E-mailing Passive Candidates in the Age of AI

If you’re a recruiter trying to catch the attention of a passive job candidate, you may feel like Sisyphus of ancient Greek mythology – the man who was doomed to forever push a large rock up a hill, only to have it roll back down again.

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In other words, you may feel that it’s an exercise in futility. And – no doubt about it – catching the eye of passive job candidates is tough: they are inundated with emails of all types. Yours is simply one more that clutters up their inbox, especially if they don’t have any interest in leaving their current place of employment.

But don’t give up hope. All is not lost. You can get their attention. It’s all in the approach.

  • Out with the old, in with the new

If you have email templates that you have been using for years, now is the time to get rid of them. They are most likely outdated and do not address the concerns and attitudes that passive candidates have today.

  • Be honest and sincere

Try to put yourself in the place of the candidate. What kind of approach would you appreciate the most? It probably is one that is simple, clear, and direct.

You want the email to be professional, but not too stiff or formal. Nor do you want to be overly familiar, avoiding a back-slapping kind of approach. A straightforward, authentic approach works best. You don’t want to use any gimmicks or any kind of sales pitch. Avoid redundancy or filler. Each line should carry its weight in getting the message across.

Read the email aloud. This really helps you to get an idea of how it sounds and the impression it makes.

  • Double check for errors

The email needs to show professionalism. Check for any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Don’t use abbreviations. Check to make sure you have spelled the candidate’s name correctly.

  • Be specific

Let the person know what they have to gain from reading the email. Avoid any vague language or descriptions. Writing something like “this is a great opportunity” really doesn’t tell the person about the job. It is better to explain what makes the job worth their interest and what it has to offer, such as salary and benefits.

While you do want to put some details in the email, you also need to be careful that you don’t make it too long. It should be short and to the point, with only the most relevant information – who you are, what the job is, and why you are contacting the person. Include the title of the job and the next step for the person to take if they’re interested.

  • Do your research

You are much more likely to get a response if you contact a person about a job that fits their particular skills and experience. To ensure a job is applicable, however, you need to do some research on their background first on social media sites or professional networks.

  • Write and rewrite

Writing well takes work and time. To make your email compelling, you should first write a rough draft and then rewrite it a few times to get it just right. Quality is more important than quantity.

  • Make sure they know you’re human

We have to admit, we found this great tip in an article we read recently and unfortunately we can’t find it now. The recruiter/author said she had great success with her emails to passive candidates when she wrote in the subject line: I am a person, not a bot and I have a career opportunity that might suit you.

This approach worked for her, she said, because too many people receive to many AI-generated emails and automatically delete them. Beat the bots at their own game and declare your humanity!

We know where the good candidates hang out! Reach out to the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more about our staffing services.

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