The 2020 Guide to Creating Great Recruiting Emails

The 2020 Guide to Creating Great Recruiting Emails

Posted on August 19, 2020, by Devyn Hinchee


When was the last time you updated your recruiting emails?

Image of hands on computer with text "The 2020 Guide to Creating a Great Recruiting Email" on it

People check their email inboxes multiple times a day. By the end of 2021, it’s estimated that 316 BILLION emails will be sent every day. Even with the influx of other communication tools, email is still a leading source of workplace communication and productivity and for many recruiters it’s the starting place for candidate outreach.

The problem arises when candidates you’re trying to reach are being hit with an incredible number of emails each day. How can you stand out as the recruiter they want to work with?

Creating Great Recruiting Emails

Building an incredible recruiting email comes down to five major tactics: 

Reaching Out to the Right People 
Research and Personalization
Clarity and Conciseness
Be a Person First
Reassessment and Growth

Reaching Out to the Right People

If you’re recruiting for a software engineer and you’re only emailing project managers…you’re going to run into an issue. The number one way to make a candidate disregard you as a recruiter is to reach out to them about a position they have no skill in or interest in. 

Make sure you search your internal data effectively and concentrate your efforts on the right people. If you’re reaching out to external candidates, do your research about them to ensure that their skills and interests match the position you’re filling.

With HiringSolved, Lowe’s was able to achieve a 57% open rate and a 37% response rate when they unlocked their internal data and focused their recruiting emails. If you’re having issues searching your internal data or knowing what you need to know about candidates to effectively reach out to them, we can help.

Research and Personalization

You’ve probably been on the receiving end of an impersonal form email asking if you’d be interested in applying for “(insert job here)”. At worst, you’ve gotten an email that read,

“Dear (first name),
My name is John Doe and I’m a recruiter with (insert company name). I came across your LinkedIn profile and think you would be a great fit for an open position I have. Schedule a meeting with me to discuss it further.

All the best,
John Doe”

There’s nothing in that email that would inspire someone to want to continue the conversation. What was it about your profile that stood out to them? What’s the position they’re recruiting for?

While it can be unrealistic to expect a recruiter to spend hours crafting individual emails to every single candidate they reach out to, when your email needs to stand out amongst the hundreds of others in someone’s inbox it needs to have some level of personalization.

When crafting an email, make an effort to research the recipient’s:

– Current job skills
– Current employment status
– At least one personal thing about them (i.e. the favorite movie that they tweet about all the time or the book they just posted about on Instagram)

Putting in the effort to get to know the person you’re contacting will show them that you see them as a person worthy of investing time in and there are few ways to make anyone feel more inclined to respond!

Clarity and Conciseness

Shorter emails (75 – 100 words) have the highest response rate for a number of reasons.

People are busy: By respecting their time and not expecting them to spend a chunk of their day reading your email, they’re more likely to respect your time and respond.
Easier to understand: Keeping things short means the candidate won’t get caught up in your recruiter jargon. Keep it short and simple.
Easily scannable: There’s a chance the candidate isn’t even reading your email, they’re scanning it. If you keep it short, they’ll scan it, realize it’s short, and go back and read it.

Did you know that emails written at a 3rd-grade level are optimal to receive a response? Context is critical, but if you’re writing a general outreach email, it’s better to use simpler words and shorter sentences. Not only does it make it easier for the candidate to understand, but as the writer, you’ll be more in the mindset of editing effectively and curating a perfectly clear message.

Be a Person First

Candidates don’t want to work with a robot. They want to work with someone who is going to guide, support, and help them.

We’re living in a world with some of the highest unemployment rates the country has ever seen. Consumer habits have changed drastically and people are more and more wary of the companies and professionals they interact with. You don’t just need to sell a job, you need to sell yourself and your skills.

Think about how you would want to be approached by a recruiter. What could be said to inspire you to work with them? Bring that personality to your own emails! Proving to your candidates that you are a real person who wants to see them succeed is the first step towards building a mutually beneficial partnership.

Reassessment and Growth

Take a cue from marketers here: Try something new, assess it, find its weaknesses, fix them, and try again. There will never be a time where recruiters can create a candidate outreach strategy and never change it. Recruiting emails must be optimized regularly in order to have any chance of success.

Use tools like CoSchedule’s Email Subject Line Tester to assess your subject lines and learn how they can be better. Have an hour-long brainstorming session with your teammates to work on perfecting some of your outreach templates. Always be willing to learn, change, and grow!


Candidate outreach is an ever-changing game but by crafting strategies that are ready to grow as they need to, you are taking the right steps. One of the few things that will likely never change is the need for candidates to feel respected and valued and by following the above steps you can ensure they feel that.

Don't stop now. Keep reading!

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