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The technical side of Google’s new email guidelines: what recruiters need to know

Google and Yahoo’s recent announcement about cracking down on unwanted or unsolicited email has left many recruiters scratching their heads. The guidelines, set to take effect in February 2024, have sparked concerns and questions about how they will impact recruiting efforts. 

For this blog post, we picked the brain of our CTO & co-founder, Ilia Cheishvili to get the Explain Like I’m Five version of the guidelines and their impacts. Because what else are smart technology people for if not dumbing super complicated and scary things down so the rest of us can understand?! 

Prefer to listen to Ilia’s thoughts on these changing regulations? You’re in luck — he joined us on the Becoming a Hiring Machine podcast to do just that. Check out his episode on avoiding email purgatory here

Alright: Let’s break down these new guidelines and provide insights into what recruiters need to know to navigate them effectively.

Understanding the guidelines

According to the announcement, Gmail will require senders who send 5,000 or more messages a day to Gmail accounts to adhere to the following guidelines:

While these guidelines may seem straightforward at first glance, they can be quite complex, especially for recruiters who rely heavily on email communication in their daily operations.

Key considerations for recruiters

One of the first things recruiters need to understand is that the 5,000-message threshold applies to their domain, not just individual senders. This means that all email communication originating from their company, including marketing automation, sales outreach, and candidate engagement, will be subject to these guidelines if sent to Gmail accounts.

One of the primary requirements outlined in the guidelines is to keep spam rates below 0.3%. While this may seem like a small threshold, just three spam reports for every 1,000 emails could result in penalties. Recruiters must be mindful of the content and frequency of their emails to avoid triggering spam filters.

Another crucial aspect of the guidelines is the implementation of email authentication mechanisms such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). These protocols help verify the authenticity of email senders and prevent email spoofing and phishing attacks. Recruiters should ensure that these authentication mechanisms are properly configured for their domain to improve email deliverability and avoid being flagged as spam.

Additionally, recruiters must ensure that their sending domains or IPs have valid forward and reverse DNS records (PTR records). This helps establish the legitimacy of the sender’s domain and IP address, reducing the likelihood of emails being marked as spam.

Furthermore, recruiters should prioritize providing a seamless unsubscribe experience for recipients. Including a one-click unsubscribe option and a clearly visible unsubscribe link in email messages can help maintain a positive sender reputation and reduce the risk of emails being reported as spam.

Implications for candidate outreach

Recruiters should pay special attention to candidate outreach efforts, as emails sent to personal Gmail accounts will be subject to stricter scrutiny. While business development emails may be less affected, candidate outreach emails must adhere strictly to the guidelines to avoid being marked as spam or sent to the promotions folder.

Mitigating risks and ensuring compliance

To mitigate the risks associated with Google’s new email sender guidelines, recruiters should consider implementing the following strategies:

In conclusion, while Google’s new email sender guidelines may present challenges for recruiters, understanding and adhering to these guidelines is essential for maintaining email deliverability and sender reputation. By implementing best practices and staying informed about updates to the guidelines, recruiters can ensure their email communication remains effective and compliant.

Key takeaways

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