The Art of Cold Email: Get Personal, Ask for Action

Even with all the data recruiters have at their disposal, outreach to prospective candidates often begins with a cold email. 

In today’s labor market, it’s critical that recruiters do everything they can to maximize the chance that their emails will not only be opened and read, but acted upon. Here’s how recruiters can make an excellent first impression in their email outreach efforts and engage great candidates.

Start with InMail 

With so many candidates using LinkedIn to manage their job search, start your outreach efforts on LinkedIn before reaching out to candidates via their personal email.

“When you join LinkedIn, just by virtue of being there, you’re agreeing to be communicated with on some level,” says Joe Russo, senior technical talent acquisition advisor at ZoomInfo. “It’s a professional networking tool, so people in general are more open to being contacted in that way.”

Get personal

Recruitment outreach is a numbers game, which makes scale over personalization a tempting idea. However, it’s more effective to craft cold emails that are as personal as possible to start meaningful conversations.

“A lot of times, people can feel like you’re just putting together something to get them on the hook and it can seem very salesy and not at all genuine,” says Ryan Beaudry, a talent acquisition team lead at ZoomInfo. “Be human in your approach. Make it compelling and impactful, but realize on the other end of that message is a human being, and work to make a human connection.”

Be specific

Even the most authentic messaging isn’t enough by itself. Be as specific as possible about why you’re reaching out and why the role is a great fit for them.

“The best messages — and the best responses — are when I’m letting the person know why I’m reaching out to them,” Russo says. “It’s not just, ‘You’re a software developer, and I’m reaching out to software developers.’ It’s, ‘I’ve reached out to you because you’re an established Java developer, and your time at this role looks very similar to the role that I’m hiring for.” 

Ask for feedback

The most effective recruiters know that regular feedback is crucial to crafting memorable cold emails. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for input on your messaging before reaching out to prospects.

“One of my biggest struggles, especially as a team leader, is showing my team my outbound messages and opening that up to critique,” Beaudry says. “It can be hard to unbend the ego, but at the end of the day, it’s what makes you better.”

Close with a strong, actionable CTA

However you phrase your cold outreach emails, always close with a strong, actionable ask that makes the next steps clear and easily understood.

“The key is being noninvasive and putting a timeframe around it,” Russo says. “I wouldn’t say, ‘Do you have 40 minutes for us to connect?’ but, ‘Would it make sense for us to connect for five minutes sometime next week?’ I’ve found ending my messages with that very simple call tends to get a lot more responses and move things along quickly.”

Turn cold emails into hot leads

Cold email outreach is hard enough, and in today’s highly competitive market, recruitment professionals need every advantage at their disposal. The more candidate data you have, the more personal you can be in your email outreach.

ZoomInfo TalentOS offers 360-degree sourcing intelligence about prospective candidates, providing detailed, holistic profiles of prospective candidates that can help you craft personal, engaging messaging that resonates with top talent in your industry. 

Don’t settle for generic, forgettable outreach emails — see how ZoomInfo TalentOS can help you identify the best candidates quickly and effectively.