4 Best Practices for Contacting Engineering Candidates

As a founder, recruiting and onboarding top technical talent to your team is vital. A great software engineer will help scale your product and ensure the growth of your company. But, you probably don’t have a ton of time and energy to build the perfect hiring process and interview hundreds of engineering candidates.

Leaning on the expertise of an agency is a great option. But if your organization isn’t ready for that, we’re breaking down tactical recruiting steps that you can easily follow. Over the next few weeks, this series will cover how to scope a role, where to find the best candidates, how to outreach to them, tips for designing a strategic interview process, and more.

Contacting Prospective Engineering Candidates

Engineers are inundated with requests for new opportunities daily.  In fact, some engineers report receiving as many as 30 messages per day via Linkedin alone. As a founder looking to make early hires in your organization, it’s essential to make a first impression that will receive a response.

Here are four best practices that you should follow when contacting prospective candidates.

1. Be Authentic.

Messages that are received directly from a founder or technical leader receive a higher response rate than those sent from other team members. Candidates recognize when they are contacted by the leader of an organization (especially with a pertinent and well-written message).

Your message should be personal and authentic. It should convey that you are interested in building a relationship with the candidate and that you genuinely want to learn more about them. Use this opportunity to highlight your company’s unique value proposition. Mention how it fits into their career goals, and why they would want to work there.

2. Objectivism is important.

Everyone wants to believe their product is truly revolutionary. A more effective pitch is explaining the problem your product is solving and the future vision of the product. What they will be working on day-to-day is just as, if not more important than year-over-year growth in headcount.

3. Personalize your outreach.

Candidates care about messages that are directed specifically to them. Take 30 seconds to find something in their profile or resume that connects them to the role you’re looking to fill. For example, relative projects or previous companies, expertise in a tech stack, and research. Reference that in the message.

Avoid generic subject lines. While subject lines like “Hi!” or “Looking for someone like you” may seem harmless, they can actually decrease your response rate by up to 50%.

4. Be transparent about compensation

If this role has a range or target compensation, share that in the initial message. It’s better to be upfront with candidates than deal with mismatched expectations after going through the full interview process.

Outreach Templates For Engineering Candidates

Here are two great outreach templates you can start with. They are short, thoughtful, and feature social proof, which is crucial if your company’s name is not yet recognizable to potential candidates.

Template 1: 

Hey _,

I’m the cofounder of { company }, we’re a seed-stage company that’s built a tool to help {{ problem your tool is solving }}. We’ve built the tool using { tech stack }, and after reading about your background in/at {{ personalization }} I’d like to learn more about your career goals to see if they might overlap with some of our major organizational projects.

I’m looking to hire a { Role } ahead of our {{ next fund round }} and while I understand you may not be looking to make a change right now, I wanted to introduce myself.  We’re targeting { compensation details } for this role. I don’t want to take your time if it’s not a match, but I’d love to share more details on a quick call! Here’s my Calendly {{ link }}


Template 2: 

Hey _,

I’m the cofounder of { company }, we’re a seed-stage company backed by {{ top investors and angels }} who has backed companies like {{ highlight big names if there are some in your investor base }}.

We’re rapidly scaling and I’m looking to hire a founding { role } to join the team ahead of our {{ next fund round }}. Not sure if the timing is right but would love to share more details on a quick call! Here’s my Calendly {{ link }}


Hiring is a critical part of growing your company. It’s important to be thoughtful about how you approach it, especially for foundational hires.

With these best practices and email templates, you should be able to generate interest and connect with great candidates.

If you are looking for job opportunities in tech, click here.


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