Our Blog


Creating the Best Recruiting Email Subject Lines

Aug 13, 2020

 Recruiting agencies employ several strategies to accomplish talent acquisition, from social media posts and job board listings to email outreach. Each strategy can be measured, evaluated, and optimized for greater success. As one of the best ways to engage candidates, email outreach should be employed by recruiting agencies carefully and strategically, with candidate experience in mind.

Below, we explore several tips for creating the best recruiting email subject lines.

Why Are Recruiting Email Subject Lines Important?

Recruiting emails are one of the most common methods of applicant outreach and candidate engagement, and subject lines play a critical role. In fact, subject lines are the primary reason an email is opened, deleted, or buried in the depths of a spam folder. As over 144 billion emails are sent daily, standing out amongst the fray is challenging – but not impossible!

Implementing a clear strategy will help your recruitment agency cut through the noise and stand out to top talent.

Tips for Creating the Best Subject Lines

1. Set Clear Expectations

Avoid advertising one topic in your email subject lines and writing about something entirely different in the body of the email. Not only is this practice unprofessional, but it can be disappointing for the recipient!

Crafting an attention-grabbing subject line to draw in the reader is entirely acceptable, but deception is not. Furthermore, emails with inconsistent subject lines and body copy are often sent directly to spam.

2. Ask Questions

Questions naturally draw individuals in. The recipient may pause to answer the question or open the message to understand how your organization answered the question. While crafting a subject line with a question, be wary of beginning with, “Do you like/want/have…?” as these phrases may trigger spam detectors.

3. Create a Sense of Urgency (Without Appearing Spammy)

Urgency encourages immediate action. Once again, put forth a sense of urgency with subtle creativity. Never use words like “urgent” or “don’t hesitate” to inspire action. These phrases often trigger spam filters. Instead, request an action or include a soft deadline. For example, write: “Let’s get coffee this week to discuss a new marketing position.” This subject line requests and action and presents a soft timetable.

4.  When Possible, Use Personalization

Whenever possible, personalize email subject lines. Personalization can make your email stand out, appear less spammy, and come across as personable. Personalization can include name, skill set, current company, interests, education, etc. A recipient is more apt to open an email with their name or interests in the subject line than a generic statement.

Additionally, personalized emails appear authentic. As a recruiter, you are attempting to develop a relationship with top candidates for a specific position. Do not be afraid to assume a conversational tone within the email as well.

Finally, utilizing information stored and organized in an applicant tracking system, consider reaching back out to past candidates! Your pipeline of interested applicants from past job openings is likely still ripe for outreach. Information gleaned from past application processes – such as education – is valuable in creating personalized emails.

5. Use the Right Length

Subject line length matters. However, the debate over the right length has led to conflicting conclusions. Ultimately, research has shown that 61 to 71 character subject lines have the highest read rate though most subject lines are between 41 and 50 characters long. The correlation is minimal, however. writes:

Just because there’s no specific correlation between length and read rate doesn’t mean you can fully ignore how many characters are in your subject line. Different devices have different display capabilities, so it’s important to keep this in mind as you write your subject lines.

For example, desktop inboxes typically display about 60 characters, while a mobile device only shows about 25-30. Craft your subject line accordingly! If your target audience is largely reading emails from smartphones, try to include a call-to-action at the beginning of the subject line.

6. Avoid Tactics That Send Emails to Spam Folders

Even if your subject line fits a few of the previous specifications, a couple tactics almost guarantee that your email will disappear into a spam filter.

  • Avoid excessive punctuation. As a rule of thumb, never utilize more than two punctuation marks within your email subject line. Additionally, stick to simple commas and periods as much as possible. Exclamation marks, single apostrophes, and question marks proceeding exclamation marks should be avoided. For example, a phrase like, “Want to make more money? You’ll never believe this offer!” will likely send the email to the trash.
  • Avoid excessive capitalization. Once again, try to rely on clever, compelling content rather than all-capitalized phrases within your subject line. Never capitalize your entire subject line – not only is this rude, it is certain to trigger spam filters.
  • Do not begin a new email with “Re:” or “Fwd:”. As a first email, a subject line with “Re:” or “Fwd.” is considered deceptive, attempting to trick the recipient. Spam filters are often sensitive to these tactics.
  • Do not use spammy words and phrases, such as “#1,” “Apply online,” “Completely free,” “Don’t hesitate,” “Not spam,” etc. Of course, avoid traditionally spammy words and phrases within your subject line! While some trigger words are obvious, such as the examples listed above, an exhaustive list of spammy words should be considered while crafting email subject lines.

7. Test and Analyze Subject Line Success to See What Works

Once a subject line has been crafted, reviewed, and sent, the process is not over. Creating the best subject lines involves following a variety of best practices and analyzing, evaluating, and adjusting. Over time, you will learn what works, what needs improvement, and how best to optimize future subject lines for success.

JobDiva: World-Class Applicant Tracking System

At JobDiva, we are dedicated to the success of our clients, and our intuitive, user-friendly applicant tracking software demonstrates this. For a free demonstration of our software, please reach out to our team today! We would love to get in touch about how JobDiva can transform your recruitment agency.

Transform your staffing business