7 Tips to Boost Your Candidate Response Rate

Phone Bigger

In this super-competitive tech-recruiting world, any tips on how to increase your candidate engagement are welcome. But tricks to help achieve an 85 percent response rate… well, that sounds nearly impossible. Especially when only 6 percent of tech recruiters get higher than a 50 percent response rate, according to Dice’s 2015 Social Recruiting Survey.

stacy zapar

Stacy Zapar

So we sought insight from Tenfold’s Stacy Zapar to hear how she recently got an 85 percent engagement rate in sourcing in-demand mobile developers. Here are the seven tips that this 18-year recruiting veteran had to share.

Use Email

That’s right, good ol’ email. Stacy’s favorite channel is email. Good news: 85 percent of tech pros prefer this channel, too, according to a recent Dice candidate survey. Just don’t resort to spam.

Do Your Homework

“Investing time up front will yield results in the back end,” Zapar said. Check all the social profiles you can find and give the candidate’s résumé a good read. You’re looking for information that will the following two tips:

name spellingPersonalize and Customize Your Message

You’re probably thinking: “I know this tip already.” But take a step back and ask why you are contacting this candidate out of the hundreds (or thousands) of others out there. Maybe you were impressed with a project or skill that stood out. Whatever it is, be sure you mention it to make the candidate feel special. Other tips:

  • Use the candidate’s name in the intro and make sure to spell it right.
  • Embed the candidate’s name in the body and close of your email.
  • Mention a post from the candidate’s blog. According to Stacy, this tactic shoots response rates up to nearly 100 percent. Can’t find a blog? Reference projects they’ve worked on, hobbies, anything gathered from social media. (Timesaving Tool: Zapar says she uses tools like Dice Open Web to provide instant access to a candidate’s entire social footprint.)

Use ‘Uncommon Commonalities’

Maybe the candidate and your spouse went to the same college. Or you once lived in the same town. Or you share the candidate’s interest in kayaking. Bringing up the uncommon commonalities sparks personal connections and makes you stand out from other recruiters.

Don’t Prematurely Propose Marriage

Your goal with the first communication isn’t to sell them on the job. Zapar never pastes the job description into her first email or even includes a link. “That would be like going on a first date and spilling all your family drama,” Zapar said. “TMI at that point. Flirt a little. Don’t propose marriage up front.” You want to pique their interest and start the conversation. When you eventually get them on the phone, that’s when you can get into the details.

Remember That It’s Not About You

Avoid the “I” and “me” and “we,” Zapar suggests, and instead put the focus on how the job opening might benefit the candidate. “It’s not about you and your req. It’s about them and their careers.”

Three messages

Don’t Stop with One Message

Three times is (often) the charm. Be intentional on your follow-up messages. Zapar gave this example:

  • After 3-4 days: Send a second, non-confrontational message that includes a sense of urgency, i.e., “Hey, I know we’re all super busy but wanted to follow up and let you know that the Dev team is still really interested in speaking with you. We’re starting to move forward with interviews, and I didn’t want you to miss the bus. Let me know if you have a few minutes to chat.”
  • After 3-4 more days: Send a low-key sign-off message that’s polite, professional and asks them to stay in touch. Something along the lines of, “Hi, sounds like you’re pretty set where you are now. Thanks for letting me pop into your inbox. I hope you’ll stay in touch. Happy to have a quick convo anytime. p.s. The position IS still open, so let me know if you change your mind!”

Zapar believes that taking the time and effort to implement these tips, with a big focus on doing research, can drive engagement gains. Her biggest suggestion: do everything to prevent your emails from having a spammy feel. Catch more of Stacy’s tips in her recent Dice webinar social recruiting engagement.

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