Find hidden developers
Sorry about the clickbaity headline but now that you are here, riddle me this.
Did you know that there is StackOverflow is a truly open source platform where you can query their database in SQL format and get an output of all the developers who contribute to StackOverflow?
Developers are notoriously difficult to hire. I tell my friends – “If you search hard enough, you will find god but not a great developer”. Jokes aside, the pain with hiring amazing developers is that some of them can’t be found at all the usual places. Least of all LinkedIn.  The usual recruiting playbook doesn’t work very well with this community. They have an aversion to job boards and reaching out to them on LinkedIn generally doesn’t really work very well.
One way we find developers is building boolean searches on google and going through specific sites like GitHub and StackOverflow. It takes hours and has a really low signal to noise ratio.  However, there is a better way to search stack overflow than building boolean queries. You can generate SQL queries to query For example, let’s say you are hiring developers who have experience with python in Bay Area, you get about 135 top notch developers. Going too wide, let’s go a little narrow and find everyone talking about Django in Bay Area. You get a list of 18 incredible developers from companies like Google, VMWare and some people who have written professional books on programming! I could not find 6 of these developers on LinkedIn. That means if you sourcing only on LinkedIn, you will be missing out 1/3rd of a qualified candidate database.
Wanna try it out yourself?
Remember, if you are looking for people in a particular language, make sure you include all the different versions of the language. That way you won’t miss out on some great candidates.

Query to source python developers on stackoverflow

             SELECT u.Id AS [User Link],
             FROM Users u
             JOIN (
                    SELECT DISTINCT UserId
                    FROM Badges
                    WHERE LOWER(Name) IN (‘python’, ‘boost-python’, ‘cpython’, ‘ipython’, ‘ipython-notebook’, ‘python-2.6’, ‘python-2.7’, ‘python-3.x’, ‘python-3.6’, ‘python-asyncio’, ‘python-3.5’, ‘python-datetime’, ‘python-decorators’, ‘python-docx’, ‘python-imaging-library’, ‘python-3.4’, ‘python-idle’, ‘python-mock’, ‘python-module’, ‘python-internals’, ‘python-multiprocessing’, ‘python-multithreading’, ‘python-requests’, ‘python-sphinx’, ‘python-unicode’, ‘python-xarray’, ‘python-3.3’, ‘mysql-python’) AND
                          Class IN (1, 2, 3) AND
                          TagBased = 1
                  ) tag_badges
             ON tag_badges.UserId = u.Id
             WHERE LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%bay area%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%san francisco%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%santa clara%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%san jose%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%silicon valley%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%cupertino%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%palo alto%’

Query to source Django developers on Stackoverflow

             SELECT u.Id AS [User Link],
             FROM Users u
             JOIN (
                    SELECT DISTINCT UserId
                    FROM Badges
                    WHERE LOWER(Name) IN (‘django’, ‘django-admin’, ‘django-cms’, ‘django-class-based-views’, ‘django-forms’, ‘django-models’, ‘django-migrations’, ‘django-authentication’, ‘django-celery’, ‘django-allauth’, ‘django-queryset’, ‘django-socialauth’, ‘django-testing’, ‘django-users’, ‘django-rest-framework’, ‘django-orm’) AND
                          Class IN (1, 2, 3) AND
                          TagBased = 1
                  ) tag_badges
             ON tag_badges.UserId = u.Id
             WHERE LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%bay area%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%san francisco%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%santa clara%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%san jose%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%silicon valley%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%cupertino%’ OR
                            LOWER(Location) LIKE ‘%palo alto%’
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November 28, 2017
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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.

Two rules to remember for language/skills input:

  1. Don’t use skills other than the ones suggested to you. That is the exhaustive list of all the distinct tags in stackoverflow.
  2. Make sure you input all variations of the language/skills you want to find. There are more than 15 python related tags in Stackoverflow. Select all of them for best results.

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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As a recruiter, when we do recruiting email outreach and get a reply, most of us are like, “OMG! It’s working. And sometimes when the recruitment outreach isn’t working, we pull our hair out to figure out what’s wrong. Thankfully, it’s not rocket science to understand that what drives the success of a recruitment email outreach.

