How to craft the perfect recruiting email
How to craft the perfect recruiting email

Email is one of a recruiter's top tools.

85 percent of recruiters say that email is the channel they use most for building relationships with top talent. And considering that recruiters also say they spend an average of 13 hours per week sourcing candidates for a single role, streamlining email can help save this entire industry a lot of time.

Crafting a perfect recruiting email isn't easy. Getting candidates to respond is only one part of the process β€” before scheduling, follow ups, and confirmations β€” turning into what can sometimes feel like never-ending, back-and-forth emailing. A recruiter's job, first and foremost, is to connect top talent with great new opportunities, all while providing an excellent candidate experience. But knowing how to use email to its fullest potential can help recruiters connect with more great candidates, decrease the amount of email required to actually get results (to theirs and their candidates' benefit), and save a lot of time.

Ready to learn some secrets that will help your recruiting emails stand out, even in the most crowded inbox? Read on.

14 tips for crafting recruiting emails that work

Let's start with the basics. These 14 tips will help you craft standout recruiting emails, no matter when you send them.

Source the right candidates

The first tip might seem obvious, but it's important nonetheless! Recruiting emails work best when you send them to high-quality candidates about relevant roles that meet their needs.

This means not just sending open roles as email blasts to your entire contact list β€” not only is this spammy, but it's even illegal in some places. Tailor your emails so you're sending roles to the candidates who might really be a great fit. Step one in this process is choosing the right list or segment, whether that's based on demographics (like age or education), psychographics (like lifestyle or attitude), behaviors (like loyalty or website usage), or location (country or city).

Personalize every email you send

Recruiters β€” and many professionals in almost every industry β€” tend to rely too heavily on {FirstName} when sending cold emails. But, even though it's proven to increase open rates, everybody does it. In order to stand out from the crowd, your recruiting emails need more than just the candidate's name β€” they need to be more personalized, including visuals, specific job details, and whatever information you have about the candidate on the receiving end.

Creating candidate personas can help with this. These are generalized profiles, based on the ideal candidate and their characteristics for each of your open roles (similar roles/industries can overlap). Much like marketing personas, they can help make your emails feel more personal even if you're sending them to a segment or an entire list. Talking to a profile of a person can help you connect with your audience, even on a broad scale, since you can make informed decisions on tone, references, benefits to highlight, send times, and humor.

Superhuman helps take this process a step further by offering Social Insights right from your inbox. Before you hit "send," you can see information gathered from the candidate's public social media profiles, like where they're based, where they work, and what they like. This takes you from a general candidate persona to a real human on the other end of the screen.

Stick to 3 paragraphs

Research shows that for our brains, 3 is kind of a magic number. Studies show that we delight in being presented with 3 different choices, but once we have 4 or more, we become confused and skeptical.

Why is that relevant to recruiters? Because you can use the power of 3 to make your emails even more appealing to candidates. Try to limit yourself to just 3 paragraphs (remember, your goal is to get a response, not convey every possible piece of information about the job in the first message). Limit the job description to 3 sentences. Offer 3 potential meeting times. Or even use 3 adjectives to describe what about the candidate stood out and impressed you.

Provide enough information to intrigue

Of course, there's a flip side to the above advice. While you should try to keep your messages short and sweet so they don't become confusing or overwhelming to candidates, you also need to include enough information to intrigue them about your open position β€” enough so they respond. This can be tricky to balance, but keep in mind that your main goal via recruiting emails is not to hire a potential candidate, but to get the candidate's attention and encourage them to schedule a call or meeting.

"What's in it for me?"

This is one of the most important rules for cold recruiting emails: put yourself in the candidate's shoes. As they read your email, they're going to be asking, "What's in it for me?" Your job is to answer that question before they have to ask it (or before they simply delete your message and move on).

This is why you should never begin a recruiting email with a standard "about us" or the requirements for the role. You'll get to those eventually, but at this stage, focus on piquing the candidate's interest! A great way to do this is by highlighting a perk or benefit that your candidate is likely to find appealing.

Researching your candidate in advance can help you learn what they care about β€” their goals, causes they support, the cost of living where they live. Keep those things in mind as you write your outreach email, and make sure you're giving candidates a reason to be interested in the opportunity you have for them.

Sign off with a CTA

A call to action, or CTA, is an important part of any recruiting email. This is the part of the email where you tell the candidate what step you'd like them to take next β€” and try to convince them to do it.

