Talent Acquisition

The Do’s and Don’ts of Contacting Candidates

Finding suitable candidates is one thing, however connecting with them and organising an interview with the hiring manager is another. When it comes to contacting candidates, there are some rules of thumb that recruiters should remember, so that they don’t destroy their professional reputations or even that of their recruitment agency. 

Here are a few things that you should do when contacting candidates for the highest possible response rate, as well as a few common mistakes to avoid for both your reputation’s sake and future opportunities.  

DO your homework:

Before you contact a candidate, do your homework and make sure that there is a reason for you to make the contact. If you don’t have any jobs for a candidate, then they may not be interested in talking to you.

They will be even less happy if they realise that you didn’t bother to look at their resume before you picked up the phone to call them and go on to find that the candidate isn’t a good fit for the job after the initial contact. 

Make references to things they have mentioned in their resume and ask them to elaborate on them. This way it will indicate to them that you have taken the time to read up on them and are genuinely interested in the conversation.

DON’T be rude:

Contacting someone having not done your homework can come across as quite rude; and just because a candidate isn’t the right fit for a job or isn’t as good as you expect doesn’t mean that you can cut them off on the phone. 

Manners are important when contacting candidates, as it is important that you give a positive impression of yourself whether they are right for the role or not. If you organise a phone call with somebody, be punctual, as chances are that they have set aside time in their day to take the call. the same goes for responding to emails.

Being rude to a candidate will cost you your reputation because people will talk to each other. If they have a bad experience, they will tell their friends, and their friends will tell their friends.

DO make it personal:

It is unlikely that many people will respond to you when it is obvious that you have done a copy and paste job to dozens of people. Sure, it does save time to recycle the same message time after time, but trust me, it’s obvious.

By taking the time to do a bit of research about the individual and tailoring your message to their background the candidates will take you more seriously and it will greatly increase your response rate. 

DON’T post and pray:

Posting an ad or in a LinkedIn group then waiting for candidates to come to you is the lazy way to recruit. Make the effort to engage with, build relationships and have a conversation with people.

DO follow up:

Even when a candidate is not a good fit for a job, follow up with them. Job seekers get really frustrated when they apply for a job and never received a response, and they are not shy about sharing their feelings with others. Treat your candidates with the same respect and courtesy you extend to your customers, and it will definitely pay off in the long run.

DON’T use your candidates’ professional references as marketing contacts:

Some candidates may have very impressive references. Their former managers and supervisors may seem like great marketing material for your staffing agency. However, as tempting as it is, do not use them as marketing contacts. In the worst case scenario, the manager will inform the candidate about this and you will never get any business from the candidate and his/her former employers.

DON’T wear out your candidates’ professional references:

When you have a primary candidate for a job opening, ask the candidate for permission to contact his or her professional references. Don’t call them until you get the permission or when you are sure that the candidate is the perfect fit for the job. In addition, don’t call the references three or four times because these are busy people. They may refuse to give you any good references if you call them too many times.

DO sell the job and company:

Hiring is a two way street and it is just as important for you to sell the job and company, as it is for the candidate to promote their skills and experience.

If you do not make the role sound desirable, candidates will not feel compelled to take it further and you will struggle to fill the position.

DO stay connected with candidates who don’t fit the role:

You may know straight away that the individual you have contacted isn’t right for the job them self, but that doesn’t mean you should end the conversation straight away. You never know who they may know and they may be able to make a very useful referral. Each phone call is a networking opportunity so make the most of the chance to make contacts. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock