Great subject lines help you to get 50% higher email open rates. These are the best recruiting subject lines.
In a competitive recruiting market, it’s more important than ever to make sure your emails stand out in a candidate’s crowded inbox. The subject line is your first and best chance to do that. But with so many options and so little time, it can be tough to know where to start in writing a great subject line.
33% of email recipients decide to open an email based on only the subject line. And even though it’s only one line of text, there are many factors influencing whether an email subject line is contributing to being opened or not.
Emails with personalized subject lines get 50% higher open rates. And short and concise email subject lines with specific information about the content of the email also perform better than vague, too long or commercial email subject lines.
The perfect recruitment email subject line doesn’t exist though. The best subject line to use is dependent on the type of organization, candidate target market, the recruiter’s preferences and the information available about the candidate prospect.
But some subject lines simply show a higher open rate than others.
In this blog we’ll share:
Even though the email subject line Is just one line of text, there's a lot that can go wrong in writing the subject line and risking the receivers not to open your email.
Below are things to keep in mind while writing your subject line:
The average person only spends a few seconds scanning an email before deciding whether or not to open it. So, you need to make sure your subject line is short and to the point. Otherwise you risk losing the attention of your target candidate before you even have a chance to make your pitch.
Personalization is a proven way to increase open rates of emails. Emails with personalized subject lines get 50% higher open rates and adding multiple personalization fields in your email and email subject line can boost reply rates by up to 142%. Address recipients by name in your subject line so they feel like you're speaking directly to them and include personal details like their current job title, location or current company name.
Vague subject lines like "Just checking in" or "Quick question" are unlikely to have candidate prospects open your email. Be specific about what you want to achieve and why the recipient should care. For example, "[first name], saw your [top 3 skills] and have this [job title] job for you” is much more likely to get opened than "Quick question".
Emails with subject lines that include numbers see open rates up to 113% higher than subject lines without numbers. If relevant, use numbers to indicate for example salary, benefits, amount employees or employer review scores.
Your subject line should give candidates a clear idea of what you have to offer them, whether it's a job opportunity, an informational interview or insights into their industry of interest. With a full mailbox, emails without a subject line that communicates the proposed value is like to be deprioritized.
We have looked at which subject lines have proven to show high open rates and high engagement. Some emails are entirely ignored just because of a bad subject line, others are opened the moment the candidate prospect receives them.
These are the best recruiting subject lines for 2023:
This subject line is simple, clear, and to the point. Candidates know what they can expect before they even open it. Because this is still a relatively generic subject line, it’s most powerful for companies with a strong and recognizable brand.
Example: "A job opportunity from Google for Benno"
This subject line draws the attention to the skills of the candidate and then also clearly communicates the offer (a job). This subject line can be used for any company but needs some work (or automation) to get the personalizations right (especially the domain personalization).
Example: “Jane, love your developer skills and have this back-end developer role for you”
This subject line leaves no room for confusion—the candidate knows exactly what the email is about and what you want from them. Plus, it injects a sense of urgency that may prompt the candidate to act fast if they're interested in the position. Mainly useful for volume hiring like hiring delivery riders.
Example: "Getir is now hiring delivery riders in Amsterdam!"
This subject line gives a compliment to the prospective candidate and shows that you have researched their skill set and background, which requires the right data for personalization but when available is very effective. The compliment has to be genuine so it’s not recommended to send this in bulk. This subject line is particularly powerful for hard to find (niche) talent where the required skills are very specific.
Example: "We're impressed with your blockchain development skills Anna"
This subject line refers to the company mission with the goal of making candidate prospects excited about the opportunity to become part of that mission. This is especially useful for companies where it is the mission that attracts a lot of talent like sustainability companies have for example.
Example: "We want you to join us Marcus to reduce fortune 500 footprint"
This is a more formal subject line that has an official flavour to it. Mainly useful for industries where the hiring organizations follow a more strict and formal procedure for job application like government, healthcare, military or space industry positions.
Example: "You're invited to interview for our Head of Department"
This a very informal subject line that emphasizes the team factor of the company. Subject lines like these can also include emojis. Typically useful for smaller informal teams like startup teams and for more generic job positions like sales.
Example: "The HeroHunt team is excited to meet you Luna 😃"
This is a subject line that emphasizes the company’s employee experience rating. Some companies score very high on for example Glassdoor and this can be a unique selling point to candidates. Especially useful for companies with high employee reviews.
Example: “Emma, want to join best place to work HubSpot?”
This subject line is focussing on high achievers who appreciate working with the best professionals out there. Mostly used for high achiever audiences like strategy consultants.
Example: "We're hiring the top 1% talent and you came up Maya"
This subject line keeps the values top of mind. Particularly interesting to use when values and soft skills are the most important requirements of the open job.
Example: "Entrepreneurial people like James needed to join the Bain team!"
You might not want to include personalization like [first name], [top skills] and [company name] in every individual message manually.
There are ways to include personalizations in your messages automatically.
Here’s an example how to automatically generate personalized emails based on your own template:
For this example we use HeroHunt.ai to create your personalized outreach message.
Create a new template in HeroHunt.ai and name it.
Include the subject line based on on of the templates above or use your own subject line.
Include the relevant personalizations from the list on the right side.
Then we just copy and paste a message that we know that works.
Insert the blue personalizations like [first name], [top 3 matching skills] or [current job title].
Save the template. From now on, every time when you open up a profile, the message will include the personalized subject line and content and you can send that message in one click or copy it and use it elsewhere.
For a video on how to do this, see:
This is how to go beyond job boards: a guide to proactive outreach.
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