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Writing messages that candidates will answer

Communication is the pillar of candidate experience. Crafting the perfect approach message will increase your response rate, which directly influences the success of the entire recruitment process. It seems however that very few recruiters get this initial contact with the candidates right. Moreover, in many industries candidates are more likely to answer an approach message… if it wasn’t sent by a recruiter at all. This is why, as a hiring manager, you should learn to contact candidates directly. Here are some tips to help you do that.

Don’t send mass messages

Crafting a message that will answer the needs of all of your candidates at once isn’t impossible. That is exactly how advertising works. But it is really hard – way harder than writing short, personalise notes.

By showing the recipient the message is intended for them and no one else, you can significantly increase your response rate. This is why you need to make sure it’s clear that you’ve read the candidate’s profile. Don’t forget that the candidate also has to want to invest the time in learning more about the role you’re hiring for. They are more likely to do that if you reference their experience and skills, explaining why they’re relevant to the role.

Keep it short and sweet 

The main goal of the first message is getting an answer. It will be much easier to convince the candidate to enter the recruitment process once you’ve had a conversation. That’s why you should avoid sending long messages that outline every detail of the opportunity. Instead, offer the most important details such as the size of the team, salary, location, and leave room for additional questions from the candidate. You can also use questions in your message. They shift the focus to your candidate and what they want, which encourages responses.

Use a call to action

It’s important to finish every message with a call to action, making it clear how you expect your recipient to proceed (as well as what they can count on from your side). You can be more or less direct with a call to action, either pointing out you’re available to have a conversation if they’re interested, or simply asking what the best time is to talk. In any case, remember to share your contact details to make it as easy as possible for the candidate to reach you. Finally, you can also encourage the candidate to contact the recruiter, especially if you’re not always available to take a call or respond to an email.

Keep things positive

The messages you send to candidates don’t have to be overly formal. Being professional is best expressed through a genuine interest in the candidate and their needs. There’s nothing wrong with adopting a less formal writing style – or in fact the opposite – as long as it’s consistent with your own style and the organisational culture of the company. Be mindful of the tone on the candidate profile too. You will find clues there as to how the candidate might want to be addressed. 

There is one rule you need to stick to, however, and that is to always keep things positive. That doesn’t just apply to the approach message, which is fairly easy, but to the entire conversation with the candidate. If they point out something in your message they don’t like, apologise and adjust. Even if you don’t end up working together, arguing with a candidate can damage your reputation and make it harder to reach more candidates later. If there’s a misunderstanding, if you’ve made a mistake or even if your recipient is simply having a bad day, it’s up to you to ensure their overall impression of you is positive.

There’s no golden rule when it comes to communicating with others and that includes communicating with candidates. Even the best message doesn’t guarantee a response. However, you can increase the likelihood of receiving one and build a positive brand for yourself and the company by following these simple tips. Remember that first impressions can have a big impact on whether the candidate decides to accept the offer from the company and join your team, so make them count!

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Katarzyna Szudy

General Manager


Szymon Kluba

Recruitment Manager

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