3 Ways to Get Higher Response Rates

Our goal as recruiters is to get positive responses from every candidate. Many desirable engineers receive several recruiter emails each day, so it’s important to find ways to stand out. Emails must be compelling enough for 1) the engineer to open and read them and 2) respond to them. Below are some suggestions to increase email response rates.

1.    Personalize the subject line.

It doesn’t matter if you write a great email if it never gets opened. The subject line is your first impression on a candidate. Oddly enough, the goal is to make your email NOT look like a recruiter email. This can be accomplished through a little personalization.

Take the time to research the candidate. Explore their social media accounts to provide a more holistic view about who they are. That way you can learn about their motivations and tailor your subject line to appeal to them.

Here are some examples of subject lines that have worked:

  • “Beach Volleyball Players Wanted (+ work on the beach using Haskell)”
  • “Boston Haskell Organizers wanted at [company name]”
  • “Saw your comment on my Haskell enthusiasts post”
  • “Saw your question about [subject]”
  • “Saw you know [name of mutual connection]”

2.   Keep it simple.

Choose a font that is professional and readable. Verdana (sans serif) and Georgia (serif) are the easiest to read as the negative space in the letters is larger. Keep in mind that sans serif fonts (like Arial) evoke a more modern feel, while serif fonts (like Times New Roman) have a serious, traditional feel.

Keep your email brief; it should range between 50 and 150 words. Test how it appears on a mobile device. If this is an email you wouldn’t want to read, a tired engineer won’t want to either. Boomerang Respondable found that emails written at a 3rd grade level got the highest response rates. With that said, keep sentences short and the tone conversational.

Ensure your emails end with a call to action. In this case, it would be inviting the candidate to join a phone call. Try something like, “Would you be interested in chatting?”

3.    Take timing into account.

So you’re ready to send? Wait- don’t hit send yet! When you send your emails is nearly as important as the information they contain. DO send emails in the late morning (9AM to 10AM are ideal times), during lunch breaks, and after work hours. DON’T send emails on Thursday evenings, Fridays (ever) or Sundays (50% lower response rates). Be wary of sending emails on Saturdays. While engineers are not being reached out to as often on Saturdays, this can create the impression of an intense work environment and the expectation that you will also be available to talk on the weekends. Proceed with caution.

And most importantly, try new things and tweak your email throughout the process.


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