For recruiters, the CTA will often ask candidates to schedule a meeting or call to talk about a job opportunity in more detail. That means you should end every message with a compelling ask to do just that. And we don't mean saying, "Let me know if you'd like to get on a call to learn more". There's nothing convincing about that! Make the next step easy for your candidates by instead writing, "I'm available for a 15-minute call at (3 different times). Will one of those work for you?"

Use your signature strategically

Many people treat email signatures as an afterthought. As a recruiter, your signature is more email real estate that you should be taking advantage of.

First off, always include your full name, job title, your company name, and social media links. Candidates on the receiving end of your email will feel like it's more personalized if it comes from a person they can Google.

But you can also use your signature to include information that didn't make it into your 3 paragraphs in the email body. You can link to the company LinkedIn page or an About page. You can include a short description of the company with a value proposition.

Whatever you include, the important thing is that your email signature is your last chance to convey important information and make an impression. Make sure to use it.

Proofread

This is another tip that might seem obvious, but it's important enough to warrant a mention. Always proofread your email campaigns. Proofread every word. There's nothing that will turn off a candidate faster than glaring grammar or punctuation errors β€” or worse, their name misspelled.

Send your email at the right time

When is the perfect time to send a recruiting email? That can be subjective. But you do know that you want your email to hit at a time when it's likely to be opened and read β€” and not lost in a sea of other messages arriving at the same time.

For that, studies show that the best times are weekdays at 9 a.m., closely followed by Wednesday and Thursday evenings. But what happens if you aren't at your computer, ready to hit send at those optimal times?

With Superhuman, you can schedule your messages to send at a specific time, ensuring that a recruiting email hits a candidate's inbox right at 9 a.m., when it's most likely to be successful.

recruiting okr edits
Get started with Superhuman

Use the subject line to your advantage

There is a ton of research out there on the do's and don'ts of email subject lines. For recruiters, there's no quick and easy tip that will ensure your subject lines are always on point. But there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Use short subject lines β€” 10 words maximum. Long ones get cut off, especially for mobile users.

  • Be specific about why you're sending a message, and make sure your subject line doesn't sound like spam. For example, "Python Developer urgently needed" is a better subject line than "Immediate action required for an incredible opportunity!"

  • Personalize your subject line. People love to see their own name, and seeing it in the subject line can help boost open rates. The same goes for if the candidate was referred to you β€” use the name of the person who referred them in the subject line to catch their attention and build trust.

Optimize email for mobile users

Not all job seekers will see your messages on a full desktop screen, and their experience can be negatively impacted by subject lines that get cut off or images or messages that won't load. That's why it's so important to optimize your recruiting emails for mobile users, especially considering 47% of email users check messages primarily on a mobile device. The last thing you want is to eliminate a huge portion of the talent pool simply because your message doesn't display correctly and gets sent to the trash.

Follow up

Even the best recruiting email might just reach a candidate at the wrong time. That's why a follow up email can sometimes make or break a recruiter's success. You just have to remember to send follow ups β€” and to send them at the right times.

Superhuman makes this simple with useful automation tools. You can schedule your follow up email at the same time you send your first email, with a set condition that the follow up will only be sent if there's no reply. You can also schedule a batch of follow ups all at once. The important thing is that by scheduling them in advance, you make sure you follow up with every candidate and no one slips through the cracks.

Connect through other channels

Email may be the primary way you connect with job seekers, but utilize other channels as well. Connecting on a platform like LinkedIn can help you know when a previously passive candidate starts looking for a new job. It also keeps the connection warm over time, so you have a better chance of success when you reach out again. People like to interact with familiar names, so if you've been liking their posts, or engaging in other ways, you're increasing your chances of standing out in their inbox.

Monitor your email outreach metrics

Finally, our last tip: monitor metrics from your recruiting emails. Open rates, click-through rates, and response rates can all help you measure your success. As you implement the tips from this article, keep track of how your metrics change over time. This will help you see which changes are helping and how impactful they are.

8 recruiting email examples to learn from

Recruiting is about more than just cold emails. In fact, throughout the recruiting process, you'll likely send half a dozen or more emails to each candidate.

Below are some common types of recruiting emails you're likely to send, as well as some tips for making them as effective as possible.

First touch sourcing email

What it is: This is the first email that you send to a cold candidate. It can be a message about a specific position that might be a fit for them, or just seeking information about their job goals and needs.

Why it's important: Sourcing emails help you build your talent pipeline. They're an essential part of a recruiter's day-to-day work of maintaining a high-quality pool of applicants with diverse backgrounds and skills.