To keep things simple, we can divide the factors into three parts:

  • Email Attributes
  • Email Copy
  • Settings
  • Other


Email Attributes

Email attributes include things like who’s sending the email, from which email id and what the subject is.

From Name and Email

Often neglected, From is the most important when it comes opening the email. It’s almost twice as important to Subject.

From vs Subject

From vs Subject


Having a person’s name and their email id helps increase the open rate. As a candidate, you would rather engage John Doe <john@acme.corp> at Acme Corp that say Recruitment Team <recruitment@acme.corp>. Candidates can look up John online and would appreciate him/her taking the time out to reach out to them (even if emails are automated).

Candidates relate to a person, not a company.


Subject Line

Just like the From field, the subject line also influences your open rate and ultimately your recruiting email campaign. All of us want to get that candidate reply to our email and sometimes it makes us oversell. Try to avoid sell-sy subject line. Have a personalized and engaging subject line. You can see some of the templates we have created for a recruitment cold email outreach campaign.



Email Copy

Your email copy includes a personalized introduction,  value proposition, clear CTA and your signature. Some of these points have been discussed in our earlier blog.


Personalised Introduction/Context

Personalised introduction as the opening line is really crucial when sending your first email to the candidate. When following up, establishing the context is the key.

Today, most of the emails are open on mobile and on mobile (and on the web too) most of the email apps allow users to see the first few opening words from the email. Writing a generic line like, “How are you”, only reduces the chances of opening the email. Always make the first few line personalized to make the candidates interested in the email. Candidates don’t want to know about a stranger, they want to know why a stranger reached out to them.

Try to keep the first touch-point super personalized and the follow-ups automated. It makes sure you maintain a fine balance between personalization and time dedicated.


Value Proposition

We all tend to skim through the email and read only a few words from an entire sentence. Create your email body to match this psychology. Look how Uber did this while sending out an email blast to its users:

uber scanned email

uber scanned email


This is also the part where you tell the candidate what you are offering. You also have to show them you are offering something, they need. Show them a gateway to an opportunity they only receive once in a few years. Or as Don Vito Corleone said, “Make them an offer, they can’t refuse”.

Vito Corleone on recruitment

Vito Corleone on recruitment


More than focusing on your needs, focus on giving the opportunity to the candidate to achieve what they need in the email body.


Clear CTA

CTA or Call To Action is probably the most important factor for the recruitment email campaign. When defining the CTA make sure:

  • You have only one CTA in the entire email.
  • The CTA should be clear (call, meeting etc).
  • Keep it exploratory. Just ask for their time and nothing else.
  • It should require minimal effort from the candidate. User phrases like a short 15mins call, quick 20 mins coffee etc.
  • Establish the aim of the CTA clearly. The candidate should have a clear picture that why you need that CTA. It will save time on both ends.



Your email signature is your identity. Even then, 90% of cold email today don’t have a signature. Your signature should have your name, your job title, your company name and social profiles like LinkedIn, Twitter etc. You can include links to some blog posts or some news which you want to share with the candidate after these.





Create recruitment drip email campaigns

Never send stand-alone email while sending recruitment emails. Always a create drip email campaign. Stand-alone emails are ineffective as reply rates increase in the second and third touchpoint of the campaign. On Recruiterflow, we have seen around 30% reply rate on second and third touchpoints, whereas only 9 percent reply rate on the first email.


Number of followups

Once you have decided that you want to run drip email campaign, next is to decide how many follow-ups you want to send. You want to maximise the chances of conversion but don’t want to sound desperate at the same time. Ideally, we recommend 3-5 followup emails after the first touch point. We have written a post on creating recruitment follow-up emails, which you can see go into followup details.


Interval between follow-ups

Giving adequate interval between followups is important. You don’t want to spam your candidate’s inbox. The interval between follow-ups is dependent on the candidate profile. If you are reaching to a candidate for a junior or mid-level position, it’s okay to send one email every 3-5 days. However, if you are recruiting a candidate for GM, VP and above senior positions, keep your email at least 7-10 days from each other. These people are busy and less so you don’t want to spam their inbox.



