The LinkedIn Invite That Got Me to Click!

The recruiter in me is constantly trying to figure out the best subject line for emails and Inmails to get a response. At the end of the day, I need people to click to open so I can potentially recruit them. That’s how we become successful in recruiting, getting people interested!

My #1 go-to subject line for years has simply been my last name “Sackett”. Just that one word in the subject gets more click-throughs than anything else I’ve used. Now my friends Stacy Zapar and Angle Verros will both kill me if I don’t mention that the real #1 click-through subject line is really anything personal to the person you are sending it to!

For me, being a huge Michigan State Spartans fan, if you sent me an Inmail or email that said, “Go Green” I would definitely open that message! It’s specifically personal to me and I know you had to take a few seconds to understand me as a person.

This Lady Got Me!

Here’s the LinkedIn Invite that got me to accept:

Brilliant LinkedIn Invite

So, I’m not making fun of Yvonne! I’m admiring her marketing brilliance!

I only accept about 40% of my LinkedIn invitations because, like you, I get so many that are just spam and/or sales outreach for things I do not want or need. The moment you accept comes some cheesy sales pitch and you end up hating yourself for accepting! So, I’m pretty picky. This one got me!

Right away I was leary. “Private Coach” – no thanks! “Business Owners” – Ugh, sales pitch coming…but Yvonne did something special. She personalized it, or at least it felt personal to me! “I’ve decided not to send you the generic LI invite…” And then the magic, “Fingers crossed”!

FINGERS CROSSED!

I got duped by a generic mass invite message, by a person saying “THIS ISN’T GENERIC” and then saying “Fingers Crossed”! My mind couldn’t comprehend that this wasn’t an actual personal message. It seemed so personal and yet was not personal at all once you really dig into it.

I was the idiot. The moment after accepting came the auto-response cheesy sales pitch! Ugh! Damn you, Yvonne (if that’s even your name!) you go me!

I actually was super impressed and told her, right after removing the connection! Give credit where credit is due. She got me and I had to give her a hat tip. It’s pretty rare that I find a truly magical wording that can get someone to click, and I think she found it. And I think we all should steal it because it’s actually marvelous in its simplicity!

G*d Damn, fingers crossed got me. I feel like such an amateur right now!

Adjust Your Recruitment Packaging!

I talk to a lot of TA leaders and pros who tend to get stuck when it comes to their employer branding and messaging. They want to be transparent and tell candidates exactly who they are and what these candidates should prepare for. The problem being, they believe if they are transparent then candidates will not want to apply or join their company.

The problem with this type of thinking is every single employee, and every candidate for that matter will look at your company and your jobs through different lenses. Take your most loyal employee of all time (Timmy), the person who loves working for your brand more than anyone. What they believe is their truth. Our hope and dream is everyone sees the world, and our company, the exact same way!

Now, take the employee who is the exact opposite end of the spectrum as Timmy! This employee hates you, the company, their job. They are a walking work cancer. The only question you really have about this employee is can we fire them faster than they might be able to quit.

The reality is, your brand and your jobs are truly no different to these two employees, yet they see it as completely different.

When it comes to your employer brand there are some key things you should not adjust for:

  1. This is who we are.
  2. This is what we stand for.
  3. This is what we do.

The rest is just packaging!

Now, I’m not saying you should put out a video that shows daily ice cream socials and free Tesla’s. That would be lying. But if your packaging of your jobs and your company aligns more with how Timmy sees your brand, that’s the packaging. This world is real for at least one person at your company. It’s not a lie, it’s one employee’s truth.

You can change your packaging constantly. By location, by job, by month, etc. The core of your brand doesn’t change. This is who we are, and what we stand for, and what we do. You might even add to this with some this is what we will do for you or help you become. As long as that’s your core and you can deliver on it.

Each of us works for a brand and a job that can sometimes suck and sometimes be amazing, but mostly is a job that we like fine enough, but not as much as a puppy giving you a kiss, or your child running to you after you’ve been gone on a trip. And that’s okay!

