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What can you do to achieve an as high response rate as possible when contacting candidates?

I recruit within the area of tech, so these are my findings of how to achieve an as high responsate as possible when contacting developers. I have identified three key factors for success; Quality, Content and Follow up.

 

QUALITY

When working with sourcing, quality should be your priority number one. And when I say quality, I do not only mean the quality of your emails, the quality of your writing, but the quality of the whole process. The quality of the candidate and the quality of your research on said candidate. It all counts.

You need to know enough about your candidate to know, or at least make an educated guess, that the job you have an offer is something they’d be intrested in. And in order to know that, you need to go beyond their LinkedIn profile! You need to do proper research and find out as much as you possibly can about said candidate.

The quality of your words is very much dependent on the quality of your research. In order to know what to write, you need to know as much as possible about your candidate.

 

CONTENT

I divide content in to two categories. The content of the email, as in the actual words used, and sharable content, e.g. the job ad, a blog post, video or any other type of content relevant to the job in question that you can refer to.

 

Email content

In terms of the content of the e-mail I try to keep it short and to the point. I always include the following sentences/paragraphs:

  • Short info about the company (please provided the name of the company you are recruiting for!!)
  • Short info about the technologies used and the role in question
  • Call to Action
    The call to action could be anything from asking them to talk to me over the phone to coming in for an interview.
  • A link to “sharable content”

Sharable content

The most obvious sharable content is the job ad, make sure it’s well written. But, there is a lot more content that you can share other than the job ad that also gives the candidate a greater insight to the job and/or company.

At Bonnier Broadcasting we have set up a blog for the Product and Development department. In this blog we share anything from interviews with new and old employes (check out my post about alumni-interviews), posts about the latest release, hackdays, meetups, ways of working etc. This gives me the posibility of sharing various types of content with the potential candidate, other than the job ad. One of the latest edition to sharable content I use is videos.

When I’ve asked candidates why they decided to come meet with us even thought they’re not actively looking, they usually say it’s because of the blog post that I sent them.

 

FOLLOW UP

If you only send one email, and sit back and wait for the candidate to answer, it’s pretty much the same as “posting and praying”. You need to make sure you follow up with the candidates. If they do not reply to your first email, send them another one. I normally send a sequence of four emails in total.

I would say that “follow up” is one of the most important factors to achieving a high respone rate. Mind you, if you don’t combine it with quality, I wouldn’t recommend it, as then it would simply be spamming people. So spend time on achieving high quality and then combining that with following up and you’ll be good to go.

 

IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

One of the questions I get asked when mentioning that I potentially send four e-mails to one candidate, is “Does it really matter if I send the fourth e-mail? Isn’t three enough? Or two?”
I’d say that you need to experiment a bit to find the sequence that works best for you. I’ve landed with 4 and quite a few times, the fourth and final e-mail has resulted in an interview. So, even though the majority of the interviews are a result of the first och second e-mail, it’s completely worth it to keep trying a little bit longer. Because even if that extra effort only results in one more interview, that one interview could be the one you need to fill the position.

 

THE FINAL EVIDENCE

And to finish it all off, I’d like to add a quote from a developer I contacted. He put the following up on a post on LinkedIn

I got a mail from a recruiter the other day. Well, that actually happens quite often, but this was special. It was short and very clear and included the answer I always ask when I get contacted. What made you interested in me? What position do you want to discuss with me? What are you looking for? Finally, what is in it for me? I am not meaning monetary, but why do you think I would be attracted to this role and company.

She also acknowledges that I recently changed job, but wanted to take a shoot anyway. It would be amazing if more recruiters learned this while reaching out.

Too many send too general requests, quite often I wonder if they even have looked at my profile. Most do also demand a phone call if I ask any of my questions. and forget that my time is as valuable as theirs. #recruiting

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