“You have only one chance to make a first impression.” This old adage is especially true in recruiting. So much depends on a successful first point of contact: not only the impression a candidate gets of a job opportunity, but also of you as a recruiter. Come off the wrong way, and you’ve likely lost that person’s interest for good. Make a good first impression, though, and you might be on your way to building a lasting relationship and potentially great hire for your company or client.
Seven Step recruiters are thoroughly trained in the art of making a strong first impression. We wanted to share a couple of our best practices to make your initial outreach as successful as possible.
Be honest and upfront
Right away let your candidate know why you’re contacting them. There’s no room in your email to waste time trying to sweet talk the candidate or hide your intentions. Most people are already skeptical of emails or calls from people they don’t know. Use your first two sentences to come out with it – you want to know if they’re interested in a job! The quicker you get to the point the better. No one wants to waste their time.
Let candidates know how you found them
We all get a ton of emails every day. If the candidate has read past the first couple sentences, the next thing they’ll want to know is how you found them. Let them know if you found their resume on a job site like Monster, or if you found them through research on LinkedIn. And make them feel special. No one wants to feel like they're just one more anonymous name you're emailing that day. Try pointing out one original fact about that specific candidate that you learned through your research. Making personal connections is an important part of the candidate experience, and will always help with recruiting. focusing on making a real connection will allows candidates to feel unique, and valuable. They'll appreciate the time and thought you as a recruiter took before contacting them.
Always give candidates a quick overview of the job
This is a crucial piece of your email, and you want to set expectations about the job upfront. However, don’t waste precious word space giving a full description. Instead of writing a long job description, link back to the website where the full description lives, invite the candidate to join the talent community, or stay in the loop through social channels. If the candidate is interested in the short term, they will take the time to click and read through the full description. If you offer future communications regarding job openings there’s less risk that the candidate will give a firm “no.”
Let candidates know how to contact you
Making follow up as easy as possible is key. Besides giving your email address and phone number, try providing your Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile as well. After all you’ve done your research on the candidate; it’s only fair to allow them to find out a little more about you.
Follow up no matter their expressed level of interest
Once you’ve done your initial outreach, don’t let candidate leads cool off. Keep them warm by providing new content and let your contact know that you appreciate their time and would love to hear from them regardless of their interest. Each person offers an opportunity to build your own candidate pipeline. Maybe this position isn’t a fit but who knows, they may have a referral within their network, or down the road they may be interested in another opportunity.
Do you have other outreach methods or techniques that work for the initial point of contact?