“I haven’t got the time”
“I can do it over Skype”
“I’ll drop him a message instead”
“I’ll just look at their website”
These are a handful of the most common excuses made by recruiters to avoid one of the most beneficial things in business – the face-to-face meeting.
Whilst there’s validity to the point that some meetings aren’t worth the taking – for example, a sit down with an unlikely customer at a distant location that will eat up an entire work day to visit – providing you’ve made a reasonable assessment of your prospects of business, an in-person meeting will only increase your chances of success.
Here are 7 reasons why:
- The moment you meet somebody in person, you become more memorable. You’re no longer a voice on the end of a telephone and a LinkedIn profile picture, you’re a living, breathing, moving human being. For lack of better term, now you’re real. It’s harder to let down or turn down real people who you have met – much easier to do it to the picture/voice combination.
- It’s easier to find common ground in person. Perhaps it will come in the form of a Manchester United shirt hanging on the wall. Perhaps you’ll notice family pictures on a desk. Whatever you see in an office, these are things that its resident is passionate about – and will be passionate about discussing with you.
- Very few recruiters take the time to meet candidates any more. Drive out to them or arrange to meet for a coffee. Doing this will not only win you the loyalty of the jobseeker over other recruiters but it also leads onto the next point…
- It allows you to pitch more effectively if you’ve met everybody in the process. You’re not taking anybody else’s word for it, you’ve created your own opinion and are passing it on – to somebody else you’ve met to boot, somebody who – having met you in person – is more likely to accept your view.
- You’ll find things in the office that a client may neglect to tell you about or not even realise are selling points – an excellent cafeteria, break out area, gym room… these may be the very things that make all the difference to the candidates you want to win to your client’s cause.
- You can prepare candidates for what they are going to encounter at interview. If you’ve visited site and know that it’s not the greatest working environment, it’s better to manage the candidate’s expectation in advance rather than have him turn up on the day and be noticeably taken aback by an underwhelming office.
- It will also help you stop the candidate getting flustered during the journey to interview. Satnavs aren’t always reliable and I’ve known some candidates who can’t quickly find the interview location to simply give up and go home rather than calling the client or the recruiter to ask for directions. If you’ve been there, you will be able to pass on clear directions and any entry procedure – for example, when I visited the offices of a well known scratch card manufacturer many years ago, there was no visible address, barbed wire everywhere and a search point at the entry gates. Being able to inform a candidate about that sort of thing in advance is going to be key to ensuring they walk into the interview as calm and composed as possible!
Providing you carefully consider the risk of the time and expense in attending such a meeting against the potential reward and don’t book meetings with everybody just for the sake of going, blocking out some time in your diary for face-to-face appointments may be one of the best decisions you ever make. If you’re concerned about the investment of time, be clever and think about the big picture. What area are you going to? Maximise the worth of your visit and get in touch with other companies or candidates in the area. Arrange to visit them as well and make the most of your time.
Almost every client I’ve met in person, I’ve won business from. I certainly can’t say the same about phone calls and I don’t know anybody who can.
Food for thought, isn’t it?