How to Write Effective Recruitment Emails

As someone who is always on the lookout for new talent to join your company, you will likely have to write cold emails to recruit candidates, continue the application process by drafting a candidate interview invitation email, and unfortunately turn down applicants with rejection notices. These are so common that many recruiters keep email templates for each occasion.

In this article, you will learn a number of tried and true ways to craft the perfect recruitment email, one that attracts attention, uses professional, clear language, and relays crucial information you want potential employees to know about the opportunity you are offering. We’ll also help you with the interview invitation email, and even the dreaded rejection notice.

1. Cold Recruiting Emails to Potential Candidates

Cold emailing can seem like a difficult task to the uninitiated. For one thing, how do you build a relationship with a candidate you are not familiar with? What’s more, the talent you find online likely already have multiple emails from other recruiters streaming in along with yours. An unclear or unenticing cold email runs the risk of being quickly overlooked in favor of your competitors. How can you maintain professional communication, as well as the image and reputation of your company, yet still ensure the candidate is interested in your opportunity?

Write a Quality Subject Line

First impressions last, so it’s important you make a good one with your subject line. A strong subject line is possibly the most valuable part of a cold email in that it lets the recipient know whether or not it’s worth their time to continue reading. A good subject line is:

  • Personalized: A personalized subject line is a surefire way to attract attention to your email. Try using the second person (i.e. you, your) or even naming the candidate in your subject line.
  • Straightforward, direct: A long, convoluted subject line from an unknown sender will simply be ignored. Keep it simple, and state your objective clearly.
  • Relevant: The worst thing you could do with your subject line is to mislead. It may be tempting to bait and switch candidates with something eye-catching, but in the end it makes you seem deceptive and unreliable.

Personalize Your Message

The most important thing to remember here is, as with the subject line, to personalize your message. You want the candidates to feel that you have singled them out specifically for their skills and experience. A cut-and-paste template, devoid of all personality or style, will get completely ignored or sent straight to the spam box. A follow-up email can help in this regard - If you don’t hear back from the candidate a week later, send another email telling them you are very interested in talking to them. This will make the candidates feel you weren’t just sending out one-off emails to a bunch of candidates.

Cut To the Chase

Your email should be clear, concise, and to-the-point. The idea here is to attract the potential candidate’s attention with the prospect of an exciting opportunity. Excessive small talk or descriptions of the position may turn your contacts off without giving them the chance to get to know you and your company.

Offer Clear Call-To-Action

Tell candidates what you want to them to do, such as contact you or refer other potential talent to you. Provide the candidate a variety of ways to contact you. You may not get them to agree to an in-person interview right away, but asking for a 5 minute phone call or leaving a link to a longer job description may help you win them over. To encourage referrals, you can also use the Jobalaya Referral Bullhorn clickable add-on to your email signature.

Here is a good example of what a cold recruiting email should look like:

Cold Recruiting Email Template

Subject: Hi Mary, here’s a job opportunity you might be interested in

Hi Mary!

My name is Jane Jones from The Rocket Company and I came across your LinkedIn profile today. I was really impressed with your extensive experience in the tech industry as a computer programmer. In fact, you seem like a great fit for our backend developer position - here is a brief job description.

If this sounds interesting to you, perhaps we could find some time this week to chat? Call, coffee, email, just let me know what works for you. If now is not the right time for you, and you know of other qualified programmers, please send their information my way!

Best,

Jane Jones

Once you’ve finalized the email, check it for spelling and grammatical errors (trust us, these do make a difference). If all goes well, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

2. Standard Candidate Interview Process Email

So now you’ve reeled in the candidate in with an effective cold email, and maybe a little bit of back-and-forth about the position you’re offering. As the next step, you will need to invite your interested prospect in for an interview. It may seem easy, but all too often, recruiters and companies leave out pertinent information their contacts need to know. Listed below are some important details that any interview invitation email should include.

What a Candidate Interview Invitation Email Should Include

  • Available Position: “UX Designer”, “Software Engineer”, etc. This lets both you and the candidate know that you have them slotted for the right position.
  • Date, Time, Location: Does your company have multiple branches or locations? Is the interview to take place on Skype and need to factor in time differences?
  • Who the Interviewer is: They may have become comfortable talking to you, but can get caught off-guard when they realize they’re interviewing with the team lead or the CEO. Let them know so they can prepare.
  • What the Candidate Should Bring: Resume, portfolio, or letters of recommendation.
  • Contact Information: Things come up and sometimes interviews need to be rescheduled. List all relevant contact information in your email.

Interview Invitation Email Template

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for sending us your application for Marketing Manager at Excellent Hires Corporation. We are quite impressed with your background and would like to schedule an interview at our Main Street location on September 30, 2017 at 2:30 PM. Please confirm by replying to this email.

For the interview, you will be talking with Jennifer Smith, the current Marketing Manager. Please bring your portfolio and a list of references in order to give us a better idea of your skills and qualifications.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to reschedule, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (555) 555-5555 or send me an email at mandyperkins@excellenthires.com.

We look forward to meeting you.

Best,

Mandy Perkins

3. Candidate Rejection Email

Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, but when you’re in a position of scouting for new talent for your team, there will be a few who didn’t make the cut. Alerting someone who has been through the interview process that they did not get the job takes some finesse.

Like the cold email, rejection notices need to be personalized. Try to give them a human touch as well. Thank the candidate for coming into the interview and learning more about the company and the position. Let them know you were impressed with certain aspects of their application and their background, but that another candidate has been chosen that more closely fits the requirements of that position. Offer concrete feedback if you can. Make it brief, as you may have many of these to send out. Finally, add some words of encouragement and, if you really liked the candidate, leave the door open for future opportunities.

Candidate Rejection Email Template

Hi Peter,

Thank you for taking the time to come in and meet us. We understand that there are a lot of companies out there currently hiring, so we really appreciate your interest in Awesome Clients Corporation.

We were impressed with your application and interview, but have decided to hire a candidate that better fits our needs at this time. For your reference, here is the feedback provided by your interviewers:

[Insert feedback]

We strongly encourage you to continue developing your graphic design skills and to apply for other postings we list that you think you may be a good fit for in the future.

Best,

John Lee

Conclusion

There you have it, a handy guide for short, actionable emails for every step of the recruitment process, complete with usable email templates for cold emails, candidate interview invitation emails, and rejection notices. The main takeaways here are to personalize as much as possible, keep it short and direct, include any and all pertinent information, and to leave the door open for the candidate or anyone they might be able to refer to you down the line.

Jeremy Olivier
I'm a writer and musician based in Taipei. You can just as easily find me curled up on the couch with a good book as you can bounding down a rural Taiwan mountain trail. I have a bachelor's degree in history and an MA in Asia Studies.