Candidate Outreach Best Practices Using the P.E.A.C.H. Method

Rachel KennedyBy Rachel Kennedy
January 3rd, 2023 • 5 Minutes

As recruiters in a candidate-centric world (and good humans on this planet), we can do better than automated ATS messages, and we can definitely do better than no messages at all. 

For recruiters and sourcers who want to up-level their LinkedIn InMail messages and candidate-facing emails, this article is for you. 

Introducing the P.E.A.C.H. Method

Because I’m passionate about empowering recruiters to create unforgettable candidate experiences, I created a method for messaging that is simple and easy to use. This is not the only way to successfully write outreach messages, but it is one to try. 

The P.E.A.C.H. Method is an eye-catching way for employers and recruiters to connect with applicants. Rather than using impersonal mass emails, it seeks to build a rapport with candidates, enticing them to respond to the recruiter’s message and learn more about the position.

The technique is characterized by five core traits. Personalized. Eye-catching. Appealing. Clear and Human.

Personalized

To personalize your message, you should start by including the candidate’s first name and one unique thing about them in the message. (Ditch their last name since it makes communication too formal. This is the first of hopefully many conversations, so approach it using a conversational tone.)

Eye-Catching

“Spend 90 cents of your dollar on the subject line.” 

Focus most of your efforts writing a bold and compelling subject line. (I have a sourcer friend who claims to have great success with the subject line: “Free beer.”   Without an eye-catching headline, readers won’t click and read your message.  

Avoid using ‘New Opportunity’ or ‘Apply Now.’

It helps to personalize the subject line of your message and make it unique to the candidate. Mine their LinkedIn profile for their alma mater’s school mascot or mention an organization where they volunteered. This shows that you have done your research. 

Appealing

President John F. Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” The same holds true in recruiting. Ask not what your candidate can do for you, but share what you can do for your candidate. 

Always approach recruitment with a candidate-centric mindset. Sharing what the job holds for them makes your message more appealing. Use the body of the message to describe your differentiators. Your outstanding benefits, growth opportunities, culture or compensation.

Approach your message as the appetizer (did you notice I think about food a lot?) to get them hungry to learn more. Avoid lengthy messages. In most cases, a paragraph will do. The goal is to get the candidate to respond to the message and move forward in the interview process.

Clear

Great candidate messages always have a clear next step. Do you want the candidate to set up time to talk? Email you back with questions? Visit your career site? 

Don’t assume that they are ready to apply. You still have time to inform them about your role and company. Design a streamlined candidate experience by including a short link to the job or send a link to your company’s website.

Human

I’m a huge advocate of developing personal connections. People trust people. Not brands. 

Your entire message should feel warm and personal. It makes a difference when people can see a  human behind the message. At the end of the day, we’re just humans recruiting humans. 

A customized, tailored email makes the candidate feel that they’re wanted for the open role. Messages without a human touch are less likely to get recruiters the response they want.

Benefits of Using the P.E.A.C.H. Method

There are several advantages to using the P.E.A.C.H. Method.

First, it’s excellent for improving your employer brand. When you send applicants individual emails that resonate, you set yourself apart from other recruiters or employers that rely on auto-generated messaging.

Second, you’ll see better results from interested candidates. Once they open and read the message, they’re more likely to take follow-up action than someone who simply receives a list of open jobs.

Finally, you build your network. Even if a candidate isn’t ready to leap into a new position today, you have built a personal connection that will pay dividends in the long run.. If they’re impressed by your communication, they may recommend you to others they know who are looking for a new position. You only get to make a first impression once. Make it a good one. 

3 Examples of the P.E.A.C.H. Method

For the sake of illustration, here are three examples of emails demonstrating The P.E.A.C.H. Method using fictional characters from Parks and Recreation and Game of Thrones.

1. Recruiting Ron Swanson

Subject: How do you eat vegan bacon? You don’t. 

Ron,

I’m going to be straight with you. Since retiring from the Pawnee Parks Department and Very Good Building Company, you may be at a personal crossroads and looking for meaningful work. 

Our National Park is in need of a new superintendent, and I think you are man enough for the job. We believe in speaking honestly, treating everyone with fairness, and showing up on time. No yoga. No cats. Very little red tape. 

Let’s meet for a glass of Lagavulin whiskey tonight to talk it over. 

Please and thank you,

– Rachel

2. Recruiting Leslie Knope

Subject: Does Pawnee love you back? 

Hello, Leslie!

I recognized you from your work on the Clean Restroom Task Force. 

Now that you have served our state of Indiana, I wanted to reach out about a new opportunity. Our organization is growing, and we have a leadership role open. We believe in making small incremental changes every day. Working around people you love makes work worth doing, right?  

I’m the recruiter for this role and would love to connect via Zoom this week so I can tell you more. 

In service,

– Rachel

3. Recruiting Jon Snow

Subject: Direwolves welcome. 

Jon-

Some people say you know nothing, but we both know that’s untrue. You know a lot about leadership, loyalty and unifying disparate groups for a common purpose. 

I know your watch has ended, and you might be open to a new opportunity. 

I’m recruiting for an organization founded on bringing people together. Our people can work remotely, so as long as you have decent internet connectivity on the other side of The Wall, you’ll be fine. I’ll be here to guide you. 

Winter is coming.  

Here is your chance. 

– Rachel

The P.E.A.C.H. Delivers Results

If you keep these tips in mind, your recruitment marketing email campaigns will gain more traction. Your hand-picked recipients will be more likely to reply to your communications since you took the time to draft a personalized message.

The P.E.A.C.H. Method avoids automation and incorporates the human factor back into communication. It’s a breath of fresh air in a recruiting environment filled with stale, impersonal overtures.

Try it yourself, and share your results!

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