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Recruiting & Candidate Development

Storyboard Your Recruiting Script

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You can look at a job order like most recruiters, and see a classified ad. Or you can look at it like I do, and see an episode from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Think about it. Every day, a zillion candidates are being pummeled by recruiters who use the black and white version as the basis of their recruiting script---a script that sounds strikingly similar to last Sunday’s classified ad:

“Hi, my name is Rob Petrie, and I’m a recruiter specializing in broadcast media. Have you got a moment? Good.

“I’m working with a Fortune 500 media client in the Midwest that’s looking for a Network News Anchor. The job requires a four-year communications degree plus three to five years of broadcast experience, preferably in news or features. The candidate must have the ability to look directly at the camera, read from a script, observe visual cues and take direction from staff writers and producers. The client offers a competitive salary, a standard relocation package, plus an incentive program based on Neilsen ratings. Do you know of anyone with these qualifications?”

Boring, Boring, Boring!
Why not hire a telemarketing firm to read the ad and put the recruiter out of his misery? I’d rather tell an interesting story and add value to my work, as in:

“Hi, my name is Bill Radin, and I’m a recruiter specializing in broadcast media. I’m working with a news program in Minnesota that’s got a bull in a china shop, and I’m hoping you can help me by making a recommendation. Is this a good time to talk?

“Good. This is not too complicated, but it needs a little explanation. Let me begin by saying that the current staff consists of a great bunch of people, who’ve worked together a long time and really care for each personally, as well as professionally. As a team, they’re first rate---their writing is funny, insightful and award-winning, and they take great pride in what they do.

“Unfortunately, the anchor on the show is totally out of synch with the rest of the team. He can’t read what they write, can’t take direction on the set, and---worst of all---spends more time in front of his mirror than he does in front of the camera. Because of the anchor’s obsession with style, not substance, the show’s lost a lot of its credibility, and much of its audience.

“We know that the structure’s already in place to make the show a total winner---all it needs is a new front person to pump some energy over the airwaves. And, once that happens, it’ll put the show right back on top, where it should be.

Do you happen to know of a TV personality that really sparkles, and might enjoy breathing new life into a news show with great potential?”

Take your pick. Which presentation do you think would generate more interest and elicit the greater response?

Four Steps to a Dynamite Presentation
It goes without saying that the recruiter who tells a compelling story has a huge advantage over someone who fails to understand---or can’t put into word pictures---the relevancy of a particular search. I’ve found that by storyboarding my presentation, as in a Hollywood action sequence, I can concisely convey information in logical, bite-sized bits.

The greater your ability to tell the client’s story in an engaging manner, the more you’ll increase your chance to “hook” the candidate---which is the first step in creating a dialogue, building a relationship and earning the right to ask for referrals.

Storyboarding is easy, if you follow these steps:

• Set up your presentation. Explain who you are, why you’re calling, and what you hope to accomplish.
• Describe the dilemma. By its nature, a job opening creates a degree of tension that demands resolution. The more you engage the candidate in your client’s employment puzzle, the more the person will want to help you solve it.
• Suggest a happy ending. Ride into the sunset with the candidate by describing the hoped-for outcome that would solve the puzzle and benefit the client.
• Ask for the candidate’s help. This is the proverbial call to action, in which you hope your efforts will be rewarded---in the form of a direct referral, a suggestion of where to look, or a declaration of interest on the part of the candidate.

Recruiters often fall into the trap of trying to “close” a candidate without having sold the person on the dynamics of the job and the unique personalities of the staff. Then, with no new referrals in hand, the recruiter has no choice but to move on to the next prospect, where the cycle of failure is repeated.

By strengthening your presentation, you’ll shorten the search gestation period and reduce the sheer number of candidates you’ll need to call in order to fill a position. After hearing so many ineffective presentations over the years, I’m suspicious whenever a recruiter tells me that he’s just talked to a lousy candidate. I’m tempted to reply, “There are no lousy candidates, just lousy recruiters.”



Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction. Bill’s extensive experience makes him an ideal source of techniques, methods and ideas for rookies who want to master the fundamentals—or veterans ready to jump to a higher level of success.

One of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, Bill has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Staffing Industry Summer School in Chicago, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and

Bill's recruiting career began in 1985, after he received his Master's degree in Music Performance from the University of Southern California. A specialist in the sensor and instrumentation industry, Bill serves his client companies by filling sales, managerial and technical positions (visit his Web site at

Under his leadership as manager and training director, Bill helped Search West of Los Angeles and Management Recruiters of Cincinnati set individual and company billing records. In addition to his best-selling industry-specific books for recruiters, Bill has also authored the critically acclaimed career books, Take This Job and Leave It and Breakaway Careers, published by Career Press.

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