Manan Shah

Boolean search on google to source candidates from stack overflow is an extremely inefficient way of searching candidates. The google’s algorithm runs on incoming hyperlinks and thus it will automatically surface candidates that have links to their answers and where people spend more time. This is not necessarily the best way to unearth candidates. Here’s why.

Let’s say developer A is a real rockstar working on python and django framework. This means that s/he will probably have a lot of questions and answers on django and python that will be linked a lot. However, they might even have answered just one question on nodejs! So s/he is not the nodejs champion you are looking for. But when you write a boolean query, these users will get higher search rank compares to someone who has written a few nodejs answers but doesn’t rank so highly.

Thankfully, the awesome folks at stack overflow let users query their internal database in an SQL format that can give you specifically people who have written answers/asked questions for nodejs! However, SQL is not as easy as boolean and most of us recruiters and sources have been so obsessed with boolean(i hate it if you ask me!) that we have never even taken a second look at SQL based stack overflow database.

Boolean search ranks users based on their total inbound links(not a very good proxy for skill, or overall ranking) instead of the community points they have earned on a particular skill.

How to use SQL query to source candidates on stack overflow?

Head on over to SQL query generator for data.stackexchage,

Step 1: Create Location Filters

Enter Locations that you want to search these users for. Remember, that in stack overflow location is a free text field. So when you search Bay Area, also include places like San Francisco, San Jose, Silicon Valley etc etc. You can even put countries. By our estimate, there are close to 400,000 different locations in stack overflow! Besides, a lot of users have kept their location empty so there’s that to struggle with as well!

Step 2: Enter the skills you want in this candidate and skill level

Enter the languages these candidates have used. These languages are specific tags that are used to make questions and answers more organized. It is important to understand the format that stack overflow uses. Like nodejs will return results but inputs like node.js, node js etc won’t return any results. As you start typing, the page will automatically suggest the tags and these tags are the ones used by stack overflow. We strongly encourage you to not use any external search inputs that are not suggested by the page.

On the bottom of the input field, you will see an option to select badges. You can filter users by those who have earned a gold, silver or bronze medal in the particular language you are searching. If you leave it empty, it will search for all the users.

Gold badge: User must have a total score of 1000 in at least 200 non-community wiki answers to achieve this badge. A total of 7k gold badges are awarded to users. One user may have multiple gold badges.

Silver badge: User must have a total score of 400 in at least 80 non-community wiki answers to achieve this badge. A total of 22.6k silver badges have been awarded (at the time of writing this)

Bronze badge: User must have a total score of 100 in at least 20 non-community wiki answers to achieve this badge. A total of 116k bronze badges have been awarded (at the time of writing this)

So if you are looking for django developers who have the silver badge, just write django in skills filed and select silver in the “skill level”. It will give you the users in a selected location who have a silver level badge in Django!


Step 3: (optional) Select behaviour badges

This part is really optional. There are a bunch of badges that stack overflow awards its users based on their usage pattern. You can read all about the stages here.

Step 4: Head over to data.stackexchange

Once you have generated the query, click on the button at the bottom that says “Copy query and go to data.stackexchange”. You will be redirected to the following page.


Step 5: Run the query

Enter the query title and paste the copied SQL query in the large query input box. Once you have pasted the query there, click on Run Query box at the bottom. Based on the number of results, it might take a few seconds or maybe even a few minutes to get the results. You can also download results in a CSV.


Let us know how you have succeeded sourcing developers on stackoverflow and let us know in comments.

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October 30, 2017
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robot holding binary globe

I recently saw this tweet from Matt Charney

I am just too wary of the term “AI powered” and the illusion it has created. A whole bunch of products are calling themselves AI powered and doing the same old. I am not saying that everyone who claims to be AI powered are peddling the same old shit in a new package, it’s just that, a whole bunch of them are. The ones who are probably doing genuine work, don’t peddle magic. They know they are far from true AI and understand what it would take to get there.


How to figure out something is truly AI or not?

Peter Thiel said in an interview that “When people use the word science, it’s a tell, like in poker that they are bluffing.” I feel the same way about “AI-powered.” I hear a pitch that says we are going to solve/revolutionize an industry with AI — I turn my BS filter on. However, we are at a stage where we can solve some very specific and real problems with AI. Think AI-powered scheduling, or an AI-powered tool that can assist physicians in locating a tumor in a medical image. So the question is —

What exactly can AI do and what it can’t? (At least for now)

To find the answer to this question, we need a better understanding of what really AI is. There are two kinds of artificial intelligence. The first is artificial narrow intelligence, that can solve a well-defined problem and needs a whole lot of data of past experience to learn how to do that. All AI that we see today is weak AI or narrow AI at most. This means that with weak AI, we are pretty close to automating specific repetitive tasks that do not require heavy cognitive abilities.

