Email Communication

Seems like these days there is still a very strong interest in the recruiting community, and Fordyce Letter subscribers as well, in sourcing new and qualified candidates from the Internet. Many times, in this column, we have offered tips and techniques to make your Internet recruiting experience more enjoyable and productive, however, the identification of these candidates is just the first step in turning a name or a resume into an actual candidate we can submit to our clients. You must always keep in mind that a candidate located during a Google or other search engine search is a passive candidate, one who may not even be actively looking for other employment. This being the case, that candidate must be treated differently than one you may have found on a large resume board such as Monster or HotJobs; differently than an ad response; even differently from a referral. Many recruiters I know would pick up the telephone and call whatever number is on the Internet resume but in these days of voicemail many times email communication can actually result in a quicker response. The better job you do on your unsolicited email to this stranger, the more response you are likely to get.

Subject Line: Often the only verbiage your potential candidate will see prior to actually opening the email itself. Unfortunately, you don’t have a lot of room here for creativity. I usually use a subject line that contains some of the job title. Something like Java Developer Position – Excellent Long Term Opportunity. Even those not looking for other employment might open this anyway just out of curiosity.

Identification: Introduce yourself. You are a professional recruiter…say so. Tell them a little bit about yourself, your specialty, your geography, etc. “I have been a professional recruiter in the St. Louis area for 20+ years (I never say 27 as it makes me sound too old). I specialize in locating top-caliber information systems candidates for a very impressive client base.” Or something similar.

Disclosure: There is no harm in letting the candidate know where you got his resume. I always state something like: “I was recently conducting an Internet search on Google for Java developers in the St. Louis area and noticed your resume was in the results. Evidently, your resume is on your homepage (or, your resume is wherever).”

Specifics: You have told your intended target who you are, what you do, where you got his contact information from and why. Now, tell them the specifics of your assignment. They will want to know the day-today duties, minimum requirements, where the job is located, compensation and benefits, industry, and maybe some information about your client. Is it a contracting type position that pays hourly, or is in a permanent, more stable, long-term position with a salary. This is your opportunity to sell your service.

Removal: Many people do not, under any circumstances, like receiving unsolicited emails. Although in no way, shape or form do I consider a career-related email to a targeted recipient to be spam, always offer the target the chance to let you know that he or she does not want to receive emails from you in the future. “If you have received this email in error, or you do not want to hear about future career opportunities that match your skills and qualifications, please let me know and accept my apologies for this intrusion.” Just a simple sentence does the trick here.

Contact: Don’t forget to offer your full name, company, telephone number, email address and website. Make it easy for the candidate to contact you any way he or she desires. “If you are in any way considering other employment at this time, please contact me via telephone or email at your earliest convenience. I look forward to your reply”. Including your website address offers them the opportunity to check you out and make sure you are for real.

Take your time here. Write a clear, concise, very professional looking and sounding letter. In your email, ask them for a time and contact number you can reach them at. Don’t come across too strong. With all due respect to the used car sales profession, this is not the time or place for that approach. Softsell your opportunity. Make your presentation, then ask for their assistance. Develop a template you can use over and over again. Just changing the job specs if you need to, or if you work only a few different jobs over and over again, develop a template for each. Keep them in the Drafts folder in Outlook and copy and paste the text into new emails you send out. When someone does respond, be prepared to contact him or her right away.

In both my classes and the book I have written on searching for resumes on Google, I like to point out that of the available pool of passive candidates, Internet or otherwise, about 45 or so percent of them simply will not give you the time of day. No matter how perfect the opportunity they are just not interested. They will not respond to emails or voicemails. This is a fact of life and you will have to accept it if you are going to go after the passive candidate market. Having said that, you are left with 55% of the pool that may very well be your next candidate if you have the right approach at the right time. Good luck!

MSN Search

I have written many times that Google is not the only search engine one should use when recruiting passive candidates. Although the largest and well known, there are other very good resources. One of them being the Microsoft Network search engine, MSN Search. Many search engines use similar syntax when creating your search strings. I have written about the inurl and intitle methods in Google on more than one occasion but you can also use the same syntax with these methods in MSN Search. To refresh your memory intitle searches for your keyword in the title of the web page and inurl searches for your keyword in the url (or address) of your web page. Go to and type in:

(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume)

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I did and got 2.2 million results but keep in mind we are not using other resume words like homepage, cv, or bio. Let’s add a keyword, Java, and run it again.

(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) java

Now we are down to 138+k. Too many to go through and still a lot of junk I am sure. Although MSN Search does support a location search (loc:US), it is more for a country search than a state or region, and I can locate no documentation that it supports a number-range method, as Google does so to get our results down further let’s add a geographic requirement, Missouri.

(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) java (missouri OR MO)

We are now down to about 7 thousand results and although I am seeing many resumes on the first few pages that is still too many to go through. Let’s try and get rid of some of the job pages. MSN Search also supports the use of the minus sign, as well as the word NOT.

(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) java (missouri OR MO) jobs

By removing the word jobs from the results we have cut the results from the prior search way down to about four thousand results. I am going to stop here for the purposes of this tip but as always; your objective is to get those results down to a manageable number. I would do this by looking at your job order and adding another keyword or two, going through the results and determining what other NOT words to include in the string, and/or maybe including some area codes. I am already doing a Missouri search. If I wanted the St. Louis candidates I might add (314 OR 636) to the string.

Mark E. Berger, C.P.C., AIRS CIR has been in recruiting since 1979. He is currently a partner in Ramsey Fox, Inc., an IT services firm and its predecessor, M.E. Berger & Associates since 1986. He has been heavily involved in Internet recruiting and is an expert on recruiting and sourcing products, services available on the Internet and how these products add to the bottom line. Mark’s interests include successfully integrating both computer and Internet recruiting technology into a traditional recruiting environment. He has taken AIRS I and II training and has obtained the AIRS CIR designation. Mark is also on the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Personnel Services. He can be reached at

Mark E. Berger, CPC has been in permanent placement since 1979 and has been a partner in Berger/Nowlin, Inc. since 1997. Previously, he owned M. E. Berger & Associates, a permanent placement firm. He has been heavily involved in internet recruiting since 1996 and has successfully attained the AIRS CIR (Certified Internet Recruiter) designation. He is on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Assn. of Personnel Services and can be reached via email at