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The Art of Outreach: Crafting Creative and Compelling Communications

Abhinav Agrawal

Creative outreach is an effective way to engage potential candidates and make your recruitment message stand out. This type of outreach allows you to highlight the unique aspects of your organization, and build an emotional connection with the candidate.

It also helps to create a memorable experience, which can encourage the candidate to take the next step in the recruitment process.

Lastly as you can imagine, creative outreach almost doubles the candidate response rate.

Easy to say - but as a founder, recruiter or sourcer - you might be wondering how you go about it. This blog post presents a case study where Rocket helped one of its clients, Material Security, with engineering and product recruiting and along the way devised an extremely creative outreach. Let's take a closer look.

Company description:

Let's start by understanding what Material Security does. According to Crunchbase:

Material Security is an email security company that develops data-driven security software to protect an organization's users and data.

From their own website, Material Security is described as follows:

Protecting Microsoft and Google accounts for the best teams. Material fights phishing and provides visibility, defense-in-depth, and security infrastructure for Office 365 and Google Workspace.

Summary - Material is essentially an email security company.

Traditional outreach:

Here is an example of the email most recruiters would write about the company. We know - because we wrote and used it when recruiting for Material!

Subject: Join A1Z backed Material Security

Hi {{FirstName}},

I am reaching out to you about an opportunity to be an early engineer at Material Security, an exciting startup founded by security veterans from Dropbox, and Google who’ve had a previous successful exit. They’ve raised from Andreessen Horowitz and are a Series C company with a $1b valuation.

They are using ubiquitous cloud email, SSO, and MFA platforms in unexpected ways to reduce the probability and severity of breaches, targeted phishing, fraud, and lateral account takeover. Connecting in 30 minutes via APIs from a private single-tenant cloud account, the product also features dead simple risk analysis, bulletproof big data infra, and enterprise-wide visibility across every email domain.

The security community has already started evangelizing the product and their customers include high-risk VIPs on personal accounts as well as organizations like Mars, Lyft, Flexport, Gusto, PagerDuty, Cloudera, and Sonos and more. Check out one of our many podcasts, this will provide you with more insight.  

As an early engineer on the team you will work closely with Chris, Abhishek, and Ryan to continue building core features and contributing to things like leak prevention, account takeover prevention, and phishing herd immunity.

The company has done extraordinarily well and is now in full scaling mode. I think this can be an extremely fulfilling & lucrative opportunity to join them at this stage. Do you have 15 mins to chat this week?


{{Recruiter Signature}}

Pros - the email above is a good workhorse - it gets the job done and gets the point across succinctly - but isn't particularly memorable.

Creative outreach:

Now here is the outreach when our client service team of Alex and Lushi got done with it!

Subject: Is a Fun House harder to break into?

Howdy {{FirstName}},

Doesn’t matter - thieves are going to break in no matter where it is. What is important is how hard is it for them to steal your stuff? If you lived in a Fun House, an intruder would get inside and immediately be confused and lost, trying to navigate through the hall of mirrors, unable to reach your valuables. This gives you plenty of time to either grab your valuables and ride the swirly slide out of the house, or sneak up through one of the mirrors that is actually a door and whack them on the head with a cartoonish hammer.

Why in holy astringent plum-like fruit does this matter? Because most digital security companies don’t operate like a funhouse - but you could be the newest engineer at a company that does! Material Security is a Unicorn startup that not only helps protect break ins from happening, but also your sensitive data from threats after they’ve broken in. As an early engineer at Material Security, you will get to help build one of the most advanced and unique security products out there, protecting millions.

Most security products simply add more locks to the front door (and maybe on that big window in the living room), Material Security does more by adding confusing hallways, stairways that lead nowhere, quicksand, and those ropes with the loop on the floor that pull you up by your ankle when you're in them. This is why they reached a $1B evaluation with their Series C, are lauded by so many in the industry, and have the trust of major companies. If you want to be part of the new age of digital security, then let’s chat about your future at Material Security.

Respectfully and with none of the candor of a clown,

{{Recruiter Signature}}

Wow - never thought you would get a recruiting email like that - did you? It certainly pushes the boundary - but guess what - it is memorable AF! No way a candidate is forgetting that.


Quantifying results is always hard in the recruiting world. In this case we got a significant lift in response rate - while some of those were just candidates who wanted to compliment the outreach (yes we think it is fantastic too!) - we almost doubled the number of candidates our recruiters managed to get on the phone.

And that's the true north star metric - can your funny, witty, memorable outreach get someone on the phone to listen to a proper pitch. If it does that - it has done its job.

Good luck and get the creative juices flowing.

About Rocket

Rocket pairs talented recruiters with advanced AI to help companies hit their hiring goals and knows technology recruiting inside out. Rocket is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley but has recruiters all over the US & Canada serving the needs of our growing client base across engineering, product management, data science and more.

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