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How to write candidate messages that don’t elicit groans or eye rolling

Posted by
Alexandra Kane
July 27, 2023

We talk about this a lot around here, but today’s candidates are smarter and more savvy than ever when it comes to recruiters and staffing firms. They hold you to the highest standards, and have specific expectations for your communications.

While candidates are evolving along with the technologies and platforms used to reach them, many staffing firms are so (understandably) busy focusing on other elements of their businesses that they have yet to update their engagement strategies and implementation to meet today’s candidate expectations.

Getting your candidate engagement on track doesn’t have to be a chore.

There are several core elements to consider when crafting effective candidate messages in today’s marketplace:


1. Speak directly to candidates.

The most important element of strong candidate messaging is also in many ways the simplest. Candidates want to be treated as individuals, and as people. We are in what is traditionally known as the “people business,” but oftentimes firms will send templated messages without candidates’ names. Step 1 of any strong candidate engagement strategy is to always use candidate’s first names in communications. Be sure to check this box first!

But then, it’s time to go a bit further. Candidates today are much more discerning with their attention. They not only expect you to know (and use) their names, they expect you to understand how they’ve engaged with your brand. In fact, more than 3/4 of consumers say they’ll only engage with content if it’s personalized to reflect their previous interactions with the brand. Today’s technology (including Sense!) allows you to create custom workflows for various candidate segments to ensure the message is relevant to several core elements. Taking advantage of this technology can simplify implementation of your candidate engagement strategy tremendously.


2. Know who you’re talking to (but not in a creepy way).

Candidate experience today goes well beyond the interview and hiring process. Your NPS is determined by every candidate touch point, up to, including and beyond the interview. That requires thoughtful, strategic communications 24/7/365.

The talent pool is ripe with individuals who have unique interests, skills, and career goals—so, why not build a recruitment marketing strategy that embraces those differences? Customized workflows should deliver distinct messaging to new candidates versus those looking for redeployment. Java programmers and healthcare professionals should be targeted with different content for their needs. And each channel should be optimized to meet candidates where they’re at in the process.


3. Keep your messages short and sweet.

While we’re spending more time on our smartphones and other mobile devices than ever, we’re also typically multitasking, scrolling through one email, text or social post while thinking about another task on the to-do list.

Gaining attention, keeping it and even more critically, inspiring action takes clear, concise messages. It’s important to craft personal messages that touch upon key points, but it’s also important to avoid the unnecessary.

A common format for initial candidate communications includes the following:


“Hi, my name is [YOU], and I’m a recruiter from [YOUR FIRM].” We have many different/a great/[INSERT YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE] position(s) here at [YOUR FIRM] for which you’d be a tremendous fit.


Please contact me at your earliest convenience to set up an interview time for this position(s).



With a full job description, this message is entirely too long. But since you’ve been reading along with this post, you likely also noticed that it also misses the boat on the first and second points above, Speak directly to candidates and Know who you’re talking to.

Rather than pasting a job description, an excellent way to make a positive impression (and increase the likelihood of a response) is to write a short and sweet message that explains why someone is a fit/you’re reaching out, along with a direct request to briefly connect (while respecting the candidate’s time). Your name and company are in your email address as well as your signature, so feel free to skip the introductory line and get right to the point as well.

Here’s a basic example of outreach following a casual referral:



Beth from [COMPANY] suggested I reach out to you because you are a rockstar [ROLE]. I am currently working with a growing [INDUSTRY] client in [CITY] who is looking for someone exactly like you.

I understand you’re currently employed, so I know your calendar is probably jammed. I’m wide open Tuesday before or after the workday -- what time works for 15 quick minutes to see if this role makes sense for your goals?




Depending on the situation, you could easily alter this message to include something like:


(For redeployment situations) I know it’s been a few years since you worked with us, but I know you’re a rockstar [ROLE] and I currently have an opening that might make sense for you in your career right now.


(For LinkedIn messages or other cold outreach) We don’t know each other, but you popped up in one of my LinkedIn searches for super qualified [ROLE] talent.


You’ll notice that in all of these instances, the messages are direct and honest about the outreach. Avoid pretending or implying you already know candidates, or that your message is welcomed. That kind of presumption can turn off candidates (who are typically very savvy about their connections and outreach and will know if you are being dishonest).


4. Align your voice and messaging across all platforms.

If your website is strictly professional, your social profiles attempt to be hip and fresh and your candidate-specific communications have still a different voice, your communications across all platforms could feel insincere at best and deceitful at worst.

While communications between an individual recruiter and candidate are expect to (and should) feel unique compared to communications from your organization, there should be consistencies between them.

It’s important to know that, while these steps can seem like a lot, they are extremely easy to build and implement using a robust candidate engagement tool (Shameless Plug: Like Sense).


Improving the candidate experience doesn’t have to be stressful.

You can give candidates the unique interactions they want and deserve, while also preserving the sanity of your workforce and empowering them with the time, tools and freedom to focus on mission-critical tasks.

Our team is happy to schedule a free demo to show you exactly how this would work for your staffing firm. Here’s how to reach out and schedule your demo.














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