Email Deliverability | Zoho Recruit

Improve Email Deliverability

Email deliverability refers to an email's ability to successfully reach its intended recipient's inbox without being marked as spam or being blocked by the recipient's email provider. In other words, it is a measure of how successful your emails are at reaching the intended recipients.

In the context of recruitment, email deliverability is important because it directly affects the success of a company's recruiting efforts. For example, a recruiter sends an email to a candidate about a job opening, but the email goes to the candidate's spam folder and is never seen, the recruiter may miss out on the opportunity to connect with a qualified candidate.

Here are some examples of how email deliverability can impact recruitment:
  1. Job Applications: When recruiters send out job application emails to potential candidates, they want to ensure that these emails reach the candidate's inbox. If the emails are not delivered, then the company may miss out on a great candidate, and the candidate may miss out on an opportunity to work for the company.
  2. Interview Scheduling: After a recruiter has identified a potential candidate, they may need to send emails to schedule an interview. If these emails do not reach the candidate's inbox, then the interview may not be scheduled, and the company may miss out on a qualified candidate.
  3. Candidate Follow-Up: After an interview, a recruiter may want to follow up with the candidate to discuss next steps. If these follow-up emails are not delivered, then the candidate may not receive important information about the hiring process, which can lead to frustration and ultimately impact the candidate's decision to continue with the company.

Why is email deliverability important?

While email deliverability is a prevalent term amongst marketers, it has to be taken as a crucial metric by hiring teams. Recruiters send emails on a day-to-day basis and rarely have the time to determine and plan better deliverability techniques. If emails are not reaching the candidate's inbox or ending up in their spam folder, and deliverability is not improved, eventually the mailing list will end up being stagnant and unresponsive.
Email deliverability is important for recruiters, as it directly impacts the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts. Here are some reasons why:
  1. Communication: Recruiters rely heavily on email to communicate with potential candidates throughout the recruitment process. If their emails are not being delivered, then they may miss out on the opportunity to connect with qualified candidates, which can hinder their ability to fill job openings.
  2. Candidate Experience: Candidates expect timely and relevant communication throughout the recruitment process. If recruiters' emails are not being delivered or are getting caught in spam filters, it can create a negative candidate experience and deter candidates from considering the company for future job opportunities.
  3. Brand Image: A company's brand image can also be impacted by email deliverability. If a company's recruitment emails are consistently marked as spam, it can damage the company's reputation and make it more difficult to attract top talent.
  4. Efficiency: When recruiters' emails are not being delivered, it can also result in wasted time and resources. Recruiters may spend valuable time following up with candidates who never received their initial emails, or they may need to reach out to candidates through other channels manually, such as phone or social media, which can be less efficient.

Factors that affect deliverability

Sender reputation

One of the most important aspects of deliverability is the sender's reputation. Email sender reputation is a score that is assigned by Internet Service Providers to organizations that send emails. It is typically affected by factors like the number of emails that an organization sends, complaints received by the ISPs about the emails, the number of emails sent by an organization that go into the spam folder, the number of emails sent to unknown email addresses, email response rate, and other factors.

Based on these factors, the sender reputation score will be assigned to organizations' emails. This will directly influence email deliverability as well. If the sender's reputation is not improved, there is a high likelihood that the day-to-day emails that you send won't even reach the recipients' inbox.

Email authentication

Organizations use various domains to send emails to recipients. It is critical to authenticate the email addresses that organizations use to communicate. Email authentication is performed by email servers to check if the email content came from the source email and it wasn't altered or forged in between.  To authenticate your email, the sending and receiving servers must be in sync. All email clients use three standards: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
  1. Sender Policy Framework (SPF): SPF is a protocol designed to restrict who can use an organization's domain as the source of an email message. If SPF isn't in place, then your emails will be rejected. SPF defines a process for the domain owners to identify which IP addresses are authorized to forward email for their domains.
  2. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): DKIM is the email authentication standard that verifies that an email message was not modified during transit and that it comes from an authorized sender. It uses public key encryption to authenticate the email. This is to ensure that the email isn't forged or changed anywhere along the way. It is advisable to combine DKIM with SPF to further ensure security from attacks and to ensure that your emails do not end up in the spam folder.
  3. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC): DMARC is an email authentication method that acts as a combination of SPF and DKIM. It allows domain owners to specify how receiving servers should handle emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks.
Most recruiters out there use an ATS to manage their email communication with candidates and client contacts. You should ensure that the ATS you use guarantees that your emails get deliver to customers. At the least, it should have systems in place to ensure this. Zoho Recruit offers email authentication and makes it straightforward for organizations to authenticate any email source. You can read more about it here

