Avoiding The Spam Folder 101

Chris Murdock
4 min readAug 31, 2022

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As recruiters, we need our messages to reach our top candidates. This is especially important when it comes to recruiting passive candidates who are notoriously harder to reach and harder to convince. (But the passive candidates are often a better fit for your open role, so don’t give up!)

Just how do we avoid the spam folder and dodge the delete button?

1. Limit The Number Of Links In Your Outreach.

Don’t be hyper while hyperlinking. Relax. The first email in your outreach sequence sets the tone for your entire campaign. Reign in your links and be to the point in your first outreach to land in the candidate’s inbox on your first shot!

You may think that it’s best to add as many value-rich resources as you have available at your fingertips to who you’re reaching out to, but fight that instinct and remain succinct and persuasive in your messaging.

The ultimate key in your first outreach is to introduce yourself, cut to the chase, and explain exactly what the potential candidate can do or needs to do to move forward if they’re interested. The best way to nail this first message is to be short, sweet, and to the point.

2. Don’t Be Salesy!

Most of your best candidates will be passive, so we must be enticing. Convince the candidate that this role is a great fit to advance their career. But avoid the salesy lingo that registers as spam. With as many emails as passive candidates are likely to get, sticking out by holding back on sales-geared language can help establish your true purpose in reaching out.

Some other tips we swear by include:

  • Be informal and kind; “hi” and “hello” are safe, and “dear {name}” isn’t.
  • Use correct capitalization and punctuation. WORDS IN ALL CAPS or streams of !!!!!!! are big red flags. Also, weird characters. D0n’t d0 !t.
  • Google spam words. Unfortunately, this list is ever-evolving. So, before you hit send on an email campaign, Google today’s list. You’ll be glad you did when the responses flood in!

As a recruiter, you know this all too well. People who will respond to your outreach typically want to make a human connection with you. This new opportunity has just reached them, and it’s par for the course that they’ll have questions that only a dedicated person could answer. Don’t be salesy, be recruiter-y.

3. Make Sure Your Links Are Secure.

You want to make sure the links you include in your outreach actually work. Many times, URLs can change behind the scenes without you knowing. Always double-check, just in case. No one is hyperlinking random things for fun in their outreach. They’re there for a reason, meaning you probably want and or need those links included. It is part of your due diligence to ensure they direct to the right place.

  • “How do I know if a link is secure?” Thanks for asking. Plug it into https://www.ssl.com/info/. If it’s not secure, don’t use it.
  • Forego long, complex URLs. Try to clean it up! Leverage a tool like bit.ly to simplify URLs
  • Double check that your links are active. Code is fickle. It doesn’t always copy and paste data the way we tell it to. Always double-check that your links are linking!

This sentiment boils down to keeping a close eye on what you are sending to potential candidates. This first message could very well be your first and last chance to make an impression. Chances are, broken links can prevent potential candidates from responding or reading the rest of the message at all.

BONUS : Email Template Resource — Recruiting Outreach Email Templates that Convert

4. Double-Check For Typos. Maybe Even Triple-Check.

Our last point brings us to this greater, general rule. You’re already fighting a bit of an uphill battle to demand candidates’ attention; you don’t want anything in the way of securing an avenue for communication with them. Something that compels people to disregard messages or emails altogether is just one or two simple grammar or spelling mistakes.

Often, egregious misspelling can be a telltale sign of spam. Don’t give candidates the opportunity to trash your message based on first grammatical impressions. We’re not perfect, but the email world is relentless. No room for mistakes here! Simply plug your emails into Grammarly. It’s free, and it takes two seconds.

5. Use The Recipient’s Name In The Subject Line.

Personalization is super simple and interestingly gets you far in the process. Again, this just reiterates how important a person-to-person connection is to the recruiting process, especially if your first introduction is via your outreach techniques.

Here are some other benefits of using the recipient’s name in the subject line:

  • It leads spam filters to believe that you’re a trusted source.
  • Open rates are proven to be higher when the recipient sees their name in the subject line.
  • Find common ground with the candidate and reference it in the subject line.

By using the tool of personalization, you can get a lot further from the spam folder and a lot further in your hiring process with potential candidates. Using these 5 simple steps with every candidate email you send will take your candidate sourcing strategies and outreach to the next level. Is it easier to send mass, spammy emails? Yes.

But if the top candidates, we call those the Diamond Candidates, don’t open the message, your work is for nothing.

Take time to craft a personalized email and triple-check your grammar, spelling, and links. The extra time you take in the beginning will save hours in the end!

This article was originally published on IQTalent’s blog by Hannah Kenney.

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Chris Murdock

Chris is the Co-Founder & Senior Partner at IQTalent Partners, a professional service firm focused on finding, assessing and hiring key talent for teams.