3 ways to cut through the inbox and connect with candidates

By: Pramlesh Machama, MD, CareerBuilder India

I know the “kids” say email is dead, but don’t believe the hype.

Email is the primary communication vehicle in the corporate world, and it’s still the primary communication vehicle with which to connect with candidates. (Well, it’s second best to the good old telephone.)

The sales and marketing industries have almost single-handedly killed email with the unlimited junk email we receive on a daily basis. On an average weekday, I receive well over 300 emails, the majority of which are trying to sell me something.

Both corporate and agency recruiters are faced with the same dilemma: How do we get candidates to pay attention and respond to our email messages?


1.Simplify Your Subject Line.
Studies have shown that the easier the subject line, the better chance you have of someone opening your email. I use two email subject lines to great success. The first consists of my name,Yes my last name. The second line is, “Question.” Those are my two go-to subject titles, and my open rate is close to 90 percent.

Know when to send your email. The highest open and response rates for me are the following:
6-7 a.m.
8 p.m.

It’s all a matter of volume. The highest volume of email a candidate receives is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week. Your message is competing against a lot of other messages. Most email programs have options to “send later.” Work on scheduling your emails to be sent during a time when a candidate has fewer messages to deal with, and your response rates will rise.

2. Send Your Message More Than Once.
Another fact is that the open and response rates increase over time the more times you send the email. That’s true. A great tip for recruiters is to “forward” an email to the candidate you already sent it to with a note like this:

Hey, Tim! Just wanted to make sure you saw this email I sent you on Monday, and it didn’t get lost in the shuffle. Can you let me know if you have interest?

While your first email has the highest chance for a reply, subsequent emails still have a chance, so it becomes additive. Bottom line: Send more follow-up emails.

Most recruiters will only send one. The best recruiters will stop after three. I know of great recruiters who won’t stop until they have sent 10 emails with no reply.

3.It Never Hurts to Have Something of Interest to Say in the Email.  
Candidates are just like you — they hate having someone waste their time. Tell the candidate why you are contacting them, what you need from them, and offer instructions around how and when you need a response.

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