How To Get Candidates To Engage With You


There are a number of ways a recruiter, hiring manager, or company comes into contact with a potential candidate.

Occasionally you will come across an inbound candidate application that has the potential to fit your open role well, but outbound reach outs to passive candidates is a fantastic strategy to fill your pipeline with top-talent who may be a closer match to what you’re looking for.

It is not enough, though to just be able to identify talent, your outreach messaging must be compelling in order to get candidates to engage with you.


1. “[be] relevant, personal, short, [and] end with a question,” Christina Marie notes. One of the factors that is more likely to lead in a candidate response is something personalized to that individual, including a call-to-action subject line that ends with a question. Additional subject-line content that is engaging may include your company’s name and/or the candidate’s name.

2. Let the candidate know what inspires you about their profile, and be authentic! In the body of the outreach, simply noting a person’s education or company is not enough.

3. Point out notable accomplishments, articles they’ve written, or overlaps from your background and theirs. Don’t get too carried away, though. Creating outbound content that is too lengthy decreases the likelihood that a potential candidate will reply. You don’t need to add fluff – be real, be genuine, and ask a question to elicit more of a reaction from the candidate.

4. Double-check every email before pressing “send” and make sure you have the right name on the subject line and/or email.

5. Raine Lunke suggests: “Use more than one channel.”  Emails and Inmails are not the only way to connect with potential candidates.  Diversifying your method of outreach will yield you a higher response rate and will ultimately allow you to reach candidates who don’t respond to your first method of outreach.

6. Don’t be afraid to cold call – cold calling is becoming a lost art and given the volume of requests for top-talent, giving candidate a ring will help you stand out. On the same note, texting is another option that could yield better results for outreach.

7. Be authentic to your strengths, while still pushing out of your comfort zone. Recruiters who push themselves and use more difficult and uncomfortable channels end up with top-talent in their pipeline.

8. Open the door to your network and ask them for referrals for your open roles, as Stacy Christmann points out. They may either respond that they are interested personally or provide you with a quality lead.

9. Stand out! Never forget that we are in a many-year stint of it being a “candidate market.” Talent has the ability to choose from so many opportunities – if you don’t stand out, you won’t get the replies you need. You need to be incredibly clear that you not only care deeply about finding the right person for the job, but you care about what they are passionate about.

10. Describe the job from a perspective of what’s in it for the candidate and why it is something they really should consider. Make an effort to give the potential candidate more than just a copy and pasted job-description.

11. For candidates already interested in your role/company, if the candidate provided time slots to call them, just give them a call! This way, you aren’t wasting any time with candidates who have expressed interest.

12. Follow up, follow up, follow up. A majority of candidates will most likely not reply to your first message, cold-call, text. Don’t give up! For email, follow up 2-3 days after if no reply, and change the subject line to surface it incase it has gone to SPAM. For things like text/call, it is recommended to follow up via those channels 1-2 days post follow up email. Come at it from all angles to increase your chance at a reply!

13. If a candidate is non-responsive, ask them something that’s written negatively to prompt a reply – for example, “Should I withdraw your candidacy?”


Top-talent often times comes from passive outreach, and attempting to engage with talent not looking for a change is one of the most difficult things about recruiting.

Overall, ensure your outreaches are personal, authentic, and specific to that person – if they are truly an outstanding candidate, the extra time spent on outreach could get you an amazing hire.

Remember to utilize and emphasize areas people find compelling about your opportunity or company and really woo them!

If you are unsure how attractive your role/company is to candidates, users of get useful data into their attractiveness according to candidates – this information will allow you to tailor the most impactful and compelling messages to potential candidates.

Engaging passive, top-talent is hard – step out of the box, and hire on!



Woo specializes in connecting experienced tech professionals who are discreetly exploring new opportunities to companies with the right job for them. Its machine learning technology matches criteria from both candidates and companies, resulting in an efficient process and the highest conversion from introduction to interview in the market. Since 2015, Woo has worked with more than 500 customers including Lyft, WeWork, MongoDB and Quora successfully bringing them quality hires. To learn more, please visit: 


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