Hot Source: Season 2

In the second season of Hot Source our Co-founder and Developer Ben Ihle joins our Lead Developer Peter Klein to give a candidate’s perspective on outreach messages.

In the second season of Hot Source our Co-founder and Developer Ben Ihle joins our Lead Developer Peter Klein to give a candidate’s perspective on outreach messages.

Check out a breakdown of all their advice, loves and red flags below:

Episode 1: Contracting InMail

Key learning: Be specific. Instead of talking about the company being ‘truly agile’ or ‘amazing leadership’ talk about what makes those qualities true.

Green Flags:

  1. The included pay. As a contractor, this will be a major factor in taking the role; having it listed was a big draw card.
  2. Our team would respond to this message if they were seeking a contracting role.

Red Flags:

  1. Truly agile‘ doesn’t mean anything to developers — there is no truly agile organisation. Try to describe instead more about the engineering environment such as: small teams, or cross-functional squads.
  2. Amazing leadership group‘ comes off as an addition by HR team or leadership team. Try considering what you’re trying to get across when you use that and replace it with a more direct sentence. I.e discuss learning/mentorship opportunities or that you have a flat organisation structure.
  3. Senior node + react‘ shows that the profile was not read, as the candidate this was sent to has very minimal mention of either of these and specialises in a different tech. Try ensuring that you have targeted candidates with relevant skills or ask if they have used the tech before

Episode 2: Connect, Add Note

Key learning: Don’t use calendly links as your CTA, and be respectful of candidate’s time. 30 minutes is too long for a first meet.

Message 1
Key learning: Calendly links aren’t effective. Try asking for a call instead.

Green flags:

  1. The start was personalised to the profile. Personalisation is a major win!

Red Flags:

  1. Calendely links feel impersonal. It gives the impression that you are too good/your time too valuable. Instead share more information in the following messages or ask for a call.
  2. No information on the company. ‘Technology driven solutions for real-world challenges‘ is very generic. Share an interesting problem your candidate will be working on, or provide more information on the role.
  3. No mention of tech. This creates a lack of personalisation and contributes to the message feeling generic. If there is no mention of tech, at least talk about the challenge they will be solving.
  4. There is no further personalisation beyond ‘you finished up last month.’ Whilst it is clear that the message was personalised, there were missed opportunities to describe why you think this candidate would be good for the role.

Message 2

Key learning: Different is good. If you’re not personalising show your personality instead.

Green flags:

  1. The opening ‘name-sized hole‘ feels warm and welcoming. Despite it being very templated, it’s fun and different.
  2. The short and quirkiness of the message piques their interest, as developers they engage well with messages that are different.

Red flags:

  1. 30 minutes is too long. 5 – 10 minutes is a much more respectful time frame, you can then organise subsequent phone calls.

Episode 3: Critical Hire InMail

Key Learning: Well-written messages need only a sprinkling of personalisation.

Green Flags:

  1. The call to action is inviting, and respectful.
  2. Saying it is a business-critical hire adds weight to the message. It should be noted, that you need to back this up with personalisation and selective sending for this to resonate.

Red Flags:

  1. It needed to demonstrate that the sender had looked at your profile. The only thing that is personalised is the name.
  2. There is no mention of the role. This message could go to a sales person as much as a developer.
  3. The term “career journey” is often used in templated messages. A lot of people don’t have a planned career journey either.
  4. The message, particularly as it is business critical, doesn’t invite the recipient to share about them. In a business critical role you need to be picky and it should be a two way street.
  5. The fact that it is a business critical-hire runs counter to the templated message.

Episode 4: Future CTO InMail

Key Learning: Sharing potential career progression will create issues down the road and disuade people from applying.

Green Flag:
  1. The link to the ad is great. If the message interests the recipient they can read further information.
  2. The end call to action and end is good, it is self-aware and respectful.
  3. Repeating the recipient’s name at the end adds personalisation and pulls focus back in.

Red Flag:

  1. Sharing that there is potential to move into a CTO down the line indicates that you will be expected to perform a role outside of the scope of the role description. It also can cause issues down the line if the promised CTO position does not go to the applicant.
  2. The message can be said more concisely. Focus on what is important, and then include only the most relevant information, especially so as the job ad link is already included.

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