So many of us are struggling to get people to apply to our jobs and come work for us right now, and the truth is, we need to step up our marketing game! We need to make our stuff more attractive! More desirable! We need to adjust our packaging. You’re trying to sell high-end jobs with generic branding, and you’re getting generic results.

The Top Recruiters Never Get Surprised! #Recruiting101

If there is one thing I could give a new Recruiting Pro it would be this simple advice. No matter how prepared you think you are, you really only need to prepare yourself, for one thing, being surprised.

You don’t really get judged on your daily stuff.  Let’s face it, 99.9% of the time that goes off without a hitch.  You get judged on how you handle surprises.

Surprises make and break great Recruiting Pro careers.

There’s really only one way to prepare for surprises.  You need to expect that a surprise will always happen. That one interview you desperately want, who calls to cancel with ‘car trouble’, the candidate who backs out of the offer after signing the paperwork.  Talk about it, plan for it, and basically come to grips that it will happen.  Then it will happen, and you’ll be the only one not surprised by it.

The best Recruiting Pros I’ve worked with had this one common trait, they were unshakeable when surprised.

Almost like they expected it.

TransfoRM Recruitment Marketing Conference! Sign Up Today!

The World’s largest Recruitment Marketing Conference is Back for 2021! You can sign up for free here using the code “TIMTRANSFORM” to join TransfoRM 2021! The conference will be held on August 5th, coming to you live from DETROIT!

For the 5th year, I”ll be the Emcee for this event, and I’ll also be bringing you the 4th edition of my popular walk & talk series “Recruitment Marketing Bootcamp” and in this episode, I’ll be discussing AI in Recruitment.

TransfoRM is such a unique conference that has been breaking barriers since it was started five years ago, and it has created a community of some of the greatest Recruitment Marketing Professionals in the world. The interaction is tremendous, and I wish more conferences would take note of what TransfoRM does! It’s fast, fun, and informational. No back-to-back, one-hour sessions – sessions that are short and sweet, get to the point, and make us smarter!

Who else will be joining me for TransfoRM 2021 Virtual?

  • Torin Ellis – my friend and who I believe is the top Diversity Recruitment Strategist in the world, will be dropping his amazing knowledge on us!
  • Debbie Tuel – The Chief Joy Officer and the Queen of the Joy Roadshows for Symphony Talent
  • Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman – From the popular HR Tech podcast Chad and Cheese
  • Julie Sowash – Amazing disability advocate and star of the podcast Crazy and the King
  • Roopesh Nair – the CEO of Symphony, and one of the smartest dudes you’ll ever hear from in Recruiting!
  • Advent Health will bring you Talent Attraction Strategies you haven’t thought of!

What else? TransfoRM 2022 will be coming back LIVE and if you register using my code “TIMTRANSFORM” you will get $500 off the live event also, for next year, on top of getting into the virtual 2021 conference for FREE!

Even if you can’t make the live event on August 5th, sign up and you can get the content sent to you afterward so you don’t miss a minute of great ideas and motivation!

Playing the Long Game in Talent Acquisition!

Yeah, but we need talent NOW!

I hear you. No, really, I HEAR you! And I feel your pain, I also need talent right now. In fact, I have not spoken to one organization since March who hasn’t needed talent. Everyone needs talent, now!

Here’s the thing…

(Editor’s note: This is where Tim will wax poetically about the big philosophies in life and some sh*t.)

It’s not about winning the battle, it’s about winning the war! CEOs love saying stupid sh*t like this, am I right? Actually, we aren’t fighting a war, we’re just trying to fill some jobs, calm down, Cindy! (Cindy is my fictional CEO, FYI) So, we have some short-ish term pain, currently in finding talent. The problem is, most TA leaders and organizations will spend 99% of their focus on this current issue.

