Recruiters who reach out to passive candidates through email or social media messaging may have noticed they encounter a common problem – nobody seems to be opening their messages. Highly desirable candidates can field dozens of messages from recruiters every day on their LinkedIn profiles or on their email accounts, so getting their attention isn't easy. Luckily, there's a wealth of knowledge on engagement available to recruiters from experts in another space: email marketing. Getting people to open messages and take action is the name of the game in email marketing, just as it is in making contacts in recruiting, so there's plenty to learn from leaders in the field. Here are a few key insights:
Do Candidates Recognize You?
A generic subject line from a person whose name is unfamiliar isn't likely to get many people to open a message. "An Opportunity" from John Smith is utterly forgettable. Instead, Forbes suggests, make sure the name is recognizable if at all possible. Recruiters may wish to use email names that include the company they are with, and should definitely use accounts connected to the company.
How's Your Subject Line?
The subject line itself is meant to sell the candidate on opening the message, so it's got to be good. Forbes suggests asking a question – perhaps, "Looking for the perfect opportunity at [company name]?" – or using a list format – like "5 reasons [position] will be your best job yet." These get people's attention in marketing, and can do so in recruiting as well. Other strategies include the teaser and presenting an inquiry as an announcement.
What Should the Candidate Do Now?
A message from a recruiter that doesn't seem to have a point isn't one that is likely to get a response. Taking a cue from marketers, talent acquisition professionals need to make sure they have calls to action in their emails. This means giving a clear cue about what the candidate's next step is. Does he or she need to reply to the email? Go to a jobs website? Schedule a phone call? Don't assume the next step is obvious, and don't save it until the end. The call to action is the centerpiece of the message.
Will Mobile Users Be Frustrated?
Many people use their mobile devices almost exclusively, especially for things like social networking and checking email. For this reason, recruiters need to make sure their messages are optimized for mobile. Sending a candidate to a careers page that only renders in a desktop version is a bad move, according to Multichannel Merchant, and can cause the person to abandon the task entirely. Similarly, formatting applied to emails needs to be simple and mobile-friendly. If a candidate has to pinch to zoom in on the words the recruiter has written or download and save a signature attachment, he or she just might not bother.
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