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Recruiting Email Secrets: An Intro to Deliverability

How to Hire Awesome Engineers while on Vacation

Sending email is easy. Reaching the intended recipient 100% of the time is a lot harder. Many businesses don’t take deliverability seriously until after they encounter a problem, by which stage the damage is already done.

If you stand out from the crowd and adopt a preventative approach to maintaining a positive sending reputation, you will also be creating a better candidate experience, so everyone wins. If you’ve not checked it out before, I’d encourage you to grab yourself a copy of Beamery’s Recruitment Marketing Guide which is full of useful tips on safely building and scaling a complete recruitment marketing strategy. 

Consider this scenario: A note just popped up on your inbox from your VP of Engineering. She just got the green light on a new project and will likely need a few engineering hires as soon as possible.

So, you’re aware of the upcoming project and you’ve worked with this VP before. You’ve successfully built email outreach campaigns to help her fill roles in the past. So surely all you need to do now is setup new email campaigns and dust off those old pools of candidates?

You’re aware of the upcoming project and you’ve worked with this VP before. You’ve successfully built email outreach campaigns to help him fill roles in the past, so all you need now is a new email campaign, and a pool of candidates to reach out to.

What happens next depends on the quality of the contact lists you are working with. Is it a pool of candidates that you’ve sourced yourself? Are they Candidates who you have converted through your Careers Site or captured during recruitment events? Is it a Talent Community where you’ve been collecting and refreshing their data for some time and you’ve already captured their consent to be contacted? Or is it a list of emails that someone on your team purchased from an external provider, or maybe scraped from a few different websites?



Recruiting email deliverability

If you use a low-quality email list with unverified addresses and no tracked consent then, no matter how well-crafted your messages, every time you send out an email you might be dealing a damaging blow to your sending reputation. Each blow that your reputation receives, compromises your ability to deliver large scale campaigns now and for a long time in the future.

The name is a bit of a giveaway, but your recruiting email deliverability is an indication of how likely your email is to be delivered to your intended recipients’ inboxes. Good email deliverability is influenced by your sending reputation, how clean your distribution lists are, whether you are sending welcomed content, and much more. This all contributes to your “Sender score”, or “Sender reputation”. You can learn more about email deliverability and sender scores here and more about assessing your own sender reputation here. The greatest impact on your Sender Score is from Hard Bounces and Spam Complaints.


What is a Hard Bounce?

When you send an email, there are many things that can prevent it from being delivered. The recipient’s mailbox can be full, or their email server is having temporary issues and can’t deliver your email immediately. These emails will be returned as temporarily undeliverable, also known as a Soft Bounce. These are generally nothing to worry about since the email addresses are valid. You can try to re-send to these addresses at a later date.

If you’ve guessed email addresses, gathered them from sources where there might be typos in the information or the email account has since been shut down, those emails are going to be returned as permanently undeliverable, or “Hard Bounces”. This is where the most significant impact can be experienced to your sender reputation. It’s therefore critical that you take action on these issues as soon as they occur, by deleting the email addresses. 

Our Best Practice advice is that when importing data in bulk, to be used as an audience for a campaign, ensure that the Source of the data is tracked on the Profiles as part of the import. This approach means that if you identify a specific source of data as having been of poor quality, it’s easy to take corrective action on the rest of the data from that source. 


What is a Spam Complaint?

Just because your email made it to the Inbox of a recipient doesn’t mean you are 100% “in the clear”. If you’re sending any volume of emails to recipients who are not expecting those emails, there is always the risk that the recipient will be motivated to log a complaint. 

Ensuring that you include an Unsubscribe link on your emails allows a recipient to essentially log a complaint with you directly and this least damaging to your reputation. Most Inbox Providers also include the option to flag an email as Spam or Junk. But the greater risk to your sender reputation comes from a DIRECT SPAM COMPLAINT (the capital letters and bold font are deserved). A direct spam complaint is when the recipient takes the time to report spam directly to your email service provider. Only someone who was extremely annoyed by your email would go through that extra step, and therefore Direct Spam Complaints are taken extremely seriously, but are avoidable if you focus on subscribed recipients and good quality, relevant content.


Should you be worried about your recruiting email deliverability?

Hopefully not. But here are a few things to think about: 

  • How did you acquire your list of email addresses
  • Have you introduced practices to track the source of data so you can take preventive action when issues occur 
  • Immediately taking corrective action where issues occur 
  • Ensure that your content is relevant for the recipient
  • Minimising your activity to emails where the recipient hasn’t opted in

Recruitment marketers rely heavily on email campaigns, and would therefore benefit from understanding the technical fundamentals of email marketing and deliverability to stay agile and competitive. If this is a subject that you’d like to learn more about, most Email Service Providers have produced a lot of content on the subject (the 2021 Email Deliverability Guide from SendGrid is a great example). But you can also subscribe to our Blog.