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Gild building the better recruiting email

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  • 1. Building the Better Recruiting Email:Increase Response Rates, Build Relationships,and Restore Trust with Candidates
  • 2. ContentsPart One: Introduction Here’s the Situation............................................................1 So How Do We Fix It?.........................................................1 Current Frustrations............................................................2Part Two: The Problem Through a Candidate’s Eyes...............................................3 Some (Bad) Examples.........................................................4Part Three: The Solution The Solution: Crafting the Better Recruiting Email (Easy as 1–2–3)....................................................................7 Tips for Candidate Research...............................................8 Crafting Initial Candidate Communications: The How-To........................................................................9 Subject Line and Email Body examples............................10 Call to Action examples....................................................13 Subject Line and Email Body examples............................14 Where We’ve Been, Where We’ve Arrived, What to Expect.................................................................15 About Gild........................................................................15
  • 3. Part One: Introduction
  • 4. Here’s the SituationFinding the ideal candidate these days generally comes with thetimeline of “yesterday.” With companies growing faster than wecan recruit, we’re faced with a seemingly impossible scenario:Find the candidate in the haystack with the best qualification. Now.Certainly—we’ll get right on that! So we do.In this era of mass communications, we’ve turned to form letters “Since we started working withand blind-copied emails to lists of five, ten, twenty or more Gild, we’ve seen a seismic shiftcandidates—and all in the name of satisfying the now part of that in the quality of candidatesrequest. As a result, however, communications with candidates we’re engaging. And byhave become more impersonal than ever. We, alongside our ‘seismic shift,’ I mean a five-foldemployers, are the ones who suffer, though. Candidates tune us increase in quality.”out, ignore our communications, and the best candidates are stillleft undiscovered and underserviced. All because we have to do —L.J. Brock, VP Talentmore in less time. Acquisition, RedHatSo How Do We Fix It?It’s time for a return to better communications skills—that’s whywe’ve put together this guide to writing a better recruiting email.We were audacious enough to ask ourselves along with otherrecruiting industry professionals: What kind of future would we like to see for our industry?The answers prompted more questions, yet all with a similargoal—a better recruiter-candidate communication stream.We could create a world where we were both efficient and personal.On-topic and enticing.One where candidates began to welcome our communicationsonce again.One where we built relationships with recruits so we always had adeep pool of talent to tap into the next time a now position cameknocking.It’s possible. We’ll review industry demands that led us to ourcurrent predicament (including some not-so-awesome examplesof the breakdown in communication) and then head directly into astep-by-step guide to crafting better candidate communcations. 1
  • 5. Current FrustrationsIt’s incredible to think that recruiting has become a less efficientindustry, what with every piece of technology we enjoy. Theresources we have to locate candidates have increased multi-foldin the past twenty years, yet where do we find ourselves? With lesstime to fill more positions with a seemingly bottomless pool oftalent, we face two critical and potentially crippling challenges: Quantity—Most current recruiting technology relies on simple keyword searches, returning largely unqualified lists of candidates without qualification, which leads us to… Quality—In these massive lists of candidates matching our search criteria (like “Ruby on Rails Developer”), we have just a list. We have no way of knowing which talent from that list is “better.” No stack ranking, no qualification criteria. We simply don’t know who’s worth putting on the short list so we can start the recruiting process from a better place.The result of the quantity + quality conundrum is that ourindustry has resorted to buckshot-style approaches. We use masscommunications like cut-and-paste impersonal emails and InMailsto see if we can get a bite. Instead of fly fishing with specific bait infavorable waters, we’re dragging a net behind the company boat,hoping to catch something. The downside has been that the needto do more with less knowledge and in less time has been at bothour and our candidates’ detriment. 2
  • 6. Part Two: The Problem
