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Scaling yourself – Introducing the Khonvo extension

The agency recruiting life isn’t the most glamorous one, living in a constant state of servitude to the client, the candidate, and the nebulous interviewing process. Yet we clock in every day because we love it. The thrill of the chase, the excitement felt after a riveting candidate conversation where you know you have a perfect job for them, the joy of landing a big client, and the satisfaction felt when both sides are genuinely appreciative of all the hard work after a key hire has been made. Also, the commission checks don’t suck… 

The old business adage states that relationships are the most important thing in the recruiting world, meaning a recruiter is only as good as the amount of quality relationships they can generate. Having sat in almost every seat in the recruiting world, I realized that two common themes determined success: time allocation and scaling myself. 

Introducing the Khonvo extension. Built for recruiters by recruiters to build quality relationships at scale. The Khonvo extension will help automate outreach, test subject lines and messaging, and give you insights into what is converting and what isn’t. 

More to come…

When to kill a requisition

Archit, my cofounder, and I often discuss how to create efficiencies throughout Khonvo. Most notably on the operationally intensive aspects: sourcing / screening / scheduling / checking-in / etc. One of the hardest decisions we have to make, is when to kill a req. At Khonvo we define recruiter risk as a function of time. If a recruiter is working on a req that isn’t moving for one reason or another, this means they are spending time away from a profitable req. 

So how soon can you tell when a search is going to be a dead end or not? It’s not going to be obvious initially but after a while, you can start to see patterns. At Khonvo, we make it a point to “show our work” meaning we will detail out our metrics associated with each search for each client. As we share messaging and metrics, often times the client recommends a couple changes and we test it again. Sometimes the client may change the job order to generate more candidate flow. If after a couple more campaigns, we’re not seeing the conversion we expect, we kill the req. As the old adage goes: insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. 

Now of course you run the risk of pissing off a client by effectively telling them you aren’t going to work on their reqs, but it is far better to be upfront and say “hey, here’s the data, unfortunately we aren’t going to actively prioritize this search” than it is to slowly wither away and disappear into the staffing quagmire. The latter tarnishes your reputation whereas the former allows you to still submit candidates who you believe may be a fit should you come across them in another search. 

TL;DR ->  Spend your time on profitable reqs.

From initial email to call -> automate what you can.

One thing that separates wildly profitable recruiters from decent recruiters is their ability to make the most out of every minute they are ‘on the desk’. There are many points in the day where recruiters can still get bogged down with manual work. It may come in the form of hopping on check-in calls, transcribing notes, updating the ATS, and a laundry list of other things that take time away from client/candidate development. 

The beauty of recruiting in 2019 is that there are a litany of tools (many free!) to ensure you’re not wasting time on things like scheduling. I’ve personally tested out Doodle / Calendly / Meetingbird and decided that Calendly’s super lightweight ease of use was perfect for what I needed. Testing out campaigns where you enter the scheduling link in the initial message to the candidate vs. only when they respond was an eye opening experience. My assumption was that no one would want to immediately schedule a call off a cold email/Inmail, but boy was I ever wrong.

By reducing friction to a conversation, you are fundamentally improving your likelihood of a successful placement. And that my friends, is what we’re here for!

How to get started with A/B Testing in Recruitment

As the world of recruitment and marketing slowly converge, there’s a couple key learnings for recruiters. Marketers A/B test EVERYTHING. If you’ve never heard of A/B testing, it’s basically  an experiment where two or more variants of a page/email/button are shown to users at random, and statistical analysis is used to understand which one of the variations perform better from a conversion standpoint. A fun story about A/B testing at scale is when Marissa Mayer, during her time at Google ran a test on 40 different shades of blue that would be randomly shown to each 2.5% of visitors. Google would then note which color received the most clicks. Now the color you see in Google Mail and on the Google page is a direct result of this test. 

How can we take advantage of this in recruiting? Well for any list of candidates (ideally ~100) you have sourced and plan to contact for a given job order, just split the list into two campaigns. For this use case let’s just A/B test the subject line. This means that the first list of candidates will receive one subject line and the second will receive a different one. When I’m A/B testing subject lines, I usually make one that I think is funny (though no one has ever said “hey man, hilarious subject line!” so might need to work on these), and one that I deem ‘professional’. Craft 2 identical campaigns with only the subject line being different and send away! 

After the campaigns have run, you can start to decipher which subject line is garnering more open rates. Once you feel like you have enough statistical inference, your next entire campaign should only have the highest conversion subject line a part of it.

Higher Open Rates = More Placements

You making it rain after all those hires

Open rates are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a recruiter in the information age. The equation is pretty simple: the more candidates who open your email, the more they read the content, the higher the probability they will respond.

By building sourcing lists, uploading them into a campaign, crafting a captivating subject line, and tracking open rates, you will begin to see patterns develop. Perhaps the funny one liner subject line garnered a 2x open rate vs. the standard “Great opportunity with Hot Startup” that too many recruiters still use. This data alone can guide how you develop your next campaign. 

Again, as a recruiter you need to have the top of funnel filled to ensure conversion and hit those lofty hiring goals. By understanding what causes higher opens and responses, you can optimize your outreach and scale yourself to chat with more candidates in a shorter amount of time. 

Automate email campaigns to increase productivity

Recruiters each have specific processes as soon as we get a job order. After doing a req qualification and kickoff, we hit the database and build a list for sourcing. If we don’t have enough of a signal in our own database, we scour the earth (aka LinkedIn) for enough of a sourcing list to feel confident there’s a hire in there somewhere. After the list is built, you craft messaging you hope is on-brand with the client for which you’re recruiting. Once the messaging is completed and you’re able to find all the emails/contact information, you’re ready to send out your initial reach-outs. Often times we feel really good after we hit send on those initial 25 candidate emails only to feel hopeless after 4 people responded and only one is kind of interested in chatting. “My message was good” “They are PERFECT for this role!” “Back to the drawing board” are all things I’ve muttered after my initial batch yielded nothing. 

At the end of the day, recruiters are only as good as their pipelines. How can we reach more candidates in a programmatic way? By automating email outreach of course! At Khonvo, conversions (khonversions?) are the most important data point we track. This is to ensure we are spending the right time on the right activities. If you’re understanding what subject lines and messaging are garnering more opens and responses, you’ll know how likely you are to make a placement. We built our email campaign automation tool so others can start to gain insights and be more data driven in their approach to recruitment. 

The next post will revolve around the importance of open rates….