August 24, 2018 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
There aren’t any magic words, but there is a formula to follow to get a high response rate to a first email. It’s less about what you say to the potential candidate, and more about the way you deliver the information.
It can take time to produce thoughtful messages, to shine light on the best parts of working at your company, and do so concisely. The time you take to craft your message will pay off with higher response rates and yes rates from potential new team members wherever they’re in the Employee Lifecycle.
The first couple lines of your message are the most important. If the candidate is not intrigued, your email will end up in the trash, or worse, marked as “spam.” One of the most effective techniques to hook your reader is to establish who you are and why you’re reaching out to them. When starting an email, focus on a couple key areas:
Who you are
Introduce yourself and show that you’re earnestly interested. There is a reason that you’re reaching out to this person, and it probably has something to do with who you are. If you’re a hiring manager, talk about how you’re growing your team and need their help. If you’re a recruiter, describe how your company is ripping at the seams and this candidate would be an awesome fit.
Explain why this opportunity is better than the candidate’s current job. After you humanize the experience by introducing yourself, tell the candidate why your opportunity is unique. Will they be the first member of the sales team? Will they fill a critical role that will help the company reach its next milestone? Will they have a seat at the table with visibility into multiple facets of the organization?
Cater your message to the individual: explain why the candidate would be a great fit. Ideally you’ll be able to reference the candidate’s experience and explain how it’s relevant to this new opportunity. You’ll generate enthusiasm for your brand and mission if you connect it directly to the candidate’s unique background and interests.
You’ve hooked your reader. Now that you have their attention, provide some context about what your company does and how this role fits into the whole.
Keep your company pitch short and digestible. Two or three sentences at a maximum. It’s best to avoid jargon and abbreviations – you risk alienating people. The company description should be your company’s mission at it highest level. Don’t worry about explaining every detail.
Candidates want to know how this opportunity ties in to the larger business. Create a narrative that allows them to write themselves into the company’s future success. If there is a throughline, it will be easier for the candidate to see how their past accomplishments have led to this new opportunity. But keep it short and to the point.
Now for the close. Keep it light, conversational, and fun. Ask for a conversation or to grab coffee. It might be tempting to ask the candidate to put some effort in, like asking them to apply through your website or to complete a test. That’ll dissuade some candidates who might actually be the perfect fit. While your hiring bar should remain high, your bar for having an initial conversation should be much lower. And that’s all you’re trying to do here, to get a conversation started.
Call to action
Close with a call to action – a simple, straightforward and direct question. People love talking about themselves and sharing their opinions. A little flattery might help, so long as it’s genuine. Get the candidate excited to engage with you.
I’m George, a founder at TopFunnel. We’re looking for our first ML engineer, and I saw you’re working on some interesting ML problems at Google. I’d love to connect and learn more about your work on the Search team.
At TopFunnel we’re building a recruiting solution for hiring managers and recruiting teams. We work on true full-stack problems, from machine learning to large-scale data manipulation and browser extensions. Today, we’re helping fast-growing companies recruit more effectively.
I’d love to pick your brain about how we’re applying ML to recruiting. Are you up for chatting in the next couple days?
The above formula will lay a solid foundation for you to iterate on. The same message will not resonate with every candidate you reach out to. You’ll need to evolve the messaging to account for different roles. You’ll also need to adjust the pitch as your company grows. Laying a solid foundation and continuing to iterate will pay off with more engaged candidates.
And if, for some reason, the candidate misses your initial message, there are always the follow-ups.
Jeff Von Ward
Account Manager at TopFunnel