Don’t expect to make an amazing hire from one great email. It takes time to build a relationship and practice.

It’s been said that 20 to 25% response rates to cold recruiting emails are a good metric.

But really, that’s average. If you want to succeed, you should try and beat that number.

Sounds great, but how do you do it?

What makes a great cold recruiting email stand out among the crowd?

We’ll take a look at the ingredients of a great cold recruiting email and also provide you with a few templates to use.

What Should You Include In Your Cold Recruiting Email?

1. Subject Lines

Want to be the most clever person at the party? That is your subject line. A great subject line should accomplish three things:

  • Spur interest

  • Create curiosity

  • Encourage a click-through

You can do this through several different tactics, such as:
  • Personalization. Include their name or a specific personal connection

  • Short subject lines. These create interest and curiosity because you’re not giving too much away and they have a more conversational tone

  • Make the connection. If you’re trying to recruit a new candidate and you have a personal connection, mention it in your email subject line. This could be a mutual acquaintance or a recent meetup at a conference. Expand on the connection within the email, but also add it to the subject line

2. Opening Lines

Emphasize the benefit to the candidate, not the benefit to you or your company. What’s in it for them? You may be desperate to fill your talent pipeline, but the candidate will not care about that. Instead, you have to demonstrate how this new position will help them.

3. Body Copy

You do not want to overwhelm your prospective recruit with lots of details. Keep it short and simple and lead to your call to action. However, include a few points that may interest them like:

  • Exciting company

  • Great culture

  • Potential salary increase

  • New job title

  • Amazing city

4. Call To Action

Not familiar with a call to action? It’s a marketing term, but you also need one for any of your cold recruiting emails.

What action do you want the candidate to take? That’s what you need at the end of your email.

A good call to action will be very specific. Don’t leave it bland like “Are you interested in this position?”

Instead, think of the next steps. Ask them to schedule a call with you on a specific link, to reply with a simple “Yes” if they would like to talk further or ask for a phone number to reach them at.

You want them to do something that indicates interest.

7 Cold Recruiting Email Templates To Use Right Away

Cold Recruiting Email 1: Current / Recent Event At Company or Industry

Why it works:

This is a targeted email that links to current events and news. It shows that you’re not sending out mass emails to every potential recruit. You’ve noticed a specific event and are reaching out personally.

Subject: Seen [or Heard] the news?

Hi [name],

Have you seen the news about [trigger event]. Hard to believe! [Or another exclamatory remark]

As you can see, finding new talented [job roles] has become a priority.

So, I thought you might be interested in seeing how we have helped others like you in [ in similar roles/companies] [insert benefit--achieve work goals, etc].

Things at [company name] are probably wild right now, but If you’d like to learn more, let’s find a time for a call.

Is [specific day and time] open on our schedule? Or, here’s a link to my calendar or feel free to send me yours.


Cold Recruiting Email 2: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)

Why It Works:

This simple framework has been a key part of copywriting for years and works for ad copy as well as emails. Your goal is to grab their attention, provoke desire with social proof and then offer action. The following template can be easily customized.

Subject: Save your work-life balance [Or other potential benefits that your company offers]

Hi [name],

What would you do with extra time next week? [insert benefit]

And a better work environment that [insert benefit]

I’m asking because many workers like yourself have been excited to join companies like that.

We’ve placed new employees at companies like [insert successful placements] who we’re happy to count as satisfied customers.

I’d love to set up a time to walk you through our current openings. Would you have some free time next week to connect?

Cold Recruiting Email 3: Quick Note

Why It Works

One of the biggest issues with email is that we tend to explain too much. Remember, you are trying to start a conversation about their career. And this cannot all be accomplished in one email. Instead, be fast, but make a promise that piques interest.

Subject: Your next opportunity

Hi [name],

My name is [your name], and I’ll keep this quick.

I’m [title & position] for [company] that enhances careers for talent people like you.

Could I have ten minutes of your time next week for a personalized demo that’ll make clear why smart [name of role] love working with us?

How to Write a Cold Recruiting Email In-Article

Cold Recruiting Email 4: Mutual Connection Request

This email is great because it has the potential to help you in multiple ways. You may get a great introduction, and referrals always have wonderful success rates in recruiting. Or you may also get to pitch the initial contact on some new opportunities as well.

With this recruiting email, you’re asking for an introduction which may lead to a direct conversation with the initial contact.

Hi [name],

I am trying to get introduced to [person you’re trying to connect with] from [that person’s company] and saw you were connected to them. I’d really appreciate an intro to talk about ways they can work with [your company].

I think they would be a good fit [role you are recruiting]. If you know anyone else who may work for that position as well, I’d appreciate your perspective.

Cold Recruiting Email 5: Fan of Yours

Subject: fan of your work

Hey [Name of person]

I just took a look through your recent work at [site name or company] and am impressed by both your results [or accomplishments, achievements, designs, product output].

We’re looking to add a [position you’re looking to fill] to our team, and you seem like you might be a perfect fit for us.

Would be great to speak this week - let me know what days /times work best, and how to reach you.

[Your Name]

Cold Recruiting Email 6: Hard To Get

This email is great because it amps up the compliments and makes the candidate feel like they are an elusive target.

Only use this one if it’s true!

Subject Line: Searching for a professional like you

Hello [Candidate Name],

I've been searching all through the greater [Geographic area] best engineers for a while now, and no one has impressed me as much as you!

Your experience and skills with [insert skill], make you a great fit for what we're striving to achieve at [Company Name].

I'd love to tell you more about our company, what being a [role] looks like, and why I believe you would be a great fit!

Do you have a few minutes on [day of week] at [time]?

[Your Name]

Cold Recruiting Email 7: Learn From You

This is a turn on the classic, “let me pick your brain” request. The top leaders get a ton of those, so you need to take a more humble posture. This email will help you connect with the A-players in their industry.

Subject: Learn from you

Hello [Name of Applicant],

I came across your profile on [LinkedIn, Other network name]. I was impressed and wanted to reach out to you because you have clearly built a successful career and are an expert in [skill area].

I'm assuming you are probably not looking for new opportunities right now, but I’d be interested in speaking with an [industry] expert (like you!) about what it takes to be the best and what we at [Company Name] should be looking for in a candidate.

If that sounds good, are you available at [Insert times and dates] to talk?


[Your Name]

Conclusion: Should You Even Send Cold Recruiting Emails?

The better question to consider is if you should be sending cold recruiting emails? Or maybe: reconsider what you expect from cold emails.

Recruiters that use the phone and make a more personal connection often see a 50% response rate. That’s amazing.

Do not expect too much from your cold recruiting emails.

One candidate will not automatically say yes--instead, think of cold emails as the beginning of the conversation.

It’s an introduction to yourself, your company and what you can do. Instead, you’re investing in your talent pipeline for future gains.