How to Optimize your Email Outreach

Creating emails that candidate want to read

January 22, 2021


No matter the subject matter, your first email to someone will have a lasting impression. If you’re a recruiter, that first email to a potential candidate could launch someone’s career or set a company up with a game-changing employee. First impressions aren’t something to take lightly. Your recruiting emails’ messaging can make the difference in whether someone applies or keeps scrolling through emails.

As you know, every good recruiter needs to email passive candidates, as sourced candidates are hired 2x faster. So how do you reach these passive candidates? Studies show candidates prefer email over LinkedIn, calls, or texts. Since outreach is so essential to a recruiter’s success, we’ve offered tips and tricks to make sure your emails stand out in candidates’ inboxes.

Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first thing your potential candidate sees, and your email will go unread unless it captures your recipient’s attention. Don’t be afraid to get creative, edgy, and personal to encourage candidates to open your emails. Also, consider…

  • Trying out different versions of your subject lines to measure open and bounce back rates.
  • When targeting passive candidates, avoid using “job opportunity” in your subject line…remember, passive candidates aren’t job hunting.
  • To emoji or not to emoji? Yes, emojis are eye-catching and fun but they’re often used by mass-marketing campaigns. If you choose to use an emoji in your subject line, make sure the subject line’s text is specific and personal so it doesn’t seem like spam.


With a successful subject line, it’s time to turn our attention to the body of your email. This is your opportunity to get your message across to potential candidates and encourage them to apply or agree to a call. The following are guidelines that will help you make the most out of your emails’ content.

  • Language should be simple but don’t let the content sound too generic. Complicated emails will quickly be skipped over especially when reaching out to passive candidates who are already busy working a full-time job. That said, generic sounding emails read like spam and will quickly be deleted.
  • Be personal. Show them you’ve done your homework on why they are the right fit for the role. Don’t forget to include details on the job itself and why it fits their career goals. Candidates are more likely to engage with an organization that cares about their professional development.
  • Tell prospects why you need them and entice them with opportunities and incentives. Don’t go overboard, however, just include enough information to pique their interest.
  • Be specific when describing the open position’s title. Instead of “Software Engineer”, be precise and descriptive by writing, “Back-end engineer”, “Fullstack engineer”, “Software Engineer (JavaScript, React, Node.js)”, etc. Our internal data shows that specific positions’ names have a significantly higher interest ratio amongst candidates.
  • Explain the impact the job would have rather than a list of responsibilities. Everyone wants a role where they can make a difference so use this to your advantage to draw in candidates.
  • Avoid clutter like links to specific incentives or initiatives in your initial outreach email (it distracts from the CTA which we’ll get to later). You’ll be able to provide all of this additional information once a prospect expresses interest.
  • Be concise, try to keep emails around 1,000 characters. Our internal data indicates emails of this length have the best response rates. Readers will be skimming for the most important points so don’t waste their time with any fluff.
  • Be professional but personable. Show your personality but avoid using slang or abbreviations.
  • ALWAYS edit your emails for typos and grammatical errors. Double and triple check before sending! This is your first impression and you don’t want to come across as careless.


Call To Action

Emails should conclude with the most critical part of your outreach – your call to action. Your CTA is your goal behind sending outreach emails in the first place; to engage with candidates further and hire the best fit. Remember…

  • The Call to Action should stand out and include all relevant details so the candidates know exactly what you are asking them to do and how to do it. If you’d like to set up an intro call, explain that you’d like to discuss the role further and offer several times that work for you or a link to your calendar.
  • Never end your emails with “Let me know if you are interested”. It’s too vague and doesn’t motivate the reader to take the next step. It also sends the message that you don’t care that much about whether they get back to you. Candidates want to feel special and like they were contacted intentionally. Showcase this by infusing your call to action with some excitement.
  • Be as clear and concise as possible. People often skim emails for the most important information. You don’t want to miss getting a great candidate to apply or take that first interview because your instructions were confusing.

Follow Up

Always send follow-up emails, as initial emails can land in spam or get lost in overflowing inboxes. This is especially important when you are reaching out to passive candidates, who are already working and being inundated with emails. And remember, just because a prospect doesn’t respond after the first email doesn’t mean they’re not interested. With so many distractions, a follow-up email (or two) is absolutely essential. Here are some tips on the best way to send follow-up emails.

  • Experiment with the best day of the week and time to send emails. Try sending follow-ups 2 days and four days after the initial email. Completing your whole sequence within a week makes it easier to create interview cohorts. This way the later stages of hiring will be easier to manage.
  • When should you send outreach emails? Our data indicates that emails have the highest response rates when sent on Tuesdays. Emails sent between 8am and 10am also have the highest response rates. However, it’s best to vary the day and times of when you send your follow-up emails. Everyone has different schedules and habits. If you send all your outreach messages at the same time, you risk missing your candidate each time.

This is all a lot to take in and optimizing your outreach isn’t easy. What if there was a tool that could handle outreach for you and track your performance? Well, look no further! Fetcher can…

  • Create personalized automated email outreach and follow-up campaigns.
  • Provide you with an analytics dashboard that will let you see how your outreach is performing so you can make necessary adjustments.
  • Fetcher’s in-house team will even help you write the perfect messaging.

Email outreach is too important to just wing it and hope for the best. Careless or impersonal emails reflect poorly on you as a recruiter and for the company, or client, you’re hiring for. Successful outreach campaigns will find you the best passive candidates and help you hire for key roles faster. Let Fetcher help you be an outreach master!

About Fetcher

At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at

blogPost Tag

Candidate Outreach, Recruiting Strategies