Effective email relationships and campaigns

As you tap Internet communities, newsgroups, blogs, chat groups, forums, mailing lists, etc., it’s important to consider how you initiate and build communication with the candidates you find into enough of an e-relationship to get applicants or referrals out of it, and keep them warm enough to go back to for future needs. Here are some tips on how to create effective email campaigns.


Electronic campaigns

  • Stand out and get noticed!
  • Initiate contact in a compelling way.
  • Build one-on-one relationships with 100’s of people simultaneously.
  • Creatively engage your target audience and keep them warm.
  • Grow your network to effectively elicit referrals.
  • Avoid online communication pitfalls with networking etiquette.
  • Respond to email efficiently and professionally with templates.


Bad subject lines make small networks!

It’s all about the subject line: Your message won’t be read if the subject isn’t compelling or raises curiosity. You have a few seconds to catch their eye and get a theme to open your message.

  • Use Humor: “Please help brighten a suffering recruiter’s day“
  • Be Relevant: “Likely impact of Merger on Software Engineering careers”
  • Plead for help: “Bold favor to ask you, please read”
  • Personalize: “Frank – interesting career opportunity”
  • Be Honest: “Found you on Zoominfo, want to recruit you”
  • Think Headlines: Learn from the media and write “headlines” that “turn pages”
  • No Funny Stuff: You’ll get labeled as spammer if you use these:…? ! Or if you use ALL CAPS.


Writing the Email body

  • Use your ABCs: Action – can you be more interactive? What are you eliciting them to do? Can you make it more compelling? Benefit – what’s in it for them? Why should they bother opening the message? Clarity and Conviction – can you be any more clear or concise? Are you convincing in as few words as possible? How are you removing skepticism?
  • Sell the Sizzle: As with writing job postings, sell the sizzle and make the email exciting. Short emails of the “please call me…” type won’t get a reply unless you know the person already. Focus on what you would want to see as a job seeker yourself — responsibilities, salary, benefits, and the other areas covered in the Job Posting section. Little details that make the location special give them a reason to respond, or at least answer your call when you try them on the phone.
  • Don’t Tip Your Hat: You don’t want a subject to give away the whole content of the message because then it won’t be opened. The subject is a “teaser” like movie trailers are to movies. If you give away the meat, then the sizzle doesn’t sell. The subject doesn’t sell your requirements, its sole purpose is to get people to open your message.
  • Personalize your email: Write to people like you would talk to them, or like you would want to be talked to. Ask yourself if you would respond back to those emails. Add some pizzazz and just be real. Using their name in the subject line can also be a useful way to get their attention.
  • Take Heart: If you put some time into your contacts by being respectful, personable and providing them with good information about the opportunity you would be amazed at your response rate!


Proper timing:  1-2-3 Combination Approach

  • Initial Contact via email
  • Wait a day and leave a voicemail saying:
  • “Hi this is Shally, I’m trying to get in touch with you, I sent you an email with my contact information. Please call me back at ….”
  • Send another email after your call:
  • “I left you a message and wanted to make sure you had my contact information. Please call me back at…”


Establish relationships via email first.

Email is the most non-interruptive form of contact and allows candidates to contact you at their convenience. If you get nowhere with your first couple of emails, then you can try to call. Once you call, you can reference the fact that you tried to email but wanted to get in touch with them live. When you email them, here are tips on getting them to write back:

  • Send free stuff like online coupons, interesting news or information, or something cool that you can email but that they probably wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
  • Ask for support. People love to help. If you come to them asking for help, they are more likely to listen.
  • Offer to be a resource. This way you are not just asking but giving back as well.
  • Be subtle and sweet. Honey catches more bees.
  • Be helpful and honest. If you show that you can help them, they will be more receptive to help you.


How to Send a Campaign

If you are dealing with candidates who are not already in your database, you can still send an ad hoc email campaign using an inexpensive tool like mailchimp or activecampaign. Your name/email source list can be in Excel, among other formats.  Or in Outlook, you can create a subfolder within Contacts, drag email messages into it, and new contacts will be created.  Then use MailMerge to send a bulk email to that group.


Using Outlook Signatures to boost productivity and consistency in response

  1. Create master templates for the most common email activities
  2. Save them as Signatures in your email program
  3. When you get a message just reply and insert the signature file


Example topics:

  • Thank you for sending resume
  • Preliminary screening questions (e-screen)
  • Directions and interview prep
  • Request referral
  • Request references
  • Interview follow up and next steps
  • Letting them down (thanks but no thanks)
  • Keeping in touch


Effective Email contact tips

These also work well voiced, once you get them on the phone — more on phone sourcing in separate training module/handout:

  • Let them know where you found them: “I noticed you had some interesting answers to the ___ question in the ____ online…” or “I see you have had some excellent experience in ___ for ___ from your posting…”
  • Let them know why you contacted them: “You seemed to know quite a bit about ___ so I wondered if you could spare a couple moments of your time so I could pick your brain…” or “Given your expertise in your industry, I wondered if we could talk…”
  • Give them enough information (either in email or voicemail) so they can make an educated decision about getting back to you, but not too much information so they feel like they don’t ever have to get back to you. Good candidates won’t respond to “Bait” tactics because they get suspicious that it will be a waste of time.
  • Let them know you appreciate the time and give them an out: “Thank you so much for your time. Please call me any time at 555-1212 so we could talk. I am sorry if I interrupted your day and will not contact you further if you would like.”
  • The key is unobtrusive, honest, gentle conversation.

Shally Steckerl

One of the pioneers of the sourcing discipline, Shally is the Founder and former President of The Sourcing Institute, where he has helped numerous F500 and mid-market organizations train and develop their talent sourcing capabilities for nearly 20 years. When it comes to innovative approaches to candidate search, Shally literally wrote the book. He is the author of the industry-standard textbook “The Talent Sourcing and Recruitment Handbook” as well as “The Sourcing Method: Tactics to Find Unfindable Talent.”


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