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Sourcing Strategies | 5 minute read

Email strategy: Polish your prose to gain an advantage for your client

January 26, 2016

The most effective way to communicate is not through email, social media or even a written letter. It’s to talk. When we interact face-to-face, most of the communication is nonverbal: it’s conveyed through body language, facial cues, eye contact and the tone of our voice. The words are only a small part of the message you’re communicating.

This puts recruiters in a quandary. Providing information about employers and new opportunities is a critical part of the job — but these conversations may start with an email. How do you communicate well when you only have words on a screen to get your message across? Suddenly, the words you use become much more important as your message might sound dull, hollow or detached without nonverbal communication to accompany it.

This exercise isn't just about an effective email strategy. There's a strategic component as well. The ability to communicate with candidates can differentiate a client from other companies that are hiring. Strong writing translates directly into a better candidate experience. We've found that the concepts presented below help WilsonHCG do a better job for our clients. 

Recruiters, it's important to think carefully about the words you write when reaching out to candidates and consider how to communicate better. In addition, consider the structure of your messages. Here are some great email writing tips for recruiters to ensure you are getting your message across clearly. 

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Write for the reader

Jargon is the enemy. Every organization — including the one you’re hiring for — has an arsenal of acronyms that doesn’t make sense to people outside the organization. Job descriptions, too, can sometimes feel dense and hard to digest.

Your job is to be something of an interpreter, converting the employer’s language into words that a candidate can easily understand. You never have to water down an idea, but you are responsible for presenting it in a way that’s accessible to the reader. At WilsonHCG, we’ve proven that we get better response rates with potential candidates when using language that is clear, concise and accessible to present the opportunity. 

Get directly to the point

The average email reads like a letter from many years ago. Most people start with a lengthy introduction, and then some background information, leading up to the most critical part of the email — the part where you tell the reader what you want him or her to do.

To be effective today, you need to shuffle that structure and truncate. No need to bury the lead – make sure your email’s call to action is right in the subject line. Now the body should start with only as much of an introduction and background information as necessary — a sentence or two should suffice. Then jump directly back into the call to action. People scan email messages, and if they aren’t compelled to take further action in the first few lines, they’re likely to simply hit delete.

Keep it short

Aim for about three paragraphs with your recruiting email messages. A sample structure might be:

  • We want you to apply for this great opportunity.
  • Here is why we feel you’d be a great fit for this employer.
  • Here is information about the job and its benefits.

Every employer and candidate is different, so tailor the message appropriately. When you list benefits, it might be beneficial to use bullets instead of a paragraph to break it up visually and make your email easier to read.

Overcome writer’s block

Sometimes you simply don’t know what to write. That’s OK. When writer’s block hits, just start writing whatever comes to mind. The goal here is not to create polished prose, but to throw down as many words as you can on the screen.

Once you’re done, set your ramblings aside for a while. Then come back and sift through what you’ve written like a prospector looking for gold. You’ll find a few key themes that really stand out. Use those themes as the starting point for your email message.

This technique doesn’t work for everyone, nor does it work every time. However, the goal is to get your thoughts down completely before organizing them.

final thoughts

No matter what you’re writing, always put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Do you like long, meandering email messages? Chances are you don’t — and neither do your readers! Stay on topic and keep it short. You might not be able to use body language or voice inflections, but with a little planning and proofreading, you’ll get your point across every time. 

Remember, every interaction with a candidate reflects on a client. Good communication will strengthen your employment brand and improve the candidate experience.


About WilsonHCG

WilsonHCG is an award-winning, global leader in total talent solutions. Operating as a strategic partner, it helps some of the world’s most admired brands build comprehensive talent functions. With a global presence spanning more than 65 countries and six continents, WilsonHCG provides a full suite of configurable talent services including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, contingent talent solutions and talent consulting. TALENT.™ It’s more than a solution, it’s who we are.