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Personalizing Follow-up Emails to Candidates with AI

In this article

Paul Beglinger
Head of People & Operations, Carv
Close to a decade of experience crafting success stories, from startup to global presence.

You ever get that sinking feeling after hitting send on a perfectly crafted cold email blast to your candidate pool... only to be met with crickets?

We know the struggle of low response rates.

Candidates are no longer responding to the generic "Dear [name], we received your resume..." messages. They want their uniqueness - their experiences, skills, and aspirations - to be taken into account by recruiters, and they expect this to be reflected in the content of outreach and follow-up messages.

This is why we think it's time to ditch the recruiting email templates, and inject some personalization into your communication.

Now, if you think this will eat up all your day, we’ve got some great news: You can craft super-personalized interview follow-up emails and outreach messages for your candidates with AI.

Carv’s AI workmate can join your calls with hiring managers and candidates, listen in to what’s being said, and turn that meeting content into personalized follow-up emails - all of it using your tone of voice, to reinforce your employer brand.

So let’s see how this works in practice, and what the advantages of using AI in your candidate communication workflows are.

The candidate's perspective: A desire for personalization

Career Plug’s 2023 Candidate Experience report shows that 49% of candidates decline a job offer if they’ve had a poor experience with a potential employer in the hiring process. The candidate experience is just as important as compensation and benefits, and it’s among the top 2 reasons job seekers decline job offers.

What’s more worrying, though, is that 36% of candidates choose to ghost a potential employer if they lose interest in the company or job opportunity, and 50% of these drop-outs happen post-interview.

Again, the negative experience with a potential employer during the interview process is cited as the main reason for candidates ghosting after a job interview. Along with this, other reasons for ghosting include the employer taking too long to respond after a job application and the applicant losing interest in the open position.

Both the CX and the response rates can be improved with the help of AI in two main ways.

Increase efficiency and shorten time to response

On the one hand, as a recruiter, you can delegate your admin tasks to an artificial intelligence system and let AI handle all the work related to creating outreach messages, follow-up emails, and even job offer emails.

An AI assistant can do all these tasks in seconds and can work on multiple tasks in parallel, as it has infinite memory and execution power. This can help your team increase their efficiency and respond to candidates in a more timely manner, shortening the overall recruitment process.

A faster process is more likely to keep candidates engaged, and with most of the admin delegated to AI, recruiters can focus on live interactions with candidates, such as screening calls and interviews, to build stronger rapport with them.

Personalize candidate communication

The second lever, as already mentioned, is personalizing the communication instead of using standard follow-up email templates and text messages.

Of course, there will still be a general structure that you will use in these messages.

For example, a Thank you email, a message sharing interview feedback, or a reminder email for an upcoming interview could follow the same structure, and they’ll share the same tone, but you can add a touch of personalization to make the candidates feel that they matter.

Now let’s move on and see a practical example. We’ll create two recruiter follow-up emails to a candidate: One for rejecting the applicant and another email for inviting them to the next stage of the hiring process.

Sample recruiter follow-up email to candidate

Before we delve into personalizing candidate communication, let’s examine an example of a follow-up email.

Rejection email to candidate

The email below demonstrates the typical structure for a rejection message. It’s not inherently poor, but it lacks context and fails to convey appreciation for the candidate’s time or application.

Subject: Thank You for Your Application - [Job Title] at [Company Name]

Dear [Candidate Name],

Thank you for your interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. We appreciate you taking the time to submit your application and resume.

We've carefully reviewed your qualifications and unfortunately, at this time, we've moved forward with candidates whose experience more closely aligns with the specific requirements of the role.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search.

All the best,

The [Company Name] Recruiting Team

Now let’s look at a positive follow-up email too.

Interview follow-up email for next steps

Subject: Invitation to Next Stage Interview - [Job Title] at [Company Name]

Dear [Candidate Name],

Thank you again for taking the time to interview for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] on [Date of Interview].

We were very impressed with your skills and experience, and the interview team is eager to learn more about your qualifications and how you would fit into our team.

We'd like to invite you to a [next stage interview format, e.g., phone call, second interview, panel interview] scheduled for [date and time, e.g., next week] with [names and titles of interviewers, if possible].

During this next stage, we'll be diving deeper into [mention specific topics to be discussed, e.g., your experience with a particular software, your approach to problem-solving].

This will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about the role and for us to get a better understanding of your background.

Please confirm your availability by replying to this email. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the next interview or the role itself, please don't hesitate to reach out.

We look forward to seeing you again!

Best regards,

[Your Name], [Your Title]

Again, this type of email isn't bad, but it doesn’t exactly convey that the recruiter remembers the candidate or the interview. It doesn’t enthuse your best candidate, create urgency, or let the employer brand come through at all.

So, instead of sending templated emails to your potential candidates, here’s how to personalize your follow-up messages with the help of AI.

How to use Carv’s AI for content personalization

We'll use the example interview you can find on the Carv platform, just so we're working with the same input data.

Kelsey, our candidate, is actually a strong fit for the open role. So let's first ask the AI workmate to create a personalized follow-up email to the candidate and invite her to the next stage.

You can simply ask the workmate to create a personalized message for the candidate and customize it by incorporating things like the candidate’s name, a few highlights from the interview, and a timeframe for the follow-up.

You can also set the tone of the message by asking for an upbeat subject line, for example, and ask the AI to include additional information about the hiring manager or the recruitment process itself.

To get this personalized output, all you need to do is go to your Workspace, find the interview with the candidate you want to follow up with, and navigate to the AI workmate tab. From here, you can simply interact with your assistant like you would with any chatbot.

Okay, so now let’s ask the AI to create a rejection email for this candidate.

Let’s assume the interview took place some time ago, and you don’t remember why the candidate wasn’t a good fit. The notes you’ve added to your Applicant Tracking System aren’t that great, but you don’t have time to listen again to the full conversation.

You can ask the AI workmate to keep the tone positive, thank the candidate for their time, and invite them to stay in touch for future opportunities.

Your end goal here is to keep the candidate in your talent pool, so you want them to agree with you storing their contact information, phone number, social media profile, and so on, as well as with being contacted in the future for new jobs.

Here’s what Carv came up with.

As you can see, this content is much more personal, and it shows that the recruiter does remember the applicant and has actually put in the effort to make them feel appreciated.

Of course, you can further personalize this to reference different aspects of the job description if you want to show why the candidate is such a strong fit. You can also mention some of the criteria used in the decision-making process, ask for their potential start date, and so on.

Over to you

As you can see, highlighting specific details from the candidate's interview creates a more engaging message, and with the help of AI, you can do this in seconds.

Even in rejection, your AI workmate can craft a thoughtful message that acknowledges the candidate's strengths and encourages them to stay connected for future opportunities.

By personalizing communication and offering a superior candidate experience, you can attract top talent and build a strong employer brand.

If you think this will benefit your recruitment process, you can get started right away with a free Carv account, or book a demo below, to see the full capabilities of the AI workmate.

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