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How and why to personalize your candidate outreach

Karen Henke
Editor of the Shortlist
July 5, 2021

Email outreach is one of the best ways to connect with and acquire top talent. However, it’s not without its challenges for recruiters. Most notably, simply getting the candidate to open and read the email in the first place.

Top-tier candidates are inundated with emails flooding their inboxes every day (the average employee receives upwards of 122 business emails per day and you have just 3-4 seconds to grab their attention), so if you want yours to stand out you need to make a strong first impression. This is especially true for younger generations who are more informed about email marketing and will be quick to delete an email that doesn’t display value right from the jump. Sending out un-personalized cookie-cutter pitches to thousands of candidates is not a recipe for attracting top talent.

Your approach to email outreach directly impacts the results you get from it. If you want to improve the quality of candidates you get in the door for an interview, you can use recruiting email templates as long as you personalize them.

What does personalization mean in recruiting?

Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effect of personalization in email outreach. Here are a few statistics to demonstrate the effectiveness:

For recruiting, personalization means putting in the effort to research all of your candidates. The more information you have about a candidate – whether it’s their employment history, education, interests, location, etc. – the easier it is to craft email messaging that connects and resonates.  

Personalizing a message goes deeper than simply saying, “I saw your profile today and think you’d be a great fit for XYZ role.” Instead, you have to explain why the person’s profile stood out to you. What’s relevant from their work experience that would tie into the position you’re looking to fill or the stage your company is at? How do their interests and skills align with your company culture and vision?  

You’ll need to dig deeper than the surface level to create an impactful message. Demonstrate that you’re aiming to connect with candidates on a personal level and they’ll be much more compelled to engage with your email.

How to personalize your candidate outreach

Although it sounds time-consuming to personalize every outreach email, it doesn’t take much to have a significant impact. Also, new technology has made it much simpler to add personalization to your emails and get amazing response rates as a result. For example, Findem allows you to easily source candidates based on their real-world attributes, with over 30 inbuilt personalization elements you can include in your automated outreach.

That said, here are a few personalization tips to take your email outreach to the next level:

Do your research

This is where an attribute search can help. If you narrow your search with qualities like “has startup experience” or “open source contributor”, you can tap into how the position or company purpose and values align with those attributes. That will raise your emails up a level. There’s no way around this: if you’re going to personalize your emails, you need to know your candidates well. The more research you do, the easier it is to craft a message that’ll resonate with a potential candidate.

Write a great subject line

The subject line is arguably the most important sentence in any email. Taking shortcuts here is a recipe for ending up in the spam folder.

Use the subject line to clearly explain what the email is about and why it’s interesting to the candidate. Also, using a recipient’s name in the subject line can increase your open rate by 20%, so that’s a great method to keep in mind.

Here are a couple of example subject lines:

  • Hi [Candidate’s name], would you be interested in joining [company name]’s team?
  • [Candidate’s name], your experience with [X] project caught my eye
  • [role] opportunity at [your company] – let’s chat!

Tailor each message for the specific candidate

While a generic template will allow you to message more candidates at once, the data shows that it’s far less effective. Keep in mind that your emails don’t need to be long-winded to be effective. A short, personalized message will result in a much better response rate.

Feel free to use any information you find to add that bit of personalization. Whether it’s their work experience, interests, or education, all it takes is a little effort to demonstrate that you’ve put the effort in.

Include new content in each email

Findem email best practices research shows that you get more responses from better qualified candidates by the third email in your outreach sequence. Make sure you’re including interesting and new content each time you reach out. Here are some examples of content you can include to make candidates feel more of a connection with your brand:

  • Recent press releases and articles
  • Big wins and new customer logos
  • Profiles of leaders in the department you’re reaching out about
  • Company awards
  • Employee testimonials/Glassdoor reviews
  • Professional development/HR initiatives
  • Company growth plans

Why personalize your candidate outreach

Personalization is key to making a good first impression – especially if you’re searching for A+ candidates at the top of the talent pool. By making the effort to connect with each person on an individual level, you’ll significantly improve the effectiveness of your outreach and ultimately, contribute toward a prosperous future for your company. Learn how Findem can help you source and automate personalized outreach to top, diverse candidates.