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Top 10 Ways to Optimize Responses to your Recruiting Emails

Top 10 Ways to Optimize Responses to your Recruiting Emails

By: John Rossheim

How can you get the most from your recruiting emails? 

An “e-blast” is sufficient if you’re communicating a simple message to a homogeneous audience that already knows your company and will automatically listen to what you have to say. But if your recruiting encompasses diverse talent in numerous niches who are, by and large, satisfied with their employment situations, your email campaign must be much more carefully thought out. 

Here are our 10 top ways to get the most – and best – responses to your one-to-many recruiting emails.
Use email where it's most effective in the recruitment process. Custom recruiting emails may seem anachronistic compared to social media, or too impersonal for gauging the interpersonal – but they can still play a critical role in recruitment strategies. 

"For the initial contact with a candidate, email can be more effective than phone or social channels," says Sarah Brennan, president of human capital consulting firm Accelir. "Candidates don’t spend as much time on social media as recruiters do."
Exploit semantic search to reach ideal candidates. Like any scheme to find candidates, an email recruitment strategy is only as good as its distribution list. 

"We used Monster Talent CRM to reach anyone with 'catering' on their resume around Steubenville, Pa., with a personalized email," says Tony Panaiia, director of recruitment with Parkhurst Dining. "There was significant response out of the gate with many perfect fits."  
Targeted email messages are key to recruiting passive candidates. In an employee's labor market , push communications such as email are a sourcing necessity. "Talent CRM allowed me to target candidates who were not necessarily searching job boards all day every day," says Karyn Manifold, a senior HR generalist at Stewart Tubular Products in Houston. "We launched a campaign with location filtering and sent messages to 100 candidates. My open rate was 88 percent with a click rate of 24 percent."
Make the subject line count. How many times a day do you delete an email because its subject line doesn't quickly tell you what's inside, without annoying hype? Probably quite a few. 

"Some recruiters do much better than others” with composing effective subject lines, says Andrew Fercu, product manager for Monster Talent CRM. Good subject lines can earn many times more email opens than poor ones.
Specific messaging helps you shine through the clutter. Quality candidates want to cut to the chase, so follow up on that well-executed subject line with an informative and upbeat message in the body of the email. 

"With LinkedIn, people are getting so many InMail messages that they stop paying attention," says Brennan. "It can't be just, 'Hey, we're hiring!' Instead, talk about the specific skills you need and the roles you're filling."
Strike the right tone and show candidates the way to apply. Voice, word choice and clarity are critical to attracting successful candidates. "Don't use job description speak," says Brennan. "Do market the opportunity to candidates, but without sounding sales-ish. Make sure you include a clear and easy-to-follow call to action.” Ask a few candidates who you’ve placed successfully what messages work for them and what don’t.
Picture your email on a mobile. What does it mean to create an email that will play well on smartphones? Write short and sharp. “Most people view a message on their mobile device first, then again on their laptop or desktop at work,” says Darren McDougal, a managing director at Next Level Marketing Communications, which specializes in the recruitment industry.
Follow up, follow up, and then follow up. Why do professionals often respond to a second email when they ignored the first? We don't know all the reasons, but experience shows that polite follow-up often works – if it's persistent yet not insistent. “Five-day and 10-day follow-up messages help open rates so much, but a lot of people don’t take advantage of them,” says Paul MacGillivray, a client trainer at Monster.
Mind your mail metrics. It's not just about how many of your recruiting emails are opened; several other key measures can be even more telling. Brennan advises HR managers and recruiters to track three metrics: how many recruitment email recipients respond, how many of them give referrals to other potential candidates, and how many candidates sourced through an email campaign ultimately have a face-to-face interview.