The Cold Outreach Litmus Test

The Cold Outreach Litmus Test

I am introducing the following litmus test to define what a good recruitment email looks like:

  1. Message is personalized (beyond first name).
  2. Sender mentions a common interest or connection.
  3. Sender clearly read my blog, or my github.
  4. Sender sounds like a human, not a corporate PR robot.
  5. Pitch is targeted towards plausible next steps in growth of my personal career (skills, experience level, location).

Bonus points:

  • Sender found a personal intro to me. (+1 point)
  • Sender provides plausible next steps for me to research opportunity. (+1 point)
  • Sender mentions exact salary. (-1 point)
  • Sender uses the word ‘unicorn’ or draws comparison to Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. (-1 point)
  • Pitch is for a remote-only position or for a skill I have not used since college. (-1 point)

I strongly encourage anyone who receives a recruiter email that does not get a 4/5 on this litmus test to reply with a strong rapport-breaking message:

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