recruiting hacks


We’ve heard some stories recently of recruiting teams not even having phones on their desks anymore. Dumping your phone is not this week’s recruiting hack. In fact, we still believe that picking up the phone and calling candidates remains the best way to get candidates’ attention. However, we can’t ignore that email has become an effective tool. The operative word here is “effective”.

In that vein, we’ve written about “crafting the killer subject line for recruiting emails” but what about writing content that really gets candidates to engage? Well, we’ve got some tips. Here are our tips for writing a recruiting email that will actually get candidates to respond.

Just because you hear a lot about personalization, doesn’t mean that it should be viewed as cliche. You’re hearing about it because personalizing emails works. Take it seriously and you will dramatically increase your response rates, referrals and ultimately your candidate database. Personalization shows that you’ve taken an interest and the time to be thoughtful. People respond to thoughtfulness.

Quick ideas:
In order to stand out from the hundreds of emails potential job candidates receive yearly, you have to be creative. What’s one trick that you can use that most people are overlooking? Find something a prospect’s LinkedIn profile that you can relate to. For example, we use specific references to popular places located at or near where the candidate went to school.

Recently, we reached out to someone that had gone to Purdue. Our subject line was: “Newton – way better than the free popcorn at Harry’s”. Harry’s is a famous bar on Purdue’s campus. Our subject line caught his attention. In the body of the email we explained how a member of our team lived on Harry’s popcorn one weekend. Not only did the person get back to us, he ended interviewing with us.

Listen to stories from people that have been on the other end recruiting emails and they will tell you that the most annoying email is one from recruiters that clearly don’t pay attention what they do. Just like cold calls, the “spray and pray” methodology doesn’t work anymore (did it ever?). Think about how your pitch relates to something relevant to the candidate’s skills and experience. This takes personalization to the next step.

Quick Ideas:
Scan the person’s LinkedIn profile or resume to identify relevant experience to key in on that relates back to the job you are trying to fill. Summarize their work experience in 3-5 sentences and relate it back to the job you’re recruiting for.

This summer we were looking for a marketing manager with an understanding of how the sales and alliances functions work. We wanted someone that had worked in a SaaS start-up environment too. When we reached out to candidates via email, we wrote a couple of sentences that summarized their experiences instead of just sharing a job description. Guess what? People responded. They saw themselves described in our email. Go figure.

When you send an email that asks someone to invest time (scheduling a call, preparing a resume,etc), you want to make sure you build in an element of social proof. If you’re asking someone to take a chance on you and your employment brand, instill confidence by referencing influential attributes like key executives, successful recent hires, people your prospect may know, former classmates, etc.

Quick ideas:
Prospective candidates are more likely to engage with you if they know that people like them and / or other credible people have joined your company.

Our Fort Collins engineering team continues to grow rapidly. We’ve managed to attract talented engineers that have worked for a larger employer in town. Now, when we send recruiting emails to prospective hires, we reference that we’ve built a team from some of the area’s best known employers. This is an example of social proof that creates credibility.


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