On the other hand, there is the holy grail where we need to be to make humans obsolete – artificial general intelligence – where machines have a consciousness and sentience. We are still quite far away from this.

What does this mean for all of us in recruitment and TA?

This seems to be a burning question — “Would we still have our jobs or would we be obsolete?”. I wish there was a simple answer but like most things in the world, there isn’t any.

Before I proceed any further I want to state that I am no expert in AI. Also, most things I would say here about AI will probably stay valid for next five years but definitely not beyond that. Most predictions are wrong(don’t’ believe me? See what McKinsey had to say about mobile technology) in the long run but we can see what’s right ahead of us in the short term.

With these caveats let’s see if AI is going to replace recruiters and talent acquisition specialists. The answer is both yes and no. AI will definitely take over the most mundane and repetitive parts of our job like Scheduling or maybe even application screening. But is that all a recruiter does?

What exactly is a recruiter’s job?

If you spend more than 50% of your time posting your openings to the plethora of job boards, gathering applicants and manage the recruitment process (i.e. — scheduling and coordinating interviews), I’ve got bad news for you. Your job will be taken over by machines — for the most parts. Matt raised his hand because he understands what exactly is the job?

  1. Understand the role: A recruiter first needs to understand the role in the context of the organization and the culture. Build a brand and act as the first gatekeeper of who comes in for the interviews with the team. Your true measure of success is not the no. of candidates interviewed but your interview to hire ratio!
  2. Be a friend of the candidate: This is what sets great recruiters and great sales reps apart from each other. This was suggested to me by my good friend and earliest users of Recruiterflow — Mawulom. Your job is to build a relationship with the candidate and be the friend they need in their careers transition. Allay their apprehensions and fears of a new environment and make sure that they understand that it’s a great move for them.
  3. Negotiate the interview process: It goes without saying but managing an interview process is not about scheduling and pushing everyone to come to a decision. It is about managing expectations of the hiring team and making sure that the implicit biases don’t come in the way of hiring a great candidate. It is about making sure that you don’t miss out on stallions searching for the elusive unicorns. Viriginia at Spotify recently drove this point home in a brilliantly done blog post and so did John from recruitingdaily.

These three are the jobs that require general intelligence. We face these situations every day and they pose a different challenge every day that can’t be tackled by the most sophisticated AI we can see today. This is the JOB and that’s why someone like Matt, didn’t put his hand up getting tired of all the BS that is peddled in the name of AI.

<end of rant>


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October 24, 2017
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Good folks at Financesonline have awarded recruiterflow the Rising Star and Great User Experience Award for 2017.  They must be pretty smart to see this so early!





Joking aside, this is a major achievement for us. HR and recruitment software experts at financesonline have  pegged recruiterflow as one of the top software for recruitment and ATS software.

Our unique approach to applicant tracking and sourcing solutions that make it really easy for recruiters to attract and engage top talent. Recruiterflow’s ability to sync with email communication, giving all hiring team members access to such important emails caught everyone’s attention in the expert panel. But most of all, the experts have deemed the solution’s user-friendly interface as a key feature, enriching candidate experience by customizing all hiring processes. These and more have led FinancesOnline to honor us with its 2017 Rising Star and Great User Award for best HR management software.

But it doesn’t end here the prestigious B2B directory has also bestowed on the product the honor of including it on its list of best HR software. This only confirms what we knew all along, that Recruiterflow’s unique design and ease of use would truly make an impression on experts and users alike. To make matters even better, their team of experts distinguished Recruiterflow as one of the top performers in their HR management software category. Readers relying on expert advice to make the best software deals already know these awards are reserved exclusively for systems that automate core operations but don’t require deep IT knowledge; and such that are adopted and appreciated by users really fast.

They were impressed with recruiterflow’s ability to engage candidates and sourcing features. Our recently released campaigns feature has powered sourcing for customers and have outperformed traditional email campaigns by 50%! BTW, have you tried our drip campaigns for recruitment yet?



Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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September 7, 2017
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Recruitment drip marketing isn’t just the latest buzz term, but a lot of savvy sourcers and recruiters have woken up to its potential. They’re taking a page from the sales reps playbook and using it with some astounding results.

What Drip Marketing Is

A drip campaign is a series of touch points (usually email) delivered automatically to a highly targeted prospect at predefined intervals. It is the weapon of choice in the war for talent.

As recruiters we’ve been using blast email campaigns way too long now. Why should your cold-blast email be a worthy of a response? Such email blasts are not only useless, they also punish your employer brand. Candidate expectations have changed, and our methods to attract them need to change with the times.

Imagine how much better would it be if you could send super-personalized emails to your star prospects right in their primary inbox. Bid adieu to this archaic, age-old process of email blasts and take a more human approach to it. You don’t need to “cast a wider net” and get more and more applicants. What you need is a process that achieves human touch at scale.

When you are reaching out to more than 10 people in a day, balance scale with personalization. Super personalize the first email outreach and then let machine take over rest of the touch points.

Unlike the other kinds of recruitment email campaigns, the only metric of success in a drip campaign is that of replies. Getting a reply means you need to be compelling enough for the prospect to take the effort out to type out a response and hit the send button.

How to Write a Compelling First Email Touchpoint That Prospects Might Reply to

Your communication needs to be aligned with your employer brand, but here’s a no-nonsense way to go about it. There are three parts to crafting your first touchpoint email.


This is all that the recipient will see before they open the mail and make a split-second decision whether to open it or not. You get only a few words to make an impression. The Gmail iOS app shows only the first 36 characters of subject. Make them count! A great subject line is half the work. Most people I have interacted with write subject lines as an afterthought — there couldn’t be a bigger mistake. You don’t want to write an epic like Lord of the Rings and name it “A tale of hobbits, men and elves.”

In my personal experience, mentioning the recipient’s name in the subject line, mentioning a recent blog they wrote, or an award they won, delivers really high open rates. Generic subject lines like “We’ve got an opportunity” or “Openings at Acme Inc” have abysmally low open rates.

The Connection

The second part of an email is establishing a connection. This is the first thing the recipient will read after they have read the subject line. Keep them engaged. If you had mentioned their blog post in the subject, continue with a comment on that or just compliment them on their post.

This is the point where a recipient will decide whether they want to reply to the email or not. Humans tend to remember the beginning and end of the emails much better than the parts in the middle. How you open a conversation plays a big role in your conversion rates. In an experiment, a group was given 20 words to read and had to recall them afterwards. The experiment concluded that people could recall words in the beginning and end really well but not so much for the words in the middle.

Ask them something

Now that you have established a connection, you ask them something. Be upfront and clear in your message. If you already have an open position for the candidate, just tell them. Be precise about the position and what would it entail. Ask for their time over the next 2-3 days (create a sense of urgency) and close.

How to Personalize the First Email Touchpoint

I remember when an email could mail merge the recipient’s name and organization. It used to be called personalized email (this just made me realize how old I am!). However, now that this kind of personalization is ubiquitous, people feel they are spammy and they expect more. So what are the best way to personalize an email?

Find something in common

Familiarity breeds trust. Our brains are hardwired to treat familiarity with a favorable disposition. For example, if you see a person is a football fan, mentioning your favorite team or player can go a long way. To find common interests, look at your prospect’s interests, hobbies, alma mater, of even the kind of memes they love.

Another way is to find a mutual connection. This has worked really well for me. Check out this brilliant message sent to a prospect by a Google recruiter.  Your prospect is leaving their footprints everywhere on social media. All you gotta do is find it and use it!

Compliment them sincerely

Has your prospect recently won an award, got a promotion, or their company has achieved a major milestone? Congratulate them. Flattery preempts our brains to look at the message more favorably. Compliments warm up a cold outreach! Don’t be superficial in your praise. Be earnest and genuinely interested in their lives.

Talk about their work

It is quite possible that you found someone through Github, Medium, or even just a tweet. Mention this. Say how you found it interesting and comment on it. If possible, comment in a way that elicits a response. Raising a question is a great way to do that.

Here’s what a great first personalized email might look like. It’s better to keep experimenting on it and find the way that works best for you.

Strategy for Subsequent Touch Points

If the first email did not get you a great response despite of your carefully crafted super personalized email, don’t lose heart. It’s always the second and the third touchpoint that generates best conversions. These emails make sure that you stayed on top of recipient’s mind. Two things to note

  • It is better to send the subsequent touch points in the same thread as the first one. It helps you maintain the context.
  • In the interest of time and scale, it is not necessary to super personalize subsequent touch points. You can send these emails completely automated.

