4 Ways To Cut Through The Noise And Get Your Email Read By Candidates

January 7, 2020 at 11:23 AM by Grace Newman

Ceritifcation Programs (3)We are all aware of the state of today’s talent market - that it is, in fact, a candidate’s market. Because there are more jobs than candidates to fill them, employers are left to compete over the same talent. This, in turn, means candidates are inundated with similar-sounding recruiting emails that more often than not, are doomed to the ‘mark unread’ button.

So how do you make your email stand out against the noise? We’ve put together four simple strategies you can apply today to get in front of your top notch candidates with the right message at the right time. 

Subject Line Personalization

Just like a dusty book cover, people will judge your email by your subject line. You only have about 60 characters to make your email shine, so choose carefully! 

There’s been a lot of analysis conducted over the last few years to uncover the secret sauce for a click-worthy subject line. Here’s what has consistently proven to work:

  • Questions: In general, questions are more engaging than statements and this holds true for subject lines. You can try something as simple as “Free for coffee on Tuesday?”
  • First Names: Addressing your candidate by their first name can increase your open rate by 26%. “John, coffee on Tuesday?”
  • Short and Sweet: The shorter, the better. Subject lines of 4-15 characters receive open rates of about 15% on average compared to open rates of 10% for subject lines with 50 characters or more. “John, coffee?”


Timing, Timing, Timing

Like many things in life, the success of your recruiting email often comes down to timing. There’s many theories circulating around the web about the best time of day to send recruiting emails - some say morning or afternoon while candidates are at work and checking their email, others say evening when they are not tied up in meetings and projects. 

The truth is you will have to do some testing and experimenting of your own to find out what time of day performs best for your specific candidate pool. The good news is there are a number of outreach tools that give you smart suggestions as a starting point, so you are not just shooting in the dark.

What about the best time of year for recruiting outreach? According to our research, people prefer to stay with their current employer for 12-month increments and are much more likely to leave their job close to a work anniversary. If a candidate has just hit a work anniversary, or is quickly approaching one, it’s time to hit them with the recruiting messages. 

We can also read into a candidate’s activity in order to find a good time to reach out. Have they recently made updates to their personal or professional website? Are they adding skills or refreshing job descriptions? If you notice this kind of activity, it’s likely your candidate is at least thinking about external job opportunities and is in the right mindset for a conversation with a recruiter. 


Follow-Up Is Key

Didn’t get the timing right with the first email? Give it another shot! Recruiters who send follow up emails receive 50% more replies overall than recruiters who don’t.

Rather than repeat your first message verbatim, it’s better to keep this second message short and sweet. If the ask in your first email was open-ended, be more specific in the follow up: Are you free this Thursday for a quick phone call? Here are some templates for follow-up emails you can use.

Sound time consuming? Many sourcing outreach tools offer some sort of follow-up automation so that you can schedule your follow-up with the first email. 


Track, Analyze, and Collaborate

You can’t get better if you don’t track your email metrics. Your open, click, and reply rates give you a lot of information on the success of your email - and where your messaging needs improvement. 

While testing out different approaches with your emails, you’ll more than likely stumble upon something that really works. Share this with your team! The more people who test out your strategy, the bigger the sample size, and the more ‘tried and true’ it is. Don’t have a team? There are plenty of online communities and forums to lean on for knowledge-sharing - we recommend Recruiting Blog’s lively discussion board and the #RecruitingInnovators slack channel.


Want to improve your recruiting strategy even further? Learn how to gamify recruiting and gain globally-recognized recruiting certifications.