How To

3 Expert Recruiting Emails For Powerful Candidate Outreach

Recruiting emails.

We can’t live with ‘em, we can’t live without ‘em.

In fact, email marketing is considered to be around 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined, so if you’re not already friends with it, read on.

We all know that personalization is one of the key ways to engage with potential candidates. The truth is, we often don’t have time to highly personalize emails for the hundreds (or thousands!) of people across the country that we are reaching out to.

But over the last year, we’ve discovered that there are some recruiting email techniques that work far better than others. And no, we’re not talking about misspelled subject lines or WRITING IN ALL CAPS or funny GIFs.

We’re talking about getting inside the mind of our perfect candidate, connecting with what’s important to them, and showing them we care. Without having to do extensive research about every single one of them.

Here’s what we found.

If we:

  • Make the outreach about the job and its value to the candidate
  • Be clear and transparent about what someone will get out the position
  • Carefully tailor it to the kind of person we want to apply,

…we got the kinds of candidates we were looking for.

And not just some. Many.

CASE STUDY: Payroll Services Representative, Entry Level

We were looking for several people to fill a payroll position. And although the position was an early career role, candidates still needed to have at least some experience in a professional setting.

During the intake process, we carefully followed our intake checklist to uncover the key priorities around which we crafted our emails:

  • Flexibility
  • Process Orientated
  • Team Player
  • Detailed Oriented

Here’s where candidate persona becomes important.

Understanding the wants, experience, and personality of your candidate is what creates the persona. They are a research-driven profile of who you are hoping to attract. We’ll dive more deeply into this rabbit hole in our next post.

We knew this person would likely be a millennial or recent graduate, so we put our research hats on, and consulted a number of surveys exploring the motivations and mindsets of this group of candidates. Essentially, we built a psychological profile on the talent pool.

What did we discover? According to a recent Accenture study, only 14% of new grads want to work for a big company; however, they’re excited about access to top leaders and training, great team experiences and opportunities to advance.

The Hiring Manager told us that one of their best hires for this position had no payroll experience at all — but great communication skills were a must, as well as an easy rapport with people.

Therefore, we:

  • Emphasized the importance of strong communication and connection
  • Adopted a tone appropriate to new or recent graduates
  • Emphasized student loan repayment & benefits.


recruitment emails
recruitment emails 2
recruitment emails 3
You’d be shocked at how many people responded to this third email – even just to apologize and say they weren’t interested.

Here’s why:

  • We were honest
    Hey, no one loves getting three emails about the same thing when they’re not interested. But acknowledging that we are being persistent, that they’re busy or that they’re maybe just not interested humanizes us. We’re just trying to connect you with a great opportunity. Can you blame us?
  • We were helpful from the outset
    “We want to make sure we are reaching out to the right person – if it’s not you, just let us know!” Responses to this have been everything from “Please, I don’t need a new job,” to “You’re right! I’m busy! And I want a new job that means I’ll have time to actually respond to emails!” Interestingly, people have never been rude when responding to this one.
  • We were charming and disarming
    Using straight talk or humor to connect helps people see us more as a friend and less as a spambot. Those three points are infinitely customizable. We’ve said “You have been crime fighting while swinging from spiderwebs around NYC and haven’t had time to get back to us,” or “Your life is perfect and you don’t want to change a single piece of it,” and had both humorous and heartfelt responses.


So what did these emails achieve? With just these few additions and attentions to detail, we moved our open rate 21% higher from the average cold recruiting email open rate  – with a 5% positive response rate.

More importantly, the responses we received included:

“Thank you for contacting me. I would be interested in learning more. I am available after 330PM MST, M-F.”

“I apologize for my late reply. I have been busy…I would be interested in talking with you. My phone number is…”

“Thank you for reaching out to me about the payroll position. I am available to discuss it further tomorrow and Tuesday after 11:00am MST…I look forward to hearing from you!”

“I would love to have a conversation with you about the opportunity and see if it fits. I am available Friday after 3pm this week.”

The responses were warm, engaged and…personal.


Ready to Write Your Own Killer Cold Outreach Emails?

Here’s a free download of 25 subject lines you can use
to double your candidate response rates.



No Newer Articles