Recruiting Club: 10 Ways to Get More Candidates to Respond

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Talent Acquisition

Recruiting Club: 10 Ways to Get More Candidates to Respond

Welcome to the last post of my TA blog series! Over the past several weeks, I've been sharing some of my TA-related best practices and tips. If you missed the earlier posts in my series, you can go back and read them here:

Great talent and great hiring are about getting the best candidates to respond to your messaging. It's our reality as talent acquisition professionals that we have candidates who apply to our jobs, some of whom might be great. We also have to go out and find great talent and find ways to get them to respond to our overtures.

It's the number one job of every talent acquisition professional. I would argue it might be the only job of talent acquisition. Get great talent to interact with you!

The first rule of Fight Recruiting Club is you need to get candidates to respond!

The second rule of Recruiting Club is you need to keep trying to get talent to respond to you until they actually respond. Wait a second, Tim! You mean we have to reach out to a candidate more than once!? I mean, if they don't respond to me after my first outreach, that's their loss! No, it's your loss! You need that talent!

The third rule of Recruiting Club is you need to interact with candidates in the medium they are most comfortable with. I like it when you text me, most people do. It gets a high response rate. Some folks like email, phone calls, Facebook messenger, handwritten notes, etc. Find all the mediums the candidate likes, not your favorite!

The fourth rule of Recruiting Club is it's not about you. It's about them! "I've got a great career opportunity for you!" How do you know what I want? Stop assuming you know what I want when you don't. How about you first to get to know me a little. I mean, you don't ask someone to marry you on the first date!

The fifth rule of Recruiting Club is subject lines matter. Throw away any subject line that is about you. Spend twelve seconds actually researching your target and make a subject line that is about them! I like Michigan State University. If you sent me a subject line that says, "Go Green!" I'm way more likely to respond!

The sixth rule of Recruiting Club is don't spam people you want to respond. What's spam? "HI TIM," is spam! Your mass email where every word is the same except that capital letter salutation at the beginning? That's not personalization, that's spam!

The seventh rule of Recruiting Club is to be a real person in your outreach. Once you let a candidate know that you know who they are, show them who you are. Have some personality! Of course, this interaction is about your organization, but the top recruiting professionals make personal connections first with great talent and then introduce them to the organization. "Hey Tim, I see you're a Sparty fan! I'm a Big Ten person myself as I went to..."

The eighth rule of Recruiting Club is you make all candidates fall in love with you. You want your best candidate to love you and accept your offer but you also want to keep those other top candidates you don't select engaged. Because they may just be the perfect fit for a slightly different role in the future or recommend someone else to your company if they've had a great candidate experience.

The ninth rule of Recruiting Club is new recruiters always find unicorns! "Oh, that person won't be interested in what I have, I mean they work at Google! We aren't Google..." New recruiters don't have pre-programmed recruiting biases. They just reach out and offer, rinse, repeat. They "stumble" into great talent because they don't know any better. We have to work constantly to stop knowing better!

The tenth rule of Recruiting Club is you need to be on the edge to get most candidates to respond. If you're vanilla in your communication, you'll get a low and steady number of replies and no one will ever, ever complain about your style. If you're strawberry, you'll get more responses and every once in a while someone is going to complain about you. Great talent acquisition lives right on the edge. Not over it, on it.

What's the first rule of Recruiting Club?

Building a Strong Recruiting Plan for Your Organization

Learn step-by-step how to build a strategic recruitment function that attracts the top talent you're looking for!


Watch Now
Cover of the book
Cover of the book

Building a Strong Recruiting Plan for Your Organization

Learn step-by-step how to build a strategic recruitment function that attracts the top talent you're looking for!


Watch Now


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