Crafting inclusive recruiting emails: a short guide

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By The Fetcher Team

Crafting inclusive recruiting emails: a short guide

7 mins read

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Building a diverse workforce starts with implementing inclusive hiring practices.

Making job descriptions more inclusive is an important first step. However, as many companies turn to sourcing passive candidates who may not have seen a job listing yet, it’s important to demonstrate that you value diversity in your email outreach too. Cold outreach emails can introduce passive candidates to your company for the first time. Nurture emails keep your candidates engaged during the hiring process and beyond.

From the subject line to your Call To Action, there are many ways to enhance outreach and nurture emails. Making sure your emails are inclusive is an additional way to increase your success rate with candidates.

The Reality of Bias & Discrimination in Hiring

It’s easy to assume the best of your organization and that bias doesn’t impact your recruiting. Unfortunately, unfair recruiting is all too common and negatively impacts candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. The stats are hard to ignore: 30-50% of candidates with minority-identifiable names receive fewer callbacks and offers and Harvard Business School revealed that candidates who “Whiten” their resume are twice as likely to be called in for interviews than those who don’t. Establishing inclusive and equitable hiring practices is the law, and it's the right thing to do. When it comes to emails, inclusivity is directly tied to the language you use.

Crafting Inclusive Outreach and Nurture Emails

Before composing your email campaigns, make sure you really know who you are reaching out to. This is important for all candidates, not only those from underrepresented backgrounds, opinions, and experiences.

Avoid language that will alienate certain candidates.

Industry jargon and acronyms will dissuade individuals that don’t have expertise in the subject. The candidate you’re reaching out to might have transferable skills and might not understand the jargon initially, but will pick it up on the job.

Remember that your candidates won’t all be native English speakers.

Idioms, regional language, and slang terms can be confusing and lead to miscommunications. Instead of, “we need a social media manager who will stay ahead of the curve,” consider being more literal, “we need a social media manager who knows all the latest trends.”

Don’t make assumptions or generalizations about a candidate’s identity.

Someone’s racial group, sexual orientation, or gender only need to be referenced if relevant, and even then, make sure they are only referenced if you are 100% positive about how they identify. For instance, if you are inviting a female engineering candidate to a Women in STEM networking event, referencing gender would be appropriate. Using “Hey Girl!” as a greeting for a recruiting email might seem sound hip, but is inappropriate and unprofessional.

How do you know if your DE&I efforts are having an impact? By setting practical, meaningful benchmarks!

Use gender-neutral language.

Some switches to gender-neutral language are obvious: changing “guys” and “ladies” to “folks”, “people”, “you all”, or “team”. Other gendered language is subtle. A study from the University of Waterloo and Duke University discovered that words like “competitive” and “determined” are strongly associated with male traits while words like “supportive” and “collaborative” are considered more feminine. To check if your outreach emails are too gendered, try a tool like Gender Decoder or Textio that will catch gendered words before you send. Along with inclusive language, it is equally important to use Dyslexia-friendly fonts to avoid literacy exclusion. For more ideas on how to avoid exclusive language, check out this extensive guide.

Keep an eye on changes in the industry.

Like all industries, talent acquisition evolves with the times. The emails you send today may not work a year or two from now. Stay up to date on new terminology and trends that impact your work, and adjust your communications accordingly.

Most importantly, highlight your company’s commitment to DE&I.

Hopefully, your company’s equal opportunity employer statement is featured prominently on job descriptions, your career page, and your website. As a recruiter, consider including it in the postscript of your email as well. Depending on your company's brand, you can build on the boilerplate equal opportunity employer statement most companies use. The goal is to make sure it represents your brand and empowers a diverse range of candidates to apply. For instance, “we strongly encourage those from underrepresented groups to apply,” rather than, “we accept applications from candidates of all backgrounds.”

Additionally, you can emphasize your organization is committed to a culture where everyone can thrive. If you have them, include information or links to your Employee Resource Groups. Link to any blogs or webinars you have on diversity. Lastly, don’t forget to include a link to your inclusive employee benefits like flexible work policies, paid parental leaves, and inclusive health benefits.

Inclusive emails lead to a more diverse candidate pipeline.

In developing inclusive outreach and nurture campaigns, you’ll get more interest from underrepresented individuals, and ideally, give you the opportunity to hire individuals from those backgrounds. Committing to inclusive hiring practices will result in a more diverse workplace and it will also help you attract more talent. 86% of all candidates say DE&I in the workforce is an important deciding factor when considering where they want to work.

To jumpstart your inclusive hiring efforts, reach out to us at Fetcher! Fetcher’s combines automated sourcing and human insights to reduce bias and widen your top-of-funnel talent pool. With a wider pool of candidates, you’re more likely to capture candidates from all backgrounds.

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