In our previous post we discussed The Importance Of Having A Personalized LinkedIn Message and how it affects your reply rate.

Today, I would like to discuss an approach that will increase your reply rate even more by using a follow up message.

If you combine a powerful and authentic initial message together with a follow up message you will be able to get through to your toughest candidates.

There are several reasons why follow up messages work so tremendously well:

  1. They visually stand out in your inbox because one thread now has multiple emails and it creates an impression for the recipient that they might be missing out on something important especially if they don’t know who you are.
  1. They remind the recipient about you if the follow ups are long enough and are correctly executed. Sometimes you can be sent to spam if you don’t follow up correctly :)
  2. From a psychological standpoint they compel the recipient to reply since it’s part of human nature to reply to questions and not ignore them especially if the other party persistent. When you persevere most people will reply at least with something and less will ignore.

Statistically speaking, a good reply rate should be between 10-30%. A well-written follow up brings an additional 10-20% to the initial reply rate. However, these additional replies may not come from one follow up only. In fact, most of the times it’s a sequence. In my teams we stopped going further than the 3-rd follow up at some point. Based on the numbers that we ran it wasn’t justified, but that was our experience - for you it might be different. Initially, we experimented with everything: from not following up at all to following up until we either get a at least some reply. The latter approach will get you a very high reply rate. But again, based on numbers those people who didn’t reply to 3 follow ups are most likely not interested (taking into account that the follow up was written correctly and executed at the right time).

So what is a well-written follow up and how often should you send it?

A well-written follow up is the one that gives you the most results :) So you would have to experiment with that, plus you would have to experiment with how often to send it to your candidates so they reply to you and not get annoyed by you. But here’s what worked for me and my recruiting teams.

If you, for example, sent an initial message today then the 1-st follow up should come in a week from now.

And it would be something like this: “Hey First Name, I know how emails can sometimes get lost in the inbox. I was just wondering if you had the opportunity to check out my previous message to you?”

In case you didn’t get a reply to that, your 2-nd follow up would be in another week from your 1-st follow up.

And the message would be similar to the first one, yet slightly rephrased: “Hey First Name, would you have any update on my previous email?”

Now, in case you still didn’t get any reply I recommend doing your 3-rd, last follow up and it would sound something like this: “Hey First Name, I’m not sure if you have received my previous emails, but I decided to give it another shot. Please let me know if you would be interested in having that conversation or if you would like me to stop bugging you :) Any update is appreciated.”

If you didn’t get any replies up to this point you’re most likely in the spam folder :)

We also structure our follow ups. For each position that we recruit for we create a campaign in an online spreadsheet and track the stages and progress weekly/monthly. This is just a sample report with random numbers, just to give you some ideas for the structure and layout.

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