The importance of follow-up messages

The importance of follow-up messages


Raj Abishek

August 16, 2023

Multi-touch sequences are proven to be more effective at getting replies from candidates. Yet in practice, many recruiters send on-off emails and never follow-up. While most understand that following up is important, they don’t end up executing them in practice. There are a few key reasons for this:

  • Lack of time: Following up with candidates manually can be hard. Recruiters tend to be pretty occupied and following up often slips through the gaps due
    to the mundane nature of the work
  • Not wanting to appear forceful:What if I’m too aggressive? If the candidates are interested then they’ll reply to themselves. Does reaching out, again
    and again, mean I’m troubling the candidates?
  • Rejection is hard: The thought of losing top talent can be gut-wrenching. If the attempts at following up are futile, it’s natural for recruiters to feel
    despondent and avoid dealing with similar rejections down the line.

But persistence is the key. Most recruiters think that they get responses from candidates on the 2nd / 3rd email because they’ve written a more compelling pitch. Nah! more often than not the actual reason why candidates reply is simple because the message hitting their inbox at the right timing!

Probably the initial email came through at the wrong time. They were either too distracted, occupied, were not in a position to reply, or wanted to take some time to mull over the proposal. Remember that passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a job change. They haven’t specifically earmarked time and mind share towards job hunting. Every time you send a followup message you increase the chance of eliciting responses because the message comes at a time when the candidate can consciously process and respond.

Emails are like mayflies

Mayflies(also called as ‘one-day insects’) have the shortest lifespan on Earth. Their life lasts only for 24 hours. The emails you send are like mayflies. They have an incredibly short life span. Study shows that if your email is ever going to be opened, 91% of the time it’s opened within a day after you send it.

It’s also interesting to note that ~90% of emails that received replies were replied to within one day after they were opened. During that first day, over 50% of opened emails were replied to within 3 hours.

The moment you shoot your email the clock starts ticking, and after 1 day there is little to no chance you’ll get a reply from the candidate. It just takes one day for an email to be a vain attempt. Hence it’s imperative to proactively followup with candidates instead of hoping they’ll reply.

The opportunity cost

Every-time you give-up and don’t followup you are missing out on closing potential candidates. Data shows that around 70% of unanswered email chains stopped after the first attempt. Only 19% went on to email a second time. That’s a lot of missed opportunities!

How effective are follow-ups?

Follow-up emails are worth the investment and effort. You have a 21% chance of getting a reply to your second email if the first goes unanswered. The following graph represents the chance of getting a reply every time you send a follow-up email.

What is an ideal follow-up timeline?

You’ll want to keep a balance between keeping the relationship warm and not overloading the candidate with too many emails. We recommend using a 6-6-3(as shown below) or a 5-5-4 cadence. These frequencies ensure email delivery on a different day of the week throughout the sequence. 6 days is a bit of a magic number when it comes to cadence. You’ll be reaching out on a different day of the week and allowing enough breathing space between subsequent touches to give the candidates time to process and chew the cud on what you’re offering.

By sending an email on different days of the week, you’ll keep the risk diversified(sending emails on the wrong day/busy day for the prospect) and it increases the probability of receiving a reply from the candidate. For the same reason, we dissuade you from sending a follow-up on day 7. I would highly recommend experimenting with different frequencies by putting these to practice and testing which one works best for your company.



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