In the 5 Cold Email Templates for Recruiters Post we analyzed what it takes to write a great cold email. In this post, we break down cold email mistakes to show what not to do. We found that emails that are too long, impersonal, or that show fake sincerity do not perform well.

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Poor Cold Email Example: Too Long

Subject: Can you convince someone to join a revolution?

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

My company {{Company Name}}, has partnered with {{X Company}} to manage their in-house recruiting needs. {{X Company}}, a revolutionary {{X}} platform is on a mission to bring mobile video shooting, editing, sharing and shopping to the masses, for creators and brands alike. Right now,{{X Company}} is growing and to keep on pace with ambitious plans they are looking for an experienced Account Executive in Branded Content to sell campaigns to marketers. People at {{X Company}} say they stay for the innovation, growth opportunities and the ability to influence the intersection of branded content, social media and digital content. As part of a new company, you’ll experience the impact your role can make while benefiting from a competitive compensation package, an awesome work space and a fun, social team.

If you are interested in discussing further, please send me your contact information so we can set up a time to connect and find out if this just might be the role to inspire change.

Thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you!

Monica Smith

Recruiter {{Company Name}}

What makes this a poor example?

Subject Line: The subject line is unclear and unfocused, making it difficult to know what the email is about making it easy to overlook the email.

Personalization: The opening line: “Hi! Thanks for taking the time to read this” is very generic and can turn off a reader from going through the entire email. Although the role may be relevant to the individual receiving the email, there’s nothing specific that shows the recruiter did research beforehand to make this email personal. The Recruiter could have also made a better ask by suggesting times to chat.

Length: At first glance, this email isn’t easy to read. The first paragraph is too long and can dissuade the recipient from reading it. If the information were broken up into shorter paragraphs, it would be much easier on the eyes. There’s also a lot of extra information in the email that doesn’t help the recipient decide whether to reply or not.

Why I didn’t reply: The format and length made me immediately say “ugh” when I opened this email. Flowery verbiage like “revolutionary” from a cold recruiting email is also a turn-off, especially when applied to something as banal as “mobile video shooting and editing for the masses, brands, and creators alike.” Lastly, the call to action in the signoff required too much work (why not give me times to choose from?) and used that flowery “inspire change” language again!

Poor Cold Email Example: Impersonal

Subject: Rapidly growing tech firms looking for experienced sales professionals!

Hi {{First Name}},

I’m reaching out to you on behalf of a few clients, all cash flow positive start up technology firms, who are looking for proven sales leaders to join their NYC teams.

We have been tasked with assisting in building out their sales forces in New York at a variety of levels. All roles will have an extremely aggressive total rewards package and also carry an equity component.

I would love to chat with you about these opportunities. Are you available tomorrow at 4pm for a call?

Thanks!

What makes this a poor example?

Subject Line: It’s very general and too generic, the reader can quickly skip over it while going through email. Since it’s so generic, it’s also possible that Gmail adds it to the spam folder or filters it out.

Personalization: There is none other than the role I’d potentially be interested in and my current location. It’s important to point out that the recruiter does a good job of making a strong call to action by suggesting a time to chat.

Length: The email is broken up well making it easy to read, however, there isn’t enough substance in the body to peak my interest.

Why I never replied: While not awful, this is a very generic, obviously “copy paste” outreach email simply because I work in “tech sales” and live in NYC.

Poor Cold Email Example: Fake Sincerity

Subject: Director, Enterprise Sales with Customer Loyalty Platform Startup

Dear {{First Name}},

I hope this mail finds you well. I recently came across your profile and wanted to see if you would have an interest in taking a look at a new opportunity.

My client is an exciting and growing customer loyalty based platform currently in need of multiple Enterprise Sales Directors to build and grow a book of business selling to small and mid-sized retail chains. They are looking for sales professionals who have a track record of success in selling business based applications and complex solutions to the retail industry. They are looking for candidates who love all things Startup and can thrive in a fast paced, aggressive environment.

If you would have an interest in learning more, please feel free to contact me immediately to discuss in detail.

What makes this a poor example?

Subject Line: It’s personalized, and the subject of the email is made clear.

Personalization:A general bad practice is to start a cold email with, “hope this finds you well” it signals fake sincerity since you don’t know the recipient. This email also doesn’t mention the company and the specific role which doesn’t make me as the recipient want to respond (spoiler alert - I never did).

Length: The opening paragraph in the email is long and can cut out some of the fluff, like the last sentence: “They are looking for candidates who love all things Startup and can thrive in a fast-paced, aggressive environment.”

Why I didn’t reply: Recruiters, please - stop saying “hope all is well” in cold email. We don’t know each other and that’s ok. Also, I’m not sure if it is a compliance/confidentiality thing but all the best recruiters reference the company name and specifically “why me” - not a generic “my client is a retail software company looking for talented sales people with track record of success.”

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