  • 7. Through a Candidate’s EyesCandidates need recruiters and we need our candidates, butthey’re growing weary of being treated as a commodity insteadof the rare and important assets they truly are. They’re on thereceiving end of a nonstop barrage of these impersonal InMailsand hurried emails landing in their inboxes, yet we’ve given themnothing to grab onto. No meat, just fluff. We’ve told them thatthey’re not worth a personalized communication, and in return,they’ve told us that we’re not worth a response. In short: wehaven’t shown them we’ve earned their attention.First, recruiting is a highly personal endeavor. We’re in search forthe ideal company/candidate fit, from skills and experience all theway down to personalities and work styles. Yet here we are, makingthe process as impersonal as can be with mass communications.We don’t speak to a candidate’s interests or any personal details—we’re just hoping for a bite. Impersonal communications areineffective and ripe for either the spam folder or delete button(oftentimes, both). Which leads us to our second problem: low ortotally inadequate responses rate.When someone yells, “Hey, you!” across a crowded room, do youbother to turn around? Mass, impersonal communications fallinto the “Hey, you!” category. For all of the effort spent sendingout a blind-copied cut-and-paste communication, we’re rewardedappropriately: low response rates, and generally not from thebest candidates. 3
  • 8. Some (Bad) ExamplesHave you ever reviewed the communications from thoseNigerian princes and purveyors of pharmacological remediesthat slip into your inbox every now and then? They’re certainlyworth a chuckle! At their worst, they’re incoherent, poorlytargeted, and aren’t even enticing enough to prompt a reply.The one thing that great spammers have on their side, however,is the ability to effectively communicate. That’s what gets theclicks, the phone calls, the responses—even to bogus offers.So here you are, with a perfectly legitimate opportunity withan incredible company for just the right candidate and you’re “I couldn’t have scripted itsending off things like the examples on the next page. any better: we get this tool from [Gild], and then we getWhat suffers most with the following caliber of communications somebody in within a month.(and we’re all guilty of sending at least one or two vague emails That’s pretty awesome.“in our lifetimes) is our reputation and credibility. It’s no wondercandidates lose faith in our profession if their inboxes are victim —Tim McQuillen, Founder andto communications like these. Chief Information Officer, StrongMail Systems, Inc.So how can we turn the corner with our candidatecommunications and increase personalization and thus, increaseresponse rates, build relationships, and more effectively fillpositions so our companies can grow? It’s time for the betterrecruiting email. 4
  • 9. Some (Bad) Examples To john@email.com Subject New opportunities & connection Dear John, I’m recruiting developers for Company X.  We are looking for a Ruby programmer to work Of course. But we’re sure that CAT scan imaging out of our office in San Francisco. It’s an exciting technicians could say the same thing. position working with a company utilizing cutting- edge technologies. Please let me know if you’re This doesn’t make a candidate feel interested in the position, or if anyone you know particularly special, as in “I’ll take anyone.” would be. If you can send me your contact information I’ll find a time for us to connect. To john@email.com Subject Interested in a new career opportunity? From Who? What have you heard? Hi John, A missed opportunity to let a candidate know you’re not shooting in the dark and you’re I’ve heard good things about you and wanted reaching out based on multiple referrals. to reach out. We’re growing our dev team in Boston. If you have skills in Ruby or iPhone This doesn’t make a candidate feel development I’d like to chat. Can you send particularly special, as in “I’ll take anyone.” your resume for me to review? I’ll get in touch if it looks like you’re a good fit. We were just voted X Website’s “Companies to Watch” and offer some great benefits including free lunch and a gym membership. 5
  • 10. Some (Bad) Examples To john@email.com Subject Interested in a new career opportunity? Hey Tom, Like running a front loader? Entirely too vague to catch a candidate’s attention. Wanted to reach out to see if you are interested in a new tech opportunity. Not sure about Tells the candidate flat-out that you haven’t your current situation but below is the job done your homework. They have no idea how description. Let me know if you’re interested. you found them or why you’re reaching out. 6
  • 11. Part Three: The Solution
  • 12. The Solution: Crafting the Better Recruiting Email (Easy as 1–2–3) We’ll say it—we’re not all writers and technology can be the bane of our very existence. There are days where Gmail sends before we’re ready, Outlook eats something we’ve just expertly crafted, and we’re left frustrated. The good news is that writing a more effective candidate email is only a few steps away—and we’ll show you how to do so quickly, expertly, and in a way that’s easily replicable for future candidate communications without being impersonal.1 Establishing Goals Think about the times in your life where you received an email that made you do something. Maybe you were prompted to: ▪ Give to a charity ▪ Click through to read a news article or blog post ▪ Send an immediate reply Those communications all had one thing in common: the sender knew exactly what they wanted you to do before they ever hit send. That’s precisely what you have to keep in mind when crafting your recruiting emails. The one question you must be able to answer is: “What do I want this candidate to do and feel after reading my email?” Some potentially desirable actions for a candidate to take would be: ▪ Respond with interest ▪ Respond with availability ▪ Request a call ▪ Request additional information ▪ Decline but desire to build a relationship ▪ Offer a referral to a colleague The most important shared action in all of the above bullets is respond. We make our livings by the graces of candidates that respond! And feel, you say? Yes, feel. Here are a few things you might want your candidates to feel when they reach the end of your message: ▪ Valued ▪ Understood ▪ Appreciated ▪ Inspired ▪ Curious When you know what you want a candidate to do and feel, you’re already on your way to crafting a better recruiting email. 7