For the second touchpoint, pick up where you left. Politely say you don’t know if “you missed the earlier email.” Reaffirm your value proposition with a blog post or even a Dribbble page that was a result of some exceptional work done by your team. See example.


In the third touchpoint, if possible involve the hiring manager or a senior member of the team. If the prospect hasn’t replied to both the emails, but opened and read both of them, s/he just needs a little bit of a push to get over the edge. Sending an email from the hiring manager is a great way to do this. The hiring manager can explain a bit more about the role and challenges to get them excited about the role!

The hiring manager and the prospect are people in the same trade and can form an instant connection. The email instills confidence in the prospect’s mind that you really want to talk to them. It’s hard to say no to that.

The final outreach is where you keep the door open for a future conversation while still trying to get a response. Keep it professional but also make sure that candidate feels like you are really interested in them and want to talk to them.

Dos and Don’ts

Drip marketing is fairly easy to understand and execute. However, for the uninitiated to get started quickly, I’ve put together a list of basic dos and don’ts. It’s primarily distilled from my own experience and experience of others that I have worked with.


  • Keep the subject line short, especially since most email are now read on mobile devices and only 36 characters are visible on gmail iOS app
  • Always think from the recipient’s perspective. Much easier said than done!
  • Use the prospect’s name at least twice. Preferably, once in the subject line.
  • Be brief. Everybody hates long emails. My advice: Keep it shorter than 100 words.
  • Be sincere and sound like a human who has a genuine interest in them
  • Double check on the content and see if the mail merge has properly filled out the data
  • Space out your touch points based on how warm or cold the prospect is. A general best practice is to wait for 3-4 days before sending a follow up email.
  • Put in a strong call to action.
  • Generally most replies come with the second and third mail. Keep the email chain short. We have seen great results with four or five emails.
  • Determine a strategy on how you will balance scale with personalization.
  • Write all the email is one session. Best way to make sure that they have a tone of continuity.


  • Don’t think that mentioning a name and organization means you have personalized outreach
  • Don’t overdo it. Overdoing can be really hurtful to your brand. Your campaign should not involve more than 10 touch points for sure.
  • Don’t neglect to give enough information for recipients to decide.
  • Don’t go solo. Involve your team in this. Ask hiring managers.
  • In the zeal to personalize, don’t use the prospect’s name more than four times. That just makes it awkward.
  • Don’t think you deserve a response just because you spent so much time finding out about them. It’s a tough trade!
  • Don’t go overboard with praising the candidate and their fit in your team. Remember, you might end up saying no to this candidate. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

This article was originally written for ERE media.

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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September 6, 2017
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recruitment drip email campaigns

At the heart of recruiterflow, it’s the philosophy that a recruiter’s job has changed. Whether you are an agency recruiter or a corporate recruiter, your ability to search for passive candidates and build relationships with them is critical to your success.

Today, we are announcing the release of two kickass features that can make you a sourcing superhero.

  1. Chrome extension: Recruiterflow chrome extension can find anyone’s email id, in most cases a personal email id. We have aggregated a huge swathe of about 900 million social profiles and mapped them to their email ids. This, as far as we know, is one of the most comprehensive data set geared towards helping recruiters find data about people. We can find almost anyone’s personal email id, work history, and skills and give you a structured format to build your talent pipelines and go after the stars that your team needs. Currently, the chrome plugin is only compatible with LinkedIn but we will soon integrate it with communities like GitHub, StackOverflow, Behance, and Dribbble next.
  2. Drip Campaigns: Nothing, yes, absolutely nothing can work as well as drip campaigns do for your email reachout conversions. In the private beta, some of our clients were able to get 50% better conversions(!) moving from blast email to drip campaigns.

Meanwhile, we have also put together a guide to drip marketing for recruiters incase you were looking for something to get started.

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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August 31, 2017
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The purpose of your cold email to get read and responded. If you are not able to write effective emails that gets candidates to respond to you, all your efforts prospecting, endlessly browsing through github and linkedin and using a myriad of chrome extensions to find their emails, is just waste.
Sorry for being so blunt. If you want to succeed as a sourcer and recruiter with your outbound efforts, you need to start thinking like a sales rep and start thinking from your candidate’s perspective.
While it is hard to figure all of this out from scratch, there are a few proven scientific methods that can help you multiple your candidate email outreach conversions. Thank god for that!

