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Email Recruiting is Dead, Much to the Dismay of My Myers-Briggs Type...

I had a heavy recruiting day on Tuesday.  Nowhere to hide.  Sourcing complete, 35 resumes of qualified candidates, many of them passive and having no clue who I am.  Or who my company is, or why they should want to work for us.

Yep....nothing left to do in the funnel but break the ice and let them know how cool we are to work for.Boilerroom   Time to SELL baby..... Time to put my Dickie Vitale game on and find the PTPers (prime time players for you not in the know..)

Here's the scoop on me.  My Myers-Briggs is an ISTJ.  People are shocked to hear that I am pegged as an introvert (that's the "I"), presumably because I don't shut up once I get on a roll.  Or maybe because I can be personable if you get to know me.  Either way, they're surprised.

But I digress.  Back to the 35 resumes.... There was a golden age of the Internet, I'll frame it as being between 2004 and late 2006.  During this golden age, everyone you wanted to talk to had an email account and was checking it regularly.  For the ISTJ recruiters like me, that was all the crutch we needed.  Initial contact needed on 35 candidates?  No problem, let me get an "I'm Kris and I've got a cool position available" email together, personalize it for each candidate, and send it out 35 times.

During the golden age, the response rate was high and life was good.  Introvert recruiters could thrive and still get the candidates they needed. 

Then it all went to hell in 2007.  As far as I can tell, every human in the world at that point had their work email address, and at least 1, if not 3, alternatives.  As for the alternatives they plug as their email address of choice for resumes?  They became bored with it, or maybe just busy in the work email world.  They stopped checking it, and response rates to recruiting pitches via email plummeted. 

So, there I was today, looking at the 35 resumes of Sales professionals.  The type of recruit you've got to get your Jerrry McGuire on for, especially since none of them were direct applicants for the open slots. 

So I sucked it up, put my ISTJ sensibilities in the closet, and made the calls.

You know what happened?  Just like so many times before when the "I" has made me wary of doing extrovert activities (like making the equivalent of sales calls), I found out that once the ice is broken, I actually like doing Extrovert activities. 

It turns out the "I" in my ISTJ is very close to the threshold where it turns into an "E", which means, while I may dread extrovert activities, I'm usually happy once I get talking.

But I'm still enough of an "I" to check my email accounts... C'mon people!!



Great read! I am very introverted as well, and daily, in the office, I choose email over a phone call everytime! This article may push me toward the phone today because just like the author once I start talking I realize that I actually enjoy it! Hehe!


Hmmm, as a fellow ISTJ, I certainly don't like reading that folks are getting away from e-mail! Although I'm doing the same myself with my 3 extra accounts in addition to my work e-mail! Luckily I also thrive once I've broken the ice. However, it's NEVER my first choice to call. Hopefully, the work e-mail address will never go out of vogue.


Enjoyable article; it made me smile. As a typical INTP, I too love email over the phone any day.

As someone who works extensively with the MBTI and other types of assessments of this nature, I would like to clarify the common misunderstanding around Extrovert and Introvert. Unlike other instruments that measure the E/I along observed behavior, the MBTI's definition of E/I is your preference for where you get your energy. That is to say, do you get "your batteries recharged" by being with people or do you get recharged from more solitary activities including with one or two others?

One tool that looks at these issues in perhaps a more helpful manner is The Platinum Rule(TM). It measures two continuums - one on how open or guarded we are and the other on our assertiveness.

If you are interested in taking a complimentary Platinum Rule (with a very special offer of an upgrade) please use this link within the next 48 hours:

To find out more about the professional use of assessments please check out my blog:


This is so true! I have noticed, that lately, responses to e-mail inquiries to potential candidates has declined drastically. It's definitely time to reach out and speak to people if you want to tell them about your job opportunities.

Mike Gauthier

But I really can't put much faith in a writer who begins an article with a missinterpretation of his MBTI scores....


I must be old school - but I always opt for calling a candidate first --- the email is usually a redundant effort to simply follow up in the event I didn't reach them by phone... With this approach I get an eager response 99% each time :)

T. Hall

Sorry, Let---

You seemed to have truly missed the point here.
Mmmm, I now Wonder what your MBTI is and the applicable "interpretation".

Smile, I'm and ISTJ as well :)

T. Hall


Please, let's not make fun of anyone's interpretation...and stick to the point. In her case, in her experience potential candidates are not responding to email soliciting like they used to. No matter what Myer's Brigg's says... it is her personality and preferences that had her relying on using emails to break the ice. Now she has to utilize an uncomfortable and unfamilar method...just making the call! I say... you go girl, and best of luck! I promise that the more you practice, the more fun it becomes.