  • 13. 2 Understanding Your Candidate We know all too well that there are no two candidates alike, even when recruiting for similar positions. That’s why we must treat each of them as the individuals they are and not just one of many Tips for Candidate Research on a blind-copied digital fishing expedition. It’s simpler than you think to embrace When building your short list of candidates to contact, there are social recruiting practices to bolster two simple ways to ferret-out additional information to make your candidate communications. your communications as personal as possible. First, conduct your You might be surprised to see what own research. a few search queries can turn up when you’ve found your shortlist of What kind of information is helpful for understanding your candidates. You might also find that candidate? The answer is safely tucked away in best practices in the shortlist gets whittled down by social recruiting. one or two when you take a moment to explore past the surface of a3 Goals + Research = Writing Better Emails candidate’s profile information—social sharing from their side might prove It’s a myth that personalized communications are difficult and they’re not at all the fit you thought time consuming to create. Just remember that whatever time they might be. But the upside is and energy you invest into defining your goals and uncovering that the social searching can both additional candidate information will pay dividends down the reinforce your selection and improve line by helping you create: the quality of your initial outreach. ▪ Highly targeted emails to better candidates Here’s a list of candidate qualities you ▪ Communications with increased can research in advance of your initial response rates outreach – and keep in mind this isn’t ▪ The opportunity for ongoing candidate relationships for an exhaustive list. You can build your future opportunities own list using this list as a starting What do we mean by combining your goals with the candidate? point and add criteria that will help To begin with, even preliminary candidate information can help your company identify and hone in on you better envision why your opportunity might be attractive better candidates. to a particular talent. Maybe you’ve unearthed their affinity for ▪ School or University attended/ particular best coding practices that would benefit your client’s shared alumni relationships with development team. It could be that everyone on staff happens key company team members or to be an avid fan of snow sports and your candidate just tweeted even you. excitement about opening day at a local resort. They may have ▪ Hobbies even gone to the same university as one of the company’s ▪ Shared connections founders. When you have information like this, you can move (easily viewed in LinkedIn right into the meat of crafting the better recruiting email. and on Twitter) You can take all of the emails on the previous page and customize ▪ Likes/dislikes/frustrations passions them to suit your particular position, candidate, and personality. (check Facebook, Twitter, and But now, you can see the tie-in between the subject line and LinkedIn public updates) the promise of what’s inside the email. It’s time to move on to ▪ Sports team affinities inspiring your candidate to act on your email. (passionate fans are easily found in social media outlets!) 8
  • 14. Crafting Initial Candidate Communications:The How-ToWe’ve seen the lackluster examples. Now it’s time to make yourcommunications stand out and shine. Each recruiting email hasfour parts: the Subject Line, the Email Body, the Call to Action,and the Signature.Let’s move step-by-step through building out a better recruiting “I found myself truly engagedemail so you can see how it all comes together before you hit send. and interested in the projects, as opposed to numbingThe Subject Line my brain scanning resumesPerhaps the most important part of your candidate email—the for keywords. [Gild Source]subject line is what entices people to open, ignore, or hit the delete really diversified the sourcingbutton. You never want to be dishonest with a bait-and-switch experience and helped metactic. Rather, email subject lines are places for your creativity to learn to contextualize theshine through and let the candidate know that this is one email technologies I see every day asthey should definitely read. stuff people actually do.”Great subject lines do three things: —Alexis Albaugh, Recruiter, Rumble ▪ Inspire action ▪ Hint towards the email contents ▪ Let the candidate know it’s NOT a mass communicationAll of the examples on the following page do two things: combinecandidate-specific information with a specific intent. This lets yourcandidate know that the email is specific to them (or at least everyother snowboarding Ruby developer in Colorado) and entices thecandidate to click further.The Email BodyNow that you’ve got the candidate’s attention, you have to keep it.And yes, we understand that you won’t necessarily want to craft abrand new email for every candidate you reach out to for asingle position. We’ll show you how to create the “meat” of theemail and add personalization to nurture candidates where theyneed nurturing.Your email body should accomplish a few specific tasks: ▪ Show the candidate that you’ve done your homework ▪ Explain exactly what you’re looking for ▪ Provide enticing details to encourage a response 9
