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5 deadly sins of direct contact guaranteed to drive your applicants away

Nowadays, anyone wishing to attract the attention of talent using direct contact should approach candidates in an authentic and tailored way. This will tremendously increase the prospect of you receiving a response. However, recruiters do not seem to have heard of this approach. Time and again, recruiters commit deadly sins with active sourcing, which are guaranteed to drive their applicants away. We have summarised the most important points and we don't recommend copying them!

Carerix is also active in the German market and works closely with commercial journalists to highlight trends within the market. This article is a translation of: Mit diesen 5 Todsünden vergraulen Sie Ihre Bewerber bei der Direktansprache garantiert (German)

Everyone has to find their own way to approach suitable candidates. However, that doesn’t mean you have to make every mistake in the book as a recruiter before you become an effective active sourcer. We therefore present you with the deadliest sins of direct contact. Please do things differently!

Deadly sin number one: The recruiter does not know anything about the vacancy.

Active sourcing is about communication, but not just communicating with the candidate. Before directly contacting the candidate, active sourcers should also certainly talk to the specialist department and let them explain what qualifications the talent needs for the role. Above all, recruiters should also explain the technical jargon in the job profile so they can quickly and expertly answer any questions from the talent. There is nothing worse than HR staff not knowing themselves what is meant by an advertised position and only explaining things cryptically. This leaves an unprofessional impression and casts the entire company in a bad light. The result: The candidate feels they have not been taken seriously, doubts the quality of the job and bolts. Tip: If the content of the description for the vacant position is very complex, it is advisable for the specialist department to make the initial contact. They have more in-depth knowledge of the material and can also answer tricky detailed questions competently.

Deadly sin number two: The recruiter cannot convey the benefits of its own employer.

Direct contact in recruiting is closely associated with marketing methods to communicate benefits. Only in this case, it is not about drawing consumer attention to new products and creating incentives to buy, but about convincing applicants about a vacancy. This is made worse if the active sourcer cannot describe exactly why the talent approached should work with them when they make the initial direct contact. What added values does the employer offer the candidate? This question should be answered and tailored to the candidate as much as possible.

  • Are there special career opportunities that they can offer the candidate?
  • Are there special further training opportunities that perfectly enhance and complement the previous positions in the CV?

Or: Do the company's work-life-balance initiatives perfectly fit the talent's personal life? Is there a nursery perhaps? That would be perfect for parents of young children. Or: Do they provide the perfect technical equipment for the 25-year-old programming genius, something which his current employer hardly dare dream of? These are incentives to buy, or rather, persuade, the applicant to apply. In comparison: The 21-year-old talent will be unimpressed by the opportunity of going into semi-retirement a few years before retirement. If, instead, you find direct reasons that fit his life, it will be much more persuasive.

Deadly sin number three: The recruiter is not familiar with the talent’s CV.

This leads straight to the third deadly sin, which you want to avoid with direct contact: If you want to present tailored reasons to persuade the talent, you have to make the effort beforehand to look at their CV. This is the only way recruiters can present the best and most appropriate points that match the candidate’s current life. They can be communicated in the following ways:

  • “You have been at the same position for three years, we would now like to offer you the chance to progress your career”
  • “Your extensive experience in project management at company XYZ makes you the perfect candidate for the project manager in our company”
  • “You have been investing every spare moment on professional training. We would therefore like to offer you a responsible specialist career.”

Deadly sin number four: The recruiter copies the content of the job profile in the message

Some recruiters make life easy for themselves and simply use the content of the job description in the message when directly contacting candidates. And to be on the safe side, they insert the appropriate link to the job advert. The applicant then reads the same text twice: Ouch! This indicates to the talent straight away that the recruiter prefers to use copy and paste. It raises the inevitable question: Does the company really mean to contact me or are they recruiting anyone and everyone? Candidates do not like the latter at all! Similar to recruiters who used to quickly banish mailshots to the bin, talent nowadays do the same thing with employers who approach them: Click! Message deleted! It is important to approach talent personally:

  • Write a new message every time as you would expect from applicants in the past.
  • Do not send standardised mailshots or text blocks. You don't like to see them in prospective applications from candidates for a good reason!

Deadly sin number five: The recruiter does not keep their own agreements.

Admittedly, there is something non-committal about social media. Social media is fast and information goes into your head as quickly as it goes out of it. In seconds, new postings and also direct messages pop up. However, this does not mean that recruiters using direct contact via social media should display the same non-commitment that has since become common practice among business networks. If you contact a number of talented individuals and have already agreed a meeting with them for example, you should also stick to it. Even if the vacancy has already been filled. The meeting might result in another opportunity to collaborate. Recruiters should not see the meeting as a waste of time and fail to turn up to meet the talent. If there is really no interest in speaking to each other, then write a rejection message and communicate with the candidate on the same level. It’s not uncommon to run into someone again during a lifetime: at which point, the situation could be reversed and the recruiter applies to the talent. Who knows? So always be respectful. It's in your own interest!

These are just a few tips to use when directly contacting candidates. In our white paper on Active Sourcing, we present additional helpful ways of dealing with active sourcing in your daily work. Click here to download »
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