The Secret to a Powerful Recruiting Email

The good news: An average person checks their email 15 times a day.  

The bad news: The average cold email response rate is between five and eight percent.

What is the secret to writing a powerful recruiting email that sparks a response?

A-D-D value.

Focus on adding value to your outreach by being Authentic, Delightful and Different. 

You can write a more powerful recruiting email by being thoughtful about your approach and using the appropriate online tools to optimize your outreach.

Let’s take a closer look at the A-D-D value strategy.


Why strive for authenticity in your outreach? It is the only guarantee you have that your message will not be identical to the hundreds of messages flooding your recipient’s inbox.

Consider the recruiter honeypot experiment. As the story goes, Elaine Wherry, Co-founder of Meebo, created a fictitious LinkedIn profile in 2010 to attract technical recruiters for her company. 

Over 530 messages later, only five emails left an impression that caused them to stand out from the rest.

The unique approach and authentic voice in each of the top messages in the recruiter honeypot experiment allowed those emails to rise above the remaining 98.7% of email that could easily be categorized as recruiter spam.

Unread messages aplenty

As you check your email for an authentic voice, consider:

  • Does the email reflect your unique writing style?
  • Does the email exemplify the company’s values, mission and vision?
  • Is the message appropriate for the experience level and geographical nuances of the recipient?


With over 269 billion emails sent every day, it is easy for your outreach to be accidentally overlooked or re-routed to Spam. 

To rise above the noise, craft your message with the intention of “wowing” your reader. To do this, provide insights that compel the recipient to keep reading.

Help your charm shine through your writing by using a tool like Crystal Knows to communicate in a style that will immediately resonate with your reader.

As you aim to delight your reader, consider:

Test your subject lines with Send Check It

The key to creating a delightful email is to show that you’ve made an attempt to learn more about and make a genuine connection with the human you’re messaging.

As Steve Levy aptly notes, “they’re people not candidates.”


A typical recruiting email starts with a recruiter introducing himself, complimenting the recipient on what an impressive background they have, or apologizing for the unsolicited message.

Being different is as simple as avoiding one of these three openings.

When you think of your email as an ice-breaker, you will be more likely to not do all the talking. Break up the message as you would in a real life, first time meeting.

As you write an email that is different from any others, consider:

  • Asking a timely question about a skill/interest you found in your research
  • Mentioning something you saw on the person’s recent social media feed
  • Focusing on the recipient’s career desires, areas of interest, and expertise instead of selling your company too early

When your recruiting message isn’t highly customized, it tells the recipient you have not done your homework. 

If you don’t think recruiter spam is an issue, check out this post from StackOverflow for a dose of truth about what technical professionals dislike most about recruiter outreach. 

Bonus Tip: Consider using an app like Gem to track message views, clicks, and replies and to test subject lines, templates, and best time of day to send email. 

IBM Tone Analyzer in action

Before You Click Send

Now that you’re equipped with the secret to a powerful recruiting email, combine your A-D-D value strategy with these simple steps to ensure every message is optimized for a response.

  • Share the message with a colleague for a second opinion on how to improve it
  • Use a text readability tool like Perry Marshall to spot trouble areas
  • Add a call to action that clearly explains the next step

Above all, send with care. Happy messaging!

Share Your Insights

What do you do to add value to your recruiting emails? Let us know @TextExpander and in our group on Facebook.