When you do this, the current issue, becomes your future issue, because you have no vision or plan to actually get out of your current situation. Your current situation sucks, but you don’t want it to keep sucking. A part of me wants to tell leaders to just ignore the present if they truly want to solve the problem. Just go to your hiring managers and say, “Look, we can’t help you, you’re on your own!” The pain will probably be about the same anyway, but you’ll actually get to build a true plan for solving your real issue long term.

Of course we can’t do that without getting fired by Cindy.

We must play the short game and the long game simultaneously, at least, that’s what the best leaders will do in this time of crisis hiring. You’ll have your team fight the fire, while you truly maintain a focus on the future, ignoring the burning building you’re sitting in the middle of. That’s hard to do, and the only way you get away with it is by constantly communicating you’re working on a “permanent” solution for the crisis for the future.

The reason we don’t play the long game in talent acquisition is that we feel too much pressure to fix the present. The problem is you can’t fix the present, that is beyond broken, you can only fix the future. But, if our c-suite trusts we know what we are doing, we buy ourselves time to do what really needs to be done to fix this stuff permanently. Turns out, they will trust us more if we are communicating our plan for the big fix!

The Long Game Plan

Blah, blah, blah, just tell us the plan!

1. Admit that your stuff is currently broken and a mess, but we’ll have to muscle our way through this crisis in the short term.

2. Have a vision of a long-term plan and solution. We need some belief we won’t be living in this hell forever.

3. Look for some short-term wins for your team. Maybe it’s a new tool, some extra help, something that shows them this time it’s going to be different.

4. Make a timeline of action items. This might be a year or more. If you’re stuck in a crappy, dated ATS contract for the next 18 months, your plan is going to change drastically right away. But, this also gives you time to build the right process, tech stack, and team you need.

5. Get alignment of your plan with finance to secure the resources you’ll need. This actually solidifies your plan in concrete because finance pros are pretty good at following up constantly wanting to know how and when you’re going to use those approved resources!

And of course, constantly communicate publicly what you are doing and going to do. Being a great leader is part execution, part politician, and part being a dealer in hope. And right now, your organization needs some talent hope!

Why Does Spam Recruiting Work?

I just got done deleting the 17th phishing email from my personal email inbox today. Comcast, Amazon, Princes from far-off lands, I’ve never been more popular and, apparently, soon to be rich!

I was asking our Cyber Security company why phishing is still such a big deal. I mean don’t we all know by now that some Nigerian Prince isn’t going to give us a million dollars, or that Amazon doesn’t send us emails asking for our credit card numbers, or passwords!? There is no way someone can be this stupid, right!?

Apparently, I’m way wrong, we are all still a lot stupid! 

The reason phishing and spam are not because they are really tricking us. It’s the sure volume of messages and cadence. While we can all spot a fake fairly easily, can you always spot a fake when it’s sent a thousand times, all different times, with all different designs and strategies. Scammers will send a million to get one click. That one click will pay off.

Therein lies the strategy of why Spam Recruiting still works. It’s not about being good, or the best, it’s about being there all the time, knowing a certain percentage of the time will be the right time! Do we like it? Well, I guess that depends on who you are. If you happen to be that one person who gets the spam recruiting message at the exact time you’re desperate for a job, then yes, you will like it!

If you are the superstar performing software engineer getting twenty spam recruiting messages a day, you hate our industry!

Spam Recruiting Works Because It Works Some of the Time

I have never met one American-based TA Leader who believes that Off-Shore Recruiting firms (you know the off-shore RPO spam emails you get constantly all day long) actually are good. For the most part, they don’t recruit, they spam. Because they pay next to nothing to their workforce, they can spam a whole bunch and still make money, even if the entire process truly sucks.

They don’t have to be good. When you’re being paid like $10 a day, all you have to do is spam a couple of thousand people a week to get one placement a month and you’re making a profit for the “man”! Any company engaging in off-shore recruiting for hiring in the U.S. is basically engaging in slave labor. But, I digress. Back to crappy recruiting.

Bad recruiting is a lot like bad sex. If you really need a job, you don’t care how you get it. Which perpetuates you just continuing to be bad.

