Nailing That First Conversation

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By: Shari Dalton

January 27, 2020

By: Charity Crawford

You’ve heard how important it is to make a good first impression, right?

Let me tell you how to NOT make a good first impression, based on the painful personal experience of yours truly.

I was at a conference where a lot of industry bigwigs were attending. It was my first time attending this conference, and to be honest, I was kind of sh*tting myself because I was in the same place as hundreds of CEOs and other C-suite folks who could potentially be clients of ours in the near future.

I made it a point to seek out one CEO in particular to introduce myself. It started out great – I said my name, the company I work for, and received a nice reassuring “Oh yeah!” recognition from the CEO. Perfect!

Then… I proceeded to spew out a bunch of flattery and how I was looking forward to working with him and his agency and how excited I was to help with their training and what a difference we could make and I couldn’t wait to do business with them and I just know that we’re going to make a great team and partnership and and and

… I lost him. His eyes started darting elsewhere, probably looking for the nearest exit.

I don’t know if it was a complete fail, but I can tell you that was NOT the outcome I was hoping for. What did I do wrong? I talked too much and didn’t ask any questions. I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to find out more about HIM and what he was excited about. It was about how excited *I* was!

As salespeople slash recruiters, we make this mistake all too often. We are so jazzed to get someone on the phone that we forget that the initial conversation is NOT about us.

It’s about THEM.

Have you caught yourself having this kind of conversation?:

“So Nurse Betty, is insurance important to you?”

“Yes it is.”


Folks, don’t get too excited to start spewing your features and benefits. There will be PLENTY of opportunity for you to do that later. Instead, use that first conversation as a way to really get to know your candidates. Ask a TON of questions. And, not just your run-of-the-mill, “What shift do you want? What locations do you want? When can you start?” etc. I’m talking about the meat and potatoes questions like, “Why are you traveling? What have you heard about travel already? Who else is involved in your decision to travel? What does the right recruiter/traveler relationship look like to you? Why is xyz benefit/pay package important to you?”

Get with them on their level and ask them about their jobs. Ask what they like to do outside of work. Ask what their short- and long-term goals are. Ask them about their families and pets. Get very curious about who they are, at work and outside of work.

Then, and ONLY then, will what you have to offer be of any kind of interest to them. And, you can then tailor your selling points based on what you’ve identified is truly important to them. If during the whole conversation they never mentioned anything about pet-friendly housing, why on earth would you sell pet-friendly housing to them?

Asking the right open-ended questions and getting curious about your candidates will help ensure that you’re building a solid foundation based on strong rapport and trust. You’ll see much fewer instances of profiles not being filled out and “ghosting” after you thought you had such a great conversation with them.

It’s about THEM. Not YOU!

For more information about Moxie’s travel healthcare recruiter training services and recruiter coaching program, please email us at

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