Tim Sackett

2 min read


You only have one job as a Recruiter!

As recruiters, we really only have one job. That job is to get a candidate to tell us “Yes” or “No.” Yes, I’m interested, please tell me more, or No, I’m not interested in the job you have, but here’s what I would be interested in if you ever have it available. 

When you break recruiting down to this simple premise, it doesn’t really seem that hard. 

The problem most recruiters run into is that they believe a non-answer is “No.” But it’s not. A non-answer is nothing. It’s neither yes nor no. It’s you better keep trying until I give you a real answer! The best recruiters I’ve ever worked with keenly understood this concept. 

The average recruiter gives up trying to contact a candidate after two tries. I sent Candidate A a text message and an email, and she didn’t reply, so that must mean they are not interested! What we’ve found is that top recruiters will go as many as 9 attempts to contact candidates they truly want to get to Yes or No. NINE! At nine attempts, the Yes or No rate jumps to around 90%. 

Now, imagine you have a list of 25 potential candidates. You force rank them for most desirable to least desirable. You do your “average” outreach of two attempts, and you get 3 out of the 25 to reply to you. The ranking of the three that replied is numbers 7, 15, and 24. You screen and send them on to your hiring manager with the belief, “we only hire the best talent!” 

Actually, you are trying to hire 7, 15, and 24 because you gave up on numbers 1-6, who were your best possible candidates, but they didn’t respond! 

The best recruiters in the world won’t stop until they’ve gotten around 70% of their top candidates to tell them they are either interested or not interested. 

Why, as recruiters, do we stop trying to contact candidates? 

We stop because we believe it’s rude. It’s rude to keep trying to contact someone who “clearly” isn’t interested if they didn’t reply back after two messages. This obviously is wrong, but it’s a giant psychological barrier for average and below-average recruiters. 

Now, before my European recruiting friends lose their minds, there are also cultural barriers as well. In Europe, especially, almost no recruiters go past one or two outreaches to candidates, as culturally the norm is we’ll try you once, and if you don’t respond, you must not be interested. By the way, I tease my European recruiting friends about this as well because I think this concept is very dated. 

My experience has been that for every candidate that we contact up to nine times who thinks we are stalking them, and there is another candidate who thanks us profusely for continuing our efforts. Out of one hundred candidates, the vast majority don’t have any issues and will eventually tell us, Yes, or No, a couple will tell us to stop stalking them, and a couple will thank us and apologize for not getting back sooner. 

This really all comes down to our belief within our recruiting departments do we really hire the best talent, or do we just hire the talent that responds to us. If you hire the best, you must truly go after the best and actually see if they are interested or not. If you just take only those who respond on your first or second outreach, you really aren’t hiring the best talent. 

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