When we ignore email authentication and bounce rates increase, it becomes problematic for the users and ultimately lowers your sender reputation. It might also end up getting your IP address blacklisted. If these authentication standards are in place, it avoids such instances and ensures better email deliverability.

Email content

The content used in the email usually plays a role in how recipients perceive it. Email providers are likely to mark your emails as spam if the email is not properly formatted and coded. Open-ended tags don't work well for your emails.

Ensure you have a legitimate and thoroughly vetted URL. If the URL is malicious or too short, the email is likely to end up in spam folder. Hiring teams need to be vigilant about this. Even if you're in a rush to get conversions, you should not use email content that reads urgent or spam-like. It's important to keep setting high standards for the email content you send to recipients to ensure better deliverability rates and to refine your mailing list with recipients who actually want to engage with your content.

Steps taken by Zoho Recruit to authenticate domains and ensure deliverability

We understand that it's difficult for every recruiter out there to take measures to ensure deliverability and perform their various other tasks the same time. Zoho Recruit, in addition to offering email authentication, has a few other measures in place to improve your organization's deliverability.

If your business uses a public domain or a free email address, then there is a high possibility that it might not reach the subscriber. Emails sent from public domains like Gmail or Yahoo are prone to extreme scrutiny and the delivery rate is likely to take a hit. In Zoho Recruit, if you use such an email address, the sender email address will be changed automatically to one of our own authenticated domain addresses to ensure better deliverability.

When your business uses a custom domain (for example,, Zoho Recruit will continue sending emails from the address without any change if it has been authenticated inside Zoho Recruit. If by any chance your custom domain is not authenticated inside Zoho Recruit, then the sender address will be changed to our own authenticated domain to ensure delivery of emails. This change is to ensure that the sender reputation is healthy and maintained, as Zoho Recruit sends all its users's emails through a shared infrastructure. This is why it is essential that your domain is also sent from an authenticated source. Otherwise, it might affect others using the same shared infrastructure.
To authenticate your custom domains and to use them for sending emails via Zoho Recruit, you can follow the steps in this help article.

Best practices to improve email deliverability

Have a streamlined email list

To increase your deliverability, it is vital that your email list is monitored and revised periodically. You should remove recipients who haven't engaged with you in a while. The frequency of cleaning and maintaining a streamlined email list will vary for different organizations, but it is a healthy way to improve deliverability and refine your interactions.

Enable double-opt-in confirmation

Recruiters bring in candidates via different outreach efforts. Hiring teams use emails primarily for communicating with them. Engaging with potential candidates or contacts who don't want to engage is going to end up in the prospect marking your email as spam. The ISPs will consider this spamming. Therefore, it is considered best practice to enable double-opt-in so you know your list contains engaging customers.

Enable recipients to opt out easily

It is not healthy to have a difficult setup for recipients who want to opt out of your mailing list. Providing an easy way for users to unsubscribe is a sure way of maintaining a clean email list. If someone is receiving emails when they want to opt out, they will end up marking the emails you send as spam. This will affect email deliverability, so having an easy way out for users is a must.

Segment recipients and send emails

Whenever you send mass emails, make sure you segment recipients based on region, the positions you're looking to fill, or any other common factor, and tailor the email content to target that particular segment. This will provide a more personalized experience for recipients and also help you position the right information to the right audience.

Avoid spam-like subject lines 

Framing your subject line will determine if the subscriber opens an email or not. Consider the kind of emails you would personally avoid and apply that to your own subject lines. Avoid spam-like subjects like 'Get hired immediately', 'No Resume Needed', and other sensationalist phrases. This will push potential candidates to either mark you as spam or even unsubscribe.

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