Timing is crucial when you are running a recruitment email campaign. There are various numbers published online around when you should schedule your emails, but I recommend you use your own data to discover this. Each company and role are different and the ideal timing could be different depending on a number of factors. Ideally, try to send emails at a time when your candidate has some free time and can open, read, think and then reply to your email.  Tailor your timing based on these factors initially and then iterate is as you have more data about your candidates.


Follow up with a reply/different email

You can run your recruitment drip email campaign in different ways. You can design your follow-ups to be as a reply to the earlier email (same thread) or send a new email (different thread). The first one is useful especially when the follow-up is in continuance with the first email. It should be really short with a clear CTA. In case, you want to share something independent of the first email (like a recent announcement, media coverage, congratulate the candidate), it’s better to start a new thread as your earlier context is not changed.


Other Factors

Don’t Spam

Don’t send too many emails at once. With GSuite you can send 2000 emails in a day, but don’t send more than 200 emails in a day. The more your emails are marked as spam or are bounced, higher are your chances of being blacklisted. Once blacklisted, your emails will mostly land in spam or Updates/Promotion (if you are lucky). Focus on quality and not on quantity.


 Always A/B Test

The terms A/B testing has been traditionally used in marketing to compare two versions of a web page to see which one performs better. When it comes to recruitment emails, you can compare two similar versions of any of the factors mentioned above. However, make sure that only compare variants of same factors and don’t test more than one factor at once.

For instance, if you are A/B testing Subject line, test different variants of the subject line itself and keeping all other factors constant.
Measure the results and see which one performs better.


There are some the factors which mainly affect the success of your recruitment email campaign. In case you feel, I missed anything, feel free to drop in a comment.

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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September 20, 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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followup emails

While running your recruitment email campaign, if your first touchpoint didn’t deliver the result, don’t feed bad. It’s almost always the second and third touchpoint which gets the result.

Followups are crucial but if done wrong (most of us do it wrong) it hardly helps you convert the candidate. We all have seen generic follow-ups like:

  • Just checking in to see
  • Thought I would check-in
  • How are you?

No matter how widely they are used, they will seldom get you results. So how do we write follow up emails to convert candidates better?

Creating a high performing recruitment follow-up email is less of an art and more science. Below are some of the key steps involved in crafting follow-up recruitment emails:


Determining what’s your goal?

Followups should always be designed to achieve some goal. Before you jump on to creating a follow-up email, take a step back and determine the goal of the follow-up. Your call to action in the follow-up is tailored to achieve this goal.

There are generally four types of goal when sending out a follow-up email for recruiting activities:

Apply for an opening

Here you focus on conversion and making sure the candidate applies to your company

Grow talent network

Building a talent network is a continuous process and you are always looking out for great talent who might join your company in future.

Just to catch up

When you haven’t been in touch with an awesome candidate and want to share some news or congratulate them on something

Share information

You want to tell your candidates and prospective candidate some recent news or achievement of your company.



What’s the context?

Context sets the tone of follow-up email and it should be in lines with your earlier touchpoint. This is the first thing the recipient will read when they open the email or even without opening it (after subject line).

You need to establish the context of your follow-up email to keep them engaged. If you know them through someone, start with a comment or compliment of the candidate from that person.

Experiments have suggested that humans have higher recall value for words at the start and at the end. Establishing a context helps you keep the email personalized and chances of a reply are much better.

Some ways in which you can give context:

  • Referral: I met (person name) last week at (venue name) and he told me some great things about you.
  • Prior meeting: We met a few weeks back at (event name or location)
  • Read online: I just read an article published by you on (platform name). I loved the way you (talk about the article)
  • Prior email: Following up on my last email sent a few week back about (topic)


What do you want?

You should always respect your candidate’s time. Just asking them to get on a call or for a meeting without establishing why you want it, ultimately ends up wasting everyone’s time.

You call to action or “What” be it asking for a call or a meeting or just sharing some news should have “Why” with it.

For instance, don’t just ask a backend developer “I would love to have 30 mins call sometime this week to explore career opportunity here at Acme Corp.”

Instead, say something like “We are actively hiring for backend position at Acme Corp and you seem to be an ideal fit for the position. Your current work at Stark Enterprise is related to what we do here. It would be great if we can chat for 30 mins sometime this week to see if working at Acme Corp excite you?  “



When to send a follow-up?

