Three Ways to Raise Candidate Response Rates

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Personalizing messages to potential candidates is one of the widely accepted best practices, and rightly so. However, writing personal emails is not enough to get a high response rate. Most working professionals rarely even see, let alone open messages from recruiters. I.e. most recipients stop before they have a chance to see that personalized email; sometimes, before they see the subject, too.

Here are three aspects of reaching out, that are important not to forget about, to raise the response rate.

  1. Choosing recipients. When recruiters are deciding to whom to write, it is best to, first and foremost, choose professionals who already have a connection with them as a recruiter, agency, or employer. Search in your ATS first! The response rate among people, who have interacted with you or your employer in the past, is going to be high. It sounds straightforward, yet at some companies, searching begins elsewhere. (Related questions, to make sure your ATS supports that effort – How easy is it to search in your ATS? Do you keep in touch with past applicants? Refresh the ATS data? Does your ATS record past interview results if the person was not hired?)
  2. Optimizing the channels. When recruiters have access to variable channels to send a message (such as email addresses, profiles on social networks, and a mobile number), there are ways to optimize the choices. Just as one example, many recruiters are careful not to email to a candidate’s work address. – However, a lot of LinkedIn InMails will go to the work email address and may be deleted or land in a junk folder instead of being read. If this is the case, messaging via a different channel may work out. (Related question – Do you have a convenient system to track your interactions and, ideally, prompt to follow up as well?)
  3. What they see. It used to be a return name, email address, and subject, that everyone saw on the receiving end. Now, previews vary; most people see messages on mobile devices. To create an attractive message preview, it helps to know what the recipients see on the other end, depending on devices and applications they likely use. The preview should convince the recipient to read the message. (How many people keep that in mind?)

We will go over all aspects of measuring and raising candidate response rates in the upcoming webinar

Improve Candidate Response Rates – Monday, November 21st

As always, the webinar comes with the materials for everyone to keep and one month of unlimited support. Seating is limited.


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