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Recruiting Email Subject Lines

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Talia Knowles is an avid reader, writer, and coffee enthusiast, with over five years of experience in writing and editing.

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As a seasoned HR professional with over 20 years of experience, Keca is an expert in various aspects of Human Resources.

Recruiting Email Subject Lines

Recruiting Email Subject Lines

A well-written recruiting email can mark the beginning of making a great hire for your organization. On the other hand, a poorly written cold email will often be ignored, sent to spam, or leave the recipient with a negative impression of your organization. 

Even the most intentional recruiting emails won’t do any good if they’re never opened, so crafting a compelling subject line might be more important than the contents of the email. 

In a few short words, you need to convince a candidate that opening your email is worth their time. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of an effective subject line, offer tips to get you started, and provide some recruiting email subject line examples. 

General Tips for Writing Cold Email Subject Lines

Remember that the primary goal of your subject line is to convince candidates that it is worth their time to open your email. Therefore, keep it concise and specific, and try to find the balance between professional and personal. 

Additionally, think about general marketing tactics to help brainstorm email subject lines. Without sounding gimmicky, you’ll need to communicate a value or benefit that will entice candidates to read and respond to your recruiting email. 

When people are looking for work, attracting them to an opportunity is much easier than trying to recruit passive candidates or people who are not actively searching for a new job. In these cases, you’ll need to instill a sense of urgency, curiosity, or a unique professional opportunity. 

Unfortunately, candidates may not even have the chance to make that decision if your message is flagged as spam. There are a few qualities that may cause their email account to filter your message, so it’s best to avoid them. 

Refrain from using too many exclamation points, all capital letters, or sending emails from a nonprofessional account. Avoid spam trigger phrases, such as “earn extra cash,” “be your own boss,” or “potential earnings,” as they are often associated with fraudulent opportunities or schemes. 

Also, avoid addressing candidates by vague terms such as “friend” rather than their names, and ensure you include an option for them to unsubscribe to future talent marketing emails if they wish. 

Subject Line Examples for Recruiting Emails

Now that we’ve covered the basic dos and don’ts of writing recruiting email subject lines, let’s look at some examples. Subject lines are short by nature, so you’ll most likely need to pick one thing to emphasize to get candidates to click. 

Possible strategies include personalized greetings, explaining value, instilling a sense of urgency, explicitly describing an opportunity, or appealing to social proof with evidence of a positive culture or happy employees. 

Personalized Subject Lines

A personalized subject line, including a candidate’s name and accurate professional history or qualifications details, can effectively convince candidates that your recruitment email contains a legitimate opportunity. 

Imagine you run a gardening business called Lovely Lawns, and you’re looking to recruit someone named Alex. 

  1. Alex, Exciting Opportunity at Lovely Lawns!
  2. Interested in joining Lovely Lawns, Alex?
  3. Alex, We’d love to have you on our team!

The first two examples provide both a personal touch and let the candidate know what the email is generally about without even opening it. Though the third example doesn’t say exactly what the opportunity is, it is personable, friendly, and indicates a genuine employment opportunity. 

On the other hand, consider this bad email subject line example: 

  1. Job Opening!! Apply NOW!!

Not only does it use too many exclamation points, but this subject line is quite vague. Without giving even a general sense of what the job might be, this subject line tries to instill a sense of urgency to apply quickly.

Even if spam doesn’t flag this one, it’s unlikely candidates will spend their time checking if the opportunity is legitimate. To prevent this, always include a small personal element in your subject line. 

Value-Oriented Subject Lines

You might also structure your subject line around the value you offer a candidate. This could be flexibility, great benefits, an opportunity to expand their skill set, or an association with your strong employer brand. 

For these examples, imagine you’re recruiting for a tech start-up company called IntelliCore Technology. Possible email subject lines could be: 

  1. Boost Your Career with IntelliCore Technology
  2. Join a Winning Team at IntelliCore Technology

In these examples, you primarily rely on your company’s name to convince a candidate to read your email. If you have a strong enough employer brand, this may be enough. However, in this example, you’re looking for employees for a start-up, so you may not have had the time to build brand recognition. 

If this is the case, highlight more obvious values, such as working with cutting-edge technology, opportunities for growth, or even a professional challenge. 

  1. Discover a New Challenge at IntelliCore Technology
  2. Unlock Your Earning Potential: Exciting Job Opportunity at IntelliCore Technology

These examples are similar to the first two, but for companies without exceptional brand recognition, they offer a more tangible value and are more likely to convert. 