Spam recruiting works, and will always work, because the world will always have candidates who just need a job. They don’t care that you’re awful at your job. They don’t care that you are spamming them. All they care about is getting the job. Also, if you do care. If you do hate bad spammy recruiters. It turns out you also are fine with them being awful when you’re out of a job!

Spam works because we are all vulnerable at some point. It feeds on us being weak, naive, and desperate. But, at the end of the day, it works. It doesn’t work well. But it does work. And that sucks.

What Does Tim Sackett Actually Do?

So, besides my beautiful wife asking this question, frequently, I get asked this question all the time! During the spring and fall conference season, I’m out and about all over the world speaking. At almost every stop I’ll have at least one person come up to me and ask,

“So, what do you actually do?” 

Ugh! It’s the single biggest failure of my life! How did I do so well to “brand” myself, but then have so many people not know what I actually do for my job?!

I probably should start each conversation like an AA meeting:

“Hi, my name is Tim Sackett, and I run a technical staffing company!” 

BTW, I think that’s actually Step 13 of AA! Staffing firm owners will agree with this!

That’s the real job. That’s the money maker. I run a recruiting shop! Like most of you, I have to go out and buy a recruiting tech stack that works. I need to decide if I spend money on Indeed, or LinkedIn, or ZipRecruiter. I need to hire and train recruiters. At the end of the day, I’m in the weeds finding talent.

Unlike most Staffing Firm executives, I can’t really hide. I’ve been blogging and speaking for ten years in our industry. When I meet with new clients who want to use my team, I try and tell them, “I think we’re better than most, but the one thing I can guarantee is I won’t lie to you, or take advantage of you! I’m too public! You could kill my brand overnight if I was one of those cheesy staffing guys selling you a load of bullshit!”

The name of my company is HRU Technical Resources. I own the company, now, but in reality, my Mom started the company in 1980. (Check out her profile pic from the 1st day! She looks like Farrah Fawcett!) She’s the original OG Recruiter! In her 70’s, she still could out recruit probably 99% of Recruiters in the world! Old school and proud of it! I like to tell people I was “born” into staffing, as my Mom started the company when I was a boy and I would sit on her bed as she made interview calls at night and watch TV with the sound off.

Want to work with me? I want to work with you! 

Here’s what we do:

  • Contract staffing – helping organizations for 40 years build that part of their company that they want to maintain as contingent to add flexibility to their workforce.
  • Sourcing Projects – we will your funnel with talent and let you do the recruiting
  • Project RPO – we bundle some critical hiring for you and do the entire thing end-to-end
  • Traditional Direct-hire staffing

But, wait! What else do you do? 

I also do a bunch of Talent Acquisition consulting with corporate clients as well, helping them build out their own recruiting tech stack and just flat out execute better when it comes to their own direct hiring and figuring out what’s the best way to get the most out of your recruiting team. It usually starts out like this, “Tim, can we talk? Our talent acquisition department is broken and we need some help!”

I’m also an influencer, advisor, and analyst in the HR Technology industry. I work with tech companies in a number of ways from brand awareness, to product marketing and development, sales strategy, etc. As a reader, you see this in the demos and reviews I do, over 100 per year, but behind the scenes, that’s actually working with these organizations in a number of ways.

So, yeah, I write a lot. I speak quite a bit. I do webcasts, etc. But that’s not the full-time gig. I wrote a post a few years ago titled “What would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?” I don’t work 80 hours per week, but I probably work 60-ish. A lot of nights and weekends to make both my full-time and my side gig work.

The reality is, if I don’t work my full-time gig, my bills don’t get paid. That’s real life. So, let’s work together! I would love to get to know more of you and work with a bunch of you. Send me a note and let’s connect – sackett.tim@hrutech.com.

Finding Qualified Diverse Talent is NOT Your Issue!

During 2020, I’ve spoken to a lot of leaders who are concerned with their diversity recruiting. Every single one of them will say something like, “Tim, we just can’t find the ‘qualified’ diverse talent we need!” Sound familiar? Feel familiar?

