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Dear Candidate, I Love You

In Hiring Strategy — by Recruiterbox

Perfect_Recruiting_Email They’re in your sights and now it’s time to reel ’em in.

There is no better feeling for a recruiter than finding that perfect candidate (except maybe when they accept an offer). But sometimes that perfect person is working in some other office. How to get them to notice you?

Far from being dead, email is the perfect tool, so much so that there are entire books, blogs and articles written on the subject . You have to know how to construct a message that candidates will not only click on but to which they will actually respond. Whether you’re trying to reach a passive candidate, or someone who would jump at the opportunity, you need to put your best recruiter foot forward in order to establish your competence and professionalism .

Let’s assume you’re good enough at your job to know who a relevant candidate is, and to whom your position would be relevant. Now that that’s out of the way, in order to create an exciting and engaging message, you must use all of your resources to tailor the content to the candidate. You’ve poured resources and time into finding them, don’t send them a form letter!

Here are some pointers on creating the perfect recruiting email

The Subject Line

This is your one and only shot, the single most important line in the email. This is your chance to grab their attention and get them to click. Think about your own inbox. What makes you keep scrolling and what makes you click? Let these always be your first and last line of defense before hitting “send”.

Personalization is the key to getting the click. In fact, a poll by Adestra that found open rates increase by nearly 25% when the subject line is personalized. Take it one step further by adding a location, a referral name or anything to make the subject line more personal. If you are already addressing them by name, mentioning someone in their circle, and noting a nearby location of the position…you’re in. If you are tempted to put the job title (never a NUMBER!) in the subject line, consider how great the title is. If this person is in high demand “Software Developer II” isn’t going to impress.

The First Sentence

Many email programs allow for a little “preview” sentence or blurb. Don’t waste these important opportunities with “Hey there” or “To Whom It May Concern” type greetings. Use that extra space wisely to say something funny or different. Point out where you saw their profile or how you heard about their work. Make it about them instead of the job.

The Intro Paragraph

If they’ve gotten this far, you know that they have at least some level of curiosity. This is the opportunity to use what you’ve discovered in their resume and social media profiles to tailor this section specifically to what you know they are looking for in a position.

Here are some things to concentrate on:

Location: It’s not enough to say that there is a job opening in Eastern Nebraska, find out where they are, let them know where the position is. There’s a big difference between a job opening in “our midwest branch” and a job opening in “your hometown of Omaha”.

Perks: Find out what they look for in a company . Use a combination of their profiles and resume to hit on exactly what they are looking for in comparison to what this company can offer them. Mention awards they’ve won, unique company benefits and how your organization may compare and contrast with what they’ve experienced before.

Company Culture Specifics: Have you noticed any parallels between the company culture and the candidate? A common bar, a sport or physical activity, an emphasis on family or going out? Use any parallel you can muster to help the candidate see themselves in the company culture . Use your current ideal employees to do this. How will this new person fit in?

The Body

Here you’re going to give them the low down on the position and the company. Based on what you’ve learned from their resume, this position would be a natural progression to their career (otherwise, you probably shouldn’t be wasting their and your time), so help them to see that progression through the job description.

  • How is this position better than their current position?
  • How can this position make them more attractive in today’s job market?
  • What can they learn from working at your company?
  • Where is the company going?

Appeal to their interests and qualifications. In the same way that two different people with the same job have different ways of doing things, a job description can be written to appeal to a certain type of person. By doing your research, crafting the description in a more engaging manner is sure to generate interest. Again, focus on their body of work and why the company is interested in it.

The Call to Action

Like what you see? Well, maybe don’t put it that way, but make your expectations at this point known. Now is not the time to play coy. In this economy, no one has time for it and many in the emerging workforce see it as disingenuous. Clearly outline the next steps. In an introductory email, tell them that you will be following up with a phone call. If they are a great fit but don’t seem particularly social, put the ball in their court but with a clear deadline (i.e. “I would love to have you speak directly with our CTO by the end of next week if possible.”

Other options (and sorry to sound like a broken record but your research into the client should give you a good idea of which would be the best approach) are: If they would like to chat about the position, let them know who you are, how to reach you and what times work best. How do they set up an interview? Where can they go online to do their own research on the position and company?

If you can, and the email isn’t too long, give them some links to check out and have as socially forward an email signature as possible so they can become comfortable with you and your comapny online.

The Sign Off

This is probably considered the least important but it’s actually the last thing the candidate will see so make it good. Include a hyperlink to your direct email, your cell phone number and an alternative phone number that does not include an extension (everyone hates extensions). Ideally, have a number forwarded that they can click in the body of the email to call you (Check out Google Voice and Skype for options).

Your closing line really depends on what you want to convey:

Cheers = Casual, friendly

Cordially = Formal but wants to be perceived as casual

Sincerely = Boring but acceptable

Very Truly Yours = Way too personal

Thanks = Curt but businesslike

Thanking you in advance = Presumptuous but optimistic

So what did we miss? Any perfect email tips you’d add? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

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