Craft each sentence to get the next one read and registered

Goes without saying. Compose your email always assuming the worst — The candidate is not interested. That’s your starting point and start writing from there. Majorly, any cold recruiting email will have three ingredients. The subject, the connect and the ask. The best way is to treat each of them separately and conduct experiments on their combinations to find what works best.

It is your job to convert that no to a maybe and a maybe to a yes


Build familiarity

Our brains are designed to take a split second decision between fight or flight.  Evolution has trained us to see anything out of order immediately, assess it quickly and make a decision whether it’s harmful or not. You can leverage this simple psychological fact and alleviate your recipient’s brain to assess whether this is familiar or not. There are multiple ways to bring familiarity. Talk to them about their work, about a mutual connection you have. More tips on writing recruitment emails that get opens over here.

Bring a smile to their face (Be funny or compliment them sincerely)

Nothing gives your email a sunnier disposition than the smile that you can bring to your recipient. All of us are just too tired of emails and we can actually use a breather of something new and fresh that arrives in our mailbox. There are a couple of ways to do this.

  • Compliment them- Mention their work. Nothing builds familiarity like this. When you know someone is aware of what you do and what you stand for, you are much more likely to look at them with a sunnier disposition.
  • If you don’ know enough about them, just bring in a joke. Don’t try too hard. Just imagine meeting this person at a casual party and you are trying to introduce yourself to them. You would be surprised how many people will take the time out to respond to you just because you made them smile in the middle of a busy day.

Don’t ask them to make a big decision.

Whether to go through a gruelling exhasting process of an interview or not, is a big decision. Especially for the passive candidate who is doing great where they are and isn’t really looking for a change. Askig them whether they are interested in the position or not, is just going to make it harder. Instead ask them if they are open to a call – a much much easier decision to make and thus more likely to come as a Yes.

Be persistent

Sometimes you don’t get replies to brilliantly crafted email just because it arrived and got read at a bad time. Write a follow-up email. If even that email doesn’t get a response, get the hiring manager to write a follow-up email. The best way to go about it is to use Recruiterflow’s drip email campaigns to automate the entire process.

Create FOMO

FOMO stands for “Fear of Missing Out”. Make the candidate realize that by ignoring your email, they might be missing out on next big thing or the amazing team they can work with or the perfect next move for their career. Use your experience with people to figure out what that could be for the candidate. If you can, highlight how some of the top performers are flourishing at your company or the amazing things your team has been doing overcoming great challenges. Highlight what’s in it for them- It’s a teaser for what’s to come. It might be solving a big challenge or just being a part of a company that is a rocket ship they don’t want to miss.

Here’s a cool template we prepared to help you get started. Get recruitment email templates that get replies.


Cold email – Connect with praise

Template 1: Connect with a sales person

Subject: Hey Katie, loved – “GIFs and art of visuals to get better email conversions”

Hey Seth,

Recently stumbled on your blog about creating engaging sales emails with GIFs and visual elements to get better responses. Have to say – absolutely loved it. I have been using GIFs(cause who doesn’t love them) in my emails and getting incredible results. Your efforts must have led to tremedous results at {{candidate_company_name}}.

I lead recruitment at {{your_company_name}}. We think you’ve got a way of doing sales that can sway a maybe to a Yes! We are building a sales team of people like you – not afraid to experiment and deliver results. Would you be interested in a 15 min chat this week?




Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
Get Started for Free.

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August 29, 2017
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Cold email outreach can be scary at best and a complete waste of time at worst. However, there are ways to warm up that cold outreach and crush it on your conversion rates. Following our last blog post about how to personalize cold outreach emails, some of you asked us to shell out a few examples that can really help them create their next great campaign! So we create 6 awesome cold email templates for recruiters. 


Cold email – Connect with praise

Template 1: Connect with a sales person

Subject: Hey Katie, loved – “GIFs and art of visuals to get better email conversions”

Hey Seth,

Recently stumbled on your blog about creating engaging sales emails with GIFs and visual elements to get better responses. Have to say – absolutely loved it. I have been using GIFs(cause who doesn’t love them) in my emails and getting incredible results. Your efforts must have led to tremedous results at {{candidate_company_name}}.

I lead recruitment at {{your_company_name}}. We think you’ve got a way of doing sales that can sway a maybe to a Yes! We are building a sales team of people like you – not afraid to experiment and deliver results. Would you be interested in a 15 min chat this week?





