16 Ways to Write a Recruitment Email

Did you know that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than other forms of communication? Why? It’s the preferred method of communication in the Digital Age, so use a recruitment email to contact each of your candidates.

But aren’t phone calls more personable? Not since the advent of phone scammers! Nobody likes receiving calls or texts from unknown numbers.

Honestly, do you pick up the phone or text back when you’re unsure who’s on the other end of the line? The same holds true for candidates you’re reaching out to. Read on for 16 tips that’ll help you write recruiting emails that get results.

1. Write Naturally

When writing a recruitment letter, don’t sound like a spammer. Avoid stilted, formal communications in favor of a conversational, business-casual tone.

What do I mean by tone? Tone in writing is defined as “the writer’s attitude toward the reader and the subject of the message. The overall tone of a written message affects the reader just as one’s tone of voice affects the listener in everyday exchanges.”

Here are some general writing rules to keep in mind that can affect tone:

  • write with confidence
  • be authentic and sincere
  • use an active voice
  • be friendly but professional
  • remain courteous to cultural differences
  • avoid offensive or informal language

You want to communicate professionalism while putting your reader at ease. Your email should be organized in an easy-to-recognize format with a clear beginning, middle, and end. And the tone should communicate both approachability and readability.

2. Beware of Awkward Wording

Why can emails to potential employees sound so awkward? Because the writer has chosen poorly worded recruiting email examples to follow. Or, they’ve confused professionalism with too much formality.

While certain sample email templates might be a great place to start, make sure your vocabulary, language, and tone fit the personality of your company.

Remember, you want the individuals you contact to respond to you. That means, your tone should feel welcoming and friendly, not cold and detached. Don’t bore or mortify them with uptight writing.

3. Stop Trying to Impress

Besides trying to impress potential candidates by sounding aloof and verbose, avoid exaggerations and embellishments of the truth. Stay away from gimmicks and attempts to look cool, too. This isn’t a high school popularity contest.

There’s nothing more annoying than a conversation with someone who’s actively trying to impress you. Well, except for reading an email by someone attempting to do the same thing. So nip “impressiveness” in the bud and go for authentic, sincere communications.

Remember, the whole point of your email is to reach out and build a relationship with a potential candidate. You can’t do that when you’re trying too hard. So, think of your recruiting email templates as relationship (rather than conversation) starters.

Put another way, “humans are relational beings. We crave connection and seek it out with every action.” When you learn how to connect instead of impress, you’ll always get a response.

4. Use Your One Shot Wisely

When it comes to communicating with candidates, one email may be all that you get. So, you need to make sure that you dedicate serious time writing and editing. And before the writing EVEN starts, you’ve got some serious research to do.

Writing an effective recruitment email means doing your homework. Research the candidates you’re considering reaching out to carefully. Only then should you draft the first version of your recruiting email template.

What next? Pass it around the office for a few colleagues to review. It’s amazing what a second pair of eyes will catch.

Let your proofreaders know in advance that you’re going for a professional yet approachable feel. That way, when they catch stilted or overly formal language, they’ll be sure to point it out. You can fix it ASAP and move further down the road to an awesome recruiting message.

5. Build on Effective Research

As you’re researching individuals to approach with a recruiting email, don’t stop at a simple query on your database. Take advantage of the internet and all of its resources during your quest to find candidates:

  • GitHub
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • beBee
  • Alignable and etc.

While wading through potential candidates, take notes about their work history and how it does (or does not) relate to your current job offering. Explore their past projects looking for skills and talents specifically suited to the vacancy you’re trying to fill. Finally, make observations about how each candidate’s skills and goals relate to your company’s culture and ambitions.

6. Make Your Subject Line Irresistible

Subject lines mean everything when it comes to getting a respondent to click on your email and read it. Don’t try to be gimmicky or cool. Instead, the best way to grab their attention is by keeping your communications simple and straightforward.

The subject line should succinctly state your intention for contacting them. Don’t try to cram too much information into this one, though.

Instead, make it clear you’re offering a job with your company. If they’re interested in learning more, they’ll open it and read on. It’s that simple.

7. Get to the Point

Once they’ve opened your email, you have their attention. But that doesn’t mean this is the time to get wordy. When a reader opens your email you have a matter of 20 to 30 seconds to grab their attention and keep it.

How do you do this? You need to make two things clear.

First, let them know why you’re contacting them. Second, make it clear why they should care.

8. Customize Each Email

Remember the research you did back in step 5? Here’s where you want to let it shine by customizing the heck out of your first paragraph. Start off by letting the candidate know how you found them and then mention the project or position that caught your attention.

Why does this work? First, it lets a candidate know that you’ve taken serious time to craft your email, and it’s not some template ripped off a website. Second, it’s compelling reading because it’s about them.

