email outreach

Hi. My name is Mike Wolford and I’m a sourcer for an amazing company.  I think you have great experience and I have a great job for you.  We are looking for someone excellent to join our team.  Please find the job description below.   

Does that sound familiar?  I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to train a number of recruiters over my career and I’ve seen variations of this email in my career.

So why do emails like this get a 20% response rate on average?

Have you ever seen a movie trailer?  Have you seen a commercial? 

Movie trailers and commercials are great at creating awareness, sparking curiosity and preloading.   They both have several things in common that we can learn from.  The underlying thing is they get your attention and convey a benefit to you.  They preload you and they ultimately try to make you do something you may not have done otherwise (like go to see a movie or buy a specific product.)

I want you to think of your outreach as a movie trailer for your company and your job — essentially, as an advertisement, you are trying to sell.  (David Fincher does this better than almost anyone.)

What we tend to do is try to sell the job on the first contact — but that is not the correct approach.

You’ve probably heard ABC, or Always Be Closing. Great phrase and sales guys love it — but it’s inherently incomplete.

You want to always be closing in on the next step. 

In the case of sourcing and recruiting, the next step after initial outreach is the first call.  I want to be clear on this point.  The object of initial outreach is to sell a conversation not a job.

So what would a better outreach look like?

Try this:

I see that you have been with ABC company for XYZ time as a Software Engineer — but have you given thought about your next step in your career?

Questions are a great way to open a conversation. Asking a question also gives you control of the conversation.  Even a rhetorical question grabs the attention of the reader.  This is an example — but the objective of the first sentence is twofold.

First, grab their attention and make them start thinking about what you want them to be thinking about instead of whatever else had their attention.

The second objective is to make them understand that you are talking to them specifically.

Now you need to sell the conversation.

Here is one example of how I sell a conversation:

The role I’m working on would be perfect for you if you would like to (be an Engineer on a team that is) (rebuilding a Hadoop stack) for the (world’s premier Big Data Analytics company).   

I like to line my sells up in a row.  First I sell the role, not the job, then I sell the work and finally I sell my company.

The call to action

I would be happy to share the details with you. 

Then I close with Thank you! 

Statistically speaking Thank you at the end of an email is more likely to get a response.  (Or “thanks in advance.”)

I’ll give you three guesses why.

You want to make sure that your prospect understand that you are speaking directly to them.  You are giving them a movie trailer teaser for your job and your company and finally you are giving them a call to action.

And above all, if you want to have more success in your sourcing then you have to pique their interest to they want to find out the answer to the question: What is in it for you?

Mike Wolford

As the Talent Intelligence Titan with over 15 years of progressive experience, I've dedicated my career to revolutionizing the talent acquisition landscape. My journey, marked by leadership roles at esteemed organizations like Claro Analytics and Twitter, has equipped me with a deep understanding of recruiting, sourcing, and analytics. I've seamlessly integrated advanced AI technologies into talent acquisition, positioning myself at the vanguard of recruitment innovation.