One of the most common complaints amongst cleared recruiters is “I can never get a response from anyone when I reach out about a new position.” There are many reasons for this, but it could be that you are focusing on the quantity of your communications instead of the quality.


A good initial cold message to a candidate isn’t generic, isn’t boring, and isn’t lacking. It is somewhat short, sweet, and to the point, but it includes something that draws the candidate in. It leaves them wanting to learn more about you, the role, and the company.

1. Show your personality.

A good joke, poking fun at yourself, or stating a fun fact about why you love your organization or job can lighten the mood and put a smile on a candidates face. Memes are always welcomed, as long as they are original and not overused. The key is to make a connection, and in order to get a little, you have to give a little too.

2. Lead with the moolah/perks.

Does your company offer a ridiculous referral bonus? Lead with that since money is one of the most important things to candidates these days. Does the position offer flex hours or the option to work remotely (even if it’s just one day a week)? State that upfront.

3. Be the right amount of creepy.

Recruiters are natural stalkers, so if you are perusing their social media and see they have the cutest pet dog, chat up some of the things that you and your doggo like to do for fun. Did you see that they posted an update about a terrible experience with a recruiter? Talk about why their experience with you will be different. Sometimes making a connection means doing a little research.

An Example Message

Here is an example of a great message:

“OK. So, I know I’ve reached out a few times – and I’m sure you’re just either busy, overwhelmed, or annoyed, but please let’s stay connected even if you aren’t interested in the cybersecurity role I originally reached out about (see attached email). If $$$ is a concern, our company offers a hefty referral bonus – with NO CAP – and the option to work remotely so long as someone else on the team is onsite that day. Hit me up so we can chat, or I can see if we have another role that may be a better fit for you! -Cheers”

The biggest complaint from our candidates at ClearanceJobs is getting a message from a recruiter who clearly never checked out the candidate’s resume. Cold and impersonal messages are easily ignored.

Above all, leave the generic ‘We’re HIRING’ stock photos to Shutterstock.



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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