I’m not a diversity recruiting strategy expert. I leave that to my friend, Torin Ellis. I do think I’ve got a bit of knowledge when it comes to overall recruiting, though.

When I break down the response I get from most leaders, regarding diversity recruitment I usually have one cringe, and one response. “Qualified?” What do you mean by that? I hear it as, you can find plenty of diverse folks interested in coming to work for you, but none of them, or few of them, are actually qualified to work for you. Is that how you read/hear that?

It makes me cringe a bit because what you’re actually saying is we don’t have a supply problem, we have a training and development problem, but you don’t even realize that. You could have your perfect diverse mix of employees if you just invested a bit in training and developing these great hired into great employees. But, you don’t see the value in that, which makes me think you probably don’t see the value in a diverse workforce, to begin with.

What I actually say to them is this, “You don’t have a diversity recruiting problem. You have a diversity pay problem because finding diverse “qualified” talent is easy. Finding ones that will accept your job, culture, location, and/or average to low pay is really hard!” 

Finding talent has never been easier in the history of humanity. We have more technology and tools than ever before. Finding is easy. Recruiting is hard..

Successful recruiting takes some skill. A success recruiter will find the “qualified” diverse talent you are looking for and then they’ll do a few things:

  • They’ll get them interested first. They will make them feel desired and wanted by the organization. By the hiring manager. By the team. Being Desired is a powerful drug!
  • Next, they’ll discover what that talent actually desires in their career. Quickly, efficiently, like a sniper.
  • Then they’ll make a determination: 1. Are we going to meet those desires. or 2. We won’t meet those desires.
  • One, you obviously move on to screening, assessing, etc. Two, and you move on to giving something back to this person. “I can’t help you right now, but I’ve taken notes and if I have anything that ever comes close to meeting what you need, I’m going to contact you back.” 99% of recruiters will never say that to a potential candidate.

Honestly, about 25% of the time when you tell someone “I can’t help you, but…” they’ll actually state a desire to keep going. You taking the potential away will make some reveal they actually have an interest. Doesn’t mean you will still move forward, but it’s a nice outcome.

I can easily find you “qualified” diversity talent. Don’t think so, call me. I can find anyone. The problem we’ll run into is that some of that talent is rare and will cost a premium to get. It’s a simple economic proposition, you can buy talent or build talent. They each have their costs and benefits. I find most organizations claim they want to hire diverse talent, but aren’t doing what it will take to make it happen.

4 Things You Can Do to Get Candidates to Open Your Emails!

I found some cool data that probably got overlooked a while back from CB Insights. Now, this data is from 2016, but it’s super relevant!

CB Insights did some testing with their own email newsletter that went out to 175K+. A very big sample and the reality is they have the exact same goal as we all do, Get Candidates to Open Our Email!

These 4 things work really well in getting people to open your email:

1. Brand Names. CB found that using a big brand name like Apple, Google, Nike, etc. in your subject line increases your odds greatly of getting someone to open your email. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Tim, how the heck am I going to use a brand name in my recruiting emails!?” How about something like, “3 Ways we are a better place to work than Apple!”

2. Short TitlesLess is more when it comes to attention-grabbing subject lines! I suggest under 5 words if possible. “Are we paying too much?” or “I’ve Got a Quick Question” or “Sackett” – Yep, in my own testing, the one email that gets open at a higher rate than any other is when I only put my last name in the subject line!

3. Negativity. This seems counter-intuitive. No way! People love positivity. You are right, but negativity draws them in! “How Candidates Fall on their Face!” will get opened way more than “How Candidates Succeed!” Again, in ten years of blogging and making headlines, this data also rings true. I get way more interaction on negative headlines than positive headlines.

4. Surprises. Different viewpoints that people don’t expect. “Punching Your Boss Can Get You a Raise!” or “Older Workers Have More Energy Than Millennials!” or “Hiring Dumb People!” Basically, people open these because they don’t agree with the headline. What the heck is Tim talking about today!?!

