Never Rebut an Objection—’Roll’ With It!


Skip Freeman

Editor’s Note: This blog is an excerpt from Skip’s book, “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!

Skip Freeman

There is always a natural tendency to attempt to rebut each and every objection you might receive when conducting your telephone prospecting (or while interviewing). The secret to handling objections, though, is simply to “roll with them”! Get a dialogue going! Rebutting an objection causes tension and anxiety, and seldom gets you anywhere.

In wrestling, martial arts and hand-to-hand combat, the easiest way to deflect the opponent is to “roll with them,” not block them. Someone is coming at you, use their momentum to keep them going past you.

Let’s review some common objections and how to roll with them.

For example, get prepared for this Number One objection:

“You need to call HR.”

The best way to handle this objection, which will occur often enough to become an issue, is by using a response like this:

“Sure, I can call HR. But before I do, may I ask if I am the type of individual you could see making a contribution to your team?” (You didn’t try to block the objection. You “rolled with it” by saying, “Sure I can call HR.” You have agreed with them, which they weren’t expecting. Now, when you ask the follow-up question, they are more apt to work with you.)

Another, very common objection you will encounter when telephone prospecting:

“We are not hiring.”

Here is how you might handle this response:

“I didn’t necessarily think you were at this point. If someone were to resign, or when business increases at some point in the near future, am I the type of individual you would be interested in speaking with?” (Assuming you have laid out your credentials. Otherwise you can say/ask, “I didn’t necessarily call thinking you were hiring right now. What is the best way for me to get my information in front of you, so that if someone were to resign, or when business increases at some point in time, I will be ‘top of mind’ in terms of being able to bring value to you in a position?”)

Let me give you an example of an objection I, as a recruiter, hear virtually every day:

“We don’t use recruiters.”

My response is always something like this:

“I understand. Please tell me, when you have a very difficult position to fill, how do you go about filling it?”

Notice, I don’t “push back”—I merely “roll with it,” and you should too. What do I mean by pushing back? If I responded something like this, “The reason you should use recruiters is. . . .” I would be pushing back.

Let me share with you one more instructive example:

Someone tells you:

“You need to go to our website, see what positions are open and apply online.”


“Certainly, I can do that. By the way, may I ask you a question? (Remember, selling is not telling, it is asking.)

(Their response)



“What do you feel makes your company a unique place to work?”

Assume they respond with something positive. Then, you could say,

“Wow, that sounds interesting and it sounds like you enjoy working there?”

(Their response)

“Yes, I do.”


“May I send my information to you? I would like to be able to stay in touch with someone who is as excited about his work and company as you are. That is somewhat rare these days.”

Now, she may or may not agree to do that, but it is a way to again develop an insider who might ultimately sponsor you. You didn’t debate why you shouldn’t apply online, you didn’t whine (spew venom) about how you have applied online six times and have never heard from someone.

Though there are no “magic words” for overcoming objections, there is a “magic formula,” and this is it:

• Don’t push back. Do not become (or appear) argumentative.
• Ask questions. Get a dialogue going.
• As you will learn further on in the face-to-face section, “lead the witness.” Implement that here.


Skip Freeman, author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, has successfully completed more than 300 executive search assignments in just seven years. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals in industry, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

A distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, he is a lifelong student of leadership, people and the principles of success. While serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chemical Corps, he also earned a Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry from The Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Long Island University.

Visit or contact Skip at his book website,

Comments (1)

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  1. Rey Blagg says:

    I’d have to okay with you on this. Which is not something I typically do! I really like reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

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