Phone call, email, text message, InMail, Facebook Messenger. Today, there are more ways than ever to contact candidates. Most of the time, recruiters tend to reach out via email due to its convenience and ease to use. Candidly, a lot of recruiters also use email to avoid the dreaded candidate cold-call. If email is still your preferred method of candidate communication, you may want to invest some time in looking at the emails you’re writing to make sure you’re really breaking through the noise and crafting a message candidates will want to respond to. Before we jump into some best practices for crafting great messages, let’s break down some numbers behind the science of sending an email.

For the past few years, there’s been great debate among the marketing community about email open rates. Different industries claim to post varying average open rates that range anywhere from 5% to 25%. According to Talemetry, in 2014 the average open rate for a recruiting message was roughly 8%. I would expect that number to be around 10% today. With a lot of our recruiters sending emails through Indeed, we also have insight into the response rates tracked in their platform. On average, our recruiters see a 12-16% response rate in a given month. On the high side, we have recruiters in the 35% range while others struggle to break 5%. Since we have access to the numbers and email messages, we have insight into why some emails garner a larger opening and response than others.

Using this data and our insight into the typical recruiter communication, let’s break down how can you tidy up those emails to increase your responses and ultimately find the right candidates.

  1. Keep it short and sweet. You’re not writing Infinite Jest here. Try and keep your message to 3-4 relevant points you want to make about the opportunity then follow with the job description. Candidates will tune out the message if they have to scroll forever and ever.
  2. Show them some love. We know sometimes you have to send a bulk email blast out to get your search going. But, if you’re contacting candidates on a 1-1 basis, take some time to craft a personal message that highlights something that stood out to you in their resume. Don’t be afraid to flatter them a little bit and your chances of getting a response will skyrocket.
  3. Don’t forget the subject line. Another overlooked key to getting an open and response is your subject line. For our profession’s sake, please don’t be one of those recruiters who uses the job ID or requisition number and job title as the subject line. Take 5 minutes and use a little creativity to write a subject line that will attract attention and hopefully an answer.

We know candidate communication can be a drain on your day and taking the time to really think about your message can be difficult. But, if you follow the steps above and put some extra thought into your email messages to candidates, we can promise you’ll gain more opens, more responses, and ultimately more quality candidates to place.

Patrick Ward

Patrick is the Marketing Communications Lead at Kinetix, specializing in marketing campaign delivery and analysis. As a data junkie, he can be found in the lab looking at charts, spreadsheets, and campaign results while blasting Radiohead on his headphones. Want to chat? You can find Patrick on Twitter or LinkedIn or contact him via email.