Top Reasons Why Your Recruitment Marketing Email Campaign Didn’t Work

One of the biggest issues we are seeing throughout the industry in 2016 is a lack of response when is comes to direct email recruitment marketing. Direct email marketing for recruitment used to be an effective option for many campaigns. We would buy a list from an association, create the HTML and send it out. Bravo! Candidates! The fact is, in today’s world, recruitment marketing using email as a platform isn’t simple. Here are five reasons why your campaign may have generated less than amazing results.

You Bought Your List


This is possibly the biggest pit fall when it comes to email marketing. Just because you purchased a list does not mean it is worth what you paid. This is generally due to a lack of understanding on the part of the candidate of what they will be receiving. For instance, if they signed up on website A to receive updates from website A alone, they don’t expect to receive a random job offer from website B. This candidate who has mismanaged expectations about what they will receive will do one of three things:

1. They will mark your email as spam
2. They will unsubscribe from the list
3. They won’t notice you at all and the email will sit in their inbox unnoticed because that candidate may have signed up for your emails...they don’t actually want them. This type of response is commonly termed, graymail.

You Aren’t Working on Building

The most effective way to run an email marketing campaign is by earning subscribers that are genuinely interested in your content. suggests, “the best way to overcome the issue of earning new subscribers is to clearly state the benefits to your customers. Having a clear value proposition will help in answering the key concerns people have before hitting that opt-in button.” 

You can actively earn new email subscribers by placing opt-in call-to-actions (CTAs) on your careers website. Great locations for placement include the sidebar or at the end of an informative blog post. You can also offer them some form of useful content like a download they might find useful in exchange for their contact information. Remember, you should strive to provide value to all subscribers.

You Have a Consistent, Bad Deliverability Rate

Lots of reasons can affect your deliverability rate, but did you know that if your deliverability rate is very low, it will translate to you being marked as spam automatically? Even great emails can be marked as spam after a consistent low deliverability rate has been established. According to, “when your deliverability rate is exceptionally low, you may get blocked by Internet service providers.”

Your Subject Line Is Spammy

One of the best ways to avoid being marked as spam is to avoid spam language in your subject line. For instance, here are some examples, “buy, cash, earn $, save $, sale, subscribe, make $, click, free, trial, cost, cheap, prize, and unlimited.” And, when it comes to employment-based emails specifically, you should avoid all of the following according to additional income, be your own boss, compete for your business, double your, earn $, earn extra cash, earn per week, expect to earn, extra income, home based, home employment, home based business, homebased business, income from home, make $, make money, money making, online biz opportunity, online degree, opportunity, potential earnings, university diplomas, while you sleep, work at home and work from home.


Here are just a few of the items that Hubspot recommends you should do with your subject line to get a better response:

1. Persona-Aware Language
What does your ideal client need? What are their pain points? Isolate what they may want to receive and they will react accordingly.

2. Personalization
Hubspot and other platforms allow you to add what is known as personalization tokens to emails and email subject lines. Making little choices like noting their location, name or company will let them know that you consider them to be an individual rather than a just another number.

3. Action-Oriented Verbs
Hubspot cites the example, “Dine with Bruins legend Bobby Orr” to evoke a picture in the receiver’s mind. For recruitment, we would suggest something like “Work in an Incredible Academic Hospital.”

4. Timeliness
People are busy. If you want them to respond and click on a career fair email, consider adding the exact day it will occur. For instance, you could say something like, “Join Us for a Hospital Career Fair this Saturday.” You could even add personalization like, “NAME Join Us for a Hospital Career Fair this Friday.”

5. An Exclusive Value Proposition
This one should be a no-brainer. Explain to the candidate exactly what they will get when they click to open the email. Will they be able to apply for a new job? Is there something exclusive about this email that they can’t find on the regular ATS?

6. Clarity
You don’t have to be overly clever to be clear. Make sure your ideal candidate understands what you are saying. They will not open an email that feels confusing to them. Hubspot cited a quote from MarketingExperiments that says it all. “clarity trumps persuasion.” If you are truly providing value to your candidate, you will not need to dress it up that much.

7. Brevity
As most people live busy lives, they scan. They scan their social media, they scan items they are supposed to sign and they definitely scan their inbox email subject lines. In order to make sure your candidate digests your subject line, keep it under 50 characters.

You Aren’t Sending the Right Content to the Right Person

Segmentation plays a huge role in email subscriber retention and engagement rates. If you send an email to all nurses that is specific to a hematology nurse opportunity, you will get a low response. If you send out an email to the entire state about an opportunity that exists for a low salary or local job, you will have low engagement rates. To avoid this issue, we recommend creating candidate personas and only sending emails to those who would best benefit from your content. According to the National Client Email Report 2015 by The DMA, “Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue. More than a third (36%) of revenues were driven by emails sent to specific target selections.”


So why use email as a way to recruit in the first place? Well, there are lots of reasons:

According to the national email benchmarking report, email is being used for all of the following reasons:

26% - Sales
22% - Engagement
16% - Acquisition
12% - Lead Generation
11% - Retention
7% - Brand Awareness
5% - Other

With all these uses, it really is a lost opportunity not to use the email option for recruiting.

According to Isaac Moche’s HubSpot certification class:

1. Email has an ROI of 38-1
2. The average person checks their email 74 times per day
3. Email is a channel you own
4. Email response can be measured

Email recruitment marketing is a powerful tool that should be used as a part of a larger inbound recruitment marketing strategy. If you are interested in starting a journey towards better recruitment email campaigns, feel free to contact us with any questions with no hidden obligations.


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