Good news: You just found the perfect candidate to fill a job vacancy. You send them a quick email and hope for a response.
A few days pass— and still no word. Sound familiar? In today’s competitive hiring landscape, this scenario happens again and again. A low candidate response rate can frustrate even the most experienced recruiter.
This begs the question: How do you improve your candidate response rate? Check out today’s blog post for the answer. We cover the ins and outs of response rates and give you four quick ways to boost yours. Let’s jump right in!
What is candidate response rate?
Candidate response rate refers to the percentage of candidates who respond to a recruiter’s outreach efforts. To calculate your response rate, divide the number of candidate replies by the number of total candidates you reached out to. Then, multiply that number by 100.
Tracking and analyzing candidate response rates can help recruiters tailor their candidate sourcing strategy in a variety of ways. Candidate response rate can tell you which channels are most effective, which messaging resonates best with your audience, and when candidates are most likely to respond. Ultimately, by improving your candidate response rate, you will have more conversations with top-notch candidates.
If you’re ready to identify and hire better candidates, keep reading! We explore four different ways you can improve your own candidate response rate—today!
1. Connect at the most optimal times.
Sourcing candidates has become increasingly difficult thanks to the amount of competition recruiters face. So, in order to connect with more candidates, you must take even the smallest details into account—including the day and time you conduct your outreach as well as the different turning points in a person’s career.
Here are our top tips to nail your timing when it comes to candidate outreach:
Avoid the standard 9-5 workday hours.
Most candidates are likely busy at their current place of employment during these hours. Instead, reach out in the early morning and evening to catch candidates when their schedule is more open.
Run tests on weekends.
Weekends are another good option to test, as candidates receive fewer emails and messages at this time—but, be careful not to overstep your boundaries. Poorly timed emails and phone calls can be more annoying than productive.
Play social media detective.
It can also pay to play detective—browse a candidate’s social profiles for clues as to when they might be active, and therefore, have free time.
Look for career patterns:
Consider a candidate’s employment history. Based on their resume or LinkedIn profile, how often have they switched jobs—is it every year, two years, or three years? Chances are this pattern will continue. Make note of certain candidates, and reach out two to three months prior to their typical exit pattern. You might just catch a candidate at the perfect time!
Recent LinkedIn or resume updates:
When candidates update their professional details, it indicates that they may want recruiters and companies to notice them. These candidates may be preparing to switch roles in the near future.
New LinkedIn connections:
Look to see if a candidate has made recent connections with recruiters. Candidates may be working with other LinkedIn recruiters. This might be a sign the candidate is open to explore new opportunities.
Of course, a tactic that works in one instance may not work in another. When conducting candidate outreach, be sure to document your efforts and base your decisions off of data analysis—rather than working off of gut feelings or jumping to conclusions. You’ll see much better results.
2. Personalize your outreach.
Just as marketers use personalized content to engage with prospects and customers, recruiters can use the same tactics to elicit a reply from top-notch talent. In fact, a recent study found more than twice as many candidates replied when they received a personalized InMail message, compared to ones who received a generic message (source).
Personalize your outreach beyond simply using the candidate’s name in your message. Take the time to research each candidate using social media and other online resources to learn as much as you can about the person before you reach out to them. Then, work important background details into your message. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Focus on what you have in common with the candidate. A shared hobby or mutual connection can be a great icebreaker that sets you apart from other recruiters.
Avoid generalized messages that seem like they’ve been sent to a dozen other candidates. Instead, make direct references to the candidate’s experience, skills, and education and explain why they are a great fit for the role in question.
Share relevant articles:
Rather than recruiting a candidate right away, send them a valuable piece of content that they might enjoy based on their interests. This is a good strategy to employ if you think a candidate isn’t quite ready to consider new opportunities, but you want to nurture that relationship for future job openings.
Compliments are scientifically proved to generate a subconscious, feel-good response in the recipient (source). By praising a candidate for a particular skill or achievement, you increase the likelihood of the person forming positive opinions about you and your brand.
Personalized outreach can help you create a great first impression, as it shows candidates you’ve done your homework. However, too many details or, the wrong details can come across as creepy, aggressive, or intrusive. For this reason, it’s important to play it safe when it comes to personalization. If you think it’s too much, it probably is.
3. Follow up again.
This tip may seem obvious, but it’s where some recruiters fall short—you must follow up after your initial outreach goes unanswered. And, there’s a simple reason why: 21% of candidates will only respond to a recruiter’s second email (source).
That means, if you’re only sending an initial outreach email and moving on to other candidates—there’s a good chance you might be missing out on a portion of qualified candidates.
4. Use a multi-channel outreach strategy.
If you’ve worked as a recruiter for any length of time, you’ve likely settled into a pattern that works for you. And—there’s nothing wrong with that. You likely choose the channels and outreach strategies that work for you. But, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
If one channel isn’t working for a particular candidate, don’t give up on them. Try a different channel! Just as a multi-channel marketing strategy is likely to improve prospect response rates, a multi-channel outreach strategy will likely put you in touch with more qualified candidates.
Final Thoughts about Candidate Response Rates
While improving your candidate response rate alone won’t help you source the best talent, it can give you an edge above the competition. To optimize other important areas of your sourcing strategy, read the following blog posts and resources:
- 8 Important Recruiting Metrics for the Modern Staffer
- Source of Hire: The Key to Successful Recruiting
- The Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Recruiting