So, if all of these things work. What does CB Insights say doesn’t work, in fact, what should we stop doing with our subject lines? 

  • All of the opposites of above! Long headlines, positive headlines, boring, etc.
  • Question Headlines. “What 3 Things Are You Doing to Hurt Your Brand!” While Buzzfeed has made billions with these clickbait headlines, CB found readers are getting fatigued with these types of headlines. (I will tell you “The X Things to do…” headlines still work in my world. 5 Ways to Hire More People! Will always do well.
  • Broad topics do worse than Niche. A headline that says “5 Ways to Attract More Talent” will do worse than “5 Ways to Attract More Nurses Right Now!”

The key to great email subject lines is they get opened! If you send out a hundred emails to candidates and no one opens them, it doesn’t matter what the content is and how much time you spent making it perfect. Get Them To Open Your Emails! Is the single most important thing you should worry about first!

It’s very Recruiting 101, and it’s something almost every recruiting shop struggles with, but then we go and focus on the picture we’re using. Does it have a puppy and a kid in a wheelchair? No, stop the presses! Stop it. Fix the basics first, then worry about doing the higher level stuff.

What is your most responsive email subject line?

@LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting Survey says the #1 Skill for Recruiters in 2020 is… @LinkedInNews

I know you hate clickbait headlines, but they work, plus I know you want to know, so why give it away in the title! I mean I don’t get paid for my dashing looks and witty charm! Thank goodness!

LinkedIn launched its 2020 Future of Recruiting survey results today and it’s one of my favorite content pieces to comment on. Click through the link to download it for yourself, it’s packed with interesting data around talent acquisition and recruiting!

The #1 Skill for Recruiters in 2020 is…Adaptability!

Did you guess that? I didn’t. I think I could have probably could have had 50 guesses on not got that one. Here are the others:

Fastest growing skills for recruiters in 2020:

● Personal Development +44%

● Diversity & Inclusion +42%

● Talent Pipelining +37%

● Decision-Making +34%

● HR Strategy +30%

Okay, I can see personal development being high on the list, since 2020 has brought a lot of quality time working in remote settings and high unemployment numbers for recruiting pros, I think most people have been thinking about their personal and professional development.

I actually would have guessed D&I would have been #1. 2020 will be remembered for a few things – Covid, Social Justice, and the U.S. finally getting a sane person in the White House. So, from a talent acquisition perspective, I would have guessed diversity and inclusion recruiting to be the top priority.

HR Strategy actually makes zero sense to me! So, you’re in talent acquisition and your most needed skill is HR Strategy? Quite frankly, it makes you question the results overall. How could that be? Talent Pipelining? Yep! HR Strategy? Nope! But, it’s 2020, weird times.

Another big eye-opening stat from the report:

70% say Virtual Recruiting will become the new standard!

Okay, this one will take some explaining and background. First, what do you mean by “virtual recruiting”? So, for this data, that basically means, the process we have for recruiting can be done virtually. Sourcing, video interviewing, online assessments, etc., can all be done virtually, so I guess, yes, in that case, “virtual recruiting” is the new standard.

But, honestly, most of that stuff was already fairly standard.

I think the bigger aspect is Recruiters believing they’ll continue to be virtual/remote after Covid. I think Covid has shown organizations that in a pinch, yep, recruiting can be done virtually. But, every organization will have to truly decide is it better or the same as before, or possibly worse?

I’ve spoken to a number of F500 executives who aren’t super keen on remote recruiting because the relationships with hiring managers are worse, synergies amongst the TA team aren’t as robust, and brainstorming around testing and how to improve seem weaker in remote settings. Some of that can be improved, but it still comes down to leader perception.

We’ve been automating recruiting since the first Caveman needed a new assistant to track dinosaur migration patterns, so the fact that we’ll continue to automate and be able to recruit from anywhere in a mostly Saas environment should not be surprising to anyone.

Go download the new report. Some really good stuff around TA budgets and everyone’s favorite new topic, Internal Mobility, as well.