Head of Search Support
Are you tired of having your recruiting emails mistaken for a bargain offer on sketchy pharmaceutical products? You’re not alone. Every day, thousands of recruiters around the world wage a silent battle against one of the most familiar and central features of modern talent sourcing: email spam filters.
This is hardly surprising when you consider that nearly half of the emails sent worldwide are spam. In recruiting, especially in the wake of the pandemic, the onslaught of fake job emails has made it increasingly challenging for legitimate recruiters to navigate candidates' inbox filters effectively.
While email providers like Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, and Yahoo have made strides in improving their automatic filters to reduce spam, unintended casualties often include genuine cold emails from recruiters.
In its broadest sense, spam refers to a diverse range of intrusive emails with the primary objective of either extracting money or gathering personal information, which in turn benefits spammers financially.
Spam emails may also include marketing emails that you may or may not have unintentionally subscribed to after an online purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Companies also purchase your information from data brokers, adding you to their mailing lists without your consent.
On the less reputable end of the spectrum, you have companies trying to sell unapproved medication, especially in the US, where there is no nationalized healthcare.
Lastly, emails that violate terms set out in the CAN-SPAM Act:
Finally, the CAN-SPAM Act prohibits businesses from promoting themselves using false or misleading information in emails.
Before we look at the why, let’s consider how spam filters identify potentially harmful messages.
Free email providers like Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, AOL, iCloud Mail, and Yahoo use built-in filters to detect spam and move it to a separate folder, such as Junk or Spam. This allows recipients to review or ignore spam messages.
Most email providers use a combination of rules-based algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify spam. Rules-based algorithms look for specific patterns in emails, such as certain keywords or phrases, or emails from known spammers. AI algorithms are trained on large datasets of spam and genuine emails, and they learn to identify spam based on subtle patterns and features.
Thanks to AI and machine learning, email providers have made significant progress in spam detection in recent years. For instance, Google now claims to block over 99.9% of spam emails.
As spam filters get smarter about deciphering email contexts, it is important to remember that trigger words still set off red flags.
Your carefully crafted email to a potential candidate offering more information about a job opening could still end up in their spam folder.
Because you may have accidentally used a spam word that triggered their email filter.
While there are countless spam words that may trigger email filters, it's worth noting that in the context of recruiting, you're unlikely to include terms like 'weight-loss,' 'free money,' or 'risk-free' in your outreach emails. The list we've provided below illustrates the kind of language recruiters commonly employ when crafting authentic candidate outreach.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and using any of these words or phrases will not guarantee that your email will be flagged as spam. It is simply a list of words and phrases that may trigger spam filters.
Remember, context is key.
The best way to avoid spam filters is to be authentic. For example, if your subject line says "Senior Java Developer: Remote with Full Dental and Benefits," your email content should demonstrate that by providing more information about the role, such as the required qualifications and responsibilities. Other factors, like using verified email addresses and enabling authentication, can also affect deliverability.
Finally, personalize your emails!
Make cold recruiting outreach work for you. Learn how ChatterWorks can help you source the talent you need.