5 Ways Sourcers Can Successfully Engage Candidates Through Direct Email

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Apr 13, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In my first post as a writer for Sourcecon, I would like to address a very important subject that is often overlooked by those who are new in our industry: marketing. It’s hard for some sourcers to realize the importance of marketing. The parallels between a marketer and sourcer are uncanny. As a sourcer, you are constantly marketing and informing candidates in the market on job openings and career opportunities, often while increasing your own employer brand, and your client’s brand. By thinking, and sometimes acting as a marketer or brand ambassador, you can greatly increase your repertoire as a sourcer. With that in mind, I would like to share five email marketing techniques to help you better source candidates.


Inform The Market Of Job Openings Before You Source For Openings

In the early stages of a job opening your goal is to inform the market of your opening to a well- researched, targeted and relevant audience. Do not spam the market or send out an unwanted mail merge. Spam is for dinner, not for sourcing. Be bold, not bland, and undifferentiated in your emails. Your initial goal is not to sell every individual on the job opening. In this early stage, you’re sourcing and informing efforts should ultimately lead to referrals, market intelligence, and brand exposure. In this stage, you should start to narrow the candidate pool to 10-20 “target” candidates you wish to start proactively recruiting for the job opening.


Make Sure 90% Of The Essential Message You Wish To Convey Is Stated In Your Subject Heading

Think of how many emails and advertisements you receive each day. Now put yourself in our candidate’s shoes. Can you imagine what they must think every time they open their inbox? How can you capture their attention in a sea of junk? In this digital age, your recipient is likely receiving and viewing your email while they are preoccupied with another activity. Therefore, it is very important that the recipient of your email understands your message and intent without having to read your entire email. Your goal is not only to attract readers’ attention and entice them to read as much of the email as possible but also to make the subject heading so informative and compelling they will remember to return to the message at a later time. 


Lead With Your Call To Action. Ask Questions. It invites Recipients To Engage With You In Dialogue

This tip is essentially a continuation of tip #2. Hopefully, you are emailing candidates with a very specific purpose. It is imperative to reveal early in your message the purpose of you contacting them and what action you’re hoping the candidate to take.  Your purpose and action need to be clearly defined.  It is extremely important to ask your questions as clearly and as early as possible in your email; ideally in the subject heading. This will help create a specific call to action.


Your Initial Goal Is To Engage and Get A Response From As Many People As Possible

Successful recruiting and sourcing is a multi-step process. Per tip #1, you first have to inform the market of the job opening before you begin sourcing. In the initial email outreach, your goal is not only to gain interest, but also engaged responses from your audience. Not every candidate will be interested, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If a candidate responds that they are not interested, view this as a small victory as you gained market intelligence and opened the dialogue with another individual. That being said, don’t just take a simple “no” or “not interested” without responding. See tip #5 for more details on this.


Quick Response Time To Those Who Respond To You Is Very Important. Candidate Experience Is Paramount

Like any athletic act such as hitting a baseball, shooting a basketball, or swinging a golf club, the follow-through in sourcing is just as important, if not more important than the initial outreach. What good is it to invite your email recipients to take action, and not respond to them in a timely manner,  or worse, ignore them entirely? Out of the numerous calls, emails and advertisements your target audience receives daily, they chose to take time from their busy schedule to respond to you. Their response deserves a response. “I don’t have the time,” you say? No excuses. Make the time. This is a core competency and very important part of your job. Work extra hours. Do whatever it takes to lighten your workload. But if someone responds to you, then they deserve a prompt reply from you. If not, then you lose every advantage you gained by enticing the email recipient to take whatever action you requested they take. You will become the boy who cried wolf. Therefore, the next time you hope to engage with these email recipients or even attempt to recruit them, they will be less likely to respond to you. Just remember even emailing someone with an update that there are no updates, or you won’t be able to properly respond for a week or two, is an update to them. They will appreciate your candor, and you will differentiate your company and yourself from other employers and other recruiters out there. Constituent (both candidates and prospective referral partners) experience is paramount.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.