Improve Your Response Rates in 3 Steps

How do you improve your candidate response rate? The answer is in the details.

Today’s top tech talent doesn’t respond to generic “seeking rock star programmer” emails that are more reminiscent of spam than a job post. Personalized messaging helps with generating a slate of top candidates, but today you need to need to differentiate yourself even more from other recruiters who are competing for the same talent.

With that in mind, follow a few simple principles that can help you more consistently engage both active and passive candidates.

Go Beyond the Job Description

Before you begin a search, you need know what you have to offer and why it matters. Why? It helps you focus your search on targets that are both qualified and interested, as well as credibly communicate why happy, high-performing tech pros should consider a new opportunity.

What do you need to know? Beyond the basics of the company and its products, compensation, and geography, dig into information that will resonate with potential candidates. Information on the career path of the position, the team it’s a part of, what they’ll be tasked with building and the ways it will move the company forward will paint a much better—and more enticing—picture for potential candidates.

Pique Their Interest

Your goal with outreach is to tap into the candidate’s natural curiosity to learn more about something that, on the surface, appears well aligned to their interests. This doesn’t mean you simply keyword match (“You know Java, and we need Java skilled engineers — interested in learning more?”). That is bound to only work a handful of times—and doesn’t guarantee the most qualified candidates. Instead, reference something that’s truly interesting and relevant to what your team is building or several key problems you’re solving (at a big scale is even better). Then see if they’d be open to a discussion to learn more.

You can really make your message pop by including a link to a YouTube video, a Slideshare deck, a Facebook group, an engineering blog, or an article/white paper that’s about the work and the tech (not just general HR accolades).

Be Persistent

Most recruiters send one email, or leave one message, and move on; they assume there’s no interest if the prospect doesn’t reply right away. If you expect a response to your first and only email, you’ll likely be disappointed, and your response rate is bound to be low. The best recruiters will space their messages across several days (and platforms).

If you’re not getting a direct response, an indirect approach might do the trick. Ask your engineers to follow your prospect’s work on GitHub or their answers on Quora. In a non-creepy way, it can demonstrate a sincere interest in the candidate’s body of work. And that interest may result in a quicker reply.

High Response Rates are Difficult, but Not Impossible

Do these strategies to improve your response rate take more time? Yes, but not necessarily a lot more. And it’s worth it (and required) when hunting world-class tech talent to use an approach that shows genuine interest and sets you apart from other recruiters.

For more insights on improving response rates and attracting premiere tech talent, check out Dice’s Definitive Guide to Engaging Top Tech Candidates.