How to Write Subject Lines That Make Candidates Click

There’s no point in spending time crafting the perfect email if the subject line isn’t good enough to convince your prospect to open and read it.

Email is more popular nowadays than it’s ever been, but unfortunately this also means that cutting through the inbox noise to catch your candidates’ attention is harder than ever too.

First of all, let’s start with some subject line stats that might surprise you…

Here's how to craft subject lines that will entice people to open right now... 

Know who’s in your CRM

subject lines that candidates want to clickThe only way you can create subject lines that engage your audience is if you know exactly who your audience are and what's likely to hook them in.

For this reason, making sure your CRM is ship-shape before sending any emails is a crucial first step to getting those opens. Ensure you have candidates and other contact groups clearly segmented, and to go one step further, you can build talent pools based on industry and skillset too.

Remember that what works for one list of contacts might not work for another, so once you’ve created your segments or email lists, make sure you’re tailoring your subject lines to speak directly to your target reader.

Our recruitment marketing persona toolkit will help you segment your target groups - download it here.

Add personalisation

Have you ever received an email that had your name in the subject line? Subject lines that include a recipient’s name (known as a ‘personalisation token’) are shown to get 22% more clicks, so this is definitely something to consider testing with your audience.

You can also get more sophisticated with personalisation tokens too. For example, you could email your 'red-hot' candidate pool using a subject line like this: 

 ‘[Candidate.Name], we’re looking for a [Candidate.Job.Title]. Interested?’

This tactic allows you to send multiple emails out to your top candidates at once but still ensure you're giving them a personalised experience that engages them.

Whatever you try, personalised subject lines get great results, so it’s definitely worth exploring what personalisation tokens are available to use in your recruitment CRM.

Keep it short and snappy

recruitment email newsletters-minShorter subject lines tend to do better than long ones because email providers will only show a limited amount of a subject line to a reader. The typical desktop email inbox shows around 60 characters in the subject line and most mobile devices show just 25-30 characters, so you don’t have much space to play with.

Subject lines with just 6-10 words have a 21% open rate compared to just 9% for 21-25 words, so take the time to really think what the key point in your email is and use that as a starting point to craft the perfect subject line.

Use questions that spark curiosity

When you’re reaching out to a candidate for the first time or trying to reengage someone who’s been ignoring your emails, your subject line needs to pique their interest to get the ball rolling.

Using a question in your subject lines is a great way to do this. It sparks curiosity because your recipient will pause to self-assess and consider what the answer could be.

Make sure you use open-ended questions so your reader can’t just read the subject line, tell themselves “no” and move onto the next email in their inbox.

For example, instead of writing a closed question like ‘Are you looking for a new job?’, write an open question like, ‘What does your dream job look like?’. An open question like this can't simply be dismissed, so candidates will stop and consider what their answer would be. 

Learn from your data

Testing different types of subject lines is the best way to understand what works for your audience and boost your open rates. If you’re not tracking what’s working and what isn’t, how will you be able to improve your open rates?

What works for your audience can change rapidly depending on the market, so keep your finger on the pulse of the market and update your subject lines and emails accordingly. Pay attention to the things that are getting you clicks, test them out in future emails and if you find they improve your open rates, include them as a permanent part of your process.

Email is one of the best ways to market to your customer base - as long as you do it right. Download this eBook to learn how to create a recruitment email campaign that gets you results. 

Whitepaper on building effective recruitment email campaigns.

Laura Imrie

Laura is an Email and Marketing Automation Specialist at Firefish. Since diving into marketing, she's been reeling readers in with great blogs and emails!

Subscribe to our blog and receive top content to help you reach, engage and recruit more effectively!