Cold recruiting is no walk in the park. The candidates your organization wants to hire are already being contacted by other companies, while many are being bombarded by agencies and contracted recruiters. What’s more, 63% of job seekers will reject offers after a poor candidate experience, making it doubly important that your recruiting communications engage and nurture talent.
With all of the hullabaloo that candidates experience, how can your hiring team stand out among a sea of endless emails and cold calls?
The answer: writing great recruiting emails. With the right approach in place, your hiring team can begin optimizing your recruiting email efforts to nurture and convert top candidates in your talent pool. That’s why we’ve broken down 10 essential tips your team can use, starting with the next recruiting email you send.
Before we dive in, take a look at the 7 email nurture templates our own recruiters use to engage candidates. You can copy and paste them, then customize them for each candidate you connect with!
Why should you be nurturing candidates using email outreach?
A well-crafted recruiting email draws the candidate in and builds their curiosity around an open role.
However, email nurturing isn’t a one-and-done initiative. That’s why writing great recruiting emails is an important step in your hiring process, especially as you engage candidates in your recruiting funnel.
The most difficult step in the process is ensuring your emails and messaging are differentiated enough to stand out from the pack and elicit a response from the top talent you’ve sourced. Our 10 essential tips will help you do just that. Let’s get started!
Start by doing your research
You first have to understand the candidates you’re sourcing and build your own pipeline of top talent. Otherwise, your outreach simply adds to the recruiting noise from competition around you rather than standing out among it.
To ensure your emails reach the right candidates and you’re nurturing the best talent for the job, source and build your candidate pipeline and talent pool first. Knowing who you’re nurturing and engaging allows for more meaningful communication and relationships with candidates.
Create a replicable, customizable outline
Most recruiting cold emails are notorious for being cookie-cutter, based on templates where few parameters change aside from a candidate’s name and the name or title of the recruiter sending them. You’ll need a template you can replicate and customize so that your outreach is unique, relevant, and personalized.
Don’t use your email outline as a generic template but instead leverage it as a jumping-off point that you and your fellow recruiters can use to customize and personalize outreach with structure. This will help ensure your outreach matches your company’s tone and voice while hitting all objectives of your outreach.
Write compelling subject lines that lead to more opens
Your email could be the next great American novel, but without the right subject line, it may never be read. That’s because subject lines are pivotal to capturing a recipient’s attention among the slew of other emails in their inbox.
Consider that, while 64% of people will open an email based on its subject line, 69% will mark an email as spam based on the subject line, too.
When it comes to recruitment emails, the lift to creating a stellar, compelling subject line that drives higher open rates is even more challenging. The average open rate of recruitment emails is around 21%, which is impressive, but how can you create subject lines that have similar open rates?
Here are a few email subject line best practices you can use when writing great recruiting emails:
- Keep your subject lines to 60 characters or less
- Opt for clarity over cleverness
- Personalize your subject lines
Factor in all of the pertinent details
As most cold outreach emails are generated automatically from a template or a third-party tool, they can miss relevant information that candidates need to make a decision on whether they respond to your email. In this sense, you should think of your recruiting emails as an elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a brief summary about the role and your company, and is a great tactic to use in providing all of the pertinent details candidates will look for in great recruiting emails. When approaching your emails as elevator pitches, consider these quick tips:
- Make sure your email is easy to read—this means avoiding jargon or other confusing, ambiguous language. Think about how you’d describe the role to a colleague in an elevator!
- Offer only the most relevant or pertinent information—don’t get bogged down in the small details you could cover in a call or 1:1 interview.
- Provide clear direction to the candidate—what should they do once they’ve read your email? What next steps should they take?
Personalize your messaging (every time)
Based on the research you do, you should have enough information about a candidate to personalize your outreach. And this step is crucial given how many recruiters top candidates are likely to hear from!
A few quick personalization tips to deploy:
- Address candidates by name (avoid generic greetings like “Hi there”)
- Mention at the outset of your email where or how you found them
- State your pitch for why you’re reaching out, and how the candidate would benefit from the role
Personalizing your recruiting outreach benefits both the candidate and your company. When you show that you know who a candidate is and have taken the time to tailor your communications to them, it aids your employer brand while signaling to the candidate that they’ll likely have a positive recruitment experience with your company.
Always have a clear CTA
Keep in mind that, when doing cold outreach, a candidate likely doesn’t know who you are, what your company does, or why you’re hiring. Without any clear action or takeaway, recruiting emails can be confusing or ambiguous.
Email CTAs aim to drive people to take action by learning more about something. However, where recruiting emails often fall short with CTAs is asking a candidate to do too much.
To craft a compelling CTA, try the following:
- Use only one call-to-action as your ‘ask’
- Make your CTA very clear and concise
- Make your CTA as easy as possible to follow
Leverage your email signature
As a recruiter, you already know how effective it can be to provide the most pertinent information to candidates about yourself and your company. But a long-winded introduction in your emails isn’t the way to go. Instead, turn to your email signature.
Think of your signature as your calling card; it’s a crucial addition to your email but, more than that, it’s an opportunity to expand on your company’s story and employer brand with just a few words.
Consider using your email signature to link out to a dedicated Careers or About page to give candidates the option to learn more about your company.
Use social media to connect with candidates
Consider how you can bolster your recruiting emails and outreach using a multi-touch approach. Marketers do this all the time with campaigns, where they leverage select channels to create multiple touchpoints with customers. It’s easy to use the same approach for your recruiting outreach, too—and you can start with social media.
LinkedIn is most likely the platform you’ll use to connect with a candidate during outreach, and it’s a great way to follow up on your recruiting email. But you want to be careful with how you use channels like this! If you’re too spammy or consistently message job seekers, it’s a surefire way to get candidates to ghost your recruiting team.
Have a follow-up or nurture process in place
Getting a response to a cold email can be challenging—especially when candidates receive plenty of cold recruiting emails each week! However, sending just one email is rarely enough to capture a candidate’s attention or get a response. This is where a follow-up strategy is crucial. From a recruitment perspective, you can think of this as a nurture campaign.
Your nurture campaign should include a plan or overview as to how you’ll keep the communication going with a candidate, whether or not they respond to your first touchpoint. With your nurture campaign, you can have a few email outlines at the ready to customize and personalize. You can then send these emails out as touchpoints based on when you’d like to follow up.
Measure the results of your outreach
Outreach and communication are a large part of any hiring process, but when it comes to the initial stages of connecting with candidates, knowing how your outreach is impacting your hiring funnel is key. After all, you want to focus your efforts on the initiatives that drive the most results, but how do you know what’s truly working if you don’t measure those efforts?
To better track the impact your outreach is having (like those recruiting cold emails or LinkedIn messages you send), focus on specific recruiting metrics you can tie back to your outreach efforts. In particular, you’ll want to look at metrics like:
- Source of hire
- Offer acceptance rate
Among the metrics you track, you’ll also want to consider data that shows you how long roles are kept open, the status of each role by posting, and conversion-to-offer data. Measuring this data can help you better understand whether your initial outreach and communications are helping to nurture and engage the candidates you want to hire.
Nurture candidates the right way with effective recruiting outreach
Today’s modern recruiter has a lot to contend with—including nurturing genuine relationships with top candidates to convert them from applicant to new hire. But how, exactly, do you create recruitment outreach that converts?
In our eBook, “Recruiting Outreach That Converts,” you’ll learn everything you need to know about developing and optimizing email outreach that captures candidates’ attention and converts them