Advertisers advice

Breaking the ice: contacting candidates through Scout

A guide to making contact through Scout, our candidate database,

If you’ve never used Scout before, you might be unsure about how to make first contact with a potential candidate. Check out the short video on the benefits Scout provides. 

After all, most businesses are used to hiring in a conventional way – listing an ad, and waiting for applicants to come to you, equipped with knowledge of the role and what you’re looking for.

However, Scout gives you the power to find and contact candidates who look like the perfect fit. This is our guide to making this first conversation smooth and successful.

1. Tell them what’s happening

Most Kiwi job hunters won’t have been approached by a business in this way before. This is a good thing, as long as you can explain why you’re calling.

Think about it – who doesn’t want to hear that their skills and experience are so impressive that you’ve taken time out of your day to get in touch? Even if they’re not actively searching for a job at the time, most people will respond well to being told they’re an attractive employment prospect.

What’s more, it’s important to remember that job hunters have the option to hide their contact details, so if they have elected not to, this indicates they’re open to hearing about opportunities.

A simple opener like, “Hi, this is Jamie from COMPANY. I found your profile and CV on Trade Me Jobs’ candidate database. Your skills and experience suit a role we have available. I'm wondering if you have time to discuss this opportunity?".

Note: we advise you to use the word “profile” because this is the terminology candidates use when interacting with the Trade Me Jobs platform, so will help avoid confusion.

The vast majority of candidates will be flattered to be contacted out of the blue.

2. Pitch the role and organisation

Once you’ve established who you are, you need to tell the candidate about the opportunity you have available. Here are some tips on how to do this well:

Make it relevant to them

Show you’ve properly engaged with their profile and CV by referencing aspects of their skills and experience in relation to the role. For example, if you’re hiring for an IT/tech job, and the candidate’s knowledge of Javascript coding will come in handy, tell them.

Similarly, if the role you’re offering looks like a step-up for the candidate, make sure they’re aware of this.

Keep asking questions

As you go through the role requirements and responsibilities, keep turning the focus back onto the listener. Does what you’re describing sound interesting? Is it something they’re doing currently, or would like to do? Ideally, you’ll be able to unearth some pain points about their current role that you can use to (subtly) promote your own.

Know what Kiwi job hunters care about

As well as responding to the specific career aspirations of the person you’re talking to, weave in information about your company that will make it more attractive. For example, a (pre-Covid-19) 2020 Trade Me Jobs survey showed the most important influences on ‘ideal work’’ for Kiwis were:

  • Job security: 58%.
  • Work/life balance: 57%.
  • Feeling valued:54%.
  • Skill development opportunities: 49%.
  • Feeling that you and the company are a good fit: 49%.

If your company culture emphasises any of the above, mentioning this can help increase the candidate’s engagement and interest in the conversation and role.

3. Gauge their interest

Generally, candidates will fall into one of three categories when you ask them if they’re interested in applying for the job:

  1. Not at all interested: in this case, we advise you ask if they’d be keen to hear about other opportunities in the future. It may be that they’re just not wanting to change jobs right now.
  2. Somewhat interested: if the candidate is engaged with what you’re saying, but isn’t 100% sold, offer to send them a full job description so they can think about it more. Let them know you’re happy for them to get back in touch if they have questions.
  3. Really interested: your response here will depend on your hiring process, but you’ll want to provide a concrete next step to continue the momentum. This could be an informal chat or, if you’re really keen on this individual, inviting them for an interview.

Bonus tips:

Here are a couple of things that will improve your chances of a successful conversation:

1. Wherever possible, use phone not email

You want to stand out to the candidate, and a phone call is a much better way of doing this than an email.

Not only can emails get buried or forgotten about, but it’s also much harder to tailor the conversation, gauge interest, and cement the next steps in this medium. This brings us to our second point….

2. Personalise the experience

Avoid having the same generic conversation over and over with each person you reach out to.

Show you’ve taken the time to read their profile and CV, have a grasp on what they’ve done and what interests them. This will both help to engage them in the conversation, and provide a good first impression of your company’s culture with regards to its employees.

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