The job search can often feel impersonal, with many unknowns―and often no response―after a job seeker hits “submit” on their application. It’s no wonder so many job seekers connect with recruiters in an effort to grab their attention and improve their odds at getting in front of a hiring manager.
But, with recruiters receiving a high volume of messages every day, it’s important to understand what they are looking for when they skim through their inbox. To ensure our clients are tailoring their messaging for their best chance at a reply, the CDI Education Committee posed the following question to a handful of recruiters from different industries:
When job seekers do cold outreach to you as a recruiter, what do you need to see to make you want to work with that candidate?
Here we share responses from:
Here’s what they had to say:
Ron Beck | Director of Healthcare Leadership & IT Recruitment at Carecor Health Services Ltd.
Aaron Mullenix | Recruitment Team Lead at Procore Technologies
Eglys Perez | Director of Recruiting at TorontoJobs.ca
They share their thoughts on:
- Top ways to get your inquiry ignored.
- What to include and what to leave out.
- Appropriate follow up volume.
- Formula for cold outreach success.
Here’s what they had to say:
Recruiters are frequently approached by job seekers, as we’re easy to find on social networks, some job postings, and especially on LinkedIn. When contacted, what I seek most is knowing which of my job vacancies the job seeker is attracted to. I appreciate when their message provides the exact job title how they discovered the opportunity. I also like seeing the resume as an attached file, or even a short bio that briefly shows how the candidate is qualified for the vacancy.
What recruiters don’t like, is a vague approach. Many notes I receive say something like, “I’m a Project Manager (or Analyst or a Sales Rep, etc.), so do you have work for me?” I typically disregard these types of approaches, but if the message was respectful and professionally written, I’m likely to reply and request more precise information.
So, when conducting outreach to a recruiter, it’s important that the person be specific about the type of work they seek and along with including a brief overview of their matching credentials and experience to support that type of work. When a message is concise and matches a current vacancy, of course any recruiter worth their salt will reply and either request their resume or direct them to a link to the job posting, or both. At that point, the job seekers is well on their way towards the candidate short-list.
I’ve been a recruiter for nearly 10 years, and I appreciate messages that keep it simple and to the point. I receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of messages and applications in a day, so if I’m able to read it in 10-20 seconds then it has a strong chance at being read in its entirety.
Whenever I open a message and I’m met with 5 long paragraphs explaining someone’s life story, I am inclined to skim it quickly for any relevancy. In terms of the message itself, it’s not a strong message if it’s generic. I suggest a job seeker clearly introduce themself, explain why they are interested in a specific role at that specific company, and how their experience is relevant.
Also, if possible, I encourage the job seeker to include the job posting and their resume. This ensures that I know the exact role(s) they’re interested in (since sometimes I might be working with 30-40+ roles at a time across my team) and I’ll easily have their resume in front of me to cross reference.
As a recruiter, I have always welcomed cold calls from job seekers, however, I do ask candidates to consider a few things when they do:
1) Please do not call more than once every couple of weeks. Trust me, I will not forget a candidate in that time span.
2) Be prepared before they call me, which means they have already looked up our open jobs and checked out our social media posts prior to calling.
3) Have a clear idea and direction of the kind of job they are looking for or the type of skills they have to offer an employer. This will allow me to help them in their job search and make the right match when the right opportunity arises.
What This Means for Your Client
With the right approach, our clients can improve their chances of getting interview requests by building meaningful connections with recruiters, even through cold outreach. This presents an opportunity for us to support our clients with additional services, such as coaching or composition of customizable message templates.
As we know, recruiters appreciate cold outreach that is short, to the point, and targeted toward a specific role. Whether creating scripting for our clients or educating them on how to compose effective outreach messages for themselves, brevity and clarity are of the utmost importance. Brief, easily skimmable messages should be tailored to an open position and highlight the top skills and experiences that support the role.
We can also emphasize the importance of conducting a job search with a clear direction in mind. When our clients know exactly what they want in their next career move and are confident in how they can add value, this is carried through their communications with recruiters and improves their odds of finding a strong job match.
Special thanks to CDI Education Committee who contributed to this Q&A spotlight. Curated by Laura Hartnell.