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How to Increase Your Inmail and Email Open Rates

In our earlier post on email and InMail benchmarking, we discussed the importance of quality of quantity through recruiting outreach. Quality over quantity can seem contradictory to what sales gurus tell us, that more no’s lead to more yes’s. Imagine a world where your conversion rates were 50%, and you had established a reputation among the best and brightest job prospects in your niche. You were someone to be trusted leading to faster placements and connecting with candidates quickly and fluidly. This is what improving your InMail and email candidate outreach strategy looks like.

We’ve mentioned improving response rates in our post on writing perfect candidate outreach emails. Here, we’ll go over five areas that directly impact open rates for recruiting emails and things you can improve on immediately.

1) Be direct but focus on building relationships

Good candidates don’t have time on their hands and they won’t even open your email if the subject isn’t compelling. Even if they do open it, they won’t read beyond the first two lines of your email if you can’t grab their interest immediately. Keep it short, but don’t “tease” what you’re asking for. The recipient shouldn’t have to respond if they want more information (include a link to your career site or job description), and you can make the process easier for them by asking for time in specific windows as well as offering to continue to conversation via email or messaging. This works really well when you take the dialogue with a candidate from email to a messaging platform like LinkedIn.

This is also where you’ll want to show genuine interest. Passive candidates are not looking for a job and they can see a mass email coming from a mile away. If it’s obvious that you’re emailing dozens or hundreds of people from a database, why should your candidate respond?

2) Research before you mass message

It’s worth saying again and again and again. As I mentioned in the previous item, mass emails or messages aren’t going to raise your candidate quality response. One of the biggest complaints by job candidates is the mass message by keyword which lends to increased grumbling by those same candidates. If your customized email (even a customized template) can demonstrate that you have done your research and are serious about the candidate as a potential applicant, you’re much more likely to get a response.

Yes, it takes time to parse through dozens of LinkedIn profiles or candidate profiles in your ATS to find up-to-date information. But if it pays off by increasing your staffing firm’s brand and value, the ROI is positive.

3) Create templates for your recruiting team

Create templates for your recruiting team that include best practice messages and different options for them to mix it up when doing outreach. Consider including customizable messaging for cold emails, referral emails, touch-base emails, and so on. Having an outreach content library allows your team to make the email their own and give it a personal touch.

4) Drive candidates to a conversion with a trackable link

In our business, we are only as good as our network. If you are doing ongoing outreach to build relationships in a specific area or position, use a trackable link to see opens, click throughs and activity. Bonus points for driving them to an event page for a networking event that you can track, complete a profile on your career site, or join your talent community.

5) Use the one two punch

Follow up with the candidate on multiple channels like email and LinkedIn or other social sites like Twitter to help increase response rates and engagement levels. Consider setting aside time each week to browse your LinkedIn database and social feeds and send some quick messages to top candidates without an ask. Congratulate them on a success, comment on a LinkedIn Pulse post, retweet something interesting from their Twitter feed, send them a link to an interesting article relevant to their work. Again, this is about building the relationship, not about scheduling an interview. When these candidates see your email address or user name in their messaging, you want them to recognize you in a positive way.

There are so many tips on improving your recruiting email game, from testing subject lines to the best day or time of day to send an email. You don’t have to get that granular to increase your success if you do what your competitors aren’t doing, which means putting time into personalization, relationship-building, and long-term talent engagement strategies.