Cold email outreach is a very scary prospect not only for salespeople tasked with signing new clients for a business but also for the HR department on a mission to recruit quality talent. Cold emailing can be an outright waste of time if not done right.
With 70% of the global workforce considered "passive talent," it can be challenging to create a spark with someone who is not exactly looking for a new job opportunity.
How to write a recruiting email
So, how to write a recruiting email that sets you apart from mediocrity? Well, it does require you to get creative. Your emails have to make a great first impression.
Fret not! In this blog post, we have put together nine essential and easy-to-follow tips on how to write a recruiting email. Let us begin:
1. Write a hyper-personalized email copy
According to McKinsey, an employee spends an estimated 28% of the workweek managing email. Just imagine the number of emails the person must be receiving in a day! That shows it might not be a cakewalk for you to get your potential candidate's attention.
So, how do you increase the chances of your email getting noticed? You personalize it as that is a proven way to increase your open and click-through rates. And mind you - simply addressing them by their first name in the email will not cut it.
You have to study the person you are emailing. LinkedIn is an excellent source for you to learn about your potential candidates. From their skills and qualifications to past work experience, you can ensure getting in touch with the right person with a message that resonates with them.
Imagine recruiting for a business analyst in finance but emailing a data analyst in retail. Not only would you not get a response, but also you will waste your time following up with them. So, to write a personalized copy, you have to do your homework.
Researching the candidate is a two-fold win-win situation. It shows you care about them as a professional, and it also helps you target the right people for the job. Here is a quick email sample you can copy:
My name is [firstname lastname], and I am the CTO of [company name]. I recently came across the latest debugging feature you published on GitHub. It blew my mind! I am wondering if you would like to join our backend development team as <job title>? We are currently working on a similar project for a client of ours and think your experience might be an asset to us.
What do you think? It is a full-time remote position. Do get in touch.
2. Keep your copy simple, clear, and short
If you want your cold emails to fetch you results, you have to be clear and straightforward in your email. Leave out the jargon and unnecessary details.
While certain industry-specific words may be appropriate to use in a recruitment email (i.e., a double-entry bookkeeping specialist or a programmatic advertising consultant), keep the rest of the content as simple as possible.
Your job is to inform your potential candidates, not to impress them. They will be more convinced if you tell them everything they need to know about the opportunity in the first email. Telling them you are looking for a 'Data Overload' could get the email deleted.
In addition, no one has the time to read a lengthy email copy, especially if it is coming from a stranger. Get right to the point in your email. What are you hiring for? Is this a full-time job position or a contractual role? Is it location-based? What is the company name?
Incorporate answers to these essential functions in a crisp and short email, which could look something like this:
Hi <first name>,
My company, ABC Ltd, a project management software provider, is looking for developers in the Ontario area. It is a full-time job role. I noticed you have a background in <industry>. If this is something of interest to you, please go through the job description here.
Thanks, and looking forward to hearing from you.
Link the word "here" to the job vacancy page and let the potential candidate explore independently. Do not overwhelm them with too much information.
3. Take your subject lines seriously
Research shows that emails with custom subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. It does not matter if you have written a stellar email copy, but it is never opened. A catchy subject line is essential if you want your email to be read. Here is what to do:
- The shorter, the better: Keep your subject line copy short and crisp, as longer sentences will likely have the end cut off, especially if the email is being read on mobile. Any subject line between 2-6 words is ideal.
For instance, "New Data Scientist Opportunity In Toronto" is much better than "Click here for details on a new data scientist opportunity apt for you."
- Do not mislead: Adding an FWD: or RE: in your subject line can get your email opened. However, your potential candidates will be supremely annoyed when they read the actual email. In fact, they could flag you as spam and trash your email.
- Localize: If you are searching for talent in a specific city, it is worth including that tiny detail in your subject line. For instance, you could write something like, "B2B copywriter needed in Toronto." That boosts your email's credibility and increases your chances of engaging the potential candidates.
- Shared connections: If a potential candidate was referred to you by a mutual friend, please use their name in the subject line to drive familiarity and build trust. For instance, if you have a friend called Justin Theroux and the subject line says, "Justin Theroux said to get in touch," you are more inclined to click open the email.
