HubSpot Careers Blog

May 2, 2017 // 8:26 AM

Confessions of a Recruiter: Why I Still Message Candidates Directly

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Picture1-5.pngLet’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, I’m a talent sourcer on a recruiting team. Of course I want you to open a direct email or LinkedIn message. But, I’ve been on your side of the inbox too, and I know how impersonal some templates can be. Just last week, in fact, I got an email asking “How is your time at *company that is not my current company*?” Needless to say, I didn’t reply.

Truth is, most people don’t reply. According to LinkedIn “the general response rate for InMail is between 30-60 percent.” And this paltry response rate is just for InMail; the response rates for direct emails, tweets, texts, or other ways recruiters try to contact people are even lower.

So, why do recruiters keep at it? Because LinkedIn also reports that 87% of professionals are open to new job opportunities. While you may think you love your current job, we’d love the opportunity to at least chat with you and find out if there’s a way we could help you discover a job you love even more.

The Cold, Hard Facts About InMail

As recruiters, we’re typically reaching out to 10, 20, even sometimes 50, people a day and that may make you feel not-so-special. From our perspective, as excited as we may be about your profile and work experience, we have to make sure we can fill our candidate funnel. Our hiring managers count on us to provide a full range of remarkable candidates, and in order to do so, we have to cast a wide net. But, just because we are reaching out to a lot of people doesn’t mean that we are any less interested in you and your individual skillset.

It’s true that recruiters often use templates for direct emails, but it’s only to avoid typos. Using a template helps us focus our messaging on the specific profile, and less on the information we need to relay about the company we are hiring for. However, if your profile only has your job title and your company name, it’s harder for recruiters to craft a personalized message. If you want jobs to come to you, do your part by making your online presence a rich source of information on your experience and expertise.

Help Us Help You

The easiest, most beneficial thing you can do today is take five minutes to make sure you've updated your online profiles. Add your recent projects to your Github or Dribble accounts and your personal webpage. Flesh out the “Skills & Expertise” section of your LinkedIn profile. For example, we mostly use Java here at HubSpot, so if I pull a search for engineers with that language, that’s how I’ll find you. Wherever you decide to showcase your talents, make sure you add a description of your current job so people can verify that your title matches what they’re looking for. A title like “Project Manager,” for example, has a very different meaning from company to company.

We Really Mean It When We Say  “Informal Call”

If recruiters like what they've read about you online, they will add a call-to-action in their message that says something like, “I’d love to set up an informal call with you if you are interested.” Take this at face value.

We really do just want to connect you with someone on the hiring team, likely a recruiter or hiring manager, who can tell you about the company and the role. They will of course want to get a sense of your experience but there is no pressure to be anything but professional and curious. A call will only take 15-30 minutes of your time and is your chance to ask anything that will help you evaluate if the company is potentially a good fit for you. We won’t even be insulted if you ask about compensation!

At the very least, if you were to see a different role on our jobs page that intrigued you in the future, you would already have the contact information of a recruiter who can connect you with the right person and get you more information.

Networking Never Hurt Nobody

Even if you absolutely love your current job and would never dream of leaving, it can’t hurt to network. In today’s world, networking goes far beyond meeting someone in-person at a cocktail mixer. Yes, some recruiter emails are most definitely spam, but some may afford you an opportunity to have an interesting conversation with someone you might not have connected with otherwise. If you’re even a little interested in what the email has to say, don’t hesitate to send a reply.

It’s amazing what can happen when you say yes and allow the myriad of opportunities out there to flow in. Next time you receive a recruiter message, resist the muscle memory to move it directly to the trash. With just a few clicks, you’ll be surprised how much you can expand your digital network. And you never know what doors it might open.

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