Deals are the driving force behind recruiters. Being able to close on them is a make-or-break situation and, if you can’t close, you won’t last long in the competitive world of recruitment.

The top billers are the ones who can close on their first call; a skills that many recruiters lack. Fail to prepare for a call with your client, and you might as well prepare to fail at the same time.

So why can’t recruiters close on their first call? There are four stand out reasons that shoot them in the foot every time they pick up the phone. Here are the hurdles you face, and how to overcome them:

1. You don’t advise your client

If you don’t understand the problem your client is trying to solve, you won’t be able to provide the right solution.

Your client might suggest a certain type of candidate for the role, however, if you do not think that individual will fit the job spec perfectly, you have a duty to tell them. Don’t be afraid disagree with what they think they’re looking for if you know what is needed to fulfil the role requirements. After all, you recruit every day so have experience placing contractors into similar positions.

Highlighting potential skill and attributes they haven’t considered shows your client that you have understood their brief and have thought about what they need, outside of your scheduled phone time with them. As soon as you have been briefed, the process of placing begins. The more value you can add to this process, and the more your client trusts your advice, the more like it is that there will be a positive outcome.

2.  You don’t know your pool of candidates

A huge mistake is getting on the phone with your client without knowing which of your candidates you want to put forward for the role. It’s vital to your success that you already have any idea of the sorts of people who could do the job. Too many recruiters receive a brief and think no more about it until they next speak to their client.

The best recruiters already have an in depth knowledge of their candidate network and will feel confident to talk at length about their proposed candidates with their client, without having to schedule in another call. Rather than discussing what sort of candidate might fit the bill, their conversations are about real candidates who will be perfect for the role.

There’s a lot of software out there to help recruiters organise and understand their candidates, examples of which can be found here.

3. You haven’t done your homework

If you don’t know the company, job spec and initial requirements like the back of your hand, don’t bother picking up the phone to call your client.

They don’t have the time to hear “Maybe this person could be good”, “The role might suit this candidate”, etc. Your client wants concrete proposals and answers, not half-committed suggestions.

Being able to talk about the role and your candidates in detail during the first stages of the process is a sure-fire way of getting your client’s attention. They will then be far more likely to listen to you at a later stage in the process, when your advice truly needs to be heeded.

Your client’s trust is earned, and you will receive it when they feel you not only understand the brief, but care about finding the ideal candidate for the role.

Vague suggestions, uncertainty and mismatching the role and candidate is sure to lead to disappointment on all sides. On top of not closing, you’re wasting their time, as well as that of your candidate.


4. You haven’t thought ahead

Any recruiter worth their salt should be able to walk their client through what the process might look like on their first call.

The specifics of the role in question don’t matter, the best recruiters can talk about when they have filled similar roles in the past, they can walk the client through the potential obstacles and manage their expectations in terms of the talent that is available. Before you’ve even made a phone call, your client should have a decent idea of the potential for success.

Be one of the recruiters that closes

As a recruiter, you’ll put yourself one step closer to closing by asking the right questions, challenging false assumptions, knowing the candidates on your market and being clear about the process that is required to secure the right person.

Recruiters close when clients believe that they can do what they say.