Why Your Email Recruiting Outreach Doesn’t Work

As the years go by, I find that email becomes less and less of a useful tool for me, and I’m not alone. While it’s true that we all still use email at work, we’ve also moved many of those conversations that once took place in email to other platforms. From texting to Gchat to Facebook Messenger to SnapChat, the way we’re communicating is changing every day. With many of our conversations moving to social platforms and mobile phones, we’ve changed the way we work, engage and search for jobs. Our conversations are more of an interactive experience than an exchange of monologues, our attention spans have been shortened and we’ve come to expect that the information we need will be right at our fingertips.

Why Don’t Recruiting Emails to Candidates Work?

Of course, each platform has its benefits and drawbacks. For instance, most of us will never use SnapChat for serious business conversations or Facebook Messenger to ask the CEO a question. This means that while many of our conversations are happening outside our inboxes, email will still be a viable communication resource in the future. The problem is that in it’s current state, email isn’t effective in recruiting and hiring.

Recruiting emails to candidates don’t work for a lot reasons. Moving forward, our email communications must reflect the way our candidates are communicating in the other parts of their lives. Take a look at these five tips for improving your response rate and engagement level with email.

Keep it simple

A long, drawn-out email won’t do anymore. People don’t have the time or attention span to read a five-paragraph message, so keep your email short, sweet and to the point. You can expound upon your points later and create an interactive conversation.

Spell things out

People are mobile, so draft your message accordingly and spell things out. Give them what they need right there in the email. For instance, write out location addresses of where your candidates are traveling to in the email rather than linking to a map so they can copy the address into their Google or Apple maps for directions and routing. Think of how you use your mobile phone and use that to guide your decisions.

Use your real email address

No one likes being asked to interview, only to later receive a generic thank you email that says it’s from “do not reply.” People like connecting with people, so use your actual, real email address as a test for 60 days. I guarantee it’s not as time consuming as you might think and will lead to better results.

Do your research

When you’re sending a candidate interest email, do your research and customize the email uniquely to the person. They are more likely to respond to a custom message that grabs their attention, especially in a job market where the candidate is in the driver’s seat. Don’t sent a blind mass email to 75 candidates and then be frustrated when no one responded to your canned message. Candidates are human beings who want to feel special not like cattle being herded to your job opening.

The reason engineers are leaving LinkedIn is due to the mass messages, de-personalized and spamtastic InMails that are sent to them 5-10 times a day. Do your research not just about the candidate but also work to really understand what the job requirements are. Anyone can do recruiting but being successful at recruiting requires good relationships, moving faster and most importantly doing the work.

Provide information

Attach links to additional resources and information your candidate or target job seeker might be interested in, but briefly summarize as well since no one wants an email that’s just full of links. You can also make your email stand out by providing them with access to a welcome video or a candidate packet that includes information about work hours, locations and benefit offerings.

There is no magic formula for great emails, but I can tell you that emails are still an effective way to reach job seekers. Job alerts in the job board as well as corporate career sites are an effective candidate and website traffic driver. That’s because these messages are controlled and personalized by the candidate and not the recruiter.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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