This is the second part of a series about how to better understand your candidates. Missed part 1? Read it here.

We are all familiar with the plague surging across the internet that is recruiter spam. In their hunt to get to hard-to-find talent some recruiters are becoming lazy and blasting cut and paste messages to anyone and everyone who remotely looks like they might fit with the job. As we explored in a previous post, spam is an issue that hurts recruiting efforts everywhere.

Today however, I want to focus on the opposite of spam – the personalized email. Recruiters are starting to learn what marketers already know – personalization delivers better results. Where spam is cold, indifferent, and annoying the personalized email is friendly, unassuming, and designed to build meaningful long-term relationships between recruiters and candidates. Recruiters are, if nothing else, in the people business after all, which is why personalized emails are (or at least should be) a key part of their efforts.

Personalized emails foster a greater understanding of candidates in two ways. First, they force recruiters to learn about who candidates are BEFORE messaging them. Second, they start conversations that allow for more information to be shared over time, thereby generating a greater quality of hire in the long run. Meaningful relationships with candidates result in better communication throughout the entire recruitment process, improved job placements, and happier customers – and it all starts with the first message. So how can we write better, personalized emails? Here are five tips:

1. Make relationship building your main goal

Some recruiters view their candidates only as sales targets. They treat people like numbers who can generate a commission for them. These types of recruiters may place a lot of people in jobs in the short run, but over time they might not help their clients get the quality of hire they deserve. These recruiters are also most likely to use spam.

Smart recruiters on the other hand view their connection with each candidate as a valuable individual relationship. Because their focus is on relationships and not numbers, they’ll only place candidates in jobs they think are the right fit for them. This generates better results and better repeat business. Smart recruiters use personalized messaging as their main goal because they know that the first impression sets a precedent for how the rest of the recruiting process will go.

2. Do your research before sending the candidate an email

The only way you can send a personalized message is if you try to learn about the candidate prior to emailing them. This usually involves looking at a minimum of two public social/professional networks and perhaps some available blogs or other shared content (be sure to respect people’s privacy though). Having a basic outline of who someone is will help you to understand not only how they might fit with a given job, but also how you can approach them in the right way.

3. Be honest

When crafting your messaging it can be tempting to make things sound better than they actually are. DO NOT DO THIS! Instead make your pitch true and straightforward. This isn’t to say that you can’t do some marketing to make it attractive. On the contrary, you certainly can. You simply have to make sure you’re being authentic too. Bad marketing tells an enticing falsehood. Good marketing provides an honest portrayal of added value, which leads to happier customers/candidates.

4. Be original

Being original carries two meanings here. On one hand it refers to crafting a unique message for each person. On the other hand, it also connotes the need to do something creative to grab the candidates’ attention. Glenn Cathey gave a fantastic talk at Sourcing Summit Europe last year about how he encourages his team to think outside the box with their messaging, which often leads to positive results.

Here are some examples of the subject lines they’ve tried:

Glen Cathey recruiting email subject lines

5. Be short

Your first email to a candidate shouldn’t be very long. Include just enough information to be interesting and informative. When in doubt just remember that when it comes to recruitment emails less is often more.

Crafting these kinds of personalized messages does take more time than cut and paste spam, but it also gets superior results over time. Furthermore, it helps you to treat all of your prospects as people rather than numbers, which is ultimately what recruiting is all about.


Recruiting Emails HelloTalent