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Ask the Sourcing Squad: 3 Quick Tricks for Cold Recruiting Emails

Cold recruiting emails just aren’t your thing, right? You do all you can to make them stand out, and candidates just won’t respond. It’s time to accept that other recruiting tactics - referrals, inbound applicants, and meeting candidates at events - are more rewarding methods for you than sourcing. Right? 

Wrong. There’s a way to send cold recruiting emails that candidates actually respond to.

Last year, Founder and CEO of Social Talent Johnny Campbell shared eight of his best cold recruiting email tricks with us. Then, this week, we asked five members of our Sourcing Squad to share three of their best strategies. Do the math, and you'll see that you can walk away from this post with more than 20 new cold recruiting email tips - and ideally, a new mindset. The truth is: you can engage candidates even if they’ve never heard from you before.

Take a look at what our Sourcing Squad had to say: 

Chris Shaw, Head of Talent, Meteor 

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  1. Be someone else.  Send as an engineer.  Send as a manager.  Send as a founder.  Get their permission first so they know what you're up to.  It's their reputation you're representing.  You can do this with a couple of clicks within Lever. 
  2. Keep in mind how much runway you have.  Your target audience will see about 20 words before they need to make a decision on whether to open your email or trash it.  That runway consists of your subject line and the preview.  Test out your email templates on your personal email so you can see what they will see.  That should help you decide if your recipient is getting enough information to warrant opening your email.  Hint: Try something personalized, like something they recently blogged or tweeted about. 
  3. Try some flattery.  If you've done some research on their social media or their open source projects or their blogs, use it!  Talk about what grabbed you and why.  Also try connecting something they are passionate about to your company or to the job you want them to consider. 

Stacy Donovan Zapar, Founder, Tenfold

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  • Keep it short & sweet. The longer the message, the more it looks like a copy & pasted template and those are easy to ignore and delete. 
  • Make the message about them and their career, not you and your req.
  • Don't try to sell the company or even the job in the initial outreach email. Just get them to talk to you.

Amy Cherette, Technical Recruiter, Lever

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  • Send on behalf of the hiring manager, co-founder or someone that works in the space/role that you’re reaching out to the candidate for.
  • Keep it short -- if a candidate opens a cold email to paragraph after paragraph, chances are it’s a delete. Links to more information is much better than in the body of the email.
  • Always follow up, but again, keep it short and noncommittal. Add another touchpoint that comes from another person in the company in the thread. That way two different people have now contacted the candidate and they are more likely to feel a little rude if they now have ignored two people.

Stan Rolfe, Lead Talent Scout, HealthEngine

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  • Personalise the email to demonstrate you've done your research. Refer to current and past companies or achievements. Lever Nuture is an awesome feature for this.
  • Follow up. I've increased my response rate by over 50% with a follow up email. People get busy, and they don't mind the follow up email, just dont be pushy.
  • Tone is important. Here at HealthEngine we try and portray a more exciting, relaxed, and fun tone in our email correspodance. The feedback from candidates is overwhelmingly positive.

Jeremy Langhans, Co-founder & Prinicipal Growth Hacker, Paired Sourcing, LLC 

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  • Be pithy
  • Be short enough to pass the 1 swipe rule on mobile
  • Use a call to action

Chris Long, Program Resource Manager, Transport for NSW

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  • Focus on the subject line: It should be something that asks a question or grabs attention. 
  • Learn about Spam Filters: Spam Filters judge each individual email on a number of criteria, and then add them up to determine a "spam score". That spam score is used to determine whether or not an email should be delivered to your recipients inbox or not. 
  • Keep it personal: Your emails need to seem personal, even if they're not. Avoid sending out emails that look like impersonal mass spam, by pulling in unique details about each candidate you are reaching out to.

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We decided to create this blog series because we know there’s no such thing as an overload of sourcing tips. Creativity is essential when you’re reaching out to candidates for the first time, and so our goal is to give you a pool of fresh ideas to dip into whenever you need.

Speaking of creativity, did you miss our last ‘Ask the Sourcing Squad’ post? You’ll get a kick out of our squad’s most creative sourcing email subject lines here.

Further reading

Ask the Sourcing Squad: Your Favorite Sourcing Tools

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Ask the Sourcing Squad: Your Most Creative Email Subject Line

After unwinding beneath the sun this Fourth of July, we’re excited to share that our minds are refreshed and the creative juices are flowing. Unsurprisingly, our Sourcing Squad is no different. This week, they’re inspiring us - and making ...

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4 Essential Takeaways from our Sourcing Soiree in San Francisco

On Wednesday - the longest day of the year and the first day of summer - we celebrated at Lever headquarters. First, we stuffed ourselves with spoonfuls of Humphrey Slocombe, an LGBTQ vendor, in honor of Pride Month. Then, we had the main ...

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