Write Better Recruiting Emails that Candidates Will Respond To


October 9, 2012

Recruiting emails and messaging are usually the ice breaker in contacting and connecting with candidates. However, many emails go unnoticed. How can recruiters tailor the perfect email with a high response rate?

If you’re looking for a a straight forward solution, or an easy fix, this is not the blog post for you. This blog post won’t provide a no set-in-stone way for recruiters to develop a 100% response success rate for their email efforts. However, there are some things you can do that can increase your chances of getting a response from you candidates.

Four Ways Recruiters Can Increase Candidate Responses:

1. Relevance is Key

Do not send out the same, generic email blast. People are far more likely to read an email the looks like it only came to them and contains their specific information. You’ll get the best results by tailoring your message and content to appeal to their specific interests and qualifications.

So, what exactly is relevant? Well, that all depends on the types candidates in your target list. (I know, cliché answer). One way you can determine if your position is relevant is through research. You must do your homework and become a detective.

Research your targeted candidates on LinkedIn and social networks and look at not only their past job titles, but what their duties and responsibilities were in each position. Look at their summary. Look at their skill sets and specialties. Do they possess transferable skills? Look at their social media networks – connect the pieces of the puzzle to establish their story to the best of your ability.

You should have a sense that that your opportunity could at the very least is a logical next step for them based on their career progression — explain that in your email by clearly stating what you see in their work history that leads you to believe so.

Put yourself in their shoes: If you were a passive candidate, what would make recruiting emails stand out above the rest? What would the email need to say in order for you to respond?

2. Generate targeted candidate lists

Start by creating lists that segment your audience into target groups. Most staffing and recruiting software allows you to conduct a full text search and Boolean string logic to develop a very tailored list of candidates. Use that to your advantage when you are searching for candidates within your database.

Some questions/filters could be years of experience, job types of interest, and general location that is usually determined by zip code. You can then target further into specific certifications, specific skills, programs that they have had experience in, etc.

The more filters you add, the more you can tailor the message, increasing the chance that your recruiting emails will resonate with those recipients.

3. Include a Call To Action

Once your email gets read by the candidate – what do you want them to do as the next step? Respond to the email? Call you for more information? Access the job board on your website?
Specifically list the next step and make it easy for the candidate to figure out. What may seem well-defined in your eyes may not be for a candidate. To go even further, explain to them the first couple steps of the process so the candidate understands and expects the course of action.

Remember, you want to build credibility and rapport with all candidates to ensure a great relationship and engaged conversation. In order to do that, you will need to be transparent and clear.

4. Don’t Be Oblivious

First impressions are everything, and in the recruiting and staffing world, your message is your first impression.

Candidates get a sense of your proficiency as a recruiter instantly from you first message. If you are first contacting them about irrelevant positions that do not match their qualifications they are going to think that you are: 1) lazy, 2) a scam, or 3) not even worth a response or second glance. And they won’t think that solely of you; these impressions will be reflected on your entire agency or organization.

Be professional and develop a message that is easy to understand. Don’t include recruiting industry jargon. If you decide that you are going to speak with industry specific language – make sure you are well versed in it. The last thing a candidate wants to see is a recruiter using industry specific terms in the wrong context. It will only hurt your credibility in the end – and waste both parties’ time.

I came across this article written by Ted Goas, which provides a very candid response to recruiting emails that technical recruiters have sent him. He points out the red flags and what recruiters can do to fix them within each email. It even generated a follow up blog on recruitingblogs.com. It’s definitely worth a read, even if you are not a technical recruiter.

All in all, if there is any solution to getting a high response rate to your recruiting emails, it would probably come from the same response as to why a passive candidate would bother to respond to a recruiter. What would make you respond?

Interested on how ABD can help you with Recruiting?


image courtesy: flickr digitpedia

Megan Curth is the Marketing Coordinator of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web. Megan’s email address is megan.curth@abd.net or for more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net