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The Most Underrated Quality a Recruiter Can Have That Guarantees Success

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer Albert Einstein on Persistence

A recruiter’s job is no longer what it used to be just 5 years back. It looks more and more like a sales & marketing job today. To put it in simpler terms, the job is no longer about casting a wider net, but rather about going out to the wild seas with your harpoon and hunting whales!

When you are in the business of hunting whales, persistence can be your key differentiator. Persistence is one of the biggest predictor of a sales rep’s success at the job. A cold prospect, heck even an inbound hand raisers need at least 3–4 touchpoints to get warmed up to what you are offering. Why would it be any different for a passive candidate?

To be fair, it’s not a perfect analogy. But it’s easier for us recruiters and we still get lower conversions than most sales reps! A couple of well-crafted personalized emails can be flattering to a candidate and elicit a response. Even if it’s just a no, your target can probably suggest someone else who might be a good fit! So why are our conversions still lower than our colleagues in sales and marketing? A big reason is persistence.

The last time a candidate didn’t respond to your email, what did you do? Most recruiters I talk to would say — nothing! It is simply astounding to me. On the one hand, we spend hours and hours of time and a monumental effort searching for people, finding their contact information and crafting that perfect email that would grab their attention and then let the ball drop without going that extra mile that makes all the difference. Not going through with the follow-up is just a humongous waste of time and energy. As Lou Adler said — “When the candidate is passive, you have to get most active!”

If you are in the business of going after passive candidates, you can’t warm up a candidate in just one email! The skills that are in demand, the candidate is likely going to get 10 or more emails from recruiters. Your job is to stand out of this crowd and get noticed. A well-crafted follow-up conversation can do just that!

It is going to take more than one email or a call to get the candidate to warm up to the opportunity you are offering. It’s not as straight forward as it used to be anymore. Today candidates care about perks being offered, the careers path, the culture and mission of the company. How do you make sure that you communicate that your opportunity is the best fit for the candidate with just one touch point?

If you are still not convinced, in data we trust! Sales teams have had this data for ages! According to HubSpot 80% of sales need 5 or more touch points! For recruitment, recruiterflow’s data suggests that candidate response rate on the first email is 11%, the second touchpoint at 32% and third touchpoint at 29% and then dropping off at 16% for the fourth touch point! That’s 5x the conversion compared to just one email!

How to be persistent without being pushy?

  1. Space out your touchpoints: Candidate didn’t reply? Not a good practice to send them an email the right next day! Give them time to digest information and a chance to reply before you get in touch again.
  2. Be at your polite and humble best: Keep your candidates at the focus of the conversation and be polite and humble. It goes a long way in establishing the tone and not annoy the candidate.
  3. Show them you know them: Research your candidates and show them that you know them. Familiarity breeds trust. Compliment them about an article they wrote or just their work at the current company. Find out more on how to do this effectively?
  4. Ask if you should stop following up: Remember there is a chance that someone isn’t even ready to consider the role you are offering. Politely ask them if you should stop following up and definitely stop following up if they ask you to. But until that happens, following up is your job!

How to be persistent at scale?

There is a plethora of email marketing suites available for you to automate your outreach campaigns. However, it is important that your email reach your candidate’s primary inbox and feel like it has been sent specifically to them and not a part of an email blast you are sending out to everyone. You can easily do this with tools like Recruiterflow or Sendbloom to send personalized follow up emails that get responses!

Manan is co-founder and CEO of Recruiterflow – A recruitment CRM and ATS that helps businesses automate their candidate outreach and organise recruitment process. Follow him on twitter and Medium.

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