How (not) to write recruiting emails
1 min read

How (not) to write recruiting emails

Emails from recruiters have a fairly infamous reputation in the technical community, partly because of their often spammy nature, and partly due to a lack of interest in the jobs they're pitching.

The ideal recruitment email should basically be a pitch, motivating candidates to further explore the opportunity. Engineers are extremely fortunate--we're not generally in want of a job. To hire the best, you have to entice them away from other work.

Unfortunately many recruitment emails seem canned at best, automated to spam out to the widest audience possible. It's a wonder these emails work, if indeed they do at all. Looking back through my inbox, here's some of the mistakes I often see recruiters making:

  • Canned, with only the name changed
  • Asking people to email in their CV or resume
  • Not mentioning the company name, only an unspecified 'client'
  • Urging you to spam your friends with the opportunity
  • Mention ninja, rockstars, or showing a general technical incompetence
  • Advertising a job in country I'm not in, or for a language I don't use.

The problem stems from two very different worlds colliding, one technical, one not--there's no wonder it's a source of friction. Recruiters are trying to hire for jobs that they don't understand, let alone make technical evaluations for.

Let's take an email I received the other day (anonymized) as an example:

Hi Alex,

Enjoying these posts? Subscribe for more