9. Show You’re Legit

Now that your reader understands that you’ve done your research, it’s time to briefly introduce yourself and your company. Don’t get melodramatic or weird here. Again, think simple and straightforward as you compose this section of your email.

Don’t try to sell yourself. Instead, keep it concise.

Your main point here should be to explain why working together makes sense. One of the most persuasive ways to do this is by painting your reader into the future or your company with attractive, yet broad, brushstrokes.

You don’t need to be a fortune teller, here, and you don’t need to go crazy with details. In fact, avoid making false promises like the plague, but do offer possibilities. The point here is simply to make your reader envision their ambitions aligned with those of your company.

10. Suggest Next Steps

What do you want the candidate to do after reading your email? Don’t assume they’ll read your mind and know how to proceed. Instead, outline the steps you’d like them to take next.

According to Forbes, “The most important thing to remember here is to give your recipients all the information they need to take whatever action you’re asking of them. This includes giving any contextual information, details, or data that’s necessary, and presenting it in a logical, cohesive way.”

There’s been a huge push for recruitment emails to sound more like marketing content with a clear call to action (CTA.) While this is all good and well, take care not to scare away potential candidates with gimmicky, over-the-top marketing language.

11. Don’t Get Bossy!

Nobody wants to get bossed around. This holds especially true when someone’s opened an email based on the potential of forming a mutually beneficial business relationship. So, avoid orders and stick to suggestions.

Let your reader know how to continue the relationship without coming across as bossy or aggressive. Not sure if your CTA sounds persuasive or strong-arming? Run it by a couple of your colleagues to get their thoughts and first impressions.

12. Include Relevant Information

Although the signature of your email seems like a no-brainer, don’t underestimate its significance. If your reader’s sitting on the fence after reading your message, your signature may provide the tiebreaker. So, make sure the information that you include works in your favor.

Think about it from your respondent’s point of view for a moment. How do they know that you’re not just another scammer? By including a link to the position you’ve told them about on a reputable, professional career site.

13. Knowing When to Follow Up

The key to reaching the best candidates remains a good follow up, but never go beyond two attempts or it can get weird. You risk looking (and behaving) like a scammer or, worse yet, a digital stalker.

Remember that you represent your company in these early communications with a potential employee. So, act professionally and courteously. That said, you can safely assume that if a candidate’s interested in your job offer, they’ll get back to you ASAP.

14. Elements of an Effective Follow-Up

This email should be considerably shorter than your previous one. But that doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought. An effective follow-up email requires some crafting and will contain many of the same elements as your initial recruitment message including:

  • first paragraph
  • second paragraph
  • call to action
  • the same signature as your previous email

In your first paragraph, make it clear that you’re writing a follow up to a previous message. In your second paragraph, demonstrate you’re not a spammer by showing that you have a serious reason for contacting them. In your third paragraph, offer a simple call to action worded as a question such as: should we connect?

15. Elements of an Invitation to Interview

Once you’ve got your candidate’s attention with an awesome recruitment email (and a follow-up or two,) it’s time to take it to the next level. How do you invite a prospect to interview for the job?

Easy peasy, right? But many recruiters falter here by neglecting to include pertinent information. Make sure the invitations to interview that you write include all of the following:

  • the position they’re interviewing for (to avoid confusion)
  • the location, date, and time of the interview
  • who will conduct the interview
  • items that the candidate should bring (e.g. letters of recommendation, CV or resume, portfolio, samples of work, etc.)
  • contact information (should the interview need to be rescheduled)

16. End on a Positive Note

While it’s hard to deliver bad news, you want your company to appear credible and caring. So, always make sure to let the candidates who didn’t make it know as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk leaving them unnecessarily in limbo.

This can create bad blood between a candidate and your organization. So, maintain the highest standard of professionalism at all times by communicating good and bad news. But how the heck do you break it to them?

Start by thanking the candidate for their interest in the job and their willingness to be interviewed. Soften the outcome by letting each candidate know, individually, what most impressed you about them.

Finally, let them know that another candidate was chosen who more closely suited the requirements of the job. Offer feedback as appropriate.

But try to end on a positive note with a few encouraging words. If you see the candidate filling another position in your company at a future date, let them know to keep applying and watching for openings.

Recruitment Email Techniques for Success

Writing the best recruitment email for various scenarios requires a thorough understanding of the basic elements common to all good recruiting communications. The 16 tips above will put you well on the road to developing effective recruiting email templates.

That said, your recruitment template must be flexible enough to allow for customization. Otherwise, your communications will end up looking like the same old cookie-cutter message that scammers send to tens of thousands of people at a time. An overly generalized email represents the first and last nail in the coffin of an ineffective recruitment campaign.

Still not sure where to start? Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of cold emailing prospects? We’re here to help you create successful email campaigns that deliver every time, so follow our blog for the helpful tips and resources.

While you’re at it, check out MeetToby for the most streamlined way to manage your email outreach.