Writing an extremely effective followup recruitment email

written by Amritanshu Anand
followup emails

While running your recruitment email campaign, if your first touchpoint didn’t deliver the result, don’t feed bad. It’s almost always the second and third touchpoint which gets the result.

Followups are crucial but if done wrong (most of us do it wrong) it hardly helps you convert the candidate. We all have seen generic follow-ups like:

  • Just checking in to see
  • Thought I would check-in
  • How are you?

No matter how widely they are used, they will seldom get you results. So how do we write follow up emails to convert candidates better?

Creating a high performing recruitment follow-up email is less of an art and more science. Below are some of the key steps involved in crafting follow-up recruitment emails:


Determining what’s your goal?

Followups should always be designed to achieve some goal. Before you jump on to creating a follow-up email, take a step back and determine the goal of the follow-up. Your call to action in the follow-up is tailored to achieve this goal.

There are generally four types of goal when sending out a follow-up email for recruiting activities:

Apply for an opening

Here you focus on conversion and making sure the candidate applies to your company

Grow talent network

Building a talent network is a continuous process and you are always looking out for great talent who might join your company in future.

Just to catch up

When you haven’t been in touch with an awesome candidate and want to share some news or congratulate them on something

Share information

You want to tell your candidates and prospective candidate some recent news or achievement of your company.



What’s the context?

Context sets the tone of follow-up email and it should be in lines with your earlier touchpoint. This is the first thing the recipient will read when they open the email or even without opening it (after subject line).

You need to establish the context of your follow-up email to keep them engaged. If you know them through someone, start with a comment or compliment of the candidate from that person.

Experiments have suggested that humans have higher recall value for words at the start and at the end. Establishing a context helps you keep the email personalized and chances of a reply are much better.

Some ways in which you can give context:

  • Referral: I met (person name) last week at (venue name) and he told me some great things about you.
  • Prior meeting: We met a few weeks back at (event name or location)
  • Read online: I just read an article published by you on (platform name). I loved the way you (talk about the article)
  • Prior email: Following up on my last email sent a few week back about (topic)


What do you want?

You should always respect your candidate’s time. Just asking them to get on a call or for a meeting without establishing why you want it, ultimately ends up wasting everyone’s time.

You call to action or “What” be it asking for a call or a meeting or just sharing some news should have “Why” with it.

For instance, don’t just ask a backend developer “I would love to have 30 mins call sometime this week to explore career opportunity here at Acme Corp.”

Instead, say something like “We are actively hiring for backend position at Acme Corp and you seem to be an ideal fit for the position. Your current work at Stark Enterprise is related to what we do here. It would be great if we can chat for 30 mins sometime this week to see if working at Acme Corp excite you?  “



When to send a follow-up?

Timing is really important when it comes to follow-up emails. You shouldn’t be so late that the prospect forgets about you. At the same time sending follow-ups too quickly would look desperate.

The timing of a follow-up is dependent on the context. Some examples of timing of follow-up with context are listed below

  • Referral from someone: Within 7 days of meeting the person
  • Met at an event: Within 24 hours after the event
  • Read online: There’s no time-frame but the sooner the better
  • Following up on an earlier email: After 7 days but before 14 days of the previous email
  • Catch up – Once in 3-4 months


How to send a follow-up?

Followups can either be part of the same email thread or you can start a new thread. I personally use the same thread if I am not sure the person I am emailing remembers me.

If you are starting a new thread, following are some the things which work in the subject line:

  • Sense of urgency: Creating sense of urgency by using words like tomorrow, this week etc increase the open rate
  • Numbers combined with adjectives: Phrases like Quick 15 mins call, short 30 mins meeting helps you increase your open rate
  • Keep it short: Short headlines tend to get more opens than long ones

Remember the aim of the subject line is to increase the interest of the prospect so that they open the email.


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