How to Get Candidates to Like You and Respond to Your Emails

November 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM by Kathleen de Lara

Recruiter’s block: Noun, phrase. The condition of being unable to think of how to recruit people or how to proceed with recruiting. 

No matter how long you’ve been in the space, you may have already hit the dreaded recruiting wall. A waning talent funnel. Snubbed emails. Dead open and response rates. Getting lost in the shuffle of competing companies is a common hiring nightmare. 

Then comes flattery – express appeal, leverage, then negotiate. Try these three moves to stand out from the long list of contenders.

Ask about something they worked on. 

This isn’t the run-of-the-mill recruiter template that, at the least, name-drops a press piece, blog post, or project. Take the M.O. of starting a conversation with someone you’re a fan of, over email. Use your subject line to specifically compliment what they’re associated with, like, a company achievement or something they’ve created. In the message, offer your response on the topic and ask a question. 

Here’s an example: 

Subject line: Fantastic post about clever ways to recruit talent!
Hey Kathleen,
I just read your post with new ideas on attracting and engaging candidates. (Link) Interesting take! Our team’s always talked about doing candidate surveys, and I think this post was just the kicker for us to finally get started. 
Question: What are your thoughts on texting candidates? I’m all for it, but the rest of my team thinks it’s an aggressive approach. What say you?
Hope your day is going well so far. Looking forward to hearing from you. Cheers!

Seeking insights from a candidate lets them know you value their opinion, and they’ll offer their two cents in return – the icebreaker to (tastefully) turning on recruit mode.

Requesting to use their work.

Similar to the previous point, asking for permission to use something a candidate’s created is another way to let them know you’re paying attention to their repertoire. Stumble upon an idea you admire and want to share, and use that as fuel to open up your conversation. 

Survey candidates. 

Here’s how to learn more about the people you’re recruiting, and to warm up to you recruiting them. You’ve probably been told to start being data-driven and if you don’t know where to start, try ramping up by studying the people you’re trying to hire. 

One approach that recently caught my attention was a company reaching out to candidates over a 15 minute phone call for feedback on what they love most about their job. The trade-off was a $50 gift card for their time. Done tactfully, to start, you’ll attract people willing to wax lyrical about their role. “Talk to someone about themselves, and they’ll listen for hours.”

Fuel questions to get them to open up about what makes them excited about their role or the space they work in. Here are some questions to start: What got you interested in the space you’re in now? What do you love most about your work? What are some aspects that make up a good, strong company culture? What are some benefits and perks a company could offer that would make them stand out from others? 

You’ll get a better understanding of the candidate market and how to make your opportunities stand out from the shuffle other companies vying for the same people. Even if you meet someone unhappy with their job but who can articulate what they are looking for, you’d land a prime chance to transition into talking about what your company can offer. 

In one word, this post is about personalization. Like meeting someone for the first time, getting a candidate to warm up to you requires a gradual, calculated approach, and some research. If you want more tips on building out candidate emails, check out most popular eBook, Effectively Messaging Candidates

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