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What is the last good movie that you saw?

A simple and unassuming open-ended question that has really helped me over the years in my cold calling blocks.

My recruiting background is in the health care sector, mostly working with physicians. Most physician recruiters would agree that the chance of connecting directly with a doctor in his or her office from a random call is very slim. It is a combination of difficult schedules between patients, call services and gatekeepers.

Nonetheless my first few months on a desk were spent calling physician office lists. My manager stressed the need to be professional (yet yourself) and to get something from every call. That was a tall order given that my average call lasted a mere thirty five seconds. So after leaving my message and contact information I asked the individual taking the message what was the last good movie that they saw.

This simple question would often catch people off guard, but would also allow them to lower their guard. It would suddenly turn a standard sales call  into a free flowing conversation.

My initial goal was to extend the actual conversation and try to learn something from the person on the other end. It often worked and I would gain additional information such as a schedule or alternate phone number, but over time by asking the question I began to stand out from the crowd. I was not only a recruiter cold calling, but the ‘movie guy’.

Now I am not going to say that this always resulted in getting a call back, but there were a handful of occasions where it did come back full circle and my movie question would open the dialogue and transition to sourcing a quality candidate.

Roger Ebert I may not be, but I still enjoy watching and critiquing movies. By injecting a bit of my personal interests into my cold calling blocks I found it made the exercise a tad more bearable, but more importantly allowed me to standout from being just another random caller.

So for those of you who might be curious my current list (in no particular order);

  • (500) Days of Summer
  • The Graduate
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona
  • Adaptation
  • Inception

So have you had success bringing one of your interests into the workplace? Do  you have your own technique for making cold calls a bit more user friendly? And if you’re movie fan like myself, what is the last good movie you watched?

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