Level One is our series for new recruiters and sourcers focused on bringing some of the knowledge from experienced TA professionals to you! To check out our most recent installment of the Level One series, click here.


Ask any great recruiter out there and they’ll tell you that their job is based around relationship building. Step one of building that relationship is the introduction email/call/text/carrier pigeon message/etc. If it’s a cold email, then this is the only thing that the candidate has to go off of when they decide whether to respond or not.

(A note to all the job seekers who have stumbled upon this: respond to those emails you get. You don’t like being ghosted when you reach out to someone so let’s not perpetuate that behavior.) 

Your opening email needs to be welcoming, informational, respectful, and more. It also needs to be short enough to keep their attention, but long enough to give them the necessary info. It’s a fine line to ride, but it is possible with these couple of simple tips to get you started.

Make sure they’re ACTUALLY the right candidate

This probably seems too simple, but it’s worth reminding. If you are reaching out to someone for an accounting executive position and they have no accounting experience…you’re reaching out to the wrong person. Be sure to do some thorough research that the person you’re reaching out to is actually a good fit for the position. As someone who has consistently received emails from recruiters looking for a Java developer when I have less than zero experience with Java, nothing makes me want to ignore them more.

Give them something to do

Find a CTA (Call-to-Action) that works for you and those you reach out to. You can find this by testing out a couple of options (adding a link to book a meeting, leaving the email on a question, etc.) to see what tends to elicit the best response. If you leave them without anything to do, they may just be at a loss with wondering whether you want an email back or whether you just wanted to tell them that they’re great. Be explicit with the interaction you’re hoping for from them so the expectation of a response is set.

Make it personal

Did you do more research into the candidate than just checking their Twitter? Tell them! Let them know that you loved their blog post about their favorite places to eat in Austin. Share an interest in their passions and who they are as a person so that the relationship is built on that personal connection. See them as a person and let them see you as a person. Do you have an e-book that you wrote that you think they’d be interested in? Share it! Is there an article that you came across that speaks directly to something they were talking about on Facebook? Share it! Don’t get too personal or creepy, but be willing to make the connection on a deeper level and that will instill a trust in your conversation.

Prepare for the guards

Most people have a horror story of working with a not-so-great recruiter. But you’re a great recruiter! Why should you be worried about how people have been treated by the bad ones?! Because chances are that those bad experiences are all the candidate has to go off of. Try to be understanding of the fact that you might be going up against some resistance. Prove that you’re going to be an asset to their career change and journey rather than just saying you will be. Show them what they can expect you to provide for them and stand by your word.

A lot of recruiting comes down to getting to the right person at the right time, but by making your communications personal and worthwhile you’re going to be far more likely to hear back from the right person!

What tips do you have to share with new recruiters about how to get that coveted response from a candidate? Share them with us on Twitter so we can pass them on!