How to Write Emails Candidates Answer4 min read

Ali Neill / April 30, 2019
Category : Recruitment, Recruitment advice
Caption: How to Write Emails Candidates Answer4 min read

It is easier to get responses over direct means of communication such as phone or face-to-face interviews than it is using indirect means such as emails. The email is a very important part of communication in the business world and thus it requires effective writing skills to encourage a candidate to write back. Emailing skills are necessary in the digital savvy world, especially after a hard task of sourcing ideal candidates. This article analyzes some of the ways to effectively email candidates so that they answer to recruitment calls. Being polite and taking into account the candidates’ time are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to effective ways of ensuring they respond to emails.

Be brief and concise

It is important to consider the recipients’ time when drafting an email. People receive various emails and they are likely to skim through those that they do not deem important. According to Pamela Jenkins, Head of Content Writing at APA Outline service, “the messages should not be more than two hundred words and should only provide information that is relevant.” The email should simply describe what the role is and when they are supposed to reach out. Let the purpose of your message be known in the first sentence. A clear structure is necessary to clearly highlight the important parts of the cold email. It is essential to build rapport with the candidate with personalized statements to make the candidate more inclined to read and answer. Additionally, a polite ‘thank you’ is highly appreciated and it shows that you consider the time they spent reading the email valuable.

Include detailed information

When a recruiter sends a cold email to a candidate, they need to specify what position they are likely to be offered while including the job description so that the candidate can familiarize themselves with the requirements. According to HR Director at ConfidentWriters, “recruiters make a mistake of offering a vague description of a position to a candidate.” Candidates want to feel appreciated and therefore attractive information is more likely to lead to a conversation. However, the information should be detailed enough to offer real insight into the position. The recruiter should explain the benefits and drawbacks of the position so that the candidate can make an informed decision.  Moreover, the tone of the email affects how candidates answer them. The tone should be friendly while maintaining professionalism to give an impression of a friendly and credible recruiter. There are even tools and software to help improve your writing tone.

Personalize the email according to the candidate

It is important to include the name of the candidate and to spell it correctly. This seems like an obvious statement but misspelling a candidate’s name can happen to the best of us when sending out many emails. Always reread and check the greetings to ensure you haven’t ruined your chances of getting a response from the first couple of words. Candidates get offended when a recruiter is so disinterested in them as a person that they don’t even know their name properly. To feel important to the recruiter as more than just a set of skills, it’s essential to focus on what the personal side of the candidate (as well as the professional assets). Using an approach that lacks personalisation and is not tailored to the specific candidate minimizes the chances of a reply. In addition to the name, the specific industry might also call for a different type of exchange. Take the sector and even the age group into consideration when addressing candidates. You could contact a generation Z candidate on SnapChat, for example. You could open or close with a maths joke or play on words when addressing an engineer. Creativity is the key to standing out.

Use an appropriate subject line

A good subject line captivates the reader enough for them to open the email while a poor one deters them from reading and responding to the email. Research shows that a longer title actually gets more clicks than a short one (between 50 and 70 characters). The subject should provide enough information so that the candidate knows why you are contacting them. It should arouse the candidate’s curiosity and lure them into answering the call to action. When possible, put the most relevant words at the beginning. If the company is well-known, you can make that your focus (e.g.: “Intel wants you”). If the salary is particularly high, emphasise it (e.g.: “Earn 100K a year in your new job”). The message should be personal and it should communicate urgency. Another easy way to ensure your emails are opened is by simply adding the candidate’s name and the location (as long as that doesn’t make the title too long).

 With this expertise under your belt, more candidates will be opening, reading and answering your emails. To summarize, recruiters need to:

  • Be polite
  • Recognise the possible imposition
  • Keep the content simple
  • Specify key roles
  • Personalise and empathise
  • Write informative titles
  • Create a sense of urgency

Good luck with your recruitment campaigns!

We would like to thank Paul Bates for this contribution. Paul is an HR consultant advising educational startups such as Paper-Research, SwiftPapers, and Paperadepts. He is also a frequent speaker at international conference.


Author: Ali Neill

As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.

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