A Better Way to Cold Email

We like to say that recruiting is a relational industry, and social networks make it even easier to connect with candidates, regardless of distance. What most successful recruiters know though, is that recruiting isn’t just relational, it’s also active.

This means that as a recruiter, especially a virtual recruiter, you need to be actively reaching out to candidates, rather than waiting until they come to you. Because about 75% of job seekers are considered “passive,” you’ll likely have to put in more work to connect with them.

Often, this means a lot of email.

If you’re in the healthcare recruiting space, and especially if you’re using LinkedIn or job boards, chances are that you’ve sent hundreds (or even thousands) of emails without receiving a reply. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals are incredibly busy, and it can be hard to stand out in an already cluttered inbox.

Fortunately, there’s a formula you can follow to better connect with your candidates using email. While these aren’t hard and fast rules, they are a good set of guidelines that you can modify to suit your candidate pipeline.

Here’s how:

Define your targets

If you’re just starting out with Relode or with virtual healthcare recruiting, it can be helpful to begin with a specific target number of candidates to reach out to each day. This will help you to easily track who you’ve reached out to and when, and will allow you to better personalize their emails. The Undercover Recruiter suggests an average of 25-30 candidates per day, but your number may be more or less depending on your candidate pipeline.

Be specific

Even if you’re using a template for your email, try to include at least one personalized sentence to the potential candidate (which is easy if you’re capping your outreach email). Candidates want to know that they are speaking with a real human being, so taking the time to add a little individuality to your emails will help your email to stand out more. This also applies to your subject lines — having a great subject line is the first step to having a candidate want to work with you. Here’s a resource you can use if you’re looking to improve your subject line-writing skills.

Check out the template below to see a sample cold email you can send. Remember, you want it to be short, catchy, and easily readable by a busy nurse, physician, or healthcare IT professional.

the anatomy

Plan your follow up

In most cases, just one email isn’t going to be enough. Most passive candidates will require two or three emails to capture their attention. You’ll want to plan and write a follow up email to send a week or so after the first email, so that you remain on their minds. You can keep the email simple, and use something like “following up” in the subject line. We love this example from HubSpot. Keep this email short and sweet.


For every email you write, make sure to proofread before you before you click “send” (try reading it out loud to catch any mistakes). Double check that you are sending it with the right candidate’s name (an essential step if you’re using a form template), and that you include the best way to contact you.

Final thoughts

When sending cold emails, the most important thing to remember is to not get discouraged if you don’t receive an answer right away. Recruiting is a field that requires persistence and patience, so keep refining your processes and emails until you find what works for you.

You can also read our Getting Started Guide for more tips and tricks to find candidates, or reach out to us at support@relode.com for more answers to your questions.

Molly Powers