September 22, 2021
If your subject line is unexciting, looks spammy, or infracts email etiquettes there is a good chance that your email will never get read. The subject line is the most important part of the email. Here are a few tips for writing recruitment email subject lines
Over one-third of the recipients decide whether or not to open the email based on the subject line alone. Here are a few practical tips that increase the chance of candidates opening the email you send:
Make the candidates feel special. General messages and templates don’t work! Show them that you’ve spent enough time and have done your homework and that you’re genuinely interested in talking to them. Keeping your subject lines and message personal is the best way to achieve this.
Here are a few examples:
Here’s an actual email from a recruiter at Facebook to a potential candidate for an engineering role. Given that Facebook has a good employer brand it was smart of the recruiter to use the company name in the subject line. The subject mentions the department name and not the exact job title for which they are hiring for:
A study from MailerMailer shows that longer subject lines have lower open and click rates than those that are shorter. A succinct version is a lot easier to consume and entices the candidate to open that email to learn more about what’s being pitched. State why the candidate should be opening the email in as few words as possible.
The following data shows the correlation between the subject line lengths and their corresponding open and click rates:
The majority of emails are opened on mobile devices as shown below, which typically show fewer subject line characters. You don’t want a broken experience because your subject line is too long. Make sure you always keep the characters count below 50. The following chart depicts the open rate by device:
All emails will have to pass through SPAM filters. These filters are built natively within Gmail and Outlook and they scan all incoming messages. SPAM filters cause your email to skip recipients’ inboxes and land straight in their SPAM box. These filters assign points to SPAM words in the subject line and body of an email. If the points exceed a certain threshold, then the email is considered spam.
Avoid using words like free, make money, earn $, confirm, join, opportunity , and assistance in your subject lines. Also, steer clear of using capital words in subject lines and avoid using excessive exclamation marks!!!!!
Here is an excellent resource from Hubspot that contains a consolidated list of SPAM trigger words that you be should avoiding. Avoiding these by no means guarantees that your email will make it to your candidate’s inbox. Content filtering is just one criterion for SPAM scores, your sender reputation, and engagement metrics are much more important.
Focus on building relationships and starting a conversation with candidates before ‘selling’ the job opportunity. Subject lines framed as questions perform better. One of the best ways to break the ice and start a dialogue with your candidate is to include a question in your subject line. A few examples:
Scarcity is largely efficacious because of a cognitive bias known as loss aversion.
It’s demonstrated that humans are hardwired to put a more subjective value on loss than on gain and thus strongly prefer to avoid losses instead of acquiring gains.
More than ever candidates are thinking about a company’s culture and values. They’re weighing whether the company fosters a positive environment and whether its values align with their own.
“Highly qualified candidates are prioritizing a positive and inspiring company culture over pay or benefits. They want to work somewhere that helps them grow not only professionally but personally.” says Suzanne Rice, director, global franchise development for MRINetwork.
Mention the “greater good” that your company is focussed on & appeal to the candidate’s values. Think about your company’s mission and values, and how you can effectively convey these succinctly in the subject line. A few examples:
Write subject lines that drive curiosity. Tease candidates with the subject line and give them the details once they open up the message. You achieve this by keeping the titles equivocal, uncertain, or vague.
Use more powerful words in the subject lines and use words that inspire action. When candidates are presented with powerful verbs, you make them feel both empowered and challenged. Try using words like build, lead, define, disrupt, re-define, and re-invent that is more riveting and compelling. A few examples:
Make an offer they can’t refuse. Flatter candidates with your knowledge of their achievements and genuinely tell them why and how well they will fit in at your organization. No one can resist a compliment, after all. A few examples:
Here are a few of the more creative email headlines that may not necessarily subscribe to the tips above, but have been proven to work well nonetheless: