Cold messages are part and parcel of every recruiter’s day. It’s the way that we connect with new candidates, and we couldn’t survive without them.
What’s pretty shocking, though, is that almost 90% of these messages aren’t personalized.
Recruiting is all about relationships, and the boilerplate templates that most candidates receive are definitely not the best way to start new relationships.
Personalization can be pretty time consuming, however, so we’ve broken down 5 easy ways that you can craft super personalized emails that will give you the best chance of success.
1. Find a mysterious connection
If you were to travel 15 miles away from home and bump into a stranger who is also from the same hometown, it wouldn’t mean much. But if you’re 5,000 miles from home and in a different country, you’d experience a different feeling meeting that same person.
This is because you share a mysterious connection.
We’re hardwired to trust people that we think are similar, so finding common ground is the best way (I know of) to connect with a new candidate.
Scan each candidate’s LinkedIn, Github or Twitter profile to see if you can find anything out of the ordinary that you can relate to.
Highlighting these in your first message could be the difference.
Here’s a quick example to illustrate this:
It’s not unusual for top developers to get hundreds of recruiter emails a week. Making your message unique is the only chance you have to develop a relationship.
2. Highlight mutual connections
What do you do if a close friend recommends a restaurant to you, tells you they had the best tacos of their life, and insists that you check it out?
Well (unless you don’t like tacos), you book a table and take a look for yourself. We put a lot of stock by personal recommendations.
It’s pretty different when you get a new flyer through your mailbox about a local taco place though, right? The ‘recommendation’ isn’t nearly as trustworthy and it’s going straight in the bin.
Sadly, the vast majority of recruiter emails are like flyers: they’re not personalized, and they’re typically ignored.
Mentioning a mutual connection is a great way to avoid this scenario and make the candidate sit up and take notice.
Here are two great ways to do this:
i) Ask a mutual connection to send the email
This is your best bet.
Ask your mutual connection to send your cold email for you: an introduction like this will dramatically improve your chances of success.
You can use LinkedIn’s mutual connections feature, or sign up for a tool like Conspire that analyzes your contact list to help you find introductions.
ii) Reference their colleague or friend
Mention a colleague or friend of the candidate in the body of the email. If it’s someone that they respect, then it’s great social proof that you’re worth talking to.
Try this style of email to highlight a mutual connection to a candidate:
3. Send your email at the perfect time
Make sure you’re not wasting all of this personalization: send your email when it’s most likely to be opened.
Research suggests that sending an email on a Friday will get you the highest open rate; Tuesdays tend to have the best click-through rates.
Most candidates will read your messages within the first 60 minutes (after 24 hours there is little to no chance your email will be opened), so getting the timing right is essential.
It’s important to remember that this is benchmark data: it should guide your outreach strategy, but not govern it entirely. Get the best results by supplementing it with your own data.
Your candidates might check their email over breakfast or manage their inbox on the weekend. Find out!
How to find out your own perfect email schedule
Try out different sending times and find out when you get the best results.
If you want better insights into your emails you can try:
- Using an email plugin like Yesware to monitor email activity
- Trying out the Beamery CRM to see detailed insights into every email and make use of our software’s ‘priority candidate’ algorithm. (You'll also find out how our software helps you generate 400% more responses from hard to reach talent!)
4. Use a candidate’s name more than once
Hearing or seeing our name actually sparks a chemical reaction in our brain.
As it’s scientifically proven to work, it’s no wonder that the [*FName*] tag is the oldest personalization trick in the book. But candidates are becoming wise to this trick, and they’re pretty good at spotting a standard outreach template with their name at the top (it’s not that hard!)
How do you counter this?
Completely personalized emails (preferably including mysterious connections) should be your first port of call for high priority candidates.
Templates should still be part of your outreach strategy for general hiring leads though, as they save you a bunch of time and help you standardise your process.
To start getting improved results with templates, try adding a candidate’s name multiple times. While not perfect, this at least makes your email seem a little more personal.
Here’s a quick example:
5. Personalize your emails with praise
Candidates may be used to cold emails praising their skills, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like them!
Using compliments in your emails helps to create subconscious, positive attitudes of you and your company. Flattery (no matter how insincere) is scientifically proven to work!
What’s the best way to do this?
LinkedIn is a pretty good place to start.
It’s important to be specific – nothing smacks more of a template than “I was really impressed by your LinkedIn profile”!
Pick out specific achievements and tell candidates why you find them impressive. For technical hires try and branch out from LinkedIn and get to grips with Github, Dribbble or their personal blog to find praiseworthy information.
Here’s a quick example:
Final tip: use email not LinkedIn (if possible)
These personalization tactics will work with any form of message that you send, but they’ll always be more effective over email. Why? It’s easy to pay for a few InMails and fire off messages, but finding a candidate’s email shows them that you’ve done a little research (trust me, they’ll notice), and should give you a better chance of a reply.