If you can’t contact a candidate, you can’t hire them. Every hire begins with engagement. Getting in contact and getting a response from candidates is still essential, particularly in today’s increasingly social, interconnected world of staffing.  Getting a candidate to accept an offer begins with the basics.  That’s why in this post, I’m going to be discussing about types of campaigns, how to time them, and some helpful tips for making your recruiting e-mails more efficient – and effective.

Recruitment Contact Campaigns 101

If you’re not familiar with contact campaigns in the context of staffing, think of them as a planned and organized series of actions intended to achieve the specific goal of engaging existing sourced leads, qualified applicants and referrals.

Over this post – the first in a 3 part series – you’ll get to know a little bit more about contacting campaigns and why they’re an essential tool in every recruiter’s toolbox.

Types of Contact Campaigns

There are several different types of campaigns you can consider for contacting candidate.  Some of the most common, and most important, include:

  1. Written Campaigns: These include e-mail, some social media, SMS & career or employer branding content marketing.
  2. Verbal Campaigns: Don’t forget the phone. Whether you’re using a land line, your cell or a VOIP tool like Skype, these remain some of the most effective contact campaigns, particularly with a strategy and process in place.
  3. Visual: Face to face candidate contact includes traditional methods like career fairs and in-person interviews to emerging methods like digital video platforms and even Google hangouts.

These are not mutually exclusive concepts, and leveraging all these approaches simultaneously is an essential part of any successful contact campaign.

How To Target Contact Campaigns

To contact a candidate, you’ve got to know who it is you’re contacting.  Targeting campaigns to your intended audience of candidates requires a different approach – and strategy – depending on their job search status. While we might disagree on these labels or define them differently, the basic segments for contacting campaigns include:

Active Candidates: These candidates are actively looking for new employment, whether or not they’re already employed.  These candidates often apply directly to job postings, let recruiters know they’re looking by posting their resumes on job boards or attending career fairs, and career-based networking.

Potential Candidates: No candidate is passive – with the right recruiter and the right opportunity, everyone is a potential candidate.  But this category of candidate is likely not looking, might be harder to source or contact.  Long story short, potential candidates are, as a rule, much more difficult to get them to consider working for you at a salary you can both agree on than their active counterparts.

Contact Campaign Approaches

There are numerous ways you can contact a candidate, but the question remains: which type of contacting campaign works best, and when?  While there are numerous ways to initiate contact with a candidate, they boil down to 3 basic approaches.  Making them work often means getting creative, but it’s important to start with the basics:

  1. Just-In-Time: This is the standard approach for contacting candidates who have applied for a position or who have expressed some sort of interest in an open job for which you’re recruiting. Even though they might have seen the job description or are familiar with the position, you’ll still need to explain to them exactly what the position entails and why it’s a good opportunity. The essential question you’ve got to answer is simple: what’s in it for the candidate?
  2. The Soft Sell: This is a tactic in which you can reach out as a recruiter or staffing professional for a general introduction and to express interest in establishing career-based contact.  This approach generally takes longer than just-in-time campaigns. It’s important to focus on building relationships and trust so that you can contact them when the perfect opportunity presents itself – even if it’s not right away.
  3. Go With Ego: Flattery works on any kind of candidate; professionally, everyone has a little bit of an ego (if they’re any good).  Contact campaigns based on candidates’ “expertise,” real or perceived, remain a great way to at least start a conversation, even if it’s not explicitly about their careers at first.  You can always learn more later if you leave the window open for future conversations, and generally talking shop about the skills they have that you need to hire is a great way to do so – even if they’re not looking to make a move, they’re still “potential candidates.”

Stay tuned for the next part of the series, where we’ll look at turning these contact campaign approaches into action through execution.

About the Author: Dean Da Costa is a highly experienced and decorated recruiter, sourcer and manager with deep skills and experience in HR, project management, training & process improvement. Dean is best known for his work in the highly specialized secured clearance and mobile arenas, where he has been a top performing recruiter and sourcer.  Dean’s keen insight and creation of innovative tools and processes for enhancing and changing staffing has established Dean as one of the top authorities in sourcing and recruiting.  Connect with Dean at LinkedIn or follow @DeanDaCosta on Twitter.

By Dean Da Costa

Dean Da Costa is a highly experienced and decorated staffing professional, recruiter, sourcer and manager, who also boasts outstanding experience and skills in Human Resources, Project Management, Training, and Process Improvement. He is best known for his work in the highly difficult security and mobile arena's, and the gold star winning numbers he produced. His keen insight and creation of ground breaking tools and processes, to enhance and change staffing as we know it, have proven he is a true "Staffing Thought Leader". Despite all this he remains first and foremost one of the top sourcers, staffing managers and full cycle recruiters in the industry and a true "Search Authority"