The 7 Secrets of World-Class Recruiting Organizations (Part 2 of 7): “Poke” Candidates

November 20, 2012 at 7:09 AM by Vivek Reddy

This is the second post in a seven-part series entitled "The 7 Secrets of World-Class Recruiting Organizations" covering some subtle tactics for how to use social media to recruit candidates. You can read the first post in the series here.

Secret #2: “Poke” candidates. Remember poking, that long-lost remnant of Facebook silliness? The thing about poking was that it was a very lightweight way to suggest interest (albeit of a different variety than recruiting!). So what the heck does it mean to “poke” candidates? We see it happen in a couple of different ways:

• Follow candidates on Twitter - This offers all sorts of benefits relative to the one second it takes to do this. First off, it’s a subtle hint to the candidate that you are interested in them. Because the vast majority of people “accept” all Twitter follow requests (usually automatically given that most people don’t protect their Twitter updates), it’s much more lightweight than sending a LinkedIn connection request.

Once you follow a candidate on Twitter all sorts of good things can happen. The candidate can follow you back meaning that they’ll be seeing your updates, that you can DM them, etc. In addition, even if they don’t follow you, it raises the odds that if they get an email, InMail, etc. from you they’ll respond. Familiarity breeds comfort and even though it’s a slight effect, having “seen” your name before as one of their Twitter followers gives you a slight edge on outreach.

(BTW, we’ve added a simple “Follow” button for candidates on Entelo. We’re doing whatever we can to make this as easy as possible for you!)

• LinkedIn requests - This is a more aggressive tactic and we’d advise to proceed with caution. Sending random LinkedIn connection requests to people you don’t know is not a good idea. But there’s a step that goes beyond what most people do which is important to grok: the contextual connection request. Here is an example.

Perhaps you go to a Meetup and look at the RSVP list ahead of time (you are doing that right?!). There are a couple of engineers on the list that you are looking forward to meeting, but the Meetup is crowded and you don’t get a chance. Guess what? You have a perfect context to send them a request (e.g., “I missed you at the Ruby on Rails Meetup last night but wanted to connect.”). Some will accept and some will decline but at the end of the day you’ll be building your Rolodex and, as with Twitter, all sorts of good things start to happen when you’re connected to a candidate on LinkedIn.

If you aren’t right now, start thinking about how you can “poke” candidates. It might seem like a minor thing, but it’s easy and the compound effect of this over time is pretty powerful.

7 recruiting strategies