Outbound Hiring — Things To Keep In Mind

Outbound hiring (or outbound recruitment) is a concept that has grown increasingly popular. For most companies, inbound hiring works well. You put up a job ad, you advertise it on a few job boards, you put it up on social media sites, and you usually end up with hundreds of application. Often, you will find some great people through this process. Most companies do.

What do you do when it does not work though? What if you publish a job, advertise it, and don't quite manage to find the quality of applications you were looking for? You can try sourcing candidates yourself.
Outbound hiring, like outbound marketing, can be terrifying. You don't know where you start, you don't know what to look for, how to approach people, or how to know if they are even interested. When you have recruitment agencies working for you, the process is simpler... they often know what they are doing, but doing it yourself can be challenging. Having said that, you can get an even better pipeline if you’re good at outbound hiring.

Let's look at some of the things that can help when you’re starting to source candidates.

Where do I look for candidates?

There are several ways to go about this. One of the best that we have found is to look within your own company and ask for referrals. There are two benefits of this: one, the quality of referrals is (usually) pretty high, and two, you have a better chance of getting a response.

Another good way is to look at social media sites, like Twitter and LinkedIn. You could send candidates that are interested an InMail. There are other great options when you're looking for designers or developers. Github is great for finding people who have worked with a certain technology and Dribbble is a great resource for finding designers.

Beyond these two, you could always look for sourcing sites (such as Sourcing.io). There are many options out there, even if you're looking for roles that are traditionally difficult to fill. Your applicant tracking system may have integrations that allow you to import candidates with one click.

Once you have put together a list of a few people you think might be a good fit, what next?

Crafting the right email

Once you have a few people you can reach out to, the next step is to actually write a good, relevant message that can start a conversation. Outreach emails are often associated with a lack of relevant and personalisation. People often source candidates and send them emails without doing any research. That doesn’t work.

It may be a bit more work to craft a separate message for everyone but it's worth it. One great thing about outbound hiring is that the pool of people you source isn’t ever going to be as large as the inbound pool, so you can write a good email for everyone you’re reaching out to.

When you're sending an email, there are a few things that will help you stand out and increase your chances of getting a response.

(a) Make sure you understand things that the person has worked on, their skills, the areas that interest them, and how your company can help their career. The more tailored an email is, the higher your chances of getting a response.

(b) Tell them a bit about your company, your growth, and your future without going overboard. It's easy to talk about the opportunity as it's the best thing ever, but that doesn't really help. In fact, it can often be off-putting. Understand the company you’re working with, their goals, what their future looks like, and figure out how you can sell that.

(c) Add some elements that help the reader understand how you found them. Was it a social media site? A particular post on their blog? Something else? That just goes on to show that you have put in some work before approaching them.

(d) Last but not the least, don’t be too pushy. Great people are usually already working, but if the opportunity is worth it and there's a match, even if things don't work out right away, it's good to keep future options open.

Oh, and make sure you follow the basics of writing well. Keep things simple, keep the email short, make sure you proofread. Don’t make obvious mistakes like using the wrong name, salutation, etc.

Following Up

Perhaps the most important part of the entire process is following up. Not everyone is going to be available right away. People may not respond for a variety of reasons. Following up a couple of times can improve your success rate substantially.

You have to make sure that you aren't spamming people. Don't send five emails within a week. In fact, don’t send five emails at all. Send an email and if you don't hear anything after a week, follow up. If you get nothing still, it's safe to assume that the person isn't interested.

Not everyone is going to be available right away. People may not respond for a variety of reasons. Following up a couple of times can improve your success rate substantially.

Track your results

When you start an outbound hiring process, it can be a bit overwhelming. You send a few emails and get no response. It’s tough to understand when to follow up. It’s tough to see your results.

Tracking your results is the key to improving them. Even if you’re sending these emails from an email client, there are tools that can help you track them. If you’re using an application tracking system, that’s even better. You can track which emails are getting opened, which emails get responses, when follow ups work, and everything else.

Over time, as you send more of these emails and understand your process better, you will get really good at outbound hiring. (and your job pipeline will get better!)