Recruit Top Prospects During Their ‘Angry Hours’ — Because Timing Is Everything

An in-depth analysis on how the right timing can dramatically improve recruiting

In my experience, the hardest-to-recruit exceptional targets are those who I label as “no, and stop calling me” passive top prospects who simply won’t accept a recruiter’s call. Even though most recruiters will tell you that their lack of interest in changing jobs is unwavering, my research has found that there are exceptions that may occur once or twice during each year, and I call them “their angry hours.”

During this brief time period the prospect is open to a recruiting discussion because something has recently occurred that makes them angry about their job, their manager, or their company. And for at least a few hours … that anger makes them suddenly receptive to recruiter calls and to new job opportunities.

Timing Is Everything in Sales and Recruiting

If you’re going to be strategic in recruiting, realize that finding top performers and superstars on the Internet, on LinkedIn, and on social media is actually now quite easy. The remaining part of recruiting is selling, because it is extremely difficult 1) to get top identified prospects to even talk to you and 2) to “sell” these individuals to the point where they are willing to apply for your job. Most top performers are fully employed and because they are so valuable, they are treated well at their current firm. As a result I classify them as “stop-calling-me prospects.” When even a top recruiter calls them or contacts them via LinkedIn or email, they either don’t respond at all or they say emphatically “no.”

Effective recruiting requires precise timing. The same call that was not returned by a prospect on one day may get an immediate callback another day, because something in the target’s work life has dramatically changed that made them angry.

Fortunately, we can learn from those outside of HR who have an effective solution to this resistance. And this solution is based on the timing of the contact rather than the content of the actual sales pitch. For example in high-end real estate, boat, and luxury car sales, experts use prospect research to identify the factors that indicate that a formerly not-interested prospect is now ripe for a purchase. That same “call-at-the-perfect time” approach can be applied to recruiting, if you can identify the times where your targets are considering entering job search mode, which are the hours when they become angry and frustrated with their current job.

Unfortunately, very few recruiting departments fully use this or any form of prospect research, even though it can reveal the triggers that shift a top prospect from stop-calling-me mode to a more receptive mode which I call “I-am-angry-enough-right-now-to-enter-job-search mode.”

An “Angry-hours” Recruiting Approach Designed for Passive “Stop Calling Me” Top prospects

Identifying and recruiting during angry hours is extremely important because these angry periods occur so infrequently among employed top performers because they are treated so well. Being well treated means that your recruiting target will currently have the “right job,” which I define as having a combination of the right manager, coworkers, work assignments, freedom, etc. Their current job is so perfectly designed around them that they know that they are probably doing the best work of their life.

Because they are top performers they are also largely unflappable, so easily brush off 99 percent of the work-related issues and problems that they encounter. The remaining 1 percent are potential career-damaging issues that only occur one or two times during the year when these top performers get so frustrated with their job situation that they will consider an outside offer. I call those times “angry hours,” and that is the hour or two (and occasionally the evening or weekend) where they are extremely angry about their work situation or their boss. Taking advantage of their anger at their job must come quickly because their anger is likely to dissipate once they get home, have a drink, once they talk out their frustration with a friend or mentor, or sleep on it overnight. 

What Causes “Angry Hours”?

Some of the events that can cause an angry time period include:

  • A major project proposal of theirs is rejected
  • Their budget or equipment was cut
  • Leadership decided to go in “a different direction” in their functional area
  • They were forced to reduce their staff
  • They got a lower-than-expected performance appraisal or ranking
  • They were not selected for a promotion or leadership role

How to Identify When an Individual Prospect Is in Their “Angry Hours”

If you are interested in direct sourcing and the search for “purple squirrels,” you will find that the logic of the angry-hours recruiting approach is hard to argue with. There is one difficult roadblock, and that is identifying when one of your recruiting targets is about to enter, or is currently going through, an “angry period.” You’ll need some help in identifying their angry hours, but don’t start out with the notion that this kind of info gathering can’t be done. A version of this information sourcing is successfully used every day by gossip bloggers, paparazzi, and TMZ. Your job is to simply adapt some of their proven approaches to recruiting. Even with great research, you won’t be able to identify “angry hours” every time, so the goal is simply to increase the odds that you will find it at least once during each year. “Angry-hours” identification approaches that you should consider using include: For More Info Click Here