How to ‘engage’ with jobseekers

Believe it or not, but most job seekers want to hear from you!

8 out of 10 people we asked said they would be open to a new job, even if they are not actively looking. So why is it that the response rate to direct approaches is so low?

We recently contacted a number of job seekers and asked them this question. After reviewing their comments, we have come up with the following tips to help you maximise the return on your engagement process:

Make job seekers feel important

Job seekers like to be praised and will, more often than not, feel flattered when you reach out to them. Thus, make sure your initial message is one that allows them to feel important. Talk about how ‘selective’ your search has been to find them and how you believe they can add ‘real value’ to your organisation.

Make it personal

Never use a ‘standard’ introduction message or email when reaching out to potential candidates. While starting from a template is fine, you need to make it personal. Take time to review the person’s CV (if you have it) or online profile and use this when you contact them. Try to find some ‘common ground’ or a topic that overlaps both with their interests and your organisations. Make reference to observations that you have made about them (e.g., I notice you like rock climbing…). This will demonstrate to them that they are not just another candidate on your list and will make them feel much more positive about the whole process.

Get your hiring manager’s involved

While organisational recruitment is the responsibility of the ‘talent acquisition’ team, an approach from the hiring manager will always get a greater level of response. Why? Because job seekers perceive a greater chance of success if they have already passed the ‘HR assessment’ stage. So, work with your managers to get them more involved. Create a standard message that they can use to send to job seekers. Prepare lists of potential candidates (with contact details), so all they have to do is hit ‘send’!

Give job seekers enough information

But not too much! This is really important. To get job seekers to engage with you, you need to give them enough information to peak their interest, while keeping some details in reserve. You need to find a balance with regards to how much you tell them. For example, job details are very important, and most job seekers will want as much information on the job as possible, before deciding on whether to respond. However, salary details can be held back until you have a better understanding of what they are looking for, especially if you are flexible on what you might have to pay. Give them a figure too low (or too high), and this might put them off!

Above all else, try to sound like you (a human being!) and not some automated robot. Make your message friendly and easy to read, without using overly formal text. Try to write as you would speak, adding humour in if this is what you would normally do. Job seekers will hopefully see you as a likable and genuine person and, at the very least, respond to your message, even if they are not interested in the job.

Once you have perfected your initial approach too would be job seekers, you can then focus on converting contacts into applicants.