When the Time Is Right: A Platform-By-Platform Guide to When to Contact Passive Candidates with an Offer

As any savvy recruiter knows, technology has made sourcing candidates simultaneously easier and more complicated.

On one hand, there are more channels than ever to discover and reach out to prospective candidates. But on the other hand, our hyper-connected culture has contributed to top recruits being bombarded with messages across multiple platforms around the clock.

Which begs the question I bet you often ask. When can I get a word in?

To break through the noise, a smart strategy about when you should reach out is essential. In doing so, you can make sure you are getting in front of them when they are most open to new opportunities and most likely to respond.


Know When Change Is In the Air

Milestones in life like birthdays or the beginning of a new year are often a powerful point for reflection. We contemplate our direction and re-evaluate our intrinsic motivators. When it comes to employment, people are most likely to re-evaluate their current position during the months preceding their work anniversary.

These days, about a third of the workforce changes jobs every 12 months. Since by most estimates it takes 60-120 days from the start of a job hunt until a candidate lands at his/her next job, the optimal time to begin recruiting employees is two to four months before their anniversary. Be sure you’re tracking when those “must haves” on your calendar, to get reminders when their mind is most open to offers that resonate, or provide something that they might currently be lacking.


What time is the right time?

Once you have curated a dream pipeline, the hard work of turning prospects into candidates begins. Crafting attention-grabbing communication is only half the battle, determining the right time to get in front of them is the key to victory. The best time to reach out is going to depend largely on the medium being used. That said, and as we’ve said before when it comes to initial outreach, email is still king. A survey by Software Advice found that 67 percent of people prefer it over other means of communication.



Email is still the top channel for reaching out to candidates, because it is considered less intrusive than other means. But with the average office worker receiving 121 emails a day, recruiters are up against a lot of competition for reader attention. In an analysis of 500,000 sales emails, YesWare found that open and reply rates were higher during the weekend when people received fewer messages.

BONUS: Boost your open rates with our FREE guide to writing irresistible subject lines.

The study also stressed that contrary to popular belief, the day of the week chosen for sending emails might be less important than thought. The pathway to success is finding your way into candidates’ inboxes before everyone else has. Emails sent between 6-7 a.m. and at 8 p.m. received the highest response, with reply rates reaching almost 45 percent. The bookends to a day are often points of contemplation, so people are more likely to consider other opportunities.

These are the lessons we applied in our own candidate engagement experiment when hiring a software engineer to join the 1-Page team. Our Head of Growth, Vitaliy Levit, explained why this timing works.

“If you email someone in the morning, while they might not reply immediately, they’ll have your offer in the back of their minds all day. And if they get into an argument with their boss, or they’re just having a plain crappy day, or they want to move to a new location or whatever it is, it’ll be a reminding them all day long it might be a good time to switch. And then you’re forefront in their minds.”

When you say it as almost as important as what you say.
When you say it as almost as important as what you say. The results from our candidate engagement experiment, in which we hired a software engineer in San Francisco in just two weeks.


Social Media

Social media recruiting is no longer a shiny new thing. According to SHRM, 84 percent of organizations now use social media as part of their communication mix when recruiting. These networks are good for showing brand personality while also allowing recruiters to source passive job candidates whether they are in network or not.

By nature, LinkedIn is a professional network, so it is most widely used social platform, but with lackluster response rates, the world’s biggest social network, Facebook, is quickly catching up – despite it being a little trickier. While this platform requires a little more sensitivity since it is more personal, the sheer size of it presents a massive opportunity. A study from found that the most active time on the platform was mid-week between 1-4 p.m. So, if you are hoping to connect with your next recruit, you might try reaching out as the mid-day slump sets in.

When it comes to timing, also consider using social media as a reminder or reinforcer of your interest and intent. Don’t go overboard, but a follow-up via Twitter DM or a timely follow or retweet of a status, can demonstrate to the candidate that you’re following their work, and they’re more than just ‘another candidate’. If you’re playing a long game you can develop this further, but remember to be genuine, and don’t drop off the second they’re out of contention.


Texting and Mobile Messaging

10skills@2x-27These days, text messaging is often the preferred medium over phone calls. So why shouldn’t it be part of your outreach strategy?

The key to effectively using text messaging is keeping your audience in mind. Millennials are more likely to be open to text messaging than their counterparts who are 45 and older. But no matter the age, job seekers still expect some boundaries to be respected. Software Advice found that 24 percent of job seekers believe texting outside the business hours of 9-5 pm was inappropriate.

The sweet spot? 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by 8-10 a.m. during the work week.



For a long time, the phone was old reliable when it came to sourcing candidates, but these days it finds itself playing second fiddle to other more popular channels like email. With the number of passive candidates increasing, there is a higher likelihood that someone you are contacting is already employed. So, receiving a phone call from a recruiter while at work could put them in a precarious position. When asked, only 24 percent of candidates preferred a call for initial information. While that number increases to 40 percent for follow-up information, it is still trumped by email, which is favored by most recruits.

If the phone is your preferred method, or if you have a quota to meet, there are certain times that people are more likely to answer calls. found that the best days to reach people on the phone are Wednesday and Thursday, while early in the week when people are catching up from the weekend is the worst time. People are also more likely to answer calls either at the beginning or end of the day, with 8-9 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. being the best times.

There are many variables when it comes to recruiting that identifying the right time to reach out to a candidate need not be one. Taking a thoughtful approach to when you conduct outreach means you don’t have to wait for the perfect moment, but you can create it.

Over to you – what days and times have you found to be most effective for candidate outreach? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Breana Parker

    Great article with some excellent tips!