Recruiter Outreach: That Personal Quality

In some circles, the term spray-and-pray covers recruiter outreach to potential job candidates. 

Essentially it’s a potentially reputation-damaging spam campaign (to the majority of recipients), in the hope of netting a couple of good prospects.

In other circles, it covers sending a job post to as many job aggregation sites as possible. The ATS system is then depended on to help sort applications that are increasingly easy to send — and which multiply in a downturn.

We’ll deal with outreach here, but in both cases the problem can be solved with just a couple of easy upfront investments.

Outreach Personalization

If there’s one thing most recruiters have going for them its personality. Gregarious, fast on their feet, discerning, and always easy to talk to.

Pride in these strengths is the first step to investing a little time into the resources that are almost always at your disposal.

Personalization of approach is about personal style.

Imagine the difference between receiving a generic email and one that greets you with an upbeat reference to some achievement you’ve earned. Something you and the sender have in common.

Or any personal reference — probably pulled in a matter of seconds from a social media profile.

It might be a professional connection, a shared school, hobby or virtually anything that stands out. That message says: “I’m reaching out because you made a genuine impression.”

This includes the subject line, to win that initial open.

Using the person’s name (obvious), along with current company, some achievement, or anything else that shows you know them, is potent:

John, your work at {{company}} has gained attention.

This small effort is the best investment a recruiter can make.

In fact it can be the antithesis of the foot-in-the-door technique. It triggers Dr. Robert B. Cialdini’s groundbreaking 6 Principles of Influence:

Reciprocity — the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit.

Your recipient feels complimented. You are clearly writing a personal message. You know something about her. And you are impressed enough to reach out.

The recipient knows you did your homework. You spelled the name right. Heck, you’ve probably been showing the profile around, with various important heads nodding and smiling as they stared at it.

Your recipient is now warm inside and feels you deserve time and effort.

And what was the cost?

In another instance, you could quickly discover that a qualified expert out there is actually connected to somebody who works at your company.

You would know what to do next, right?

Because a personal email from that person would go a long way to getting a result.

Ladders as a Quality Example

Hey, if you don’t blow your own trumpet, right?

Imagine you’re tasked with a high-end position. It’s important and lands between a $400K-$500K salary range.

You bring Ladders into the picture for targeted $100K-$500K+ professionals, with resumes that spell out “expertise” “experience” and “highly qualified” at every step.

And you use Ladders Experts and pull some interesting profiles. 

Great, but results are key. So how do you optimize personalization?

Easy — make yourself invisible.

You pick any personalized talking points you’ve discovered. You draft an email. Then you talk to a key hiring manager about putting her name and picture with it.

Back to another principle of persuasion — authority.

Now the personalized correspondence, with personal touches, comes from the authority figure. 

Instant compliment. Instant personalized experience.

Your win is your smart thinking — your strategy.

Every small investment of time and effort pays back in a potentially major way.

And every smart thing you do that isn’t spray-and-pray protects your reputation and your company’s reputation.

Also, any extra effort you put into areas such as networking and relationship building will reward you with great ROI. 

Ladders makes it easy for its recruiters to create their own member profiles on Ladders, for example, and encourages them to do that. So here’s our recommended mantra:

Personalization is productivity. Results earn rewards.

Job Expertise & Engagement

So taking a few minutes to find a personal way to connect is an easy investment. Approaching through a relevant connection or a hiring manager is a smart tactic when applied properly.

As is knowing your target’s field.

A little research into the field you’re recruiting for is always a good idea. Maybe there are upheavals or new innovations there that people are talking about, or worried about.

However, acting like you too are an expert is going too far. Maybe you’re aware of something via friend in the field, for example.

Your target now feels you respect him as a professional.

Maybe certain approaches don’t work well with certain professionals: being overtly positive and upbeat with journalists or PR people could lead to guardedness and mistrust, for example.

We shouldn’t indulge in stereotypes, but we should respect the kind of work performed and the culture that goes with it. It can shape the way professionals respond.

Cold-calling is a thing of the past. Personalization is everything.

Small investments do gain great rewards

And when good people, who you very quickly built something of a relationship with, don’t work out for a position, make sure you keep their details and throw them a friendly line for others.

Because relationship building is as personal as it gets.

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