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Adding Email Automation to Your Recruiting Process

Identify opportunity to automate your existing candidate outreach.

The lines between business functions are becoming increasingly blurred, and more is expected of employees each day. Recruiting is not immune to this recent change. In fact, recruiting is currently in the midst of one of the most extensive transformations of any business function, and everyday there is a blog post saying recruiters need to think more like marketers. But, how do we get recruiters to do this without losing what makes them great?

There are a lot of different answers to this question, but the trend gravitates towards technology. Specifically, recruiters are now expected to use the same tools as marketers to produce better results at greater scale.

It seems simple on the surface, but there are so many tools and resources to choose from that it’s difficult to know where to get started. Let’s start with something obvious — email. Specifically, let’s talk about how email automation or drip campaigns can help automate your recurring outreach without having to change your process.

The Evolution of Email Marketing

You’re probably already familiar with bulk email. It was designed for organizations to send a mass email, such as a monthly newsletter, to their entire contact list at once. Over time bulk email has grown steadily more ineffective, and now marketers are no longer sending one off emails.

Instead, they are creating campaigns or drips which are a series of automated, highly targeted emails to their contacts based on specific interactions or contact attributes.

In marketing, email automation makes perfect sense because the goal is to send your prospect or customer the right message at the right time to encourage purchase intent and nurture the relationship. But how can you apply email automation to recruiting when the end goal is completely different?

Applying Email Automation to Recruiting

Recruiting is personal in a way that marketing isn’t. Let’s face it. No one knows the marketer’s name who sent them an article, but they do know the name of the recruiter who placed them in their last role.

When it comes to email automation, you can’t play by marketing’s rules. You can’t replicate their campaigns with the hope of achieving the same results. Instead, you need use the same technology but tailor it to your efforts.

If you still can’t figure out where to get started, think of your current process. What types of recurring emails do you send? Do you use the same email templates over and over again? If the answer is yes, you can use email automation to put your email followup on autopilot.

Automating Your Candidate Engagement

Before you get started, the first thing you want to do is look for a tool that can support your requirements. The easiest solution is to see if your current ATS or CRM has this feature built into thei platform. (Note: Email automation comes standard for all premium Loxo users.) If your current recruitment platform doesn’t offer this feature, I recommend using an external platform like MailChimp which specializes in email marketing.

Next, identify recurring communications that are always sent regardless of the role. Instead of manually sending each email or using a bulk email during certain stages of the process, build email automations to completely automate the process before you even begin recruiting for the role.

There is one caveat. You should be cautious when choosing which communications to automate. If the message is highly personal or unique to the individual candidate, email automation is not appropriate.

To help you get started, consider automating your email communications during these stages of the recruiting process.

Application Acknowledgement

One of the biggest complaints from today’s candidates is a lack of follow up from recruiters and overall transparency into the recruiting process. What if I told you email automation can help? You can start the relationship off on the right foot by building a campaign to send to every applicant, acknowledging that you received their application and will follow up with them within a specific timeframe. If you don’t expect to follow up with applicants for several days or weeks, you can build another email to be sent at a later point in time. This email can update them on your current progress and remind them of your timeline. These emails don’t need to be personalized but help create the perception that you are a highly engaged recruiter.

Sourced Candidates

The challenge with recruiting passive candidates is that it usually requires multiple contact attempts before the candidate will reply. For a lot of recruiters, this process can be extremely time consuming and difficult to track. With email automation, you can build drip campaigns to automate your initial contact attempts where your messaging is likely less tailored. This can be a series of emails to warm up passive candidates and gauge their interest in your current opportunity. The best part is you can schedule the entire campaign at once so you don’t have to worry about scheduling email reminders or following up within a set amount of time. If you find that your email automation isn’t enough, then it’s time to rely on more personalized outreach, like personal emails or a phone call, to elicit a response.

Status Updates

There is always a bottleneck in your process that is completely out of your control. It could be a hiring manager who takes weeks to review the resumes of submitted candidates or is unavailable to conduct interviews for weeks at a time. Unfortunately for you, you have a handful of candidates who are anxiously awaiting next steps. Continue to keep them engaged by building a series of emails updating them on the status. Even if the emails repeat the same message, the candidates will appreciate you keeping them informed of the latest updates, even if the only news is no news.

Interview Prep

Maybe you have several candidates who are scheduled to interview with the hiring manager within the next couple of weeks. You could build a campaign to help them prep for the interview, and let them know you are available to answer questions or help them prep. The first email could provide some background information on the company and the hiring manager. Then, the second email could provide background on the interview format, including types of questions that will be asked or which part of their experience they should highlight during the interview. The opportunities are endless.

Reference Requests

Once a candidate makes it pass the interview, you may need to request personal references. While this isn’t technically a campaign, you can build an email automation that will trigger an email the second you move candidates to the reference stage of your hiring pipeline. Since it’s not a personal email, why not build the automation and save yourself the time of sending this to each and every candidate.


No one likes to be rejected, but it’s not as bad as being ignored and left wondering. Not following up with candidates is one of the quickest ways to leave a bad impression and end a relationship. While a candidate may not have been a good fit for your current role, they may be perfect for your future opportunity. Don’t leave them guessing. Instead, build an email automation.

Yes, it’s not personalized, but you’re not going to have the time to send an email to every candidate who applied. A simple email letting know that you have chosen to move forward with another candidate but hope to place them in a future role goes a long way to building a lasting relationship.

Don’t Overthink It

The recommendations above are not an exhaustive list of options on how to incorporate email automation into your recruiting process. There are meant to be a starting point to help you identify opportunities unique to your outreach.

As you start planning and building your campaigns, use these recommendations to guide your efforts, but don’t let it overwhelm you. There is a lot you can do with email automation but you have to start somewhere. Start small and perfect your campaigns over time.

Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to build a five-part email campaign with all the details defined from the very start. Some of the most successful email automations are simple, one-off, plain text emails that look and feel like they were sent by the recruiter instead of an email marketing platform.

At Loxo, we always love to hear how recruiters have incorporated email automation into their recruiting process. Are you doing something different than we mentioned above? We want to know. Share your thoughts, ideas, and strategies in the comments below so other recruiters can learn from you.

Identify opportunity to automate your existing candidate outreach.

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