The 7 Deadly Mistakes of Recruitment Sales Emails

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and this is definitely the case when sending out your recruitment sales emails. We all know prospecting in recruitment is a competitive game, so you can’t afford to take any chances!

Avoid these common prospecting email blunders to increase your read-to-reply rates and win more business.  

Mistake 1: Blowing it with the subject line

deadly recruitment email mistakes-minIn the same way that gatekeepers will get in the way of you reaching the hiring manager, a bad subject line can easily get in the way of prospects opening your emails too.

A lot rests on your subject line: if it sucks, it’ll end up in the bin no matter how great the content of your email is. 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.

Solution: Keep your subject lines simple but powerful, personally address the recipient, offer value and try to promote urgency. For example “David, some interesting new info on your target candidate market...”.

Research has shown that a personalised subject line can increase your email's chances of being opened by 22.2%!

Alternatively, you could flag up mutual connections to promote trust: "Louise Smith suggested I get in touch." What’s more powerful than a personal recommendation? But whatever you do, make sure it's a genuine referral or you risk tarnishing your relationship before it's even started!

Mistake 2: Making the email about yourself

No matter how genuinely great you think your agency is, feeding the prospect a two-paragraph story of the company and how successful and innovative you are is not the way to win them over. The prospect doesn’t care about this stuff – at least at this early stage they don’t, anyway!

Solution: Focus on the prospect, the company they represent and the potential challenges they might be having and explain how you can help.

For example: “I see you’re hiring for data positions at the moment. I've recently helped [competitor X] with a similar challenge, and I wondered if you'd like to chat through what we were able to deliver for them?” Comments like this are effective as you’re using the insights you’ve gained from working with similar companies and the challenges they might have to open up a dialogue that’s likely to be of interest to them.

Mistake 3: Addressing your email incorrectly

Whether it’s misspelling the prospect’s name, using the wrong name completely or going for an abbreviation that the person doesn’t use - addressing an email incorrectly is the easiest way to get things off to a terrible start. It doesn’t take much to get this bit right, so slacking is considered pretty terrible manners.

Similarly, sending your email to the wrong person at a company is like recruitment prospecting suicide. Never be so lazy as to throw in “If you aren’t the best person to contact about this, could you please forward it on?” at the bottom of your email either.

Solution: Find out who the decision-maker is before you begin writing your email, take your time with it and proofread all emails before clicking ‘send’ to make sure there are no unnecessary blunders.

Mistake 4: Not personalising your email

If you can’t even make the time to personalise your emails at the prospecting stage, this doesn’t get things off to a good start. And personalising an email isn’t just about using their name or mentioning the company they work for - it’s showing the prospect you’re reaching out to them specifically for a good reason.

Treat every prospect like a human (that’s what they are, after all!), not just a name on a list. Remember that hiring managers will be receiving emails just like yours on a daily basis, so can smell a bulk email a mile off! This is your chance to outshine your competitors’ prospecting emails – don’t let yourself down by being lazy with this.

Solution: Personalise your email! Try to include one or two observations about their work or the company to show you’ve done your research and genuinely think you have something to offer them.

Mistake 5: Messing up your call-to-action (CTA)

The fundamental aim of your email is to convince the prospect to perform an action – whether that’s to email you back, pick up the phone and call you or agree to a meeting. Therefore, if it’s not immediately clear to your prospect what step they need to take to move forward (in other words, if your call-to-action has failed) then your email has no purpose.

Solution Avoid using vague CTAs like “I look forward to hearing from you soon” or worse, “Thanks in advance” – what does this even mean!

Keep your call-to-action prompt and clear: “When would you be available this week for a 10-minute call so I can learn a bit more about what you’re looking for with this hire?”

Mistake 6: Including too much information

If your emails are too long, they won’t get read – even if you’ve crafted the best message you can, packed it with loads of value and backed it up with proof. Too much info can overload your recipient and result in your call-to-action never getting read.

Solution: If you’ve found yourself highlighting a sentence or two within your email that you think are most important, think about how you can cut to the chase to get to those sentences more quickly. The best prospecting emails spark interest with short, persuasive and easy to read interesting points, so delete the jargon and get to the point!

Mistake 7: Forgetting to proofread!

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but can’t go unmentioned as it can genuinely make or break your email. Proofreading isn’t just about bad grammar, either – it’s about making sure your email is easy to read, ensuring all the details are correct, and that any links you include are working too!

Solution: Simple - proofread! Read through your email carefully and test any links you include – it’s the least you could do to make sure they work.

Avoid these seven deadly sins of recruitment sales emails and you’re sure to increase your read-to-reply rate substantially. And have you tried this trick which research has shown can increase your open-to-replies by almost 25%?

And for tips on how to improve the emails you send to candidates, download the eBook below!

Whitepaper on building effective recruitment email campaigns.


Joanne Causer

Joanne is a Senior Growth Specialist at Firefish. She loves bringing on board new recruiters who are looking to recruit smarter.

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