Recruiting Software – Emailing Do’s and Don’ts

In a previous article I gave some pointers on how effectively to use emailing as a recruiting tool. In fact, I made the premise that I don’t believe you can be a competitive recruiter without a robust emailing program. The program must reach candidates, clients, potential candidates and prospective clients on a selective and continuous basis. The program should be an integral part of your recruiting software. It definitely should never be separated from the recruiting database requiring a forced dialogue between recruiting information and emailing information. The two pieces, recruiting data and emailing data, and their associated software should be one and the same. If they are not, no matter how good the interface is it will break and require constant attention.

However, no matter how good the recruiting software emailing features are if they are misused it can cause more problems than it solves. Your biggest issue is not to get yourself blacklisted as a spammer. It is just as bad to look like a spammer to candidates as it is to clients.

I like to break recruiter emailing down into two components. The first component is the day to day stuff where you are contacting candidates and thanking them for resumes, telling them about positions and sending rejections. This will be the same for clients, sending resumes, telling them about candidates, etc. The receiving part is here as well, for clients and candidates when they respond to your emails. All of the above should be available in your recruiting database and quickly accessible by person (candidate or client), by position, by company and by anything else you may need such as by recruiter, date and job title. Most importantly, the emailing information must not include the junk of a typical “in” and “out” email box. The email correspondence that gets to the recruiting database must only be about contact with clients and candidates.

The second emailing component is the one where a recruiter can truly rise above the competition. I call this component “broadcast emailing”. Some would say this is a component of CRM. I do not. Put a CRM article link here.

Broadcast emailing for recruiting must be robust and capable of sending at least 1000 qualified and verified emails every 5 minutes. To get this speed you must select your SMTP server with great care. SMTP server selection will be the content of a future article. Once the email is out you certainly do not want individual copies of the email in your Sent Items box for each person. However your recruiting database should tell you what you emailed on a given date to this person. How then can you know all this and not bloat your server or computer with 1000’s of copies of emails? Your recruiting software must be clever.

Check list for good recruiter emailing practices

• The recruiting emailing function should check and make sure the email addresses are valid. Email servers POP and SMTP can catch the fact that you are sending to invalid addresses. Your email server or some major POP server providers may blacklist you. Kiss your global marketing program good bye.

• The emailing recruiting software must de-duplicate before sending. Again the ugly grim reaper of blacklisting will rise from the lands of POP and email servers if they discover multiple emails going to the same address.

• The Tool does not send to possible invalid addresses unless you force it. Some recipient servers only validate once you send.

• The recruiting system has to be aware of the email bounce backs so the bounce backs can be removed automatically and any recruiter can see that this candidate or client has an invalid email address. Three things are important here: 1) It is very important that the recruiter does not have to do something special to see that the email address is invalid. 2) Don’t lose the original invalid email address. 3) The recruiting emailing function should not go through the wasteful steps of validating and/or emailing to this invalid address again.

• The recruiting emailing features must include intelligent address validation. For example, our recruiting software validation breaks addresses into 3 primary categories which are Valid, Maybe, and Invalid. Maybe and Invalid are subcategorized into Maybe (Busy, Timeout, Refused, Deferred and Other) and Invalid (Syntax, Bad Domain, Bad User at Domain and Other). This allows the recruiter to decide If the recipient servers are lying, greylisting, etc).

greylisting is related to whitelisting and blacklisting. What happens is that each time a given mailbox receives an email from an unknown contact (ip), that mail is rejected with a “try again later” message (this happens at the SMTP layer and is transparent to the end user). This, in the short run, means that all mail gets delayed at least until the sender tries again – but this is where spam loses out! Most spam is not sent out using RFC compliant MTAs; the spamming software will not try again later.”

• Recruiting emailing logs must be kept of each validation run. In the event of high volume refusals or deferrals these logs can be reviewed by a person not a computer. In this instance, automation will fail you and you may get another “Hal 2000” on your hands.

• The recruiting emailing system should be able to use any SMTP server for sending (Authenticated or Anonymous). We recommend authenticated because many recipient servers won’t accept email from an anonymous server. However, an anonymous server allows you to use mail servers other than the one associated with your corporate domain and allows you to switch easily if necessary.

Here are some pointers for selecting a SMTP server:

  1. Make sure it requires authenticated access.
  2. Make sure they do not allow Open Relay Mail.
  3. Dedicated is always better than shared.
  4. Make sure SPF configuration is set for your Domain.
  5. Make sure Reverse DNS resolves to your mail box.
  6. Determine the type of Spam Filtering that is in effect.

• The recruiting emailing features have to allow easy access to templates that can merge data about individuals into many thousands of emails. The templates must be versatile enough to use text, MS Word or HTML formats. The recruiting system must have a safeguard in place so that emails include the common Electronic Communications Privacy Act disclaimer in the footer. This is important in all mailings to help keep you off the blacklists.

• The recruiting software should include a user managed “do not mail” function in order to keep either groups or individuals off emailing lists. You can enter specific email addresses or domains which ensure that even if you select the recipient, the recruiting system will not send to these recipients or any recipient at that domain. (The easiest way to get blacklisted is to send an email to someone who has requested removal from you list.)

• The recruiting email validation process should be multi threaded (10 threads) but the send process should be single threaded. This helps ensure that the send rate stays below the radar of flood based spam filters.