Lessons from 10,000 Recruiting Emails

August 13, 2015 at 9:30 AM by Rob Stevenson

When it comes to outbound recruiting, let's face it, email is king. Most of the companies we're speaking with these days are putting more emphasis on outbound messaging through email as a means to attract top talent.

That's why we built Entelo Track, an emailing tool to help recruiters monitor their candidates' engagement with their emails. Our customers have been loving it (they've sent over 80,000 emails so far!) and one of the main benefits of Track is learning what messages resonate with candidates. In the interest of learning best practices (without sharing confidential information), I took a sample of 10,000 emails sent with Entelo Track. Security measures prevent actual access to the email contents but we are able to produce high-level statistics such as open, reply, and link click rates. For the sake of improving your email efforts, I've included some of Entelo's own best performing subject lines.

Drumroll please.

Open Rates

If you're afraid people are sending your emails straight to archive, relax. Average open rates on emails sent by our most active users was north of 75%. In various cases of thoughtfully tailored templates, sent to a small number of people, open rates were consistently above 90%. Naturally, there will be some fluctuation here based on how recognizable your own brand is, how good of a subject line you crafted, and when you sent your email.


Reply Rates

In the cases of the highest response rates, users were sending out small amounts of emails with very hyper targeted templates. These consistently enjoyed reply rates above 50%. A handful of all-star users, who were a mix of team-specific pros (data engineers, UX designers, senior sales reps) as well as devoted recruiters making use of our Send On Behalf Of feature actually ended up having all of their emails replied to. When you're recruiting and literally everyone is replying to you (even if they're not interested in a role), you know you're doing something right!


Include Links

Click rate is definitely something worth tracking as it provides somewhat different data from reply rate. When our users include links in their emails, they have an average click rate of 18%. This provides valuable information to recruiters. Even if people don't reply to your email, you can give them some background on your company, and their click will provide some context which with to follow up. Your signature is the best place for links but if there's something specifically relevant to your recipient, drop it in the body. Links to your careers page, product pages, or recent press mentions are the best options here.

Don't Overthink the Subject Line

The subject line is a crucial part of your email, as it's often all your candidate will have to go on before they open. However, at Entelo we've found that the more simple the subject line, the better. Here's a few examples of some high performing subject lines we've used:

Entelo. (75% Open Rate)

That's right. Just the plain old name of your company. This one's vague enough to get people to want to learn more, and it's lack of context makes it a curveball to receive. Extra credit if you have a heavily recognizable brand.

Scaling an [insert team here]. Could I pick your brain a bit? (90% Open Rate)

This one is a great example of soft recruiting. The idea here is to simultaneously network and recruit –ask if the contact is interested in the role themselves, and if they're not, ask if they would be interested in discussing their views on what an ideal candidate would look like. You're more likely to get an engagement if you position yourself as merely looking for a good brain picking as opposed to plugging them in to a role.

On the flip side of the subject line coin, poorly performing subject lines were just as illuminating. We tried holiday specific subject lines, including things like "New Year's Resolutions", "Enjoying your long MLK Day Weekend?", among others. The open rates on these were not so good. The working theory here is that many brands send holiday specific marketing emails, and it's easy for your message to get lost in the mix.

What have been some of your successes when sending emails? Hit us up in the comments, and be sure to download your copy of our most popular eBook on how to increase your candidate response rates!


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