Timing is really important when it comes to follow-up emails. You shouldn’t be so late that the prospect forgets about you. At the same time sending follow-ups too quickly would look desperate.

The timing of a follow-up is dependent on the context. Some examples of timing of follow-up with context are listed below

  • Referral from someone: Within 7 days of meeting the person
  • Met at an event: Within 24 hours after the event
  • Read online: There’s no time-frame but the sooner the better
  • Following up on an earlier email: After 7 days but before 14 days of the previous email
  • Catch up – Once in 3-4 months


How to send a follow-up?

Followups can either be part of the same email thread or you can start a new thread. I personally use the same thread if I am not sure the person I am emailing remembers me.

If you are starting a new thread, following are some the things which work in the subject line:

  • Sense of urgency: Creating sense of urgency by using words like tomorrow, this week etc increase the open rate
  • Numbers combined with adjectives: Phrases like Quick 15 mins call, short 30 mins meeting helps you increase your open rate
  • Keep it short: Short headlines tend to get more opens than long ones

Remember the aim of the subject line is to increase the interest of the prospect so that they open the email.


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

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September 3, 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.
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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.

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August 24, 2017
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Think like a marketer when sending recruiting emails

Whenever we think about the marketing team, we see people throwing numbers and paper balls at each other. As a recruiter, we can always learn a thing or two from marketers (Maybe, leave the paper ball thing for now). Marketers regularly send emails to the prospective user base to create awareness, engage and finally acquire them. While sending recruiting emails, recruiters can also think like marketers to get their stallions.


Marketing and recruitment are not so different. Your ideal candidate would probably be working at Google or Amazon or Tesla and not be actively looking for a job. However, she might join you if given a fast career path. How do you create awareness and engage your candidates to make them apply to your company? Traditionally, marketing has been doing the same when it comes to user acquisition.


Marketing funnel vs Talent Acquisition funnel

Marketing funnel vs Talent Acquisition funnel

source: Slideshare


Writing recruitment emails are tricky! But you don’t need to be a marketing maven to attract talent. Here is how you should think like a marketer when sending emails:


Define your target audience

Defining the target audience is the first thing a marketer does before creating any campaign. It helps you streamline your messaging and channels. As a recruiter, you should create an ideal candidate persona to define your target audience. Get to know where your candidates spend their time online, what do they read, what skills they have!

You should also define a list of negative keywords which you don’t want to target. It helps you save time otherwise wasted on candidates whom you don’t want to reach out.

Source Users

Defining your ideal candidate persona helps you figure out sources where these candidates might be. Try to be as specific as possible in defining your search criteria. Most of the recruiters use generic keywords and end up connecting with the same bunch of people as their peers. Targeting specific niche keywords helps you reach new candidates. Every recruiter loves LinkedIn as a primary source. Try to remove your LinkedIn love bias and explore other sources as well. For

Every recruiter loves LinkedIn as a primary source. Try to remove your LinkedIn bias and explore other sources as well. For instance, GrowthHackers is a great community for marketing and growth people. GitHub and StackOverflow can help you get awesome engineers. Never be platform biased! Use recruiterflow’s sourcing toolkit to see how to do this effectively and easily at scale!


Study Candidates

It is really easy to send a mass email to your candidate database but you hardly get any reply. Studying the candidate and sending them a super personalised first email really helps. I have personally seen some recruiters getting close to 70% response rate when they send a super-personalised introductory email.

You should always study the person you are reaching out to. Talk about their interests, achievements, life and make first touch-point highly personalised.

Create drip campaigns for recruiting emails

Drip email campaigns are a set of emails sent out automatically as per a predefined schedule. Sending a super personalised first touch point gets you candidate’s attention, but to actually get a reply you need to follow-up with the candidate. Most people usually reply on 2nd email of the campaign. These personalised

Most people usually reply on 2nd email of the campaign. These personalised follow-ups can be automated using tools like Recruiterflow. Try not sending emails on weekends. Also, figure out what time in the day works best.

Measure data

A true marketer always measures data while running a campaign. It helps them figure out what’s working and what’s not and iterate their campaigns accordingly.