Template 2: Connect with an engineer

Subject: Skiing Pros needed

Hi Anna,

Just saw your instagram videos of your last skiing trip. I am quite impressed with your skiing skills! How long have you been skiing? I have taken it up last year and can’t wait to glide over the snow the way you do.

I lead recruitment efforts at {{your_company_name}} and we have a fledgling skiing club that really needs a pro skier like you. Also, our engineering team is looking for a new lead for the front end team.

Would you be interested in a brief call to chat about skiing and the role sometime this week?




Template 3: Connect with a designer

Subject: Yoga and design

Hey Aniket,

Came across your medium post about how yoga and meditation has helped you in your creative process. I am thoroughly impressed with your commitment to design and your out of the box thought process. Your work at {{current_company_name}} is really impressive.

I lead recruitment at {{your_company_name}}. We are building out our design team and we are looking for someone to lead it. Would you be interested in having a brief chat about it sometime this week?



P.S. – Hope you had a great trip to India. Would love to understand more about Yoga and your experience around it!


Cold email – Find a connection

Template 4: Connect with a data scientist

Subject: Introduction from Matt

Hey Takada,

I recently met with our mutual friend Matt. While discussing about great data science talent, Matt couldn’t have recommended you more enthusiastically.

Matt is not someone who gets impressed easily! After the conversation I checked your profile online and it looks like you are a perfect fit to lead our data sciences team.

I lead recruitment at {{your_company_name}}. Your experience leading data sciences at Lambda Inc is really interesting and I would love to see if you will be open to discussing a role with us.

Can we jump on a brief call for 15 mins sometime this week?



P.S. – Our data science team recently published a way we optimised travelling salesman problem. I think this would interest you!


Template 5: Connect with a designerHey Srinivas,

Based on your twitter feed, I gathered you are a Christiano Ronaldo fan – prompting me to reach out to you here.

What would Ronaldo be if he didn’t have the support of kick ass midfield formation of Isco and Casemiro!

I went through your profile and some of the work you have put up on dribbble and told myself if design had its Christiano, that would be you. I know you have been only 6 months at {{current_company_name}} and this might be a wrong time to reach out to you, but I decided I will take that chance.

We are looking for someone to lead our design team. Would you be open to having a brief chat about this?



P.S. – I am a Bayern Munich fan myself. We do regular screenings of champion’s league match at our office. Maybe you would like to join us at next Real Madrid match?


Template 6: Connect with a designer

Hey Arnold,

I stumbled across your dribbble profile last month and have been meaning to reach out to you. I understand it’s been just 3 months since you have joined {{candidate_current_company}} but now it’s 4 months! This changes everything(not really, but I did get tired of waiting).

I lead recruitment at {{your_company_name}}. We are looking for an exceptional UX designer with a knack for developing amazing mobile experiences. Your dribbble profile looked like you are the man for the job!

Would it be possible to get on a quick call to discuss this? I understand this might be a really bad time for this but I thought I would give it a go.




In recruitment, persistence pays. It is almost never enough to send just one email to the candidate and wait for the responses, you most certainly are leaving the money at the table. You have taken the time out to craft the perfect message for the perfect candidate, follow it up with drip campaigns and double your conversion rates. Read how to execute drip email campaigns for recruiters.

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
Get Started for Free.

Learn More about Recruiterflow

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August 24, 2017
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great candidates

The ideal candidate — sorry, let me rephrase that, the “perfect candidate” is like a unicorn. They are extremely elusive, if not completely imaginary. You have heard about them in meetings with the hiring managers and read about them in your candidate persona documents but probably haven’t seen them. Now I am not saying they don’t exist, they probably do but they are extremely hard to spot.

I have seen lots of friends making the mistake of passing on the best breed stallions in search of the unicorn and only realizing the folly later. The stallion who once starts looking for a move in their careers don’t stick around too long and you most definitely will end up losing them. Now you are a bit desperate. The position has been open for quite long and its going to reflect poorly on you and your hiring manager. So you mutually agree to lower your hiring bar and end up hiring a suboptimal candidate, let’s call that candidate “the pony”.

Does the narrative ring a bell? If only I had a penny every time I went through this myself. This is a systemic problem that plagues so many founders and recruiters we work with. The fundamental problem is the one where all of us are greedy to do better without realizing what actually is better in the longer run. If you are going through this same cycle again and again, here are a few practices that would help.

Know the why?

