5 Tips on Reaching Out to Candidates

Over the last year, around 75% of the tech hires made at LevelUp came from applicants, as opposed to earlier years where passive candidate sourcing was the go-to strategy. Nevertheless, sourcing hasn’t lost its value for us yet, especially for roles with low rates of applicants. An effective sourcing strategy is even more important because sourcing and reaching out tends to be very time-consuming. That’s why we have been optimizing our reach out strategy in 5 ways, and we would like to present them to you.

5 Tips on reaching out to candidates that have improved campaign efficiency  

1.Limit total sourced numbers, send reach outs in small batches

Although one might say recruitment is a numbers game, quality goes over quantity, especially for tech roles. For us, that means that we reach out to an average of 20-30 candidates per week per role. By limiting our sourced numbers, we force ourselves to source only the best profiles, per batch. With sending small batches we allow ourselves for quick weekly iterations. This flexible way of working allows us to adjust variables in the messages during the campaign. We are able to change variables like timing, subject line, or call to action early on rather than sending the first version to ALL candidates in 1 time. 

Process of sending reach outs in small batches

2. Include heavy personalization in the first message

For us, the secret sauce to a high-interest rate is an incredible job offer wrapped in a great message. While the offer itself often can’t be influenced heavily, luckily we are in control over the delivery of the message. For reach out messages, countless variables improve the interest rates, such as timing, being to the point, being specific about what you want from the reader (e.g. clicking on a link, applying, responding), linking a great career website, and writing personalized messages. We noticed that out of those, heavy personalization is the most significant variable. It makes the most sense to do this in the first message, to attract the most attention. We use AmazingHiring to go through someone’s online footprint and look for things to personalize.

Things you can mention in the email: 

  • The candidate’s achievements and awards;
  • Mentionable things about current job/ employer;
  • Cool side projects, voluntary work, and interests.

Check out this example of a personalized, engaging introduction written by Ben that has yielded a whopping 25% interest rate:

Example personalized reachout

PRO TIP: For the best profiles, you can use Loom to record yourself going through someone’s online footprint.

3.Using existing (campaign) data to your advantage

Email campaign tools (we use Lemlist) are great for several reasons. “Yes, for email templates” I hear you think. However, that isn’t the most significant reason. Although we love re-using a thoroughly tested layout or call to action, we use email tooling mostly for measuring campaign effectiveness. The one metric that matters: interest rate = % of people that are interested in your offer. The metrics after that are reply rate and open rate. In our campaigns, we aim for an interest rate of between 20%-30%.It’s not all random trial and error though; at LevelUp we have at 5 tech recruiters (out of 10) with a study background in psychology. Naturally curious to human behaviour, we are backing our messaging principles with psychological research and public online recruitment resources. We love Gem’s definitive guide for email outreaches, download it here.smileys with interest rate


4.Diversify touchpoints both in channels and sources

Although we love to participate in a good old-fashioned email vs InMail discussion, the truth is we actually combine both worlds in 1 strategy. Keep in mind that we usually recruit developers, where we find a mixed channels approach works better, where marketeers, for instance, are more responsive on LinkedIn.

    •  Usually we start by sending out connection requests on LinkedIn with personalized messages while sourcing to create a first touch point. 
    • The second channel we use is email, which includes the key message together with 2-3 follow-ups. Email is the most important source when contacting developers and we consider this the most important step. 
    • But wait, there’s one more touchpoint that works like a charm! We ask developers, team leads or C-level colleagues to send out connection requests on their behalf and, time permitting, we ask them to send a semi-personalised email. We have noticed this has boosted interest rates by around 20%, especially for senior tech candidates. 
    • When this hasn’t worked, we use our Recruiter Lite/ Pro suite to send out another final follow up through InMail (there are 30 InMails per month for a Lite suite, 150 InMails per month for Pro).

5.Proofread your content

I dare to say that at LevelUp we are pretty confident in writing bullshit-free material that gets people interested. However, we are humans, and we make classic mistakes too.

Who doesn’t remember their first “Hi {[firstName}}”  moment?

That’s why we always strive to proofread vacancies, employer brand pages and in this case reach out texts. It’s not only about grammar, but factors like tone-of-voice, the natural flow of the campaign and staying authentic are really important as well. In the past six months, we have also asked our hiring managers to comment on the reach out text. In tech recruitment, this technical eye of an HM has helped make our reach out content more applicable to the reader and again, boosted interest rates.

At LevelUp we usually comment, suggest and edit documents through Google Docs, like so.

ben's feedback on reachout

So there you have it, our most popular ways to find emails and alongside some other engagement tips.  

At LevelUp Ventures, we present a mini-series on practical hacks that have survived the test of time with 10 tech recruiter colleagues (read the last one here). The series aims to share knowledge and create opportunities to learn from each other. We are constantly learning and improving, so I’d like to invite you to share suggestions.

By Sam Janssen – Associate (Tech) Recruiter

Cover picture by Stories by Freepik