Like most people on Linkedin, I’m approached often by recruiters trying to find candidates for job placements. I understand the recruitment industry is hugely competitive, it’s a high pressure job with demanding revenue targets, masses of admin and frequent disappointments. But it’s also an industry which makes a lot of money and offers a lot of personal satisfaction. Finding someone a brilliant role in a company which needs them is  extremely rewarding. Linkedin Talent Solutions offer recruiters the opportunity to email thousands of potential  candidates, 80% of which they label Passive – i.e aren’t actively looking for work so will take extra convincing. Linkedin stresses the importance of supporting recruitment efforts by building the recruitment brand with pages and updates. I think more is needed. Recruiters need to try harder with email.

Sports Direct initiated debate recently with bumper profit shares to employees on one hand while on the other retaining workers on zero hour contracts.Views on whether this was a good or bad practice and the effects on companies and workers stimulated lots of content. Got me thinking. If zero contract hours were the future of work, where careers would be based across a variety of companies and businesses as and when they need you (and you sell yourself to the people with the best terms, like real time bidding for people) there’s no point in relying on a company to market you or for you to rely on anyone to give you gravitas in the market place. If you’re able to engage and form relationships with people online using your own Personal Brand the way you do offline you’ll be a force in your own right. Any company will value that.I’ve met some really dynamic smart recruiters who haven’t taken time with their emails. I buy into them offline but wouldn’t online. It’s a shame.

I got this on Monday.The email is very similar to most of the other emails I get.

Hi Angela

I’m recruiting for a role and thought it might be of interest to you

I’d be grateful if you could send over the latest version of your CV and I will give you a call to discuss the role in more detail.
Alternatively if this is not for but you think you know someone who may be suitable please forward me their contact details and I will discuss it with them.

Our client is XXX

Skills and Experience Required are..

While this recruiter had used my name (10 points!) the email is presumptive, self serving and does nothing to make me want to explore or connect. They aren’t interested in me, just anyone who may fit the job spec – that’s pretty clear.The position they outline isn’t exclusive, it’s on other job sites, so really there isn’t any reassurance this person can get me an interview even if I was interested in the job. The recruiter made no effort to sell themselves to me. The position was acquisition and CRM based which I do have quite a lot of experience in but so will thousands of other people. I would have liked the recruiter to elaborate on why he thought this was a great opportunity FOR ME. Why i should consider this company.There is a lot you can communicate without naming names.

Email is incredibly convenient, you can reach lots of people at once, any time you like and drive responses and actions. That convenience makes it easy for anyone to use it and abuse it.First impressions on email are as important as first impressions are on meeting people. It’s an opportunity to stand out from competitors, ascertain interest, qualify your leads, build a network. You’d never walk into a meeting without doing some research or without trying to represent yourself well. Here are 4 tips on using email to improve your recruiting

Personalisation –Use names, explain why you’re keen on making a connection – prospect career info is often available on profiles – USE IT

Qualify the Approach Instead of requesting CV’s ask some qualifying questions to connect with the individual. This is an opportunity to show you’ve taken the time to think about the potential match, you’ve done your research.It’s an opportunity to share the way you think and how you work .

Sell Yourself – Do you have a strong relationship with the client? Do you have a talent for knowing what the client really needs? Who was the last person you placed?

Think like a Marketer. If you’ve invested time and headspace into an email but the timing is wrong, the person doesn’t want the role, ask if you can add them to your personal database so you can keep in touch. Just because this role isn’t right doesn’t mean one won’t come up in future. Marketers not only talk to people who want to buy NOW. They talk to people who may want to buy in the future. In the meantime they strengthen their connection. They establish their brand, tell you what they’re up to, tell you what other people say about them and nurture trust so when an opportunity comes up the groundwork has been done.

OK, hit me – I want brilliant, engaging, personalised emails which sell yourselves to me, not just the roles you want to fill.