1) Segment your audiences using your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Different candidates have wildly different needs. You shouldn’t approach them all with the same messages or with the same frequency. By segmenting your audience with your ATS, you can provide them with more meaningful, specific interactions. For example, here’s how you might segment candidates by employment status.

  • Top candidates/previous hires: Send content that aims to keep these people warm. Offer in-person meetings and keep them informed about potential opportunities.
  • New/uncontacted applicants: Automate the follow-up process in a way that sets realistic expectations, supplements existing efforts, and prepares these people to best utilize your firm’s services.
  • Recently unsuccessful applicants: Share tempered follow-up that takes cues from their recent experience. Offer openings to entice them into trying again.
  • Inactive candidates: Provide interesting career or industry-based content, job resources, and opportunities based on the candidate’s skills.

2) Direct every recruiter to find an online and offline networking group to join

Networking opens doors and has clear financial benefits when done properly. But doing so also helps you become better at what you do. You’ll learn how to better work with candidates and the right questions to ask to get the right answers. You’ll hear firsthand stories of the difficulties candidates face and you’ll better understand the industry you operate in.

For recruiters who specialize in a certain field, industry functions provide the perfect opportunity to interact with potential candidates. These events often provide the perfect mix of professional and personal, offering up the opportunity to make personal connections and learn more about the current state of the industry from an insider’s perspective.

Social networking is just as valuable as face-to-face networking for recruiters. Create a best practice guide for social networking for your recruitment team. Provide them with a list of curated LinkedIn groups to join and set goals for a set number of interactions on a weekly basis to encourage participation.

3) Teach recruiters how to personalize messages and provide them with examples

Personalization makes a huge impact on the candidate experience, and it’s far more than simply using the candidate’s name in your emails to them. One way to encourage personalized messages is to create a variety of templates that your recruiting team can personalize.

If you’ve taken the time to segment your audience, you can supply each segment with its own email template. These changes can be pronounced or subtle. For example, you might change your opening greeting to a candidate depending on how long it has been since a recruiter has last contacted them. For other templates, you might want to select some passages for your recruiters to personalize with relevant information about the candidate.

4) Optimize your follow-up attempts with difficult-to-reach candidates

How do you currently assess your attempts at follow-ups with candidates? Is it improvised by the recruiter or based on data? Extensive research exists on the optimal times to call and email candidates. Supplement this with your own data to determine the best times to reach candidates.

Candidate Engagement


This is crucial because connect rate data often runs counter to conventional wisdom. Let’s say a candidate doesn’t pick up the phone or respond to an email. At what point should a recruiter simply give up?

One large study found that that the seventh attempt at calling a candidate is nearly as effective as the third. Another study shows that ten percent of candidates wait until the eighth email to send their first reply. Create a follow-up plan and provide it to all of your recruiters to ensure that you’re reaching the most candidates as efficiently as possible.