What it should include: Some personal details about the candidate that you uncovered during your research, like a mutual connection or a shared interest. If you're reaching out about a specific job, include some basic information about it. End with a CTA clearly defining the next step you'd like the candidate to take.

Referral email

What it is: A referral email is your first contact with a referred candidate. You can send it to any job seeker who was referred to you, whether for a specific role, or just as a high-quality candidate looking for new opportunities.

Why it's important: Having a successful referral program is a great way to keep your talent pipeline full of quality candidates.

What it should include: The name of the mutual connection you share with the referred candidate, as well as some details they told you that stood out about why the recipient makes a great candidate.

Interview invitation email

What it is: A job interview is one of the most important steps in the recruitment process. An interview email invites a strong candidate to tell you more about themselves, their experience, and their qualifications for a role.

Why it's important: The initial interview invitation email starts the process of scheduling an interview. Highly qualified candidates are likely to be invited to a number of interviews with both recruiters and hiring representatives, so getting your invitation out as soon as possible (and making it eye-catching) could be the difference between getting an interview scheduled and missing out on a top candidate.

What it should include: Information about the role, why you're interested in the candidate, and information about the interview, including when it will happen, who will conduct it, and what format it will be in (on Zoom, over the phone, in person, etc.).

Interview confirmation email

What it is: An interview confirmation email is sent after the interview is scheduled. It helps make sure everyone has the correct date, time, and other important information.

Why it's important: Sometimes wires can get crossed, especially in multiple back-and-forth emails scheduling a meeting. The confirmation email ensures everyone has all the relevant information for the interview in one place.

What it should include: The date and time of the interview, names of the candidate and interviewer, and any other necessary information (such as a meeting link for a virtual interview, or parking information for an in-person meeting).

Interview reminder email

What it is: A reminder sent the day before or morning of the interview, reiterating any important information the candidate needs to know before the meeting.

Why it's important: The highest quality candidates are likely juggling multiple interview invitations. Don't be the recruiter who slips through the cracks β€” a reminder email sent at a strategic time just before the interview ensures you stay top-of-mind for the candidate.

What it should include: Don't reinvent the wheel here. The reminder email should include the same information as the interview confirmation.

Status update email

What it is: We all know how the hiring process can drag on…and on. A status update email keeps a candidate in the loop as you work through the process on your end β€” and ensures them that they haven't been forgotten, even if the process is taking a little while.

Why it's important: Candidates are all too used to being ghosted when they apply for jobs. It's an unfortunate (and rude) reality. You should never go radio silent on any candidate, but especially one you're actually interested in. Sending them periodic updates keeps them engaged β€” and it's just good manners.

What it should include: Honesty and transparency. Let the candidate know you appreciate their time and you still think they're a great fit. Tell them if they are (or aren't) still in the running for the position, and try to be transparent about your hiring timeline so they know what to expect next.

Job offer email

What it is: The last step in the process when you've found a successful candidate: the job offer.

Why it's important: Good candidates don't stay on the market long. You want to get your offer letter into their inbox as quickly as possible, and make it a strong and compelling offer they can't refuse, even if they have others (and they will likely have others).

What it should include: Let the candidate know how excited you are that they're a great fit for your organization! Then, transition into the details of the offer, including compensation, benefits, perks, and an expiration date by which they need to get back to you.

Rejection email

What it is: Unfortunately, sometimes a great candidate just isn't right for a particular role. The rejection email lets them know you aren't moving forward with them this time β€” but keeps the relationship warm in case a better fitting opportunity comes up in the future.

Why it's important: Like we've already mentioned, too many companies ghost candidates when they decide they're not right for a role. Not only is that rude, but it burns a bridge with a candidate who might be a great fit for another opportunity later on! Always send a polite rejection email, letting the candidate know you appreciate their time and you'd like to stay in touch.

What it should include: A sincere thank you and some constructive feedback, if you have any. Encourage the candidate to reapply if they see another position that interests them, and let them know you'll stay connected and reach out again if a position that fits their profile opens up.

Superhuman: the secret weapon for anyone who sends recruiting emails

With so much of their crucial communication happening via email, recruiters need a secret weapon: Superhuman.

Tools like social insights, scheduled sends, automated follow ups, calendar view, and more make it easy to stay on top of your inbox, keep candidates engaged, and find the perfect fit for every open role.

Ready to try Superhuman for yourself? Get started today.