As a recruiter, you should always measure data like email opens, reply rate, link clicks and file downloads. It helps you optimise your content for a better conversion.

Do A/B testing

A/B testing has been traditionally used by marketers to know which version of their messaging works better on their customer base.

AB Testing - Marketing

AB Testing – Marketing


You, as a recruiter can send two or more variants of the same email to your candidates randomly and see what works best in achieving your goal.

However, to run an A/B test your candidate database should be large enough to get measurable results. Also only change, one thing at a time! For example, if you are running A/B test on subject line, only change the subject line. Leave the other parts of the email intact.

AB testing can be used consistently to continually improve a given messaging, improving your conversion rate over time.


Engage candidates even if they don’t convert

All of us receive communication from brands even if we show just a little interest in the product and not buy the product. In marketing, these users are typically acquired at a cheaper cost as they are already aware of the brand (remember the first stage of marketing funnel). Do the same for your candidates as well.

A candidate may not be open to applying to your company right now but this doesn’t mean you drop them out of your talent acquisition funnel.

Keep them engaged, send them content, news about your company, congratulate them on an achievement. Maybe the next time they are looking out, they themselves will reach out to you as they have crossed the awareness and engagement part of the talent acquisition funnel.


By adopting the marketing mindset while sending emails, you focus heavily on converting great candidates and make your recruitment engine more efficient.

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 21, 2017
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Ogilvy on Branding

The father of advertising, David Ogilvy rightly describes branding a creation of genius, faith and perseverance. Creating an employer brand is no different! Your employer brand is central to your recruitment process and defines the people whom you recruit.


Why do you need to create an employer brand?

Today the power dynamic between the candidate and employer has changed. The unemployment rate in the US is at 4.6%, the lowest in 10 years. A number of experts have defined the current labor market as ‘candidate-driven’. Today, candidates have more options than ever and this trend seems to be growing. Having a bad employer brand can cost you more than 10% per hire.


Candidate driven recruitment market

Candidate driven recruitment market


Employer branding is now a company wide priority. More than 60% CEOs handle employer branding themselves. Employer branding helps them secure long term recruitment needs and differentiate them from their competitor.


Future of Employer branding

Future of Employer branding


Finding the employer brand

Before you go into creating your employer brand, you need to identify it first.

Research is an important aspect when it comes to creating an employer brand. It gives your company it’s true voice and helps you attract more candidates. Following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself, your team members and your candidates.


What’s your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

Talk to your team and know what is it they love the most about your company. Your EVP is at the core of your employer branding activities.


What do your candidates think about you?

Today candidates are more aware than ever. Before even applying to a company they would check reviews on Glassdoor, social media and various online forums. Talking to your candidates would allow you to know where your current reputation stacks.


Is your team onboard?

Creating an employer brand is a team sport. You need to get everyone including your leadership team onboard. You should also get to know what percentage of your employees would recommend your company to someone they know. Just carry out an NPS survey among your team.

Creating an employer brand is really similar to creating a story, a voice as an employer! Heineken created ‘Go Places’ employer branding campaign in over one and a half year. Gathering information was a critical part of the campaign and the video highlight the EVP at Heineken.




Creating the Employer Brand

Creating an employer brand requires a strategic approach towards how your company attracts, engages and retains talent. It’s a continuous and iterative process which involves everyone in the team.


It’s not your candidate database! It’s your candidate community.

The candidates who apply or are interested in your company are more than an entry in your candidate database. The form a part of a much larger candidate community. You should try to engage with your community time to time, even if they are not actively looking for a job. Many companies like McKinsey, Facebook, P&G and Google are taking community approach in their employer branding strategies.

Engage regularly with your talent community.

You should regularly engage with your community. Send them monthly newsletter talking about the latest update, blog, achievement of the company. You can also run drip email campaigns to reach out to a large number of candidates automatically.


Match your employer brand resonate with candidate persona.

To hire the right talent, you need to build candidate persona for your open positions. Your employer brand marketing should target candidates with this persona. The Heineken ad above also talks about candidate persona through a series of interview questions and what they expect from the candidate. It attracts the right kind of talent to apply to the company.

Employer Branding is a team sport!

