Your E-Mails Are Creeping Out Candidates

In the past decade or so, e-mail has emerged as the communications channel of choice for recruiters, becoming the medium for almost every recruiting message employers are sending to candidates, applicants and hiring managers.

From “talent communities” to CRMs to InMails, e-mail remains the standard for talent acquisition organizations everywhere, and it seems in our quest for even more automation, most are doubling down on this bet.

But if you think that more e-mails and more automation are going to help change the future of recruiting or improve the candidate experience, think again. In fact, a recent survey of those much ballyhooed “Gen Y” workers just last month showed that a majority of Millennials, in fact, agreed with the statement that “e-mail is creepy.”

Uh, oh buddy.

If that doesn’t concern you, or even scare you, as a recruiter, I want you to stop and think about the last 10 candidates you communicated with. How many of those contacts were initiated or sustained via e-mail? What would you do if suddenly, e-mail were to disappear or you lost access to your inbox tomorrow? How would you source, screen or select top talent without it?

You, like most recruiters out there, would probably be pretty screwed. Scared? OK, glad you’re with me now, since you damn well should be.

Now, as a marketer, I’ve already gone through my own mobile panic attack as I’ve spent several years watching email conversion rates drop off within the B2C world, a shift in mentality that’s only now being mimicked within the world of recruitment marketing and outreach, a shift largely driven from our move from desktop ubiquity to mobile domination. Don’t let those marketers tell you otherwise – they’re struggling to figure this out, too.

Even if your organization hasn’t optimized mobile recruiting or created a truly mobile candidate experience, there’s probably a pretty good chance that you’ve used your cell to call or text a candidate, respond to a work e-mail or figure out the answer to some question instead of relying on the limitations of legacy HCM systems and their complete lack of mobile flexibility and functionality.

Mobile recruiting happens, whether or not it’s an enterprise initiative or not – and the fact that organizations are lagging so far behind individual recruiters in adoption seems just silly, really. This is the way of the world now – we want instant gratification, and almost every (non-HR) consumer will pick their phone over their desktop to access information or initiate engagement any day of the week.

And remember, the only difference between recruitment marketing and consumer marketing is that the purchasing decision involves a job instead of a product. Other than that, there’s not much difference between consumers and candidates, a fact that the lagging mobile recruitment adoption curve only seems to be underscoring.

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Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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