Cold recruiting email templates that deliver 20%+ response rate

Let’s start with the results – the cold recruiting email templates in this article have led to a 70% open rate and a 20%+ response rate.

Considering the benchmark for cold emails is a 2% response rate, these are phenomenal results.

So if you are looking to increase the sales of your recruitment agency, you’ve come to the right place.

Things that don’t work

The average talent acquisition leader gets 1-3 cold recruitment emails or voicemails per day.

Most of them look like this:

If it would have been the other way around and you received this recruitment email – would it be “sexy” enough to make you open it?


Testing the messages

Most websites that write on the topic recommend creating a few recruitment templates with different messages and testing them out with different email campaigns.

The problem with that is you burn valuable leads through the testing process.

Secondly, it takes a long time to validate (~10 days until all the emails and follow-up emails are sent out).

So we use a different, more efficient approach.

Testing via paid advertising.

You can spend as little as $25 and test different copies of messages to see which one works best.

Example of 2 different ads on Linkedin campaign (benchmark Click Through Rate (CTR) on Linkedin is 0.2%.)

We tried to test different sentiment and topic in each ad:

  • Frustration – “Frustrated because you can’t find the right talent?”
  • Fear – “Don’t let your competitors beat you to the best talent”
  • We can help –  “3 ways [Agency name] can help you today!”
  • Niche Pros- “The number one [niche] recruiters in [geography]”
  • Cost – “Still think you need to pay a retainer for executive candidates? Think again”
  • Time – “See a qualified candidate within 1 week or the cost is on us”
  • Social validation – “How we helped [Brand name] fill [role name] within 1 week”
  • ……

And we used variations of the wording to capture the same sentiment.

We ran the ads both on Linkedin and Google Ads and they delivered pretty much the same results.


Crafting the first recruitment email

After you understand what sentiment works for your target audience, it is time to convert it to an email subject line.

Let’s say the “Social Validation” sentiment worked best.

Here is one of the recruiting email examples:

Or another example with a different first paragraph:

If you read our article on business development for recruiters, you would have seen one of the recommended methods is to administrate a Meetup group in your niche.

Here is an example email that leverages the above:

Notice that in all these examples, the email is short, succinct and focuses on how you can solve the client’s problem.

Now let’s say you noticed a company that has an open position, you approached their competitor and convinced the person in the same role to potentially move:


Crafting the follow-up emails

We personally like to use 2 follow-up emails.


Because we tried using more and saw little results.

Here is our favorite #2 email:

And where we do most of the learnings comes from email number 3:

You’d be surprised at how many people respond to this email.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s how we get to a 50% response rate (including people responding number 1) and a 20% response rate (if people responding 2 and 3).


Tracking, learning and improving

The above templates are just suggestions.

Something to start from and improve upon.

We track the open, click and reply rates of every email campaign to see what works and what does not for each cold recruiting email template.

Here is our formula for figuring out where to focus:

  • Low open rate -> Change the title and potentially first paragraph (it is visible without even opening the email). Start with changing just the title, send out another batch of emails (can be as little as 30) and see if it changes the results. If not, change the first paragraph as well.
  • Good open rate but low clicks on the links in the email -> Change the body of the email. You got your prospect interested in the title but then he/she did not find what they were looking for in the email. Avoid changing the first paragraph, since you might affect your open rates.
  • Good open rate and click rate but low conversion to buying your services -> your email is fine but you need to work on your marketing materials (either the website or the PDF you attached as a link).

Bonus – Searching for clients

When cold emailing, you need a list of potential clients’ emails.

Here are different methods on how to create such a list:

1. Buying from data aggregator

You can buy lists of contact details from data aggregators such as Zoominfo and Discoverorg.

They have large databases which you can filter to find the types of companies or people within your niche.

Cost: ~$0.1-$2 / lead.

Pros: Large list of contacts.

Cons: You will have no indication if these companies need your services.

2. Using boolean search on Linkedin

You can use boolean search on linkedin to find and approach potential clients.

Here are a few examples:

If you are looking for any person that might describe themselves as an R&D manager:

“R&D director” OR “R&D manager” OR “VP R&D.”OR “CTO.”

If you are looking for this R&D manager in a specific industry:

“R&D manager” AND Internet

If you want to exclude certain titles, like Global, you can use the following:

“R&D manager” NOT global

Pros: $0 cost (besides your time)

Cons: A very manual process.

3. Looking for 30+ days job posts

If a company posted a position on a job board more than 30 days ago, changes are they are having a hard time filling the role.

This can be a good indication that this client will have a higher probability of using your services.

In the above example, you can see that both United Rentals, Inc and Womply Lehi posted a Sales Development Representative job on Indeed more than 30 days ago.

If you are an expert in recruiting for SDR roles, you can reach out to these companies and suggest your services.

Pros: Leads with a higher probability to buy

Cons: Manual process to get the list

4. Warm leads providers

Probably the best of all worlds – leads with a higher probability to buy specific services that don’t require manual work on your end.

Where do you find such a thing?

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