Rhona Barnett-Pierce


Image of Rhona Pierce, a Black woman, smiling and pointing at the words: Recruiting Email Template. Newsletter #010

The Best Recruiting Email Template

Today, I want to show you how to write a recruiting email that a candidate will open AND respond to.

Recruiting emails have a bad reputation because, frankly, most of them suck…

Screenshot of /recruitinghell Subreddit thread with a screenshot of an email from a recruiter

Most Recruiting emails don’t let candidates know:

  • Why THEM
  • RELEVANT details about the job
  • The salary range

Recruiting has become so transactional that we forget there’s a human on the other side. The good news is it’s not that hard to stand out.

I do not like templates; I prefer to use formulas or structures. Today, I’ll share the structure I use to get a response on 98% of the cold emails that I send to candidates.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Write a Great Subject Line

The subject line sets the tone for the entire interaction, and it’s what will determine if they even open your email.

Here are the four types of subject lines that I like to use:

Personalized subject:

Mention something specific you learned about them from their LinkedIn profile or social media. Keep it professional. I’ve referenced things like organizations that they are part of, or sometimes I’ve leaned on humor.

Screenshot of LinkedIn InMail from Rhona Pierce with the subject line: Connecting with Local React community

I once sent a cold email to a candidate who had an entire YouTube series dedicated to hating on recruiters. He had videos showing screenshots of the emails he got from recruiters and pointing out the typos. So naturally, my subject line was: “No Typos, I Promise…”. I got a reply within minutes, AND my email wasn’t featured in any of his videos. #winning!

That touches on the next type of subject line, the Ellipsis.

Ellipsis subject:

Cliffhanger subject lines work great with candidates. Those three dots at the end of a sentence indicate there’s an unfinished thought. And the only place to finish that thought is inside the email. This type of subject sparks curiosity and increases your open rates.

You must finish the thought in the email’s first sentence for this to work.

Here’s an example:

April, you seem like someone I should know…

Straight to the Point subject:

If I reach out to a candidate actively looking for a job (#OpenToWork), I get straight to the point. They’re likely getting a lot more emails than the average candidate, so I want to grab their attention by using the Job Title + Company Name + ONE persuasive benefit of the job. If they’ve posted about a benefit they value, e.g., remote work, I will include that in the subject line.

Screenshot of LinkedIn Recruiter InMail from Rhona Pierce with the subject line: "Brand Strategy Senior Leadership Role at Leaf Group - 100% Remote"

Name-Drop Subject:

Trust is a big factor when it comes to getting responses from strangers. If you have any connections in common, don’t be afraid to name-drop them. Just make sure you know the person you’re referencing.

A simple question like: “Do you Know Katrina Kibben?” is a great way to get someone who knows Kat to open the email and respond.

Step 2: Focus on the WHY in the Body of your email

After you’ve piqued their interest with your subject line, it’s time to deliver on your promise. This email is about THEM and not about you. Keep that in mind as you write the body of your email. The best way to keep it focused on them is to answer these three questions in your email:

  • WHY them: Be specific about why you contacted them. What makes them special.
  • WHY this job: Include 2 – 3 of the most compelling details about the job. And please include the salary as well.
  • WHY now: Why do you think they should have this conversation right now.

Step 3: Close with a powerful Call To Action

Closed mouths don’t get fed! You’re sending this email for a reason; be very clear about the next steps. I’ve found that including my scheduling link is the most effective.

Don’t ask for Favors

Madea shaking head and the words: No Manners...

Please don’t ask for a referral. It might sound cute to say: “If you’re not interested but know someone who might be, please let me know,” but honestly, that just negates everything you’ve said about them. You’re basically telling them they aren’t that special, and if it’s not them, it can be anyone else. Trust me, if you leave out this line, you’ll get more referrals!


So there you have it, a simple formula you can use to personalize your outreach emails and increase your response rates.

Relevant Subject Line + Answers to the 3 WHYs + Strong CTA = HIGHER RESPONSE RATE

Talk to you next week!

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how we can work together:

☎️ Book a 1:1 Clarity Call

👩🏾‍🏫 Hire Me to Train Your Team

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