By John Tabita

Get Hired

By John Tabita

In my series on Putting a Stop to Abusive Clients, I’ve talked a lot from the seller’s perspective. But before I put the final wraps on the series, I’m going to take a slight detour to discuss things from the buyer’s side of the fence. Let’s talk about how to get hired.

Over the past few days, I’ve had to post two different job opportunities; one for a full-time sales rep, and the other for some contract web work. The responses I’ve gotten have been interesting, to say the least.

One of the things I deliberately do is include both an email and my direct phone number as contact points. Which you chose may very well mean the difference between getting hired and getting ignored.

Within minutes of posting the ad for the contract position, I received a phone call. Shortly afterwards, I received a second call from another firm. Both took the time to find out my objectives and what I’m trying to accomplish before talking up their firm.

The rest sent an email with some variation of “check out my website“ and “call me back.”

Who do you suppose I’m considering?

Hiding behind Web 2.0

Recently, my son’s scoutmaster left a voice mail message about an upcoming Eagle ceremony for one of the other boys in his troop, and that his attendance was “mandatory.” The only problem was, all he gave us was the name of the church where the ceremony was being held … no address, no city, nada.

After a Google search turned up just one church with that name several cities over, I asked my son to confirm if this was indeed the right church. So on the day of the ceremony, he made phone calls and left voice mail messages, trying to find out. No one, not the scoutmaster, his patrol leader nor any of the other boys in his troop responded. Finally, out of desperation, he posted the question on Facebook.

Within 15 minutes, three boys replied. I fear this does not bode well for the future of our youth.

Too often, we use Web 2.0 tools to avoid direct interaction. For instance, it’s easy to hide behind marketing to avoid selling. Don’t fall into that trap. When I give you the choice, pick up the phone and call me.

Why would I say that? Two reasons. One: I’m really, really busy. When you call me, you get first-mover advantage, because you’ve taken a task off my all-too-busy plate—the need to follow up on all the emails responses I received. I really don’t have time to “check out your website,” and then “give you a call.” Besides, your website probably contains the same generic fluff as everyone else’s. How about you demonstrate why you’re different and why I ought to hire you? You can do that by picking up the phone and having an actual conversation with me.

Reason Number Two is: it shows me you have initiative as well as people skills. You see, if I really have a need, I’m going to want to talk with you to determine if you are someone who can fill that need. If I’m the one hiding behind web 2.0 tools, asking you to communicate with me via email or Facebook, I may not be a genuine prospect at all. I might be someone who’s merely “interested,” or not far enough along in the buying cycle to waste valuable time with. But if I’ve offered my phone number, than means I’d like to speak with a living, breathing person. That person could be you.

Here’s another tip: When I ask you to follow up if you haven’t heard back from me by such-and-such date, that might be a test. Calling me back shows me you want the gig.

What I didn’t mention is that there was a third firm that called; but he got the short straw—my voice mail—and never called back. If you have a genuine lead, keep pursuing it, even if they aren’t returning your calls. If you saw my desk, you’d know why I didn’t call you back.

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  • Michael

    Well… You should call be if someone has called you. Or else you’re just another one of those #¤%”#¤ that never respond or take the time to appreciate the effort someone else has made – and you clearly say: ‘I don’t give a s**t about the time you have taken to try to contact me’.

    And then you’re not hiding in the shadows of web 2.0 – but in the older and maybe even darker shadows of ‘I’m to busy to think of you or show good manners’.

    Well… Lets say I’m a guy who have called you and another company for a job position. You never called me back again (shame on you!) and the other company called me back. Clearly I’m going for the other company first. And you, you don’t even know what you’re missing – except the lack of good manners of returning a message!

    Just my 5 cent…

    • I like John’s articles – very useful tips and great client psychology – but I must say you have a point too! No one’s too big for good manners (like replying to the third guy who tried to make contact and left a message) – and it doesn’t just come down to having time or not…

    • Why are you assuming I that I never called the third person back?

      • Brian

        I think they must have misunderstood this sentance: “What I didn’t mention is that there was a third firm that called; but he got the short straw—my voice mail—and never called back.”

        The point here is the 3rd firm that called left an initial voice mail BUT never called back to follow-up after the first attempt.

        Thank you for your articles Mr. Tabita.

  • Tom Briggs

    Maybe next time if you want people to call you to save you precious time, just tell them in the job posting. Don’t give people two options and then decide actually you’re only going to pay attention to one. That makes absolutely no sense.

    • totally agree with this comment, don’t give more than one option. even when i fill out web forms that ask for email and phone, i leave the telephone blank or use an obviously fake number if it is mandatory because i already know i don’t want to be telephoned, especially by one of those lead follow up companies that are just trying to pre-qualify you for an upsell.

      • You’re both missing the point, Guys. Leaving both contact points is a test. I’m of the opinion that the person whose first instinct is to pick up the phone and call will provide me with better customer service if I hire them. There are too many vendors that don’t respond to phone calls and hide behind emails. I don’t want to hire one of those.

        I’ve been on the selling end more than the buying end, so I’m not into abusing service providers. But because I’ve been one myself, I suppose I have higher expectations. The bottom line is, all buyers have idiosyncrasies. This happens to be mine. Don’t miss the main point of the article just because you happen to disagree with my tactics.

  • Great post, and awesome points. Especially about the calling the client back, even if they said THEY would call by this date. Truth is people are busy and it can slip their mind. I’ve landed projects because I called to follow up and they were glad I had reminded them and took the initiative.

    • One of my telephone reps made an appointment to speak with someone who seemed very interested in our product. But when my rep called at the pre-arranged time came, the other person wasn’t there. She called back at the same time for a week straight, hoping to get a hold of the prospect. I finally suggested that she call at an entirely different time. When she did, she got a hold of the prospect and made a sale.

      Sometimes we assume we’re being blown off when all it may be is the other person is busy and you’re not top of mind for them.

  • Hi John,

    I have really enjoyed this series and your advice on dealing with clients.

    I am guilty of relying on emails too much when picking up the phone often achieves a better result.

    Thanks for the reminder!


  • I was surprised about the email message. Most customers/firms/et all hide their contact info and bigger firms insulate themselves ( the phone number given is usually a receptionist who blocks rather than forward calls). I’d figure most prospects would LEAP at the chance to make contact in an interactive way (and demonstrate or at leas seem to demonstrate that you understand or are open to client objectives). Still, if only as a matter of protocol, a good point to mention.

  • I see your point about offering two forms of contact as a test for your potential hire. However, what about cases where speech isn’t the easiest form of communication? Individuals that are not native speakers in English, or another language, may find calling difficult as the person answering may not understand them.

    In my case, I have a disability that requires me to rely on mechanical breathing. This makes for pauses in my speech that are not always convenient and tends to make me hesitate calling people I haven’t met before. In person, conversation is generally easy, but phone calls are a different situation. If the person answers during one of my required pauses, they here no reply. A two-second pause can, and has, resulted in me hearing a click the moment I say hello.

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