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6 Things Top Performing Recruiters Do That You Don’t: Part 2

At the beginning of yesterday’s blog, we explained that over the last number of months, Social Talent have been busy building a new analytics tool that will allow recruiters and their managers to track their performance and productivity day-by-day. And that in the process of building that tool, we were granted access by a number of customers to a lot of data concerning how their recruiters use the web on a day-to-day basis. 3000 recruiters to be exact.

As a result, we were granted the unique opportunity to granularly analyse a large number of recruiters’ web behaviour over time and extrapolate how that behaviour correlated with high, average and low-performing recruiters. The results of that research revealed a number of patterns that distinguish high-performing recruiters from low-performing recruiters and, more importantly, how differently high-performing recruiters use the web compared to average and low-performing recruiters.

Yesterday, we learned three things:

  1. High performing recruiters spend less time online
  2. High performing recruiters use LinkedIn less
  3. High performers spend less time searching for candidates

So, where were we? Oh yes, we were just about to find out how high-performing recruiters are searching for candidates online if they are spending less time searching for candidates in general:

4. High Performers leverage Advanced Search and Boolean to be more efficient

This is what sorts the men from the boys! High-performing recruiters use LinkedIn Advanced Search 4x more often than average performing recruiters, and they utilise the power of Boolean search strings, 2x as often as average recruiters:

Top Performing Recruiters

Top Performing Recruiters

Yes, instead of whacking a minimal amount of keywords or indeed a job title into LinkedIn’s top search bar (as the majority of low-performers do), high-performing recruiters will spend time creating a comprehensive Boolean search string containing all of the keywords relevant to the role they’re recruiting for (skills, specific software, location etc.), before implementing that string into a LinkedIn Advanced Search:

Top Performing Recruiters

The result? Well, instead of over a million semi-relevant results (as we saw in point number three), high performers get results that look like this:

Top Performing Recruiters

A smaller number of more relevant results, with candidates based in the right location and possessing the right skills and experience.

The moral of the story? NEVER use the top search bar on LinkedIn to conduct any search where you don’t know the person’s name i.e. skill searches, job title searches or location-focused searches. For each and every one of those searches, you should be using the Advanced Search feature on LinkedIn and doing so with the power of a great Boolean search string. Create error-free Boolean strings for free with SourceHub, here.

5. High performers spend their mornings engaging with candidates

When do you do most of your candidate searches? We found that the golden period for candidate search on LinkedIn and elsewhere on the web, is between 2pm and 6pm in the afternoon. The majority of high performers searched within that time frame, slightly less average performers searched then, and the lowest performing recruiters spent the least amount of time searching for candidates within that time frame:

Top Performing Recruiters

In other words, there was a really strong correlation between when a recruiter searched for candidates and how successful they were as a recruiter.

But if high performers are spending less time searching in the morning, what exactly are they doing instead?! We really wanted to find out, so we sat down with these high-performers, asked them what they spent their mornings doing and dug deeper into their performance data to find out.

The secret, we found, lay in when those top performers were choosing to engage with candidates. Top performers were using their mornings to engage and communicate with candidates e.g. calling candidates, scheduling candidate emails, messaging clients and writing job ads.

Why are they doing that? Well, as we discovered from Yesware’s 2013 email study, the best time of day to spend an email is 6am. It’s the time when the least amount of emails are sent by other sources (promotional, work-related etc.) and when recipients are most likely to open non-work related emails. Therefore, emails sent early in the morning receive the highest response rates. Other studies have proven that the best time to cold call someone is between 8am and 9am. The 8-9am slot works because it’s before “normal work hours” and so your candidate’s gatekeeper may not be at their desk yet, or your candidate’s day may not officially start until 9am, which means they’ll be able to give you the time to have a conversation before they start their day.

So, if you are going to conduct candidate searches, follow top performers lead and be sure to conduct them in the afternoon. Use your mornings to contact and engage with candidates – it’s when you’ll get them on the phone and it’s when you’ll catch them at their most receptive as regards opening emails. If you try to contact candidate’s in the afternoon you’ll find they’re busy, they’re in an office full of colleagues who they may not want to hear their conversation, they’re trying to cram tasks in to get finished before the end of the day, and work emails are at their highest volume. The afternoon should be your time to search. Leave your mornings for engagement-related tasks.

6. High performers leverage social media to build trust

You might be forgiven for assuming that low-performing recruiters are low performers because they spend the majority of their working day wasting time on Facebook and Twitter. But you’d be wrong. As it turns out, low performers are barely on social media at all on their work computers. High performers on the other hand… Although, they spend less of their time online in general, a much higher percentage of the time they do spend online is spent on social media. In fact, they’re 8x more likely to spend their time on social media:

Top Performing Recruiters

These people are the big billers, the performers, the fillers of jobs and the people who are delivering more results, yet they’re the ones spending more time on social media! So, the big question is; what are they doing on social media?

The answer correlates with the findings of a previous study we conducted back in 2014. In that 2014 study, we found that poorly networked recruiters (those with <500 connections) are 10x more likely to have low (<10%) candidate response rates than those with a large number of connections (>2000). In this study, we found that top performers used social media to build their personal brand online and their social media followers along with it, in order to increase the level of trust between them and any potential candidates.

Why is it important for recruiters to spend time building their personal brand on social media? Take the following scenario fo example:

Imagine you’re a candidate and today you receive two emails – one from Maria, the other from Aleksandra. Both emails are almost identical, and you only have time to respond to one recruiter. Upon inspection of both ladies LinkedIn profiles who are you more likely to respond to?:

Top Performing Recruiters

I can almost guarantee you’re saying Aleksandra! Why? Well, just look at her profile compared to Maria’s. She has a photo, a nice tagline, a substantial summary and over 495 more connections than Maria does. All of these things are signals to you that you can trust Aleksandra more than Maria. Maria’s profile pales in comparison to Aleksandra’s, which is probably why you made that snap decision to respond to Aleksandra and not Maria.

Aleksandra had more connections which made her seem more authoritative. Having more connections probably increased the likelihood of her being connected to people you know and trust, which increased your trust in her. And the fact she had put more effort into her profile, unconsciously spoke to your sense of detail. These are things that matter. They mattered to you 2 seconds ago and they matter to candidates every day. Therefore, recruiters who spend time building and tending to their social media profiles every day will see their influence, authority and candidate trust levels increase over time.


There are 6 things you should be doing if you hope to become a top-performing recruiter:

  1. Spend less time online, but make the time you do spend count by using the internet efficiently.
  2. Give LinkedIn the proportionate amount of time it deserves, considering how many hires you make from it. Under-performers waste 60% more time on LinkedIn when it only provides them with 10% of their hires.
  3. Perform less, but better candidates searches.
  4. Improve your candidate searches dramatically by utilising LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature and the power of Boolean strings. Create error-free Boolean strings using SourceHub.
  5. Use your mornings to engage with candidates when they are less busy and more readily available to talk. Save your candidate searches for the afternoon.
  6. Use social media to build trust and your reputation online. The more reputable you are the more candidates you will convert and the more candidate responses you will receive.

And there you have it folks – 6 research-backed ways to increase your daily productivity and your overall performance as a recruiter. I hope you’ve enjoyed this two-part special. If you intend to try any of our suggestions (and we really hope you do), please let us know how you get on, either by commenting below or by contacting us on Twitter at @SocialTalent.

Good luck and happy recruiting!

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