Urgency/ Curiosity Subject Lines

Urgency or curiosity can also be used to persuade candidates to open an email, but it’s important to avoid gimmicky language or clickbait. Take a look at these examples: 

  1. Limited Time Offer: Join Chris’s Cupcakes Today
  2. Don’t Miss Out on an Amazing Career Opportunity
  3. Your Dream Job Awaits at Chris’s Cupcakes

For a subject line to successfully use urgency or curiosity to pique a candidate’s interest, it must be believable. For example, if you’re recruiting for entry-level positions, is it really an amazing career opportunity? 

Additionally, why is the offer limited time only? If you’re a trustworthy employer, wouldn’t you always be looking to hire excellent employees and provide them with benefits? 

Finally, describing an entry or even mid-level position as a dream job may come across as condescending. 

Now let’s look at some better options. 

  1. Urgent Hiring Notice: Immediate Opening for Manager at Chris’s Cupcakes
  2. Always Wanted to Learn to Bake? Now Hiring Bakers, No Experience Needed!

The first of these examples creates a sense of urgency, but it also provides an explanation for the urgent situation. As a candidate, understanding why a company is hiring immediately (due to an immediate opening) lends credibility to the recruiting email. 

Second, this subject line successfully piques curiosity by offering a chance to learn a new skill, even without previous experience. Though urgency or curiosity are effective tools in writing a recruiting email subject line, they’ll be much more effective if you back them up with some evidence. 

Job-Specific Subject Lines

Most people are always in a hurry, which doesn’t change when scanning their inboxes. So to grab and hold a candidate’s attention, be as specific as possible about the opportunity you’re offering. For example, suppose you’re looking for electricians. 

  1. Seeking Talented Electricians — Join Bob’s Electric Today! 
  2. Senior Electrician Opening at Bob’s Electric
  3. Calling all Electricians: Bob’s Electric Wants You!

These are all great examples of subject lines, as they all provide a short, detailed description of the opportunity and the employer and include a personalized element (ideally, these emails are only sent to qualified electricians, which will make the message feel personalized to their skill set). 

Social Proof Subject Lines

Finally, a recruiting email subject line could appeal to candidates by offering social proof, or evidence that your organization is a great place to work. Here are some email subject line examples that utilize social proof: 

  1. Join Our Talented Team of Cosmeticians
  2. Work at Sal’s Salon – Loved by Employees, Loved by Clients
  3. See What Our Team Members Say About Working at Sal’s Salon

Attract candidates with evidence of a positive workplace environment, as this is often high on a candidate’s list of considerations before applying for a new job. 

You could highlight a supportive and fun team, reference your employer branding, or offer testimonials from current employees about their experience with your organization. 


Though the body of a recruitment email is important as well, without a captivating subject line, candidates may never even open your email. To ensure your recruiting efforts yield results, be intentional about your subject lines, and keep track of their success to allow you to make adjustments where necessary. 

You may need to experiment with the various approaches offered in this guide, but with some patience and a willingness to constantly reevaluate, your recruiting emails will soon attract top-drawer talent to your organization. 

Recruiting Email Subject Lines FAQs

How can I measure the effectiveness of my recruiting email subject lines?

To measure the effectiveness of your subject lines, pay attention to your recruiting metrics. Most email marketing or recruitment platforms provide analytics to assess the performance of your email campaigns. It’s helpful to compare the results achieved by different subject lines and then identify the most effective approaches for your audience. Monitoring which cold emails lead to a job offer can provide critical insight into what’s working and not working for your organization.

Should I use emojis in recruiting email subject lines?

Emojis can add a touch of personality or playfulness to your subject line but may not be suitable for all professional settings. Consider the industry, company culture, and recipient’s preferences before including emojis. Also, ensure that emojis are universally understood to prevent miscommunication or misunderstanding.

Is it necessary to deliver on the promise or curiosity generated in the subject line within the email content?

Absolutely. It is crucial to deliver on the promise or curiosity generated in the subject line within the email content. Failing to do so can lead to disappointment, frustration, and a loss of trust. Make sure that the content of your email aligns with the subject line and provides the information or value that was implied. This consistency helps maintain a positive candidate experience and builds credibility with potential applicants.

Are there any potential drawbacks or risks of using urgency or curiosity in a cold email subject line?

While using urgency or curiosity can be effective, it’s important to strike the right balance and avoid misleading or deceptive practices. Overuse or exaggeration of urgency may come across as spammy or untrustworthy. It’s crucial to ensure that the content of the email delivers on the promise or expectation created by the subject line. Transparency and authenticity are key to maintaining a positive candidate experience.