If you’ve ever picked up the phone to reach a potential candidate, you’ll know that cold calling in recruitment isn’t as easy as it looks. 

Simply striking the right chord from the first ‘hello’ can impact the entire course of your conversation. And that’s exactly why a good recruitment cold-calling script can be a game-changer. 

We’re here to share some insights and practical scripts that can turn those nerve-wracking calls into opportunities for genuine connection. 

So, let’s get into the heart of making cold calls work for you!

What is cold calling in recruitment, and why is it so important?

At first glance, cold calling might seem like an outdated tactic in the age of online networking. But its role in recruitment is quite underestimated.  

In fact, it’s a key strategy for reaching out to potential candidates who aren’t actively seeking new opportunities. 

Let’s break down why cold calling is still a vital tool in modern-day recruiting: 

recruitment cold calling script website blog infographic

1. Helps reach passive talent more effectively

You’ll be surprised to know that cold calling is incredibly effective for engaging passive candidates. 

As much as 70% of the global workforce comprises passive talent who aren’t actively job searching. 

Cold calling helps recruiters reach out directly to these individuals, offering tailored opportunities that align with their career aspirations and skills. 

This personal approach can pique their interest in a way that impersonal job advertisements and emails often fail to do.

2. Builds personal connections in a digital world 

In an age where emails and LinkedIn InMails are the norm, a phone call is something that stands out. 

Cold calling in recruitment allows for a two-way conversation, where recruiters can not only present opportunities but also listen to the candidate’s career goals and concerns. 

This interaction builds rapport and trust, crucial for forming lasting professional relationships. 

A study by the Association for Psychological Science notes that voice-based communication is more likely to be perceived as warm and personal than a text or email.  

So remember this the next time you try to persuade a potential candidate!

3. Allows immediate feedback and adaptation

One of the key advantages of cold calling is the ability to receive and respond to feedback instantly. 

Recruiters can gauge a candidate’s interest, clarify misunderstandings, and adjust their pitch in real-time, something emails or online applications cannot offer. 

This immediate interaction helps in quickly identifying promising candidates and refining recruitment strategies on the fly.

You might also like: 11 tips on writing the best recruiting cold emails & 20+ new templates 

4. Brings higher engagement rates compared to emails

Despite the prevalence of digital communication, cold calls often yield a higher response rate. 

Research shows that cold calls have an average response rate of 8-12%, significantly higher than the average email response rate of about 1%. 

This higher engagement rate is crucial in a competitive job market where quickly capturing a candidate’s attention is vital.

5. Creates opportunities for future engagement

Even if a candidate is not currently interested, a well-handled cold call can leave a positive impression, paving the way for future opportunities. 

This approach helps build a vast talent pipeline, where candidates are more likely to consider your organization for future career moves.

6. Cuts through the digital noise

With the sheer volume of digital content and communication, a personal phone call offers a refreshing change. 

It cuts through the digital noise, offering a direct line of communication that many candidates find more engaging and sincere.

5 quick tips for effective cold calling in recruitment

1. Do your homework

Before you pick up the phone, make sure you know who you’re calling. LinkedIn and other professional networks are great for gauging candidate details. 

Understand the candidate’s background, current role, and any potential interests that align with the opportunity you’re offering. 

This preparation shows respect for the candidate’s time and career, making your call more personal and relevant.

2. Set clear objectives for each call and start with a strong opening

Whether you want to introduce yourself and a company or simply network, having a clear goal helps keep a cold call focused and productive. 

This includes starting with a clear, friendly introduction so the receiver knows exactly where you’re heading. 

Avoid sounding robotic or overly rehearsed. 

A simple, genuine greeting followed by a brief introduction of yourself and your purpose can set a positive tone for the call.

3. Be conversational, not scripted

While it’s good to have a recruitment cold calling script or key points to guide you, the best calls are those that feel like a natural conversation. 

Be ready to go off-script based on the candidate’s responses. This flexibility shows that you’re actively listening and engaging with what they have to say.

4. Focus on building a relationship, not just filling a role

Cold calling isn’t just about filling an open position; it’s about building a connection that could be valuable now and in the future. 

Show genuine interest in the candidate’s career goals and achievements. 

This approach can turn a cold call into the start of a professional relationship that can help you fill future roles that may come your way. 

Think of it as another sourcing strategy to expand your candidate pool!

5. Listen more than you talk, and always follow up!

Active listening is critical in cold calling. Pay attention to what the candidate is saying and respond accordingly. 

This not only helps in understanding their perspective but also demonstrates that you value their input and are interested in their career aspirations. 

If you really want to show how the candidate is valued, remember to follow up with them if they express interest or ask for more information. 

Following up quickly while the conversation is still fresh in their mind will show your professionalism and keep the momentum going.

