12 tactics to write recruitment messages that candidates can’t resist

Door: Joseph Levebre

We’ve compiled a list of 12 tactics inspired by insights from industry experts Hung Lee and ‘The Recruitment Flex’ podcast by Shelley and Serge. Implementing these practical tips will help boost your candidate response rates without taking any extreme marketing measures.



Joseph Lefebvre on May 23, 2024 Average reading time: 4 min
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12 tactics to write recruitment messages that candidates can’t resist

1. Employer Brand Impact

Let’s face it, the brand behind the sender matters, a lot. Candidates are more likely to respond if the message comes from a prestigious company like Amazon or Google.

It’s like being invited to the cool kids’ table at lunch…everyone wants in. So, building a strong employer brand isn’t just about name recognition. It’s about cultivating a reputation that resonates with potential candidates. You can highlight unique aspects of your company culture, values, and opportunities for growth. This can significantly increase your appeal to top talent.

2. Sender Identity

Who’s sending the message matters too. A CEO is bound to grab more attention than a recruiter. Even professional peers and functional leaders have more pull than your average recruiter. Think about decentralizing outreach to take your response game up a notch.

While the sender’s title carries weight, it’s also essential to consider their experience with potential candidates. A well-respected leader who actively engages with their team and industry peers is more likely to elicit a positive response than someone with a fancy title but little ability to make personal connections.

3. Timing is Key

Ever wonder if the timing of your message makes a difference? Well, it does. While some think specific times of the day work best, like Sunday mornings as per Hung Lee, you can always experiment and find what works best for your target audience. Beyond just the time of day, consider broader timing factors such as industry events, company milestones, or even personal achievements of the candidate if you have knowledge of those based on your research. Tailoring your outreach to align with these timings can increase the likelihood of a favorable response.

4. Choosing the Right Channel

The channel you use can make or break your outreach efforts. Email is great for full-time workers, while LinkedIn works for some but not all. Avoid reaching out to candidates on Facebook or Instagram DMs. It can feel like an invasion of privacy. Understanding your candidate’s preferred communication channels is crucial if indicated on a resume or any prior application. Some may prefer the professionalism of email, while others respond better to the familiarity of LinkedIn. By meeting candidates where they are, you can increase the chances of capturing their attention.

5. Factors for Channel Selection

Understand your audience and choose the right channel accordingly. While texting might work wonders with some candidates, especially those who are already in your company database, LinkedIn is a better fit for others. Tailor your approach to match your audience’s preferences. Beyond channel preferences, consider the stage of the candidate’s journey and the nature of your message. For initial outreach, a professional platform like LinkedIn may be more appropriate, while follow-up communication could benefit from the immediacy of text or messaging apps.

6. Crafting the Perfect Subject Line

Keep it short and sweet. With limited characters, aim for 30-40 characters max. Using the recipient’s first name in the subject line can work wonders, but it’s not always feasible with mail merges. In addition to personalization, consider incorporating elements that evoke curiosity or urgency in your subject lines. A well-crafted subject line should entice the recipient to open the message while also providing a clear indication of its relevance.

7. Message Length Matters

Less is more. Aim for fewer than 400 characters for optimal response rates, especially for InMail messages. Cut the fluff and get straight to the point. Avoid bombarding candidates with lengthy job descriptions. Quite frankly, nobody has time for that. Craft a well-worded, thoughtful message for maximum impact. Also, focus on clarity and relevance in your messaging. Every word should serve a purpose, guiding the candidate toward a specific action or outcome. By respecting their time and attention, you increase the likelihood of a positive response. A short message not only respects the recipient’s time but also increases the likelihood of a response.

8. Mastering Message Structure

Follow the classic hook, explainer, and call-to-action (CTA) formula. Start with a hook tailored to the recipient, provide context in the explainer, and end with a clear CTA.

While the structure provides a framework, don’t be afraid to inject personality and authenticity into your messages. Striking the right balance between professionalism and genuine interest can significantly impact response rates.

9. Embrace BLUF

We are not talking about “Bluff” here. Yeah, never bluff in front of candidates. But here, we are talking about the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) technique. When it’s not possible to send a short message, use BLUF. Put the most important information in bold at the top of the message to ensure clarity and focus. BLUF isn’t just about delivering information. It’s about respecting the recipient’s time and attention. By prioritizing the most critical details upfront, you demonstrate transparency and streamline communication.

10. Make a Reasonable Ask

Avoid putting candidates on the spot with tough questions right off the bat. Instead, offer more information in a follow-up email or during a phone call. Consider framing your ask as an opportunity for further exploration or collaboration rather than a definitive decision. If you invite candidates to engage in a dialogue, you can create a more inclusive and empowering communication dynamic.

11. Personalization vs. Mass Outreach

While personalization is key for executive roles, high-volume hiring might not benefit as much. Save time by focusing personalization efforts where they’ll have the most impact.

Personalization isn’t just about customization. It’s about demonstrating genuine interest and understanding of the candidate’s unique needs and aspirations. Even in high-volume scenarios, finding opportunities to tailor your message can bring about significant returns.

12. Follow Up (Patiently)

Persistence pays off, but don’t overdo it. Research shows it usually takes around three messages to get a response. After that, more messages won’t necessarily help.

Beyond just frequency, focus on the quality of your follow-up messages. Each interaction should provide additional value or context. It should also politely reinforce your commitment to building a meaningful relationship with the candidate.


In a world flooded with recruitment messages, standing out from the crowd is not easy. By leveraging these 12 tactics, you, as a recruiter, can increase your chances of capturing the attention of candidates and ultimately securing responses. So go ahead, put these strategies to the test, and watch your candidate engagement reach new heights.


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