The purpose of the entire recruitment process is not to find the best candidate out there, it is to get a great candidate for the job at hand. Make sure that your hiring manager and senior executive team is in sync with this. It doesn’t necessarily mean lowering your hiring bar. What it does necessarily mean is to move fast when you find a great candidate who can do the job well.

Structured Interview Process

Interviews are not very good leading indicators for the candidate’s success at the job. This has been established again and again, including google! Communicate this very clearly with your hiring manager and interviewers. I am not saying that interviews don’t serve a purpose in the recruitment process. They are probably the most important part of the recruitment process. It is essential that the candidate gets to meet your team and people sit down with each other and determine if the person can be effective at their jobs and if they will be able to contribute positively to your culture.

Just do away with brain teasers during interviews

I think its about time I lay out one of the most ineffective and annoying interview practice. Asking brain twisters in interviews, especially engineering interviews. Let’s be real here. Even google, (in)famous for its tough puzzles asked during the interviews acknowledged that brain twisters are pretty much useless and did away with them. DHH, founder of Basecamp and creator of Ruby on rails recently created quite a stir by tweeting this. It generated more than 7000 responses from developers denouncing some interview practices.  Can we just be done with this utter waste of everyone’s time already?


Most interviews are like an arranged mating dance ritual. These are the worst interviews you can be part of. They don’t have any material impact on informing your decision about a candidate. Interviewing is a fairly stressful exercise for the candidates. The candidate wants to be seen at his/her best and knows that interviewer is there to judge them. Every move they make and every word they utter is going to be judged.

So what should you do the stop this from happening? Nudge your interviewer towards having a “conversation” with the candidate and ease the candidate into the flow of the conversation. Write down detailed interview instructions. Inform your interviewers about what they are supposed to measure and what would be the best way to do that. Email these instructions to the interviewer 24 hours in advance so that they have sufficient time to prepare for it.

Missing out on a stallion while you search for the elusive unicorn will have a severe cost on your business. Speed up and hire your stallion before anyone else does.

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August 16, 2017
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Interviews are useless

In the mid 50s, when Israel was still an infant state, a 21 year old bright student of psychology was assigned to set up an interview system for the entire army! The student, unknowingly opened doors for other researchers to find the most effective way of interviewing and making interviews a leading indicator of candidate’s success. The young student was Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and the method is the structured interview process.


The simple goal of the interview process was to assign each candidate a score on general fitness for combat and to find the best match of his personality among various branches. The problem was that interview scores showed almost no correlation with the future success of the soldier and this is what he had to solve! Being a follower of Paul Meehl, Kahneman believed that simple linear statistical rules are more accurate than human “intuition”. He went ahead and tested it. The interviewers were supposed to rate the candidates in several independent personality traits and score each separately. The final score would be computed using a standard linear equation. Kahneman faced a lot of push back on this, taking the human element out of interview process. Kahneman finally conceded that at the end of the interview, interviewers could “close their eyes, try to imagine the recruit as a soldier, and assign a score from 1 to 5”.

A few hundred interviews later, the correlation between interview performance and performance as a soldier improved significantly from “completely useless” to “moderately useful.”

Kahneman inadvertently opened the door to a large body of research and paved the way for actually figuring out how to make interviews leading indicators of candidate’s success on the job. What’s worse is, as we later found out that interviews actually end up compromising the recruitment process, undermining the more useful methods of assessing candidates.

What’s wrong with the way we do interviews?

Quite predictably, interviews are the worst predictors of success on the job. Most interviews are completely useless and has been documented and validated by research multiple times. However, interviews serve a very critical filter. That of human interaction. The decision of hire or no hire is too critical to be left to algorithms(atleast for now) and they are an important cultural fit filter.

Evaluating someone in a 60 minute interview is an impossible task. So, interviewers when asked “Do you think this candidate is fit for the job?” replace the questions with “How much do I like this candidate?”. It’s a fairly normal psychological process where our brains substitute a hard question with an easier one and answer that one.

We are also naturally biased to see “likeness”. Interviewers end up preferring people who are “like” them. This is hugely problematic for everyone. Instead of creating a diverse and best at their job team, you end up building a team of homogeneous people “alike one another”.

The most reliable predictors of success

Past performance and the candidate’s score on a take home test or a trial project are the best predictors of candidate’s success at the job. Both of these evaluations don’t involve much human “intuition” to come in the picture.

