How to Write Irresistible Messages to Candidates

Steve Lowisz
Trying to connect with candidates with cold outreach can feel impossible. 

If you’re targeting skilled candidates that are in high-demand, you’re competing with hundreds of other recruiters in their inbox. 

It’s a tough situation, but if you use a few writing techniques, you can vastly improve your response rates. 

Here are three steps you can take TODAY to get more responses, connect with more candidates, and ultimately make great placements. 

Whether you’re using email, InMail, or both, these tips will make a big difference for your outreach. 

Step 1: Personalize Your Outreach

Look, no one wants to feel like they’re getting a message that was completely copied and pasted. If you’re sending the same exact message with the same subject lines to hundreds of candidates, they will know.

This tells candidates a few things. It shows you haven’t taken the time to read their LinkedIn profile or familiarize yourself with their experience, skills, etc.

It also tells candidates that you don’t really care about them individually or their career.

Look, you don’t have to write a custom message to every candidate.

But you should try to leverage tools for automation to fill in their name, current company, and other personalization fields if possible.

If you can’t automate, at least try to write a personalized first sentence.

It can be as simple as, “I was really impressed by your work at Microsoft...” or “I thought your skill set of X, Y, Z and really stood out...”

You can also congratulate them on any awards or achievements.

This tip alone will dramatically boost your response rate.

Step 2: Keep it Short and to the Point

Most qualified candidates are very busy and don’t have time to read messages from total strangers. 

If you want to improve the chances someone reads your message and actually responds, keep it short and sweet. 

Try to make every sentence its own paragraph for readability and aim for less than 70 words total. 

This not only makes it easier to read but forces you to focus on the parts of your message that are MOST important. 

A lot of recruiters try to write way too much in their outreach. What happens is candidates see a wall of text and move on. 

You can tell the candidate more about the job once you get them on the phone. There’s time to discuss all the benefits later.  

All your first email needs to do is get someone’s attention and hopefully schedule a call! 

Step 3: Focus on What's in it for the Candidate

If you want to get someone to take time out of their day to consider your opportunity, you need to give them a very good reason to care. 

You need to be hyperfocused on why the candidate would be interested in your opportunity. 

Whether it’s high compensation, a prestigious company, an exciting project, or the possibility of promotion, you need to think carefully about why someone should take the time to explore your role. 

You need to highlight what makes your opportunity attractive to the candidate in your very first email. 

Most qualified candidates already have a good job and other great opportunities on the table.  

So why should they take the time to talk to you about your role? 

You need to answer that question and you need to do it in 1-2 sentences max in your outreach. 

If you can give a compelling reason that offers a real hook for the candidate and stands out from the crowd, you’ve won half the battle. 

It’s really helpful to understand the talent market and common pain points in your industry here. For example, if you were recruiting software developers, you know they usually make a great salary.  

So rather than emphasizing pay, you may want to highlight a unique culture, healthy work-life balance, or the opportunity to work on an exciting new branch of business in your role. 

Better Outreach Starts Today 

Writing is hard. Writing so that candidates actually respond is even harder. 

The good news is that you can start improving your writing skills today. 

Experiment with different approaches and see what works. When you get a lot of responses, try to replicate that success on your next project. 

You won’t know what works until you try, but if you stick to these three tips, you will get more responses guaranteed!

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