Quick tip: After each call, take a moment to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. This continuous learning approach will help you refine your cold-calling skills over time.

For more insights: Cold calling in recruitment: 13 things recruiters must remember

8 recruitment cold calling scripts for immediate use

recruitment scripts

Script 1: Capturing your prospective candidate’s attention 

Hi [Candidate_name], this is [Your_name].

I was calling to speak about the new [Job_title] position at [Company_name]. Is now a good time to talk?


Great, this will be a very quick call. We haven’t spoken before, but I am recruiting for [Company_name]. Do you have any prior experience with [Job_title]?

[Company_name] is looking for a [Job_Title]. Would you like to hear more about this opportunity?

Great! If you don’t mind, I’d like to hear about your past work experience, skills, and some of the projects and employers you’ve worked with.

[Candidate_name], that sounds impressive! 

Since you’ve worked with [Mention an employer/project/skillset], I’m sure you would love this opportunity as this role brings a great set of responsibilities related to your field of expertise.


I also noticed you’re interested in growing in [Field_name]. [Company_name] has some great opportunities for skill development in this field! 

So, how well do you think you’d work with [Mention a specific skillset or project]?


I’m sure the hiring manager for [Company_name] would love this! As a [Job_title] at [Company_name], you’ll be responsible for:

[Mention other responsibilities and requirements]

So, [Candidate_name], if you’re interested, I can schedule an interview with the hiring manager at [Company_name]. Would you mind giving me some details about your availability?


Awesome! I’ll drop you an email with all the necessary details. 

Thank you so much for your time, [Candidate_name]! I’ll keep you updated with any further steps. Have a good day ahead.

Script 2: Highlight your company’s perks

Good morning/afternoon/evening! Am I speaking to [Candidate_name]?

This is [Your_name] from [Company_name]. Is now a good time to talk?


I understand if this sounds out of the blue, but do you mind if I take a few minutes to brief you about a career opportunity with [Company_name] if you’d like?


I came across your profile/details through [Platform], and I see you’ve been working with [Company_name] for a while now. How has that been, [Candidate_name]?

That’s good to hear, [Candidate_name]. Have you had any experience with [Field of expertise] during that time?

I work with clients and candidates from the [Field of expertise], and I come across many candidates facing difficulty in career growth in this particular field. Do you feel the same way?


If you’re interested in new opportunities in your field, [Company_name] is looking for a talented [Job_title]. Would you like to hear more?


This role has excellent opportunities as you’ll be responsible for [Mention key responsibilities] and [Company_name] even offers [Mention perks/benefits].

My client is looking for talented individuals like you who have [Mention specific skills/criteria/qualifications/experience], and you seem to fit the criteria! I’d love to share your details with the hiring manager if you’d like.


Is there anything else you would like to discuss, [Candidate_name]?

Thanks for your time! I can set up another call to discuss further details if you’d like. What time would suit you?


That’s great. I’ll brief you more and keep you updated through your email. Is that alright?

Thanks for your time, [Candidate_name]! Please feel free to call me if you have any other queries.

Join 12,000+ insiders! 🌟
Exclusive updates, delivered straight to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Script 3: For potential candidates found on LinkedIn

Good morning/afternoon/evening. Is this [Candidate_name]?


Hi [Candidate_name], if you don’t mind, I’d like to speak to you about an open vacancy that might interest you. Would you like to discuss this opportunity right now?

I understand if you’re not available. If there’s anyone else you know who may be interested, please let me know.


Great! Thanks for taking the time out for this, [Candidate_name]. 

I recently came across your LinkedIn profile and saw that you have been working as a [Job_title]. From your profile, it seems like you’d be a really good fit for a role I’m hiring for [Company_name]. 

Do you mind briefing me about the projects you’ve been a part of related to [Mention skillset/expertise/field]?


That’s impressive, [Candidate_name]! You mentioned how you like working with [Mention skillset/expertise/field], and fortunately, [Company_name] ’s new project for [Job_title] requires expertise in that area.

I’m sure you’ll love it. Would you like some more details?

[Mention company details and key job responsibilities]

The client is also looking for someone who has experience with [Mention skillset/expertise/field], and I saw on your LinkedIn profile that you’ve handled [Mention a project/task]. Is that correct?


That sounds perfect! I’m sure my client will be impressed by your experience.

Also, if you don’t mind, can you share your salary expectations for a position like this?


Before we wrap up this call, do you have any questions for me?


I also wanted to mention that this role offers [Highlight any benefits/incentives]. I’m sure this will interest you.

Would you like me to set up a call with the hiring manager at [Company_name]?

Great! I’ll keep you updated about any further steps through your email.

I’m available for a quick call if you have any other questions, [Candidate_name].

I appreciate your time. Have a good day ahead!