Human judgment, while weak, is not completely useless. It is probably the most critical filter where you find the candidate’s cultural fit and answer “whether is this the kind of person who can fit well in the team or not.”

Your recruitment process is as good as the worst interviewer you have. So you need a nudge for the interviewers to think objectively and become better interviewers. Structured interview is a process to nudge interviewers towards taking more objective decisions and probably the best way we have found to eliminate the substitution of a hard question by an easy one.

How to do structured interviews?

  1. Define the traits you want in the candidate: Create independent traits that are essential to a candidate’s success at the job. It is important that these traits are as independent of each other as possible. Let’s say you are hiring a product manager. You are probably looking for, a person who is “detail oriented”, “analytical”, “has an eye for design and aesthetics”, “good with people”, “a great communicator”.  Ideally, you should limit the list of traits to 5 or 6 independent traits.
  2. How to measure:  Figure out how you are going to analyze each of these traits. Create a bunch of questions to figure out each trait and what answer should be rated 5 versus what answer should be rated 3. Decide on the what’s the score a candidate needs to get in order to get the job. Minimum threshold to clear for each trait and the minimum overall score to get the job done well.
  3. Interviewer instructions: Write detailed instructions about these traits and questions for the interviewers. Stick to the pre decided order of questions. Make sure that interviewers take detailed notes in the interview.
  4. Getting feedback: As a policy make sure that interviewers submit the feedback within 24 hours of the interview. Interviewers will not remember the things discussed in the interview after a day. If they submit the interview feedback later, we get back to the same problem of our brains substituting a hard question with an easier one.
  5. Move fast: Before Once a candidate exceeds your expectation of what would it take to do the job, extend the offer. This might even be the first candidate you interview, don’t wait around to find a “better match”.

In the age of data, it is surprising how little data we have generated around recruitment. The dearth of data does not allow leaders to accurately measure what’s working and what’s not working with recruitment and you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Structured interview is your first step towards bringing measurement to the otherwise black box of the interview process and make your recruitment process data driven.

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August 2, 2017
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Launching New Features

We have had a great ride since we launched in beta last month. We came  out of beta last week and have onboarded fantastic customers and partners. In a month’s time, we empower 30 organisations to super charge their hiring. 

We have seen a great uptick in the usage in last 1 month and we are really encouraged to march ahead with our mission of creating a better way to recruit and enabling recruiters to hire their next 100x candidate. We think this would be a good time  to tell you a few things about what’s new with recruiterflow. We have quashed some major bugs (think giant creepy spiders) in the product and constantly improving user experience.


Track email opens

One of the biggest problems with emails is that you just don’t know what happened after you hit the send button. You are completely in the dark while the life of email unveils itself! If the prospect has opened the email and clicked on the link, it is probably safe to assume that your email appealed to them but just not enough to push them over the ledge to reply, an email with a message to just push them to the edge is better! With recruiterflow, now you can track emails automatically! No extra effort required. We have seen most of our users using tools like mailtrack to do this, but it would be so much better if that information was there right where you are mailing most of the candidates.


Better way to create interview plan

We got feedback from users that it was confusing to setup stages and interviews and had a bit of learning curve. The new and improved design makes it super intuitive to create an interview plan and follow a structured interview process.


Email alerts for applicants

Now, all the applicants who apply via careers page will get an automated email with a message that you can decide. The feature is under testing and will be released soon.


Integration with job boards

We have integrated with Indeed and Naukri. Now you will be able to post a job through recruiterflow to both these job boards and all the applicants will come directly to the dashboard!


Live chat support

We wanted to get closer and listen to you better. We have now integrated a live chat support. All you need to is not just ping us and we will get back to you immediately.


Manage tags effectively:

We saw that tags are a bit confusing affairs for multi people teams. So we have created a dedicated tags management system that will allow you to create a master list of tags and manage tags by changing them or merging them.


What’s next!

Drip campaigns

Insanely powerful way to reach out to prospects. You should be able to run super personalised drip campaigns on candidates you source or who are already there in your candidate pool. The campaign recipient list can be dynamically updated. That means you can create a campaign and start sourcing candidates. The system will take care of the rest.

Richer data for social recruitment

We are working on something really fantastic. With our chrome plugin, you should be able to import entire candidate profile including details like “skills, education, work experience” and find anyone’s personal email id. With one more click, you should be able to add them to a drip email campaigns. If you wish, and we really encourage you to, you can persoanlise the first email outreach and let us take care of the rest.


Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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July 26, 2017
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