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How to send recruiting emails that are actually read

Posted by
Cameron Rau, Team Lead, Customer Success
November 13, 2021

While texting has emerged as the preferred communication method for many contractors and candidates, email will still be around — at least for the foreseeable future. 

While many staffing firms are struggling with email deliverability, opens and response rates, email remains a strong communication method. 

Just what do the numbers say when it comes to email nowadays? 

In today’s super tight labor market, talent is being inundated with messages, with email success sinking to the bottom of the ship >>

The average email open rate is only 20%

The average email response rate is...wait for it...only 6%!

Those are sobering numbers, for sure. But there is absolutely good news. 

When well crafted and part of a strategic talent engagement strategy, email still has a strong role in building and maintaining relationships. 

Avoid spammy subject lines

Spammy subject lines will affect your deliverability, and even if they do sneak through, will kill your open and response rates. We’ve all known this for years, yet, many individuals and organizations still struggle with subject lines. 

Traditionally, experts have recommended avoiding certain words and types of words in subject lines to stay clear of spam filters. Some of the most common advice here is to avoid:

💌 Superfluous descriptors like “incredible,” “great,” “now,” and “promise.” 

💌 Anything having to do with money, including the word “money,” “$$$,” “cash,” “earn” and anything similar.

💌 ALL CAPS — ESPECIALLY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SUBJECT LINE — add !!!!!!!! and you really send it over the edge.

The opposite of a spammy subject line is one that’s enticing and authentic. The average professional gets over 100 emails per day. If you want to stand out for the right reasons, keep this advice in mind: 

💌 Cut to the chase. If you can succinctly explain what’s in the email and why it matters, your talent will swoon. 

💌 Use emoji if and when it’s relevant. Emoji can help your emails stand out visually in a cluttered inbox, and they’re more personal and welcoming than sterile business emails. 

💌 Kick off your subject with an action-oriented verb to inspire action. 

Watch the attachments

Attachments are a major warning sign for email filters. With malware and virus issues sticking around for the foreseeable future, many individuals and companies are understandably leery of attachments.

Including attachments can negatively impact deliverability, and in some cases, email providers will simply remove them. In those cases, your emails may be confusing or irrelevant, frustrating candidates and killing your chances of getting a response from future emails. 

If you’re sending a cold email to a candidate, you can pretty much assume your email will be skipped if it includes an attachment. Remember, we’re getting at least 100 emails a day. When determining what is worth reading (let alone responding to), we’re all looking for the path of least resistance. If I know that getting any sort of value will require reading a subject line, clicking, reading an email, THEN downloading and reading an attachment? Nooooo thank you! 

Skip the over-the-top formatting

Not only is over-formatting text visually jarring (ever try reading text that’s written in multiple colors?!), spam filters will scan emails for excessive colors and formatting. This means that if you’re trying to stand out by using colors, bolding, etcetera to excess, it could mean your message never reaches its intended recipient. 

Instead, keep your emails short and sweet (since around half of all emails are read on a mobile device, this will help you on multiple levels), and cleanly formatted. 

Don’t be redundant

If you left a detailed voicemail or sent information via text, don’t go overboard by sending those same details in an email. One message will suffice — especially if you received confirmation that the message was received. 

With the right candidate engagement platform, your recruiters can effectively dictate which messages are sent on each platform, creating a powerful, omnichannel experience for your candidates that increases response rates and ultimately leads to more, better placements. 

Only send emails people want

This is a good rule of thumb for any communication, but especially email. There are several reasons — one is that spam filters (particularly for popular email providers like Gmail) use engagement-based spam filtering. 

With engagement-based spam filtering, Google knows when users delete an email without opening it first. Then, it adjusts so that the recipient receives fewer messages they are unlikely to open. 

It’s a slippery slope for sure!

When you send emails that are truly valuable in the first place, you vastly increase the likelihood of your message being delivered and opened. 

Do you know what your talent needs and wants to read in your emails? Ask them! Whether with an anonymous survey or by soliciting open feedback, ask your candidates and consultants what’s important to them, and how you can help. Then, craft messages that address their needs, wants and concerns. 

Engaged talent leads to better ROI. 

Here at Sense, our candidate engagement platform was built by staffing industry experts who understand the challenges you’re facing today. We empower you to take an omnichannel approach to talent engagement, crafting better emails, texts and other communications that get results. To learn more and see Sense in action, contact us today to schedule a demo.

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