Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Should Recruiters Send Cold Emails to Passive Candidates?

Reaching out to passive candidates is a delicate process. Sending cold emails to these individuals can be extremely hit or miss. A poorly worded message can be off-putting and land your correspondence permanently in the trash folder. On the other hand, with the right approach, you may end up piquing the interest of someone who previously wasn’t seeking out a new employment opportunity. If you’re a recruiter, here’s what you need to know about cold emailing passive candidates:

Don’t apologize.

Confidence is everything when you’re a great recruiter, but it’s especially important when you’re trying to get in touch with passive candidates. If you start out the email apologizing for bothering the person, you’re immediately signaling that this message is not worth reading. Don’t apologize; remember that you’re presenting them with valuable information that is worth their time. Maintain an upbeat, positive, and professional tone throughout the message.

Get right to the point.

Someone who wasn’t seeking out a new employment opportunity probably isn’t going to want to read paragraph after paragraph about a job that they don’t think they really want. To keep the attention of a passive candidate, you’re going to need to keep it short and sweet. You may want to use bullet points or subheadings, and you’ll certainly want to keep your sentences as brief as possible. If you’re presenting the candidate with an email that looks overwhelming to read, it’s likely that they’ll just delete it.

Provide some information, but not all of it.

If you tell the potential candidate everything there is to know about the position, you’ve lost some of your edge. You want to keep them intrigued and eager to contact you for more details. When it’s all out in the open, there’s not as much incentive for them to do this.

Be aware of your tone.

What may be a terrific joke in person can quickly lose its charm when it’s translated via recruitment email. Be aware of this and be conscious of how your words may come across to a candidate who doesn’t know you. Use sarcasm sparingly, as you may inadvertently cause offense if your words are misinterpreted. You want to keep your tone light and pleasant throughout your correspondence.

Keep it focused on the candidate.

People are naturally self-centered. They want to know how the role would benefit them, not how they could benefit the company. To keep them interested, make sure the cold email involves the word “you” frequently and shows them a direct benefit. While you may truly feel that they could benefit the company, this isn’t a real selling point for them, particularly for passive candidates.

How do you go about reaching out to passive candidates? Share your tips with us in the comments!

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.