How to Customize Your Outreach Message(s)

7 minutes read
Feb 24, 2022

What should your outreach messages try to do? 

Help you connect with top talent and eventually acquire them. It may seem like a simple thing to do at the first glance, but it’s far from it. 

When you are trying to recruit experienced and in-demand candidates, the first impression can establish or break the connection. Top-tier candidates are flooded with lookalike messages, giving you about 5-6 seconds to grab their attention and hopefully keep it.

In other words, you should try to personalize your messages and make them distinctive, the “one-size-fits-all” template won’t bring you much success. If you are now asking yourself “What will?” then we are more than happy to share that information with you: 

General Tips for Outreach Messages

Here’s a set of bullet points with the most common advice for contacting potential hires. We will cover some of them in more detail throughout the article, while others are mostly self-explanatory.

  • Include the recipient’s name

  • State your company and the role up for grabs

  • Communicate like a human being - people get enough spam messages

  • Be creative, customize your approach. Send short or long text messages, company brochures, picture or voice messages, show an interest in something the recipient has done or achieved, etc.

  • Ask a question or include a call-to-action to encourage a response.

  • Give precise information. If possible, clearly present the candidate's career path and benefits.

  • Feel free to experiment with different methods of messaging, such as GIFs, pictures, videos, or voice messages.

  • Remove the flattery, such as “I've come across your profile and I'm amazed”, except when you are truly impressed with the candidate's experience or an achievement.

Do Your Research

The best way to personalize your approach is to learn more about the candidate. You can do so by “scanning” their LinkedIn, GitHub, Stack Overflow, or any other profile that can give you additional information about their skills and experience. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even find something that you can relate to.

The example below shows a candidate with a profile picture that displays an intelligence icon from the “Heroes of Might & Magic III” video game. If you also happen to be a fan of the franchise, you can easily use it as a great conversation starter.



Sometimes it’s All About the Small Details 

You can use different tactics in personalizing your message, which all depend on your research. Remember, your goal isn’t to send a message and end up without a reply. Even if you receive something in the lines of “I’m not interested.”, it is still a success.

Let’s go through a few practical examples:


This is a great conversation starter. If they reply, you can follow up with asking the candidate if they are interested in a new job opportunity.

LinkedIn can give you some rare and interesting information about candidates, such as these FIFA skills included on the profile below. You can use this knowledge in your outreach, which will let the candidate know that you’ve done some research.


Here we’ve used a similar approach as in the first example, but also added additional information about the available vacancies. That way the person knows right from the start that you did your research and have various offers to make.

Practice Makes Perfect

Trial and error is sometimes the only way to accomplish the ultimate results. We’ve already agreed that spam-like messages are a no go, which is why you should experiment with different methods, approaches, and measure those results.

Here’s a few things you could do: 

1) Choose 15 candidates and send them short, personalized text messages with included links from the position ads. 

2) Pick another 15 people, but this time go with longer messages that contain a full description of their career path (picture 3), or information that’s not mentioned in the ad. It could be a company brochure or a handbook like Valve has. You can even send a brief voice message, explaining the benefits of the job role and your firm in general.


Timing is (Often) Very Important

Outreach messages revolve around when, apart from what. Perhaps you have sent the right message, but at the wrong moment. That can either relate to the time of the day, or a candidate having to reject your offer for private reasons.

You can experiment with the former to get the optimal results, while the latter is out of your hands. The point is - you should try and figure out the best time to contact your potential hires, bearing in mind their privacy and personal/work life.

This research from 2020 can help you decide the time of sending emails to candidates  

Wrapping Up 

As with many other things, there’s no one and unique successful formula here. It’s all about the experiences and niches, in this case the IT industry. 

The key to making a great first impression is personalization. It’s the effort taken to connect with each person on an individual level, which will significantly improve the effectiveness of your outreach.