Best Practices for Candidate Recruitment Outreach in 2021

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Recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn for candidate outreach and building talent pools through connections on the social network. LinkedIn Recruiter InMail messages allow recruiters to get in touch with potential candidates about career opportunities, however there are restrictions on mass InMail messages, using InMail for marketing campaigns (which could include recruitment marketing), and using InMail for events (you’re not supposed to do any of these things). 

Additionally, since March of this year, LinkedIn is limiting the number of invitations its members can send to 100 invitations maximum per week instead of the previous 100 per day. That’s 85% less, and it has a significant impact for recruiters who used LinkedIn for candidate outreach. 

This means that best practices for your candidate outreach have changed. Recruiting and recruitment marketing tend to follow traditional sales and marketing trends, so we have to take a look at what sales and marketing professionals are doing to maintain their channels of communication.

Consider the Candidate Cadence

A sales cadence is a sequence of touchpoints that sales professionals follow to engage with prospects and consists of phone calls, emails, social interactions, events and so on. For recruiters, this translates into the touchpoints along the candidate journey. Each touchpoint is a message that "touches'' a candidate, and collectively they create your candidate experience. For example, digital touchpoints refer to engagements with your brand online, which include your career site, job ads, search engine results, and social media.

Screenshot of LinkedIn's new "weekly invitation limit," rolled out earlier this year.

Your source of hire can be a starting point to identify the interactions that give you the best return on your time. These can range from direct person-to-person interactions like emails and LinkedIn messages to indirect interactions such as visiting your company website or filling out an application online. Touchpoints also include third-party interactions, such as reviews on Glassdoor, personal-but-public social media posts shared by employees, or customer interactions with your employer brand. Every interaction, big or small, direct or indirect, is a touchpoint. These are all important, but reaching your ideal candidates today might look similar to how you reached them 20 years ago.

Related: Candidate Nurturing Best Practices for High Volume Hiring

The Three Channels That Maximize Your Messaging

Consider touchpoints you have already like your career site and job postings and what you can add, like personalized emails, text messaging for candidate updates — even phone calls (yes, these are still a thing). While technology supports our candidate experience with automated messaging workflows, these efforts are for the candidates that are already in your talent pool. When you’re working to expand that pool and reach new candidates, the high-touch methods of communication are the ones that help you nurture new candidate relationships.

Assuming you have your low-touch touchpoints like job postings and hiring event advertising covered, we’re really talking about three things: emails, calls and text messages. 

Just like sales works with new prospects, these high-touch channels are key to establishing new candidate relationships. Emails get deleted without being read, phone calls that aren’t recognized go unanswered... and does anyone leave voicemail messages anymore? What if you and your team got responses just because you did what every other recruiter isn’t doing?

Related: Localizing Your Recruiting Outreach for Hourly Roles

If we look at emails, phone calls and text messages as a “tag team” strategy, it gives us a few ways to stand out when reaching out to new candidates:

  • Call first, then email. If an email is your first introduction, it’s more likely to be deleted. But if you call first and leave a voicemail message saying that you’ll follow up by email, that email is more likely to be opened. 
  • Rather than following up a first email with a second, follow up with a text message that has an option for the candidate to schedule a 15-minute discovery call.
  • Think about the methods of communication like a nurture or drip campaign via three channels - call, email, text. Leave a voicemail message, keep it short and sweet (your name and your company name are the two most important pieces of information; leaving your phone number isn’t necessary).

It’s important to remember that, even if it's currently not a fit, the time that you put in now to get an email exchange or phone call can set the stage for future opportunities.

Topics: Recruiting Strategies

Updated November 9, 2021