In a nutshell, experiment with your subject lines and be honest about what you are looking for and are offering. You can also use emojis in your hiring process for a function like marketing or tech. A/B test potential subject lines and optimize them for best results.
4. Highly-focused CTA
As mentioned in the example shared in the point above, you must give a clear call-to-action (CTA). The whole point of cold email outreach is to accelerate communication with your potential candidates.
Once you have sorted your email copy and subject line, you have to show the email recipient exactly where to click to take action. A few top examples of CTAs include:
- You can read more about the job vacancy here [Link].
- Available for a 20 mins chat on Aug 12 at 11 am EDT?
- Book a 15 mins slot at your convenience to discuss the opportunity. Here is a link to my Calendly.
- If the job opportunity interests you, please email me your resume and portfolio to email@example.com. (Works if you connected with them via another email address or want to redirect them to the hiring manager.)
5. Leverage the power of visuals
Another way to ensure your email stands apart is to include a visual. This could be a photo of your office or team, a relatable GIF, or a short brand film about the company culture. Adding visual content featuring people raises the reliability factor of your company.
You could even have your hiring manager record a video explaining the roles and responsibilities, benefits and perks, and the overall work environment. This especially helps if you are recruiting for top-tier candidates, consultants, or the c-suite execs.
6. Make the most of your email signature
When writing a short yet crisp cold email, every word counts. As mentioned before, a long-winded introduction about your company is self-defeating.
And if your focus is on merely talking about the job opportunity and the CTA to take things forward, you are not left with much room to talk about anything else. That is where utilizing your email signature makes sense.
For starters, you can always identify yourself by including your name and job title along with your contact details (phone number, additional email ID, office address, and so on). Receiving an email from a clearly identified person can make the email sound more legit and personal.
You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile along with the company website URL. Just make sure you do not fill up the space with meaningless accreditation and award logos. Your signature has to be designed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and smaller in size.
7. Maintain your brand voice and tone
When it comes to writing recruiting emails, most people write as if they have a cardboard personality or are a robot. It does not have to be like that. You are a human being corresponding with another human being. Words should flow in your email as they flow when talking.
Sure, what you say in your email matters a lot, but how you say it is also vital. If you are a young and fresh startup in tech, use a conversational tone when communicating with future candidates. If you are a well-established MNC, be a little formal but not too much.
There is a world difference between "Dear Dr. Strange" and "Hey, Stephen." However, this also depends on who you are addressing. If it is a C-suite executive, you cannot go overboard with your informal tone and casual choice of words.
Either way, your entire email should reflect your brand if you want to attract and engage the correct type of candidate for your business.
8. Proofread your emails
If you make typos in your email, that is OK. After all, you are only human, and you cannot be expected to churn well-written and error-free emails every time. But when you are writing emails to potential candidates for your company, you cannot afford to be lax.
Typos in errors reflect poorly on you and your company. You must make sure that you have properly proofread the email before hitting the "Send" button. In addition, double-check all the personal details you have added to the copy and ensure they are relevant to the candidate.
No one wants to be confused for someone else, so you have to do your homework well. Proofreading is such a standard tip. However, it often gets overlooked. You can never be too confident about crafting a proper email.
9. Follow up promptly
Candidate communication is paramount. The longer you wait to send a critical follow-up email or application status update, the more time and space you allow for another company to swoop in and hire your candidate.
Therefore, keep your candidates' attention in your hands by being prompt with your emails. Make a point to follow up with or update the candidates every two days before logging out from work. Set a timescale for yourself that works for you.
The last thing you want is to have to blast an email to hundreds of candidates without any thought or personalization. So, be sure to time your first email and subsequent replies well.
Over to you
Writing the perfect cold recruitment email takes practice, and it may be a while till you get it right. Also, remember that rejection happens. Sometimes, the potential candidate will say NO outright. Sometimes, they will respond favorably to you and then go AWOL.
Do not feel dejected if you do not get a response even after following up with them a couple of times. Sometimes (and sadly), silence means NO. You need to take the art of writing emails seriously and give it your best possible shot. You will find your groove (and success) with it.