Better Email Correspondence With Candidates

Which one of these examples most resembles the email you send to confirm an interview with a candidate? Example A: Steve, You are set for your interview with Brian Bannister at 2:00 on Friday. We look forward to seeing you then. Example B: Steve, You are set for your interview with Brian Bannister at 2:00 on Friday. The following information will help answer some initial questions you may have and help you prepare for this meeting:

  • A brief bio of Brian (attached)
  • A white paper that Brian presented at an industry conference this year (attached)
  • An article in Fast Company Magazine about our recent growth (link)
  • Our 2001 Annual Report (link)

We look forward to seeing you Friday. Please let me know if you need anything else to properly prepare. If your emails look more like Example A than Example B, you’re not making the most of your correspondence with candidates. Phone and in-person contact will always be critical in maintaining strong recruiter/candidate relationships, but if used effectively, email can better help you build your case with candidates and move them smoothly through the hiring process. Email lets you share more consistent and richer information while affording a candidate more time to digest and absorb it. Here are some tips to help you make your candidate emails more powerful and productive. Add Value With Every Email Besides giving some good information, Example B raises the bar by asking the candidate to actually prepare for the interview ó instead of just showing up at the assigned time. And once you gather the information, the difference in the time needed to create the two different emails is minimal. This “selling and prepping” of a candidate is a critical part of the value that a recruiter adds to the hiring process. If you consistently increase the depth of the information you share, you can do some of this selling and prepping work quickly via email ó without letting the relationships with your candidates suffer. You’ll also free up your time for higher leverage activities and ones that can only be accomplished in person or on the phone (e.g., interviews, salary negotiations, etc.). Create a Library of Information To make it easy to add value to each email you send, create a folder of documents and hyperlinks that will educate candidates and help them throughout the hiring process. Some examples are:

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  • Brief bios of people a candidate will be interviewing with
  • Company’s annual report (if public)
  • Recent articles mentioning your company in a positive light
  • “Day in the life” scenarios of the jobs candidates are applying for
  • Quotes from or interviews with current employees
  • Summary of your company perks and benefits
  • Relocation policies and information about the area, schools, home prices, standard of living, etc.
  • Directions to your offices
  • A short bio of you, the recruiter. This can help humanize applicants’ experience with you and build their confidence in you as an experienced professional.

It’s easy to begin building a library of information like this with just a few key items, and then add to it and update it over time. Remember to periodically check your links and update the information you’ve collected. Don’t Hit Them With a Ton of Bricks Any good salesperson will tell you that building a good sale is a piece-by-piece process: lay a strong foundation and then solidly add brick by brick until you are finished. The hiring process is no different. Each interaction you have with a candidate should be adding “bricks” and building your case. The key here is to share information methodically, one step at a time ó not all at once. By doing this, you allow the candidates to actually absorb the information you send them, and you run less of a risk of “information overload.” If possible, use links instead of attachments to make information available to the candidate. Many candidates are still operating with dial-up connections, and large attachments can seem like you are burying a candidate with excessive “homework.” Save Time by Using Signatures Email signatures can be one of the most helpful tools for increasing your email productivity while making your correspondence still appear personal. If you have your email program set up to automatically put your name and contact information at the bottom of outgoing messages, you have just scratched the service of the value of the “signatures” function. The signature library can be used to quickly insert information, such as hyperlinks or even large blocks of text, into the body of emails. This tool allows you to grab one or multiple different text blocks from a menu and insert them wherever you wish in an email, instead of cutting and pasting text from another document. Check the Help section of your email program to get directions on how to create a signature. There is normally no limit to the number of signatures you can have or the amount of text allowed in them. Make sure you designate the signature with your name and contact information as your “default” signature. Conclusion To move candidates smoothly through the hiring process, you need to work smarter while keeping candidate customer service levels high. With a little effort upfront, you can save time and avoid sending impersonal “form letter” type correspondence ó while maximizing your interaction with candidates and using every opportunity to build upon the recruiter/candidate relationship.