5 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates for Recruiters

The convenience and widespread use of email means it can be an effective and cheap part of your candidate engagement strategy. More people than ever now use a smart phone on a daily basis, and checking email is the top mobile activity among both smartphone and tablet users. However, a lot of emails sent by recruiters are ignored by their target audience because they don’t recognise the value, or consider it spam. To help, we’ve put together our top 5 tips for ensuring your messages aren’t sent straight to spam.

Send emails from your own email account

Candidates are far less likely to open emails sent from generic ‘contact’, ‘info’ or ‘careers’ email address – with good reason I think! We’ve all been met with an inbox full of generic emails and what’s the first thing we do? Go through and either delete or unsubscribe from all the ones that aren’t of interest. Sending an email from your own email account gives your message a personal touch. This also has the added bonus of immediately giving candidates a contact they can reach out to if they have questions or queries. 

Make the subject line personal

We know it’s good to personalise the content of an email but the subject line is often overlooked. Research carried out by email service provider GetResponse shows that open rates are 26% higher, and click-through rates are 130% higher when the email subject line contains the first name of the recipient. A subject line with details about your candidate will tap in to their curiosity and make it clear your message isn’t spam. If I received an email with the subject line “Heidi Gardner – Recruiter better, and Blog harder!” I would click through. Not just because they hit on my interests, but also to see what else the sender knows about me!

Keep it relevant

You wouldn’t give the same information to each of your candidates over the phone, so why send out the same emails? Think carefully about your audience and divide them into groups when sending out email campaigns. This categorisation can work in various different ways; industry, salary bracket and location are a few good starting points. If you have just placed a candidate be sure to lessen the frequency of your emails, the minute your emails aren’t relevant, candidates begin to unsubscribe.

Set the clock ticking

Work to create a sense of urgency in the subject line of your emails. If your candidates think they may be missing out on something they’re much more likely to open your email and act on its contents. This tactic doesn’t only apply to emails containing role advertisements. You can build your brand and spread word of your work effectively this way as well! For example, “Heidi, first 5 people to refer candidates get freebies!” – candidates are rewarded and you’re likely to get multiple referrals; win, win!

Timing is everything

You’ve spent time and effort crafting the perfect email; don’t ruin your chances of success by sending it when candidates are trying to escape from work. Research from GetResponse found that Thursdays tend to have the highest open rates, and weekends the lowest. The time of day is also important; sending emails early in the morning will ensure your message is at the top on your candidate’s inbox, where it’s more likely to be spotted and opened. This doesn’t mean you have to wait to write and send your emails out on a specific day, use an email scheduler to allow you to take advantage of when candidates are at their most receptive. 

Email is a deceptively simple form of communication. Sending generic messages to multiple candidates at once is easy enough, but investing time to craft and personalise your words will increase your success rate. Emailing candidates is a much less intrusive way to communicate than picking up the phone; you have the ability to reach candidates when it suits them, meaning you can build a rapport with them at their pace.

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Heidi Gardner

Heidi is PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on the issues surrounding the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.

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