away. If you aren’t enquiring about a specific job, you could simply enquire about a possible need for someone with your skill set.
• Final sentences: I let the hiring manager know how she could contact me.
My voice message basically told the hiring manager that I had a solution to her problem: she needed to find a Database Administrator and I knew a candidate who was suited for the job and better yet, she could start right away.
I didn’t actually read this script word for word because the truth is that when I left this voice message, I had already used this same script about 15 times when I attempted calling other companies regarding the same job candidate. I was so used to this text, I had memorized it and was comfortable speaking without a script.
Since you know yourself better than anyone else, you should also be able to market yourself without a script once you have become comfortable with your marketing message.
All you need to do is put a marketing message script that matches your background. Tailor each message for each company you call depending on the situation and if you are applying for a specific job or if you are simply enquiring about possible openings. The more specific, the better.
Just remember to speak slowly, clearly and enthusiastically when leaving your message. Practice aloud before actually starting to make your calls.