In today’s tough recruiting market, organizations are looking for every way possible to find qualified job candidates. Today’s reader note asks a straightforward question about doing that.
Hi Sharlyn! Can I get your advice? Is it inappropriate to email a potential job candidate at the work email address?
Instead of me just offering my opinion in answering this question, I wanted to bring you some differing thoughts. In situations like this, there’s not necessarily one right response. It could come down to what the recruiter is comfortable with or the what the company culture will support. I reached out on a public Facebook group called “Recruiters Online” to see what they thought. The group has more than 15,000 members and offers a lively discussion about what’s happening in talent acquisition.
On the “Hmm, no or maybe not” team
My thought would be to not reach out to a job candidate via their work email unless that’s how they contacted me. And there are completely legitimate reasons for them doing so. Not everyone looking for work is sneaking around behind their boss’ back. For example, maybe the offices are moving, and this employee can’t move to the new location. Here are a few other reasons not to make a work email the initial point of contact:
Jeanne Achille, CEO of The Devon Group and chair of the Women in HR Tech Summit – Use personal. Most corporate networks are monitored.
Mairy Hernandez, HR manager at a robotics automation start-up and career advisor to job seekers – Contacting them via work email can be sensitive to the candidate, especially since it leaves a trail of evidence discoverable by IT, so I would advise against it. Is it really necessary to use their work email? Especially when now you can pretty much reach out to anyone via social media.
Jack Kelly, founder and CEO of WeCruitr.com – I place people on Wall Street and their emails are monitored by compliance departments to ensure employees aren’t breaking the rules. So, you have to be super careful. If your focus doesn’t have this issue, then go for it. The worst that happens is that they’ll be rude. When that happens, treat it as an objection, overcome it, and pitch the position.
Anna Szymanski Kett, owner of Quality Professional Recruiting – I would never do that. When they contact me using their work email, I ask them for their personal one to continue discussions.
Phidelia Johnson, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, executive human capital management strategist at Redefined HR – I’m against the idea of using work email because it could backfire where the candidate doesn’t get the job and the employer (through IT) finds out about it and the candidate gets terminated. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen.
In the “Sure, why not or yes” camp
Some recruiters will say that the way to find passive candidates is by contacting them using any means necessary. If there’s a concern about email, then make initial contact by phone. The job candidate can tell you they’re not interested and if they are, then they can share a preferred method of contact. Here are some additional viewpoints from recruiters who use the strategy:
Darryl Dioso, managing partner at Resource Management Solutions Group – No problems here. Typically, I get a response that they’re interested and would prefer to continue discussions using their personal email or texts.
Michael Dube, human resources manager at Chubb – If you’re an external recruiter and you’re hesitant at contacting a candidate via work email I’d hate to see your billings for the year. It’s 2019. Recruiting is brazen, and you need to be aggressive in a professional and tactful way. No employee is going to get in trouble if a recruiter solicits them at work. They should be smart enough to email offline.
Kara Rice Heath, managing director of iNNOV8 Talent – I do it and I simply say ‘Hey —–, do you have a personal email? I would love to send you some info there instead.’ Works like a charm.
Jason Metz, talent sourcer for Mosaic, a non-profit faith-based organization doing healthcare services for people with intellectual disabilities – Work it the right way, go in with the idea that you are connecting not going in with the idea you are hiring. Another way is to use it as an attention getter to point towards a LI message or other contact. Work what you can to get the right folks. I’ve gotten a ton of response from work emails.
Robin Quale, talent acquisition consultant at Queue Talent – Yes. But always tactfully, don’t go blasting the job description at them in the email.
A huge thank you to the individuals who responded and shared their thoughts. As you can see, the responses are pretty evenly split between “yes” and “no”. But there is one central theme in everyone’s reply: remember the candidate experience. As a recruiter, your initial contact with a candidate is a part of it. Create a good first impression and maybe that job candidate will give you their personal email or answer a work email.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Fort Lauderdale, FL15