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4 Tools for Improving your Response Rates when Sourcing Passive Candidates

Recruitment Tools

While it’s getting easier to search for talent. People blatantly put themselves online, whether that’s with the intention of job seeking or professional introductions (LinkedIn), professing their opinion (blogs), or networking with friends and peers (Facebook, Twitter, etc). The vast swathes of resources for recruiters online, from free tutorials on Boolean Sourcing (like this basic one here and this more advanced one here), to great white-papers, the search has technically never been easier.

The search though, is only half the battle. What do you do with them when you’ve found them? We want to get in touch and get the recruiting ball rolling.

The following are four great tools that I personally use and rely on every day to get in touch with prospects and inform my follow-ups, messaging and gauge of interest. Have you any to add? Please put your suggestions and feedback in the comments!

1. Track if your emails are read with Sidekick

icon175x175Sidekick is an email tracking tool developed by HubSpot. I use Sidekick most often when emailing passive candidates. Personally, I always try to go directly to a candidate’s inbox rather than via another social network (LinkedIn, Twitter), as otherwise you are adding unnecessary barriers to engagement. For example, if we send an InMail to a potential candidate we need to be sure that person is an active LinkedIn user, otherwise who knows when they will see your message?

Sidekick allows you to track any email sent from your Outlook (or Apple Mail), Gmail/ Google Apps account, and can be downloaded from the Sidekick website ( or from the Chrome Web Store. It gives you real-time notifications when a recipient has opened your email. When I receive these notifications I pick up the phone immediately and call my candidate. I want to engage with them at a time that is relevant for them, not when they are in a meeting or picking up the kids from school. If you are reading my email, it’s a relevant time for me to talk to you.

Use Google Maps to find corporate office numbers and check out our “How to: Engage Passive Candidates Over the Phone” white-paper, for tips on how to get past the gatekeeper when calling candidates at work.

Sidekick also lets you know what device your email has been opened on. This is a great piece of data that can really improve your engagement strategy. For example, if I see that my email has been read on a mobile device, I know I can contact my candidate outside business hours as typically people carry their phones everywhere they go. I would then schedule an email to be sent early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid any competition with the other emails in my candidate’s inbox.

Sidekick is free for up to 200 email-opened notifications per month, or paid service upgrade.

2. See where else your candidate exists online with Prophet

ProphetProphet is an extension for Google Chrome that helps you identify a candidate’s social footprint. It sits in the top right corner of your screen when you are on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Simply click it when you’re on the profile of your potential candidate, and it gives you a side-table of social information on your candidate. Prophet verifies email addresses for candidates and links those email addresses to other social platforms that have an active account with the same email username.

I use Prophet to find personalised information on my candidates by quickly getting linked to their other social profiles. Personalisation is key to improving response rates, as we know that unpersonalised template emails do not receive a lot of responses. Personalised emails do, even if the candidate is solely curious about where you found that information and not actually looking for a new opportunity! But hey, any response is a good response as you can move on quickly if there is no interest, or ask for a referral.

3. Profile Views: Who’s viewed my LinkedIn Profile

unnamed-1Profile Views is another Google Chrome extension that quite simply tracks who has viewed your LinkedIn profile. Why is that useful? Well, if a candidate is checking out your LinkedIn profile after you’ve sent them a message, they are at least curious enough to be potentially interested in working with you.

Obviously LinkedIn also tracks who has viewed your profile, but if you’re on a free LinkedIn account, you’ll only see the last 5 visitors. Even on a paid account you only have the last 90 days. This tracks who has viewed your profile from the moment you’ve set it up, and keeps the list.

It also updates you in real-time, so you can quickly jump on a candidate who has come back and visited your profile. This tool works best when your LinkedIn settings are configured so that a candidate can see when you have viewed their profile. Your interest in their profile prompts a return visit to yours – a sign of interest if ever there was one! So jump on it.

sms-24. Connectifier + SMS

Connectifier is similar to Prophet, but like 10X. It has an extraordinary database of information on your target candidates, including (in the majority of cases) their phone numbers. Connectifier is a paid tool, but incredibly powerful – especially in the IT sector. It can sit as a side-panel in your browser when you’re on one of your candidates’ social media profiles, or you can search their database itself.

As for good ol’ text messages, hardly a new technology, but one I find extremely useful in recruitment. Passive candidates are passive for a reason – they have a job already and are presumably quite good at it (hence your interest in speaking with them). Being good at their job typically means passive candidates are busy! Therefore, it is unlikely you will be able to have a meaningful phone conversation off the back of a cold call. Multiple touch points are key to engagement and this is where SMS fits in.

Call your candidate, leave a voicemail and send an email. This are the normal route for candidate engagement. However, none of them get speedy responses like text messages do. According to Oracle’s Mobile Marketing Guide, 99% of texts are opened within 15 minutes of being received compared to just 22% for email. On top of this, the average response time for texts is 90 seconds, compared to 2.5 days for email.

Don’t wait around, text that candidate!


Do you already use tools that you feel are better than those mentioned above? If so get in touch and let me know! If you’re interested in finding out how you can further improve your response rates request a demo of our Black Belt in Internet Recruitment online training course. And if you’re thinking of trying out some of the tools I’ve mentioned, let me know how you get on in the comments below!

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