Even though email is the most popular form of business communication, the etiquette is still pretty ill-defined. This is doubly true during the hiring process. You always want to convey a sense of competence, but every suggested protocol beyond that is dependent on the recipient’s particular taste, which can never be guessed. Or maybe it can.
On average, an email user receives 147 messages a day and spends roughly two hours reading them. With this in mind, Boomerang analyzed a massive collection of data from its users to determine the trick to boosting response rates.
Emails that get high responses have these things in common
From the report: “Research shows that emails written at a third-grade reading level have a shocking 36% higher response rate over emails written at a college reading level and a 17% higher response rate than emails written at a high school reading level.”
Simplicity seems to convey the idea that the sender is both down to earth and not desperate to land the gig; ‘this applicant must have other offers or be pretty comfortable where they are.’ Suddenly the onus is on the recipient to be validated by the sender. More than this, you want to privilege clarity above all else. A distracting abundance of ten-cent words is more than enough of a reason for the employer to move on to the next applicant.
It’s not just about the language though; it’s also about length. The first impression of a two-paragraph email is a little overwhelming, especially juxtaposed with the dense volume of emails most people have to hack through.
The authors continue, “Keep the message short. The sweet spot when it comes to email length is somewhere between 50 and 125 words, which should give you enough space to get your point across without rambling.”
Now that you have an ideal length in mind, and a proper mindset, it’s time to think about the content. Ladders has reported on the importance of tailoring your introductory email toward the respective mission statement of your desired industry/place of employment. Boomerang expounds on this by adding how helpful it is to involve the recipient by including some kind of inquiry advertising your preemptive commitment to the position.
The authors conclude, “Ask some questions. Emails that include one to three questions are 50% more likely to get a response than emails without any questions at all. So, if you want a response, it’s in your best interest to ask something of your recipient.”