E-mail is definitely on the decline which may require recruiters to step outside of their personal boundaries and become more extroverted if they are not. There are several reasons why people are turning away from e-mails or just not responding to recruiters. The main reason maybe that recruiters (especially the thousands of contract-recruiters) have worn out their welcome in many places. Although many EEs enjoy contract or s/t assignments for flexibilty and less loyalty, passive candidates are beginning to catch on to recruiter's strategies (i.e. mass e-mailing) after a few heavy years of e-mail recruiting and will dismiss the e-mail as junk mail or spam. I find that these e-mails are better for getting referrals than direct recruiting. Contacting candidates directly puts a more personal touch on the recruiter/candidate relationship and allows the recruiter to better represent the company as well as answer specific questions. If worst comes to worst and the candidate is not interested... maybe you can get a direct refferal.


I think a healthy combination of both email and phone contact strategies can be implemented to reach a desired result. I think we sometimes fail to realize that good candidates are at work and not at home checking their e-mail every day. I think sometimes recruiters fail to include the content that candidates want to see and then blame the lack of response on the candidate.

E-mail is the most powerful and cost effective contact tool in existence and it's far from being dead. I think because it's so easy for us to send an email that we loose perspective into what our roles really are... find quality candidates who are ready and willing to take advantage of the opportunity we have to present to them. Let's not get lazy folks...let's pick up a phone and send an email at the same time. Spend a few minutes trying to understand what the candidates want and then give/show it to them. I wonder what kind of results we can get.


Yea, I have just noticed that with Americans who are in positions where the type of work they do is largely domestic. But when you are based in Asia and are recruiting for positions that are also based here and your potential candidate pool (senior managers, execs, professionals etc.) is scattered around on 4 continents, are often traveling internationally (they check their email) & constantly in meetings - trying to reach them first via a call can be a nightmare! i.e. Its morning here when its late afternoon / early evening in CA; late morning here when its morning in Dubai; late afternoon & early evening when its morning in Europe - I can't be in the office 24 hrs a day PLUS I myself find it a little ANNOYING when a fellow recruiter calls me out of the blue (especially during work hours when I might be in meetings or on the phone, & especially if the connection is bad) for a position in, say, Singapore or Dubai! I at least try to send an email (its also the polite thing to do) that notes the time difference to ask when a good time for a QUICK initial chat is (Plus I have a record of the communication).


Latasha/Let/April - Don't let the introvert in you prevent you from picking up the phone!!

Robert - Good points on the MBTI. Like I said in the article, what I have been told the MBTI pros is that since my score is an I, but close to the border of the E, I feel some avoidance of E type activities like picking up the phone. However, my I/E score is on the threshold enough that I actually enjoy it once I've started the calls.

Mike - You're kidding me right? I do a blog for professional development and you drop by expecting a whitepaper and science? Then you don't bother to tell me where I missed.... Blogs are for conversations, so if you don't want to share thoughts beyond saying I've got it wrong, don't comment.

Robin/Kelvin/John - Robin/Kelvin, I feel your vibe. It's the some of the challenges of time zones and other factors that John mentions makes me prefer email. I guess I have always used it for a "permission based" first message, which obviously leads to a warmer phone call. A qualified lead if you will... John, good points and that's my vibe as well....

JMK - good points. I also think we have reached a saturation/fatigue point that has dropped the response rates...

Thanks to all for the notes!!!



I must disagree. It depends on how you use Email. In my opinion ALL inquiries should be touched. Your branding message is KEY. Always be grateful even to the unqualified. Spread good Karma and network. You never know who they know.

If you respond quickly, dialogues take shape with potential hires. Email is a great tool, the issue is timleyness & dealing with the deluge on a daily basis OR rapind response.

If you always do what you always did, you always get waht you Always GOT!



Interesting viewpoint. I, for one, would not discount one method of a multi-pronged recruiting strategy. I think as recruiters and sourcers we are trained to know that there is not just one way to locate that perfect candidate.

Email is a fabulous way to contact a person, drop some info (i.e your corporate url!), and generate interest – even networking onto a different candidate if you’ve worded your email appropriately. It is such a controllable entity that potential candidates will continue to use it.

Unfortunately the onus is on the recruiter and sourcer to make sure they know how to locate quality contact information and pursue it.

But like I said – multi-pronged……follow that email up with a phone call by all means……”Link In” to your candidate……..make a friend on MySpace. There’s no one answer to contacting candidates in our virtual world.

Kris Dunn

Kelly -

Agree with your comments. You know, at the end of the day, all I was really relying on with email is to reach out in a non-intrusive way for the intial contact. Then, assuming I hooked a candidate, it became a "qualified lead".

Good thoughts on the mix that needs to be used to reach a broad array of candidates....

Thanks - KD

Mother Jones, RN

I just found your blog, and I really enjoy reading your posts. I'll be back.


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