Despite the advancements in social media over the past decade, which has led to more recruiters starting to contact potential job candidates on Facebook and Twitter, there are still three primary methods used. They are: dialogue over the phone, via email, and through LinkedIn. However, there has been a long running debate as to which method is the most effective in attempting to contact candidates for a role.

So, what is the most effective method?

We carried out some research to find out the general consensus regarding this question, and also utilised some research undertaken by ‘Social Talent’. The findings, as well as our thoughts on the issue, are discussed below:

What is the best way of contacting candidates?

After carrying out some primary research utilising the Twitter polls functionality, we found that 71% of people believed that a phone call was the most appropriate and effective method. This was significantly more than the 19% that opted for email, and the 10% that went for LinkedIn as the most effective avenue to use. Therefore, these results suggest that recruiters are best advised to pick up the phone if they want to enjoy the best results. Results collected by ‘Social Talent’ supported our findings, with phone calls being found to bring the highest response rate, with 44% success rate. This was in contrast to LinkedIn, which brought just 35%, and email at 31%. Consequently, it seems that phone calls are not only the most advised form of contacting candidates, but also the most effective. However, there is not a great difference in the average response rates between the three methods, suggesting phone calls are only marginally more effective, and LinkedIn messages and emails should not be completely discarded.

What is the most popular method used currently?

You would expect that recruiters spend a large proportion of their time speaking to candidates over the phone, to assess their suitability for a certain position, or to manage the hiring process through the interview stages. However, it does not seem like this is the reality, certainly when it comes to initial contact with candidates. This is due to the results found by ‘Social Talent’, who found that only 5% of recruiters pick up the phone to initiate contact with potential candidates for the first time. In complete contrast, a massive 81% chose LinkedIn to contact passive candidates, with 14% opting to use email. As a result, it seems that phone calls are currently not a popular choice for recruiters, who instead seem to be favouring LinkedIn. However, this highlights that there is a mismatch, considering phone calls have been found to be the most effective method of contact, suggesting they’re being criminally underused by recruiters. Furthermore, considering the survey was carried out on almost 1,000 recruiters worldwide, it could be that a general change of emphasis is required for better results to be achieved. Pick up the phone recruiters!

Which method of contact do candidates prefer?

After considering the most effective and popular methods of contacting candidates, the question of what candidates actually prefer is often forgotten. However, this issue was also asked in the survey ran by ‘Social Talent’, which found that 79% of people preferred to be contacted via email, with phone calls and LinkedIn significantly less popular. Therefore, even though recruiters are advised to pick up the phone to initiate dialogue with candidates, they would be best served sending an email alongside the phone call if the person does not pick up straight away. The reason for this Is that the person may not have been available to talk when the recruiter rang, and they may be more comfortable replying via email in the first instance, something that is supported by the findings just discussed.


Overall, it is obvious by looking at the research that has been carried out, that phone calls are the most effective method of contacting potential job candidates. It is also clear that this avenue is not being taken advantage of as much as it should be, and that more recruiters need to start picking up the phone to begin discussions with candidates. However, as shown by the findings, candidates prefer to be contacted via email, which means recruiters should try a phone call first, and then send an email alongside that if they are unsuccessful in their attempts of dialogue. Therefore, recruiters, start using phone calls are your first port of call!