Among the most frequent questions we get at Visage are those about communicating with candidates. It seems everyone wants the secret to crafting great emails.
So here it is: The secret is personalization.
The more personal your email is, the more likely you are to interest a potential candidate. It’s also simple to do.
The email template on our platform should be your starting point. It’s flexible enough to use as is, but by making it your own you’ll begin building a relationship with your candidates even before your first conversation.
The good news is that customizing the template is easy. It’s already set-up to address the candidate by name. By adding in other codes from our list, you can send the candidate an email that seems written especially for them.
On our template the email begins by addressing the candidate by name because no recruiting email should ever begin “Dear candidate.” That greeting is a guaranteed turnoff.
But why stop there? You can easily add the prospect’s name in the body of your email message simply by choosing “first name” from the variables list. A good place for it could be in your call to action. Here’s an example:
“Want to know more about us and the opportunity? Just click here, [candidate first name], and we’ll schedule a time to talk.”
Now, add some other personal touch to show your prospect they’re not just part of some mail-merge. You can use their current company or mention their current job or both.
“As [candidate job title] with [current company] you’ve got the combination of skills and industry know-how we’re looking for.”
Tip: Avoid using “Dear” in the greeting. Except in the most formal of situations, “Hi” is universally acceptable salutation. Tip: Use the candidate’s name sparingly. You want it flow naturally not contrived or forced.
Your first sentence should get right to the point. Busy people – and that’s everyone – will appreciate that you tell them up front who you are why you’re emailing them:
“I’m a recruiter with [your company] looking for our next [job title]. After seeing your resume, I think you’d be a great fit for the job.”
Tip: Use only commonly understood job titles. You may call the position “People Operations Guru,” but “HR director” is clearer. If you really are in love with that title, explain it briefly, “… which is our head of human resources.”
This should be a standing part of your template. Think of it as an elevator pitch where you go beyond the simple who you are and what you do to describe the impact your business makes. We once saw an email from a tech development company that said, “We help make life easier one app at a time.”
The candidates we source want to be part of an organization that makes a difference. In our email template factsheet, we tell candidates how Visage is making a difference by sourcing great people quickly.
Tip: This is about the candidate, so help them see why they should consider you. If you’re a “Best Place to Work” company, say so. But keep it brief. Tip: Stuck on the wording? Talk to marketing. Their job is to promote the business and attract customers, which is just what you want to do.
For companies with small workforces, everyone is part of the same team even if they have different responsibilities. Larger organizations with many employees will have many distinct teams.
Either way, it’s important to give the candidate a feel for the team and a sense of the culture. You can do that in a sentence or two, as in this example:
“You’ll be joining a team of coders that includes several winners of our annual hackathon.”
Tip: Where the teams are distinct and have different responsibilities, consider customizing this section for the specific group.
Here’s where the rubber hits the road. It’s the key part of the email. It gives your prospect the broad outlines of the job in a way that excites them about the opportunity. The way to do that is to show your prospect it’s not just a job, but an exciting, purpose-driven opportunity.
Our email factsheet has a powerful example:
“As the first marketing hire at Visage you will own strategy, execution… You will be given the resources to build your own team…”
The most common mistake email writers make is not selling the job. The second most common mistake is providing too few details. A recruiting email should be about the candidate – why the job is right for them.
We recently worked with an employer looking to fill entry level positions as mortgage loan originators. The problem was there wasn’t a word about the actual job. How interested is someone going to be if they don’t know what an originator does?
Just a couple additional sentences would explain the opportunity and show how it makes a difference in people’s lives:
“Our loan originators help people buy the house of their dreams. They match them to the best mortgages and ease them through the biggest purchase of their life.”
Tip: Don’t make this a list. Hit only the most important and special points. Behavioral economists tell us people are more likely to act in order to fill a knowledge gap. Tip: Appeal to their emotions. In the Visage example, the opportunity to “own” the job and “build” a team are emotion-laden words sure to spark interest.
Call to Action
We can’t count the number of times we’ve seen emails that tell the candidate to “apply on our website.” You’ve made an effort to start building a relationship. You’ve personalized the email, and you’ve got them interested. You already have their resume and profile from us, so instead of having them go through the application hoop, have them schedule a call.
That’s the kind of action you want them to take, otherwise you wouldn’t be emailing them in the first place. Make it simple for your prospect to take that all-important next step, which is to become a candidate and connect with you directly.
Tip: “Click here” may seem a dated expression, but surveys show it and phrases like it are effective in getting a response. Tip: Make sure your call to action leads to an action step. Linking it to a passive location that requires another click to act is discouraging.
- Keep the email short. Strive for three or four to-the-point paragraphs.
- Give as much thought to your subject line as you do the rest of the email. Make it interesting, even surprising, but not misleading.
- Consider sending your email outside regular business hours. There’s less competition for attention then. Weekend recruiting emails have an above average open rate.
- Check your email template by sending it to yourself and your recruiting team. Look for typos, odd wording and make certain to view it on both desktops and mobile devices.