Script 4: Asking for references 

Hi! Am I speaking with [Candidate_name]?


I’m [Your_name]—recruiting for [Job_Title] for [Company_name]. I’d love to discuss this opportunity if this is a good time to talk.


I understand if you’re not looking for new opportunities, but I’d love to get your point of view. If not, I’m open to a referral of anyone you may know from your network.


Your profile/resume on [Platform] piqued my interest as you seem to have expertise with [Mention skillset/expertise/field].

Could you share some details about your work experience and prospects if you’d like?

That sounds great! Congratulations on

[Any achievement mentioned by the candidate].

You’ll be happy to learn that my client, [Company_name], is looking for candidates like you for their [Job_title] team. They have excellent opportunities that will benefit your career prospects.

So, what is an important factor for your next opportunity as a [Job_title]?


That sounds interesting. Even my client is interested in expanding their horizons with the [Mention skillset/expertise/field] for this new project.

Apart from that, the hiring manager at [Company_name] is also looking for someone who [Mention candidate criteria].

Do you think you know of anyone else in your circle who may be interested in this opportunity?


Thank you for your time [Candidate_name]! I’ll keep you updated about any further steps through the email you’ve shared. 

Feel free to share any references with me through my email: [Email ID], or you can call back. 

Enjoy your day!

Read more: 11 Tips on writing the best recruiting cold emails & 20+ new templates.

Script 5: Connecting with potential candidates through a mutual connection 

Hey. Am I speaking with [Candidate_name]?


You don’t know me, but our mutual contact, [Connection_name], suggested I give you a call about a job opportunity with [Company_name].

Do you have five minutes? If not, I can schedule a call for some other time.


Great! [Company_name] is looking for a [Job_title]. They’re currently engaging in some interesting projects, including [Mention other details related to the role].

[Connection_name] mentioned that you have some great experience with [Mention skillset/expertise/field] as you’ve been working with [Company_name] for some time now. Is that correct?


That’s good to hear, [Candidate_name]. Do you mind briefing me about the projects, responsibilities, and tasks you’ve worked on in this field?


And what were the measurable results that you obtained while using these skills?


This role that I have called you for is with my client, [Company_name], for [Time_duration], located at [Location of role]. Would you be interested and comfortable with this role?


That’s great, [Candidate_name]. Before I schedule a call with the hiring manager, what is the compensation package you expect from this position?


Alright. If my client wants to interview you, what is your availability?


Awesome! I’ll keep you updated about any further steps.

Thank you for your time [Candidate_name]. I look forward to speaking again!

Give me a call if there’s anything I can help you with.

Script 6: Following up with a candidate’s application

Hi [Candidate_name].

I hope this is a good time to discuss the [Job_title] role you applied for with [Company_name]. Are you available for a few minutes?


I’m [Your_name] speaking from [Agency name/Company name], and as you already know, [Company_name] is looking for a skilled [Job_title]. 

Why don’t you begin by telling me about what prompted you to apply for this role?


That’s great to hear, [Candidate_name]!

You mentioned you’re interested in growing within [Industry/Field_name].

You’ll be happy to know that [Company_name] has excellent opportunities as you’ll be responsible for [Mention key responsibilities], and [Company_name] even offers [Mention perks/benefits].

Does this sound like something that would benefit you?


Great! Before moving forward, I’d like to know your experience with [Mention skillset/expertise/field]. What kind of tasks have you been responsible for in your current position?


Also, I’d like to get an idea of what you would expect out of this role. Is there a particular range for the compensation you’re expecting? What else do you expect?


Alright. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this, [Candidate_name]. I just want to make sure I’m moving forward with the right candidate for my client!

Before I wrap up, is there any other information you would like me to pass along to the hiring manager that your resume may not mention?


Okay, great! Thank you so much for your time today, [Candidate_name]. I’ll contact my hiring manager to schedule another call or meeting. What time would suit you?


Awesome! I’ll keep you updated about the process through your email. Have a great day, [Candidate_name]!

Script 7: Connecting with a potential candidate through a referral 

Good morning/afternoon/evening. Is this [Candidate_name]?


This is [Your_name] calling from [Company/agency name]. We haven’t met, but your peer [Referrer_name] recommended your name to me as a referral for a role I’m hiring for. 

Is this a good time to talk?


[Company_name] is looking for some talented candidates for a [Job_title] position, and it made sense to introduce you to this new opportunity as [Referrer_name] says that you’ve been working as a [Job_title] with [Company_name] for some time now.

How has that been?


Great. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask, is there anything new you’d like to explore within your field? 

Given your current responsibilities and accomplishments, where do you see yourself in the next few years?


That’s interesting, [Candidate_name]. How do you feel about working with [Mention skillset/expertise/field]?

Do you have any previous experience and tangible results related to this?


