Well done for taking the time to ask the question. I hope you get some good quality responses and the thread doesn’t descend in “waste-of-space-recruiters” bilious rants.
Personally there are a few easy ways to win my attention.
1) Hi, my name is XXX and I’m calling you about a specific opportunity
2) I got your name from XXX who recommended you, or I got your name from LinkedIn where its clear you’ve worked in the relevant area.
3) They ask if it’s a good time to talk and if not they arrange to call back at a specific time.
4) They call back when agreed – wahay! Its a proper headhunter!
5) They describe the role and it is a good match (or at least I can see why they think it might be)
6) We immediately ensure that the money is appropriate in ball park terms. No point in wasting time on something that pays 30K to little.
7) If I’m interested they disclose the client, we swap job descriptions and cv’s etc.
A general chat is of very little interest to me, UNLESS, it’s one of the top firms (EZ, KF, H&S, etc) because it’s worth staying on their radar, OR if the firm is a true niche specialist, so they will probably have something interesting in the near future. In that case I normally suggest the person gives me a call when they are next near my office and I’ll meet the for a coffee. That tends to quickly weed out those who are too junior or too short term to invest in a proper chat f2f.
The absolute worst call is when a headhunter calls supposedly about an opp for me and then clearly fishes for business – I’m usually openly rude to them. They should have the guts just to do the sales pitch. I might still say no, but I’ll always be polite and help if I can.