Email is not dead.
That’s what an overwhelming majority of marketers have been chanting for the past few years, and they aren’t wrong. Most B2B marketers still use email to distribute content, and 40% say email newsletters are the most effective part of their content marketing strategy.
What about those on the receiving end? A majority (73%) of millennials prefer email communications from businesses. While that statistic is about marketing communications, we know people are creatures of habit and, as the largest generation in the workforce, talent acquisition leaders should pay attention to those preferences.
Job seekers want to hear from you via email but that doesn’t mean it’s time to fill up their inboxes with email blasts. Knowing how and when to use email as an effective channel of communication can help you build stronger relationships with your ideal candidates, and help you get to a ‘yes’ faster. We’ve outlined six best practices to keep you on track.
#1: Add a personal touch
Recruiters already know today’s job seekers want a personalized candidate experience. Email is a great way to deliver it. Use each candidate’s first name in the email greeting and even in the subject line to grab their attention. And while this may sound obvious, let me give you a compelling reason to commit to this strategy: research shows that our brains are activated when we see and hear our name. So leverage this science to connect with your candidates for better results.
But don’t rely on automation software alone to deliver personalization at scale. If you’re using personalization tags in your email templates, review your email drafts before sending them out, so your candidates don’t see this:
#2: Write like you speak
Using a conversational tone can make your emails more readable and appealing. Yes, you’re a professional and you’re composing business communications, but it’s okay to relax the formalities a bit. At the end of the day, candidates want to understand who they’ll be working with and, unless your day-to-day communications sounds like a proper English afternoon tea from the 18th century, don’t be afraid to write your emails the same way you would talk on the phone. Similarly, make sure your email communications are representative of your employer brand archetype as well. Most candidates will appreciate this. And if they don’t, why would their attitude be any different after they join your team?
#3: Follow up with active candidates
Candidates want more information throughout the recruiting process and email makes it easy to stay connected with active candidates, without all that annoying phone tag getting in the way. Use email to follow up with candidates about unfinished applications, next steps during screening, directions to in-person interviews, and other relevant updates. Because you can draft and schedule emails on your time, and candidates can read and reply to them on their schedule, it’s an effective way to exchange information throughout the recruiting process and at nearly every stage of the recruiting funnel.
#4: Strengthen relationships with candidates in database
Email recruiting can help recruiters make the most of their candidate database. Every organization has applicants on file who didn’t make the cut for the first position they applied to, but could still become a viable candidate for another role. Re-engage past applicants with good skills by sharing new job postings relevant to their search, making use of the information you’ve already gathered about their experience and interests. Email is also an effective channel for inviting past applicants to virtual career fairs.
#5: Mind the calendar
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make your email recruiting successful is make your messages timely and relevant. It’s been well-documented that most job seekers (55%) will move on if they haven’t heard from a potential employer within two weeks of submitting an application. So, why leave them hanging? Use email to notify candidates about the status of their application, even if it’s just to let them know they are being considered. For example, you could send personalized notes like this one: “Susan, your application for Cybersecurity Engineer is currently under review and we’ll contact you again within 1 week if you are chosen for an interview” or similar.
Make sure emails are relevant to the stage of the recruiting funnel the candidate is currently in. You wouldn’t send a career fair invitation to a candidate who is deep into the interview process and is waiting for an offer, for instance. And if you decide to use email in the early stages of the recruiting funnel, don’t slack off. Unless a candidate opts out of emails, be consistent in using each communication channel throughout the process.
#6: Consider the rest of your toolbox
None of your recruitment marketing strategies exist in a silo and email is no different. Making email part of an omnichannel communications strategy allows job seekers to connect when and how they want to, which is particularly helpful for today’s busy candidates. As you consider each component of your email recruiting strategy, pay attention to how it will fit in with all the other communication channels you’re using to interact with each candidate. Considering email in this context will help you create a holistic recruitment marketing strategy that delivers the information and personalization candidates want without overwhelming or annoying them. After all, the last thing you want to do is alienate a candidate when your goal is to keep them engaged in the recruiting process.
At the end of the day, or the end of your recruiting cycle, what matters the most is the quality of your conversations. Following these best practices will help you get a leg up over the competition, and support the other parts of your conversational recruiting efforts. Ultimately, using email to connect with your ideal candidates is just one more way to build trust and foster relationships based on human connection, which should be the overarching goal of your conversational recruiting strategy.
Email is just one aspect of effective conversational recruiting. Learn how to design your conversational recruiting strategy here.
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