Sourcing and the Power of the Personal

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting, Products & Technology, Staffing, Tips & Tricks

Last week I attended a fascinating event about sourcing at the Hired headquarters in SOMA, San Francisco. It was great to meet recruiters and sourcers working in the field and trying to get expert advice. I even met some team members from PagerDuty, a fairly new Jobscience customer!

At the event, Aline Lerner was one of the people who gave valuable insight into the process of sourcing. She runs her own technical recruiting agency in San Francisco – and, as a former software engineer, she has a lot of knowledge about sourcing technical talent. At the TalentOps meetup, Aline revealed what she worked on with Hired – a deep dive into what makes engineers respond to recruiting messages.

On Hired, engineers make profiles and companies bid on them. Along with each bid is a private message to the engineer, which makes it an ideal environment to look at the response patterns of engineers when they’re interacting with recruiters. Here’s just some of what she found:

  • The initial offer is a very important factor in whether an engineer initially responds.
  • Whether the company in question is well-known doesn’t matter much.
  • The key is that recruiters personally and directly influence the private message, which was the second-most important factor in driving responses after the offer salary.

What Counts as Personal?
Aline found three kinds of messages – the first weren’t personal at all, instead just copy-pasted for just about any engineer a company could find on Hired. These had the lowest level of success but the highest level of use. A message that was mostly copy-pasted but had a couple personal sentences – like a comment on where the engineer went to school or used to work – was also quite common, but had the same success rate as an entirely impersonal message. This suggests it is not worth recruiters’ time to go about personalization in a halfhearted way.

I was interested to hear about the third type of message – the completely personal one. It turns out only 0.8 percent of the thousands of messages Aline analyzed on Hired were truly and fully personalized – but their response rate was 73.33 percent. This is a huge increase over the other types of messages.

How Should Recruiters Get Personal?
On sites like Hired, it’s pretty easy to write a personalized message – after all, there’s a profile in front of you to use. Outside of a context like that, though, it takes a little digging. Using recruiting software that has sourcing tools like the ability to pull up social profiles can make getting that first response from a candidate just a little easier.

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