The 9-word email (from I LOVE MARKETING) ... for recruiters and staffers.

For the longest time, I have been searching for the key to reactivating old applicants.

If you have access to a database of applicants that have applied in the past (older than 90 days) you've probably tried several ways to reconnect, usually with minimal success.

I have experienced this first hand - with a database of over 17,000 candidates that have applied over the years. This sounds like a large number, but in reality only 300-400 are "active" so how do we reactivate???

As a marketing AND recruiting specialist, I continuously seek innovative techniques, systems and processes to put into place that connect marketing and recruiting together. I listen (almost religiously) to a podcast entitled "I LOVE MARKETING" - hosted by Dean Jackson and Joe Polish. These two guys are marketing gurus. Not all connect with their philosophy or approach to marketing, but I believe in trying new techniques.

So in listening, they talk a lot about a technique for reactivating old clients (for us, applicants)...called the 9-word email.

With this technique, the body of your email includes only one sentence. A 9-word question.

"Are you still looking for a part time job?"

Polish states, "It might feel weird to just throw a question out there with no reason or explanation, but leaving this “open loop” is what makes it work. You will find your “leads” cannot resist the open-endedness of this conversation and it will engage them. You’ll find your inbox filling up with responses."

I was a bit apprehensive at using this as it seems deceiving or like not enough info, but after trying several techniques with no response, I decided to try it.

I started with a test email and I sent the email to over 600 applicants in our database that had not contacted us after several emails about specific job openings.

My email was simple.

Subject line: Available?
Body: are you still looking for a new job opportunity?

Tiffany Dean-Wright, CSP
(And our phone number)

Within 24 hours I had over 100 email responses from these candidates we had not been able to connect with months (some years). Email responses started coming in immediately. And I was able to start a new conversation with old candidates.

I found that the question (and the email) puts the person in the spotlight. Instead of advertising your need (i.e. a job that you need to staff), you put the person's need (for a job) ahead of your own. Just by asking a simple question you give them the opportunity to feel like someone's listening.

Still reluctant? Just try it. What do you have to lose if you aren't getting a response?

Leave a response. Let me know how it goes.

PS - if you aren't listening to I LOVE MARKETING, start immediately. Find it on iTunes or