That’s great. My client is looking for a candidate with similar acumen.

I’ll quickly brief you about this role with [Company_name]. As a [Job_title], you’ll be responsible for [Mention company details and key job responsibilities].

Does this sound like something that would interest you?


If my client wants to interview you, what time would you be available?

Great! Before we move ahead, I want to let you know [Mention any other vital details]. Is there something else you’d like to share or ask about this role?


Thanks for your time [Candidate_name]. I will keep you posted as soon as I have any updates. 

Have a nice day ahead!

Script 8: Cold-calling passive talent 

Hi, [Candidate_name].

I’m [Your_name], and I’m recruiting for a [Job_title] position with [Company_name].

 Do you have a moment?


This may sound out of the blue, but I wanted to touch base and see if you are open to hearing about new opportunities. 

Are you currently in the market for a new role?


Awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time out for this.

One of my clients is looking for a [Job_title], and your background fits what I’m looking for. So, to sum it up for you, [Company_name] is looking for someone with experience with [Skillset].

Why don’t you give me a thirty-second overview of your background, industry experience, company, and projects you’ve worked on?


And how has your experience with your current employer been?


That’s great, [Candidate_name]. I’d love to work with you to help you grow in this field, and I’m sure [Company_name] would have some excellent opportunities!

[Company_name] wants someone who can work with [Skillset] to handle their [Project/responsibilities]. Judging from your experience, I’m sure you’d be an excellent fit for their team!

Do you think you’d be able to work from [Mention starting period, location, working hours, etc]?


Okay, great. I’ll be sure to mention this to my client. Also, what are your salary expectations for a role like this?

I can forward your resume and details to [Company_name] for an interview if you’d like. How does that sound?


Let me know your availability, and I’d be happy to update you. Does [Mention date/time] sound okay for a call with my client?


Thank you for taking your time out today, [Candidate_name]! Do you have any questions for me?


Alright. Before I let you go, I’d love to know if you have anyone in your circle interested in this position, as my client is looking to hire more than one employee.

Feel free to forward me their details through my email at: [Email details].

Once again, thank you, [Candidate_name]! Have a nice day.

Loved our recruitment cold-calling scripts? Don’t forget to share them with the sourcers in your circle.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is cold calling in recruitment?

Cold calling in recruitment is a strategy that involves contacting potential candidates who have not shown prior interest in a specific role or might not be actively looking for new job opportunities. 

This proactive technique allows recruiters to access a broader talent pool, reaching out to individuals not easily found through common recruitment channels. 

It is an excellent method for identifying passive candidates – those currently employed and not actively job-hunting but may consider a change. 

2. How effective is cold calling in recruitment?

Here’s how cold calling can help you:

  • Direct engagement: Cold calling allows recruiters to connect with passive candidates directly, fostering immediate and personalized communication that can’t be achieved through other channels.
  • Personalized approach: This approach presents tailored job opportunities that align closely with a candidate’s unique skills and career aspirations, making it an effective recruitment strategy.
  • Building brand awareness: Cold calling also serves as a way to increase brand awareness among professionals, positioning the recruiting firm or the employer as proactive and engaged in the industry.

3. What are the five best cold-calling tips for recruiters?

Here are five best cold calling tips and best practices for you: 

  1. Research thoroughly: Before making a call, research the candidate’s background. Understand their current role, skills, and career interests to tailor your conversation and make it more relevant and engaging.
  2. Prepare a script, but be flexible: Have a script as a guideline, but be ready to adapt based on the conversation flow. This approach ensures you cover key points while allowing for a natural, personalized interaction.
  3. Build rapport first: Start the conversation by building rapport. Show genuine interest in the candidate’s career and achievements before presenting the job opportunity. This creates a comfortable atmosphere for a more open discussion.
  4. Listen actively: Pay close attention to what the candidate says. Active listening helps understand their needs and concerns, allowing you to address them effectively and position the role as a beneficial opportunity.
  5. Follow-up promptly: Send a follow-up email summarizing the conversation and the next steps after the call. Prompt follow-up demonstrates professionalism and keeps the candidate engaged in the opportunity.

4. Is cold calling in recruitment old school?

While cold calling in recruitment is often viewed as a traditional technique, it is still vital for modern-day recruiters. Here’s why:

  1. Personal touch: Cold calling adds a personal touch that digital communication often lacks. It allows recruiters to engage in real-time conversations, understand candidate nuances, and build rapport more effectively. 
  2. Reaching passive candidates: Many talented professionals are not actively seeking new opportunities but might be open to the right offer. Cold calling is still an effective way to reach these passive candidates.
  3. Immediate feedback: Unlike emails or social media outreach, cold calling provides immediate feedback. Recruiters can instantly gauge a candidate’s interest and adjust their pitch accordingly, making the process more dynamic and responsive.