Always involve your team in your employer branding campaign. They not only define your EVP but also help you expand your reach. Your leadership team should be involved as it’s the difference between an average and great employer branding. When your leadership team publishes or shares about it, it sets the tone of the entire company.

Communicate directly with the candidate

You should always send the right message through the right platform to your candidates. A number of employers have started using Snapchat to attract millennials to their company. Creating employee stories and sharing it on your website and social media pages gets your message directly to the candidate. You should always focus on ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ across all platforms.

UPS did it brilliantly in its employer branding campaign showing the human side of the job.


Use multimedia to get attention

Feel free use images and videos as collateral to enhance your employer brand. They do not help get more attention but are also widely share over social media. You can also create your culture deck like Netflix and put in on Slideshare where your prospective employees get a chance to know more about your company.



Data is the key

You should measure data at each point. Always measure the candidate experience with NPS. You can also use the same methodology for measuring employee happiness and compare it against your candidate community. Track metrics like hiring speed, pipeline status, ROI of sources to get maximum results.

Use Technology

Today thanks to technology most of the work can be automated. Tools like Recruiterflow help you expand the reach of your employer branding efforts. You can use tools like Buffer to schedule and measure social media posts across platforms. Always try to add a layer of automation wherever you can without compromising the human side of it.


Creating a great employer brand needs a lot discipline and work. Having a product branding roadmap will help you get results. Some of the companies who did it exceptionally got more than 5X quality applications in a span of 6 months. It also decreases your cost of hire as your sourcing engine becomes self-sustainable.



A good employer branding is the essence of your recruitment engine!




Use Recruiterflow to communicate directly with candidates, make hiring a team sport and enhance candidate experience.
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August 12, 2017
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Candidate persona

Do you know that Ian is the perfect candidate for your Software Architect position? Or that Mary is the Digital Marketing person your are always looking for?

Ian and Mary aren’t real people.

They are candidate personas: a representation of an ideal candidate for a vacancy.

But why do you need Ian and Mary?


If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

– Albert Einstein

Recruitment is a complex process. Designing a sourcing strategy for a generic audience is like shooting in the dark. You may get lucky once or twice but chances of missing the target are really high. You end up wasting both time and money.

Creating a candidate persona is worth your time! Ideal persona helps you identify the traits of the right candidate and design your sourcing and recruitment strategy accordingly. Candidate persona helps you:

  • Get a deep understanding of requirement from various stakeholders
  • Devise your sourcing strategy to source right candidates
  • Create recruitment collateral (Job Description, Application Form, Introductory materials, emails) to get more applicants

Personas have been traditionally used in marketing and they have helped a number of marketers increase the efficiency of their marketing campaigns. Ardath Albee defines marketing persona as:

A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.

On the same lines, a candidate persona can be defined as:

A candidate persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your candidate pool. For recruitment purposes, you need personas to help you create strategies that will be most useful and relevant to source ideal candidates for a vacancy.


Creating candidate persona is not rocket science! Here is a step-by-step guide to creating candidate persona.


How to create a candidate persona?

Before you creating candidate persona, you need to do some groundwork first. Creating persona starts with gathering information from various stakeholders, analysis the pre-existing data to find trends and then storifying them.


Gathering information

Here are 4 ways in which you can get more information.

  1. Interview Stakeholders

    Before creating a job, it’s important to bring all the stakeholders on board. This makes sure that everyone on the hiring team is on the same page.
    You need to interview the stakeholders to get an idea of traits they are looking for in a candidate. You should be interviewing hiring managers, recruiters, sourcers and interviewers with a list of predefined questions. Some of these questions can be:

    Job Title: Different companies have different job titles for the same role. If you are hiring someone to lead growth, they can be called Growth Hacker or Customer Acquisition Manager or even Growth Ninja in a lot of cases. However, when choosing a job title try to make sure that the role is SEO friendly and can be discovered on Job Boards, Search Engines, LinkedIn etc.

    Company they work for: Hiring Team in a lot of cases already has a list of possible target companies where the candidate could be working. Ask your hiring team which are the companies they are looking at to source?