  • 15. Subject Line and Email Body examplesTo john@email.comSubject Recruiting snowboarding Ruby developers—can we talk? Attach a file John— I was researching Ruby developers on the Front Range and came across your profiles on both GitHub and then Twitter. After all of the noise in the office last week about A-Basin’s opening day, I had to reach out to see if I could open a conversation with you about an opening Company X has for a local Ruby developer. Your activity on GitHub is well received by your fellow coders and we think you’d fit on the slopes with the rest of the team here. Would you be open to a conversation?To mark@email.comSubject Referred to you by John Smith for your JavaScript talents Attach a file Mark— I received your information from John Smith at Company Y. We had coffee last week and I let him know that we were in search of a JavaScript developer in the area who would thrive in Company X’s fast-paced startup culture. He couldn’t have recommended you more enthusiastically. Would you be open to having a brief conversation so I can learn about your current commitments and perhaps how I could help you explore a career with our company? And no worries if you’re not looking to make a career shift at this moment – I’m looking to build relationships with talented candidates for both present and future opportunities. 10
  • 16. Subject Line and Email Body examplesTo mark@email.comSubject Seeking a hang gliding C++ guy (you’re on our short list) Attach a file Mark— I’m all about doing my research before ever contacting a candidate for a position I’m tasked with filling. I happened to notice your activity on GitHub in the C++ community and then stumbled across your hang gliding photos on your Twitter feed as I was determining the best way to reach out to you. I took my first hang gliding lesson about two years ago and was hooked from the get- go – it’s rare that I find others who don’t think I’m crazy for my high-flying adventures. I have to say that I’d like it if we could open a conversation about a current opening we have for a C++ developer on the Company X team.To john@email.comSubject Company X digs your JavaScript talents (we’re hoping you’ll dig us) Attach a file John— I never want to waste a candidate’s time by sending along an impersonal email that says I haven’t done my homework. I came across your information and JavaScript skills via both your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles. I’m with Company X and we currently have a position available for a senior JavaScript developer. I’d like to explore if you’d be a fit for our team, as we like what we see so far. 11
  • 17. The Call to ActionYou’ve gotten the candidate to open the email and you’ve made itclear you’re talking to him and his specific talents and passions.The next step is to motivate the candidate to respond so you cantake the next step. The goal here is to let the candidate knowexactly what action you’d like him to take.The Call to Action tells your client what you want and what theyneed to do to take the next step. And the best Calls to Action letyour candidate know that you’re flexible and would like to builda long-term relationship with them even if your current openingisn’t a fit.And Finally—The Signature LineDon’t sign your emails “Mary.” Your initial candidatecommunication isn’t the place for being overly casual. Yoursignature line is a place to establish credibility and let thecandidate do some checking up on you in return. Best practicesindicate that you should include: ▪ Your full name ▪ A link to an online profile such as LinkedIn or Vizify ▪ Your direct phone number or cell phone ▪ Your email address ▪ A link to the company’s careers page if applicableThe key is to reinforce how candidates can contact you and do theirown version of snooping around to ensure that you’re legit beforethey begin a relationship with you. 12
  • 18. Call to Action examplesTo mark@email.comSubject Seeking a hang gliding C++ guy (you’re on our short list) Attach a file Mark— I’m all about doing my research before ever contacting a candidate for a position I’m tasked with filling. I happened to notice your activity on GitHub in the C++ community and then stumbled across your hang gliding photos on your Twitter feed as I was determining the best way to reach out to you. I took my first hang gliding lesson about two years ago and was hooked from the get- go – it’s rare that I find others who don’t think I’m crazy for my high-flying adventures. I have to say that I’d like it if we could open a conversation about a current opening we have for a C++ developer on the Company X team. I’d like to set up a brief call to review your current employment with Company Y and your goals for your next position. Even if you’re not looking to make a switch right now, I’m more interested in long-term relationships with talented candidates than anything. Would you reply to this email or give me a call and let me know if: 1. You’re open to a conversation and when 2. If you’re not looking right now, if it’s OK for me to reach out to you from time to time when