Article main image
Jun 11, 2019
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

You know the feeling when a candidate stubbornly stays silent? When no one replies, how do you overcome this obstacle? In a couple of past projects, I worked at, and I tried to tackle these problems by using different approaches and tools to see what works and what does not. Since I work mostly in foreign markets, it’s easier for me to test new strategies. We have an extensive process in place for our national searches, and it is simply much harder to improve on. Things like Response Rate (RR) are also precisely tracked and calculated with a large dataset behind it. But for different new countries, there is a lot of green fields to explore.

So, along with my colleagues, we set out to understand what makes candidates tick and what speaks to them in several European markets. He is a very brief review of what we found out.

Invite or In-mail?

One of the ideas is testing what gives a more significant RR is sending invites first and then inmails or maybe some other combination. We accept that for suitable candidates, we may have to attempt contacting them multiple times, and perhaps some forms of entering a person’s “private” circle on social media work better.

In our little test, we measured the success of three combinations of LinkedIn forms of contact and their choreography:

1 – inmail > invite > inmail

2 – invite > inmail > inmail

3 – inmail > inmail > invite

While our sample size was small, I got the best responses for the first set of messages. There may be something unnatural still in inviting someone without any prior form of contact, like an inmail explanation of your interest in that person. Here, we also have to remember that when sending invite we can send short info about the role as well. I want to suggest to you a great article on writing a perfect LinkedIn invitation.

Xing or LinkedIn

Currently, I work with a German client, and I can attest that Xing is very popular among German-speaking IT professionals. When I did my classic searches on LinkedIn, and there was no reply, I tried to contact the same developers using Xing. If you know a couple of simple rules, Xing is not hard to use, and we can create a simple search for candidates within it. So far, the real struggle is to find the same candidates as on LinkedIn, as not everyone uses Xing. Nonetheless, I discovered that Xing users are surprisingly active and responsive, so if you struggle to talk to someone on LinkedIn, give Xing a shot!

What about Reddit?

The approach to Reddit is similar to the above one. Candidates that do not reply on LinkedIn can be contacted on Reddit, but of course, they do need to be on Reddit as well. In both of those approaches, x-ray search helps a lot to check if there is much sense in going to Reddit and looking for a candidate there. Right now, after decent exposure to Reddit sourcing, I can comfortably say that it is not yet as accessible and useful as sometimes advertised. Indeed, finding real talent is not that hard there, but most users seem not to think of Reddit as an avenue for finding a job. However, at least users respond often and fast, which makes our job easier.

Lever Nurture

A fantastic tool for increasing your RR is Lever Nurture. Its dedicated campaigns let you schedule and simplify all your outgoing messages to candidates. You can choose when those messages are sent and how will they look. It is less time-consuming than doing it all through LinkedIn itself, which has far fewer options.

Such tools do not, however, have the potential to help you if what you send out makes no sense. The software allows us to calmly go about our professional lives not worrying about forgetting about nurturing a prospect – you will be notified, or the message will go out on its own. Eliminating the scheduling hassle and stress from your routine will allow you to put more effort and focus into crafting smarter invites and new messages.

Private or business?

There is also one approach that seems unusual. I asked myself a question, would there be a better response rate if I send a message to the candidate on his personal or work email? Let’s face it, we all use business emails all the time at work, so it seems an obvious choice.

But there is a downside to it. If you are sending an email to someone’s business account and that person is on annual leave, there is a danger someone else will read it – a colleague of his or worse, a supervisor. We do not want to create strife in our candidate’s workplace or put that person in an uncomfortable position. On the other hand, private email seems to be a safer choice, but RR can be lower due to it not being checked so often as a business one. We have to be very careful when sending messages to business emails.

Finally, some candidates may dislike getting such unsolicited emails in the first place. This is impossible to control, so always check out where the email comes from. If, for example, it was found in a very informal setting – maybe think twice if it would be appropriate to call someone whose phone number you found this way.

We need to remember that we can do more harm than good and not only create problems for our potential candidate but our own company. Contacting people on behalf of another corporation is a responsible job.

All of the above approaches started as ideas designed to potentially improve one of the most vital data in my job performance. I learned a lot by trying different things, various timing, variable messaging, distinct approaches. It has broadened my repertoire of alternative methods that I can now use to find a touchpoint with a candidate.

To end this article, I would like to ask you to keep experimenting, even if the results of your experiments well, suck. But you know the experiment design and your approach to it were merit-based, take the lessons that you’ve learned and go forward.

We don’t know why some candidates respond and others don’t. All we can do is be persistent and never give up. Okay, maybe never give up within a reasonable time and cost expenditure, but I am almost sure I didn’t have to mention that to the SourceCon blog readers.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!