    Target Designation: It’s really important to know what are the possible designations of your target candidate persona. Since various companies have different designations, it would help you have a list of possible designation which will have the similar profile. You can always expand this list by doing more research.

    Target Demographic: What should be the demography of prospective candidates? What should be their age and experience? Where are they located? What’s the expected salary for the position?

    Skills: You should ask your hiring team what are the different skills the candidate should have. This helps you narrow your search criteria when you are sourcing. Try to get an exhaustive list and iterate it as you move along your sourcing journey.

    Educational Qualifications and Certifications: Is your team targeting specific courses or degrees or universities? What should be the educational background of the candidate? Should they have any certification? If yes, from where and in what?

    Driving factor: What should drive your prospective employee? Should they be excited about certain technologies or driven towards a certain vision. The primary value or fears which probably drive them.

    Answers to the above questions give you the stakeholders perspective on candidate persona.


  2. Interview team members

    The traits of team members are a really good indicator of candidate persona. Studying team members effectively will help you understand what the ideal candidate should have to succeed in the role. You typically need to interview 2-3 team members to get to these traits. There is no fixed number but you should stop when you feel answers to questions are now repeated. Ask your team about:

    Motivation: What motivates your employees on the job? Why did they apply to your company in the first place and what keeps them going?

    Goals: Ask them about their career and personal goals. Where do they want to be after certain years? What do they want to achieve in their life? Are there any specific personal goals like children’s tuition, marriage, mortgage etc which is a crucial part of their personal life.

    Interests: What do they want to in their free time? Do you visit any specific website or a meetup? What do they like to read? Where do they read it? Where do they spend time online?

    Skills and Culture: What skills help them succeed in the job? What do they like about company culture?


  3. Interview candidates

    Interviewing stakeholders and team members helps you create a hypothesis on the candidate persona. But an untested hypothesis can cause disasters. You should cross-check these hypotheses within your pool of candidates.
    Ask the above questions to you candidates, both good and bad. Bad candidates were typically the ones who were unsuited for the role for various reasons.

    Why did they apply to your company? What do they feel will be different here from their previous job? What do they like? Where do they spend time online?

    Understanding your candidate pool helps you map your company’s internal persona in the real world. your hypothesis is true then most of the good candidates will follow the persona. You should also look the at the response from bad candidates and see what went wrong in persona.

    Remember, it’s an iterative process.


  4. Use data to find insights

    Your pre-existing data is also a valuable source of creating candidate persona. Dive deeper into your candidate data and find insights. What source provides you with more quality candidates? Which set of candidates are more responsive? Which universities did they go to? What kind of companies did they work for?


Using your research to storify the candidate persona


You have gathered enough raw information from your interviews with stakeholder, employees and candidates. You also found out some insights from your data. But how do you storify so that everyone on the team can gain from the gathered data?

You need to find trends and similarities across the collected data to come up with a candidate persona. You can have a single candidate persona if the vacancy is less and can create multiple personas in case vacancies are higher in number. Following is a template of candidate persona which we will fill step-by-step.

Use our free candidate persona template to create your own personas and source candidates effectively.


Section 1: Who is your candidate?

The first step is to give your persona a name to personify the traits. Based on your interviews and data collected fill out demographic details like possible designations, current company, skill set, educational background etc.
Talking to your candidates and employees will give you a clear picture about the candidate’s skills and interests. This process also highlights where do your candidates spend time online. These channels can be really effective when it comes sourcing.

Candidate Persona - Who is your candidate?

Candidate Persona – Who is your candidate?

Adding a picture to the persona helps you and your team envision how the ideal candidate might look like.


Section 2: What defines your candidate?

This section is subjective and has to be interpreted from your interviews. You need to figure our goals, objections, driving factor and culture fit based on your collected data.Identifying patterns across responses will help you achieve so.


Candidate Persona - What defines your candidate?

Candidate Persona – What defines your candidate?



Once you have created the persona, it’s really important to bring your team on board as everyone has a different perspective. Also, creating the persona is an iterative process and you should refine the persona further as you go along the recruitment process.

Creating persona not only helps bring entire team together but also helps you figure out sources which would work best for a position. This also helps saves time otherwise wasted on sourcing and recruitment process of wrong candidates.

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 7, 2017
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