I have an opportunity that might be of interest.To john@email.comSubject Company X digs your JavaScript talents (we’re hoping you’ll dig us) Attach a file John— I never want to waste a candidate’s time by sending along an impersonal email that says I haven’t done my homework. I came across your information and JavaScript skills via both your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles. I’m with Company X and we currently have a position available for a senior JavaScript developer. I’d like to explore if you’d be a fit for our team, as we like what we see so far. We’re having a small event to introduce select candidates to Company X on Tuesday, March 17, and I’d like to invite you to attend. Our CEO, John Smith, and lead developer, Tom Thumb, will both be at the event. It’s completely casual, but will give you the opportunity to get to know us in a relaxed way along with getting any questions you might have answered. 13
  • 19. Subject Line and Email Body examplesTo mark@email.comSubject Seeking a hang gliding C++ guy (you’re on our short list) Attach a file Mark— I’m all about doing my research before ever contacting a candidate for a position I’m tasked with filling. I happened to notice your activity on GitHub in the C++ community and then stumbled across your hang gliding photos on your Twitter feed as I was determining the best way to reach out to you. I took my first hang gliding lesson about two years ago and was hooked from the get- go – it’s rare that I find others who don’t think I’m crazy for my high-flying adventures. I have to say that I’d like it if we could open a conversation about a current opening we have for a C++ developer on the Company X team. Could you reply to this email or give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX and let me know if we can expect to see you? Either way, it’d be great to know if we could explore this opportunity further or if timing isn’t right, I could reach out to you in the future with additional opportunities.To john@email.comSubject Company X digs your JavaScript talents (we’re hoping you’ll dig us) Attach a file John— I never want to waste a candidate’s time by sending along an impersonal email that says I haven’t done my homework. I came across your information and JavaScript skills via both your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles. I’m with Company X and we currently have a position available for a senior JavaScript developer. I’d like to explore if you’d be a fit for our team, as we like what we see so far. Our CTO, Jim Thomas, would like to schedule a 10 to 15-minute conversation with you in the next couple weeks. Could we get you two on the phone together? You can reach me via a reply to this email or just give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX. If this is interesting to you, we’ll get it on the books. And if not, I totally understand. If you would, just reply and let me know if I could contact you in the future when other opportunities that might interest you arise. 14
  • 20. Where We’ve Been, Where We’ve Arrived,What to ExpectWe’ve traveled (far) from the land of the impersonal masscommunications with little rhyme, reason, or hope of reply to aplace where we’re crafting personalized messages to a shortlist About Gildof candidates. Less is left to chance, candidates can begin toget to know us as a profession again, and with any hope, they’ll HR and recruiting have been beggingbegin to welcome our personalized messages for what they are: for innovation. That’s why Gild is here. Gild exists to bring meritocracy to Recognition that we can’t be successful with our the professional world by providing careers unless we help them be successful in theirs. hiring solutions that illuminate who’sBut not every ideal candidate will respond, even to the most well talented. Companies use Gild’scrafted email. Some of those ideal candidates will turn out to not patent-pending hiring solutions tobe the great fit we initially thought. We’re holding out for the find and engage the best candidatesones who will stay for the long haul, grow with the company, and out there. Unlike professionalrefer their friends because it’s a fantastic place to build a career. networks and job boards, Gild’s solutions tell companies how goodAnd they’ll remember us—the recruiter—as the person who different prospects are, and provideopened the door so they could thrive. That alone is worth the the social insights hiring teams needprocess of crafting every personalized email, every minute of to engage prospects effectively.additional candidate research, and showing the candidate that Launched in 2011, Gild is backed bywe respect both their time and talent. What do we mean by Globespan Capital Partners and iscombining your goals with the candidate? To begin with, even headquartered in San Francisco, CA.preliminary candidate information can help you better envisionwhy your opportunity might be attractive to a particular talent. email info@gild.comMaybe you’ve unearthed their affinity for particular best coding call (800) 664-2366practices that would benefit your client’s development team. It visit gild.comcould be that everyone on staff happens to be an avid fan of read gild.com/blogsnow sports and your candidate just tweeted excitement aboutopening day at a local resort. They may have even gone to thesame university as one of the company’s founders. When youhave information like this, you can move right into the meat ofcrafting the better recruiting email. 15