How to get your candidates to respond to your emails

  • Date posted: 11 Jan 2016
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So we all know the rules. Face to face or phone work is always best when dealing with candidates. It’s the only way to really build rapport, qualify the candidate, identify need and close. However it’s not always possible and let’s face it, in today’s age you have tools available to you that you should be able to utilise. We are in a digital age and people expect to do many things online. So the key here is making sure that when do you have to communicate online, your messaging is powerful and converts interest.

Before we talk about strategies let’s set the scene with some nice geeky recruitment stats:

  • Not everyone responds to the first email. Industry average response rates for emails (to candidates about jobs) is less than 10%. However just as many respond to a second and third follow up. Do you follow up your emails? If not you’re missing out on a lot of potential candidates.
  • Candidate audiences get bored easily. If your emails or messages always start with the same subject line then your audience is making a lot of assumptions, sometimes incorrectly. Play with your messages with varying subject lines and see what gets the most impact.
  • Emails / messages with images or video get the most views. Are you sending boring text only emails?
  • Weekends are best. If you’re sending out emails while people are at work they are less likely to read. Research shows that early morning or evenings are best if you have to send out during the week but overall, emails sent at the weekends have a better open rate and response rate. When do you tend to send yours?
  • Think mobile. The majority of people you message will access your message on a device of some sort. Have you tested your emails to see how they look on an iPad, iPhone or Android?
  • Generic emails are a waste of time. If your email isn’t personalised (and I don’t mean a mail marge field with their name in it) then they are less likely to respond. How much time do you spend making sure your audience is relevant?
  • It’s ok to be funny. It doesn’t mean you’re unprofessional. People like humour, it makes them feel good and they are more likely to respond.
  • Content is king. Whatever you are sharing with someone has to impact how they FEEL. So a base set of information based on a boring job specification won’t work.

Top tips for optimising your emails and LinkedIn messages.

  • Ensure you have a system to follow up unopened messages. You can realistically follow up twice and still expect good results.
  • Experiment with your subject lines
  • Embed video or images into your emails wherever possible
  • Schedule messages or eshots for early morning, evenings or weekends
  • Test on mobile devices to ensure it looks good and is easy to ready
  • Spend time on the shortlist and ensure the content your are sending is relevant
  • Craft a great and engaging message. Be intriguing – don’t share the full job spec in first email. Instead appeal to their curiosity. Show you’re interested in them specifically. Most people are interested in hearing about job opportunities – make them want to know more. Get to the point quickly and use the most powerful points to engage their interest
  • Call to action – give them a clear call to action such as Call me today to find out more”

Your emails could go from this:

Subject line: Jobs in construction

Dear John

As you are a candidate that has previously expressed an interest in hearing about jobs in construction I am delighted to inform you of some great local opportunities:

Site Manager                          London                                     £45,000 + Car + Benefits

Project Manager               West London                          £60,000 + Car + Benefits

Quantity Surveyor                  North London                         £65,000 + Car + Benefits

If you would like to explore any of these opportunities further please let me know.


Kind Regards

Joe Bloggs Recruiter


To this:

Subject Line: Frostbite on site?

Dear John

Have you ever thought about how much easier life would be working for a nice global construction firm that specialise in luxury apartment building? No more Baltic like winds and frozen ground to be broken. Instead you’d be working on existing building sites, in the warm, but still doing the same role and achieving great rewards.

If you want to be warm and toasty while you tackle those cheeky sub-contractors then please take a look at some of the live opportunities that would suit your background in commercial & residential construction. Your background is exactly what this company seeks in their new team so I know you would be offered an interview.


Site Manager                                 London                                     £45,000 + Car + Benefits     

List school building conversion | £22M | Career path to Project Manager |Pension, Health, Fuel, Mobile, 30 days holiday

Project Manager                           West London                          £60,000 + Car + Benefits)

Mansion block conversion | £18M | Leading to  Project Director | All London based projects | Pension, Equity, 28 day holiday


Quantity Surveyor                         North London                         £65.000 + Car + Benefits)   

Conversion of townhouse to apartments |£8M |Privately owned firm | Luxury car, fuel, 30 days holiday

If you love the cold and want to stay in that drafty site office then just let us know! We have options just like that too!



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