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How to Get People to Open Your Recruitment Emails During Covid-19

Covid-19 is disrupting all of our lives right now, so it can be really difficult to get the balance right when you're sending out emails.

It’s a difficult time for everyone, and reading emails might not be a priority to them right now. But at the same time, if you’ve got something to say that you know will be of value to them, there's no reason not to send it - but you will need to cut through a lot of inbox noise to tell them.

The only chance you have to get your recipients’ attention over email is by having a subject line that speaks to them and captures their attention. 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.

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... 

Don’t ignore the current situation

subject lines that candidates want to clickCovid-19 affecting us all right now in one way or another, and your emails need to respect that.

In this time of crisis, you need to approach emails with sensitivity and consideration of circumstances – ‘business as usual’ emails will go down like a lead balloon.

The situation will be affecting your recipients in very different ways (for example, a recently-unemployed candidate will be having a different experience to a business owner adapting to remote team management).

It’s important to take the time to think about how Covid-19 is affecting who you’re trying to reach, what challenges they’re facing and consider how you can address these challenges. Every subject line you craft should consider these challenges and be sensitive to how your audience is feeling. If you’re gut is telling you the email isn’t quite appropriate right now, it probably isn’t, so don’t send it.

And if you’re worrying that you shouldn’t be marketing to your audience right now, maybe it will comfort you to hear that 92% of consumers think businesses shouldn’t stop marketing to them as a result of Covid-19, but they do expect brands to be sensitive to the current situation.

Know who’s in your CRM

The 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 personaised 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 will be changing rapidly as a result of Covid-19, so you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the market more than ever 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.

About the Author: 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!

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