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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Gmail and Yahoo changes: the simple steps for recruiters to follow

Business advice

In October 2023 Google and Yahoo announced they were updating their email policies to further protect recipients from unwanted emails from bulk email senders. On 1 February these standards, which have previously been considered email best practice, became mandatory. But what does this mean for recruiters contacting candidates via their personal email addresses, and what should you do?

Have you heard the one about a candidate-short labour market? Of course you have, you're a recruiter!

While there is some loosening up on candidate shortages, we know how difficult it is still to find the right person for the job.

So it may feel like the changes to email policy announced by Google and Yahoo are just another painful barrier to overcome in maintaining candidate engagement and your search. But there are steps to can take that will keep you on the right side of this development.

What's happened?

If you or your business are in the habit of sending bulk emails and marketing campaigns to Gmail or Yahoo email accounts, this is going to affect you. Google and Yahoo are trying to lessen the spam email received by their email users and improve security.

As of 1 February 2024, anyone sending over 5,000 emails a day will face tighter requirements to meet authentication criteria -  these changes will make it harder for scammers to impersonate your company and send phishing or unwanted emails, providing both more protection for the recipient and helping maintain your reputation (definitely not a bad thing!).

But the flip side is that those businesses that fail to take appropriate action to meet the new requirements face potential email deliverability issues, meaning less of your emails will reach those all-important candidates.

The 3 priority actions you need to take now

  • Authenticate the comms sent from your email domain

Secure and confirm your sender identity through certificates and standard protocols including SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

It sounds complicated but most email platforms provide step-by-step guides on how to get these in place and can support you through the process - or talk to your in-house IT for further guidance. 

  • Provide one-click unsubscribe functionality in all your emails

Spamming has a negative effect on engagement metrics, your spam rating and ultimately your reputation. Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe and opt out - before they mark your emails as spam. Under the new requirements senders then have 2 days to action the unsubscribe request.

  • Ensure your spam rates are kept under control

To meet the new requirements your spam rating must be below the 0.3% threshold - meaning you need to keep the number of recipients marking your emails as spam and complaining as low as possible. That means ensuring you're only emailing people who have agreed to hear from you and making sure you're maintaining your send lists. It's good practice to remove disengaged subscribers and old, outdated contacts before they become tempted to hit the spam button.

 And what can you do as a recruiter if you want to keep providing information and advice to candidate database?

By actioning the steps above, you have the best chance to ensure your emails reach your intended audience, but remember targeted emails to your candidate pool will always be more successful than a scattergun approach - so get to know your candidates and ensure the tagging in your database is accurate and up-to-date.

Don't forget email is just one channel to engage candidates, what more could you be doing across LinkedIn or your network to build and engage your candidate pool?  For more on this take a look at our training on Candidate Sourcing, Engagement and Management

Further information

Unsure where to start in making the required changes? In the first instance, your IT support should be able to assist you but most email platforms have also published handy guides and step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process. If you get stuck, give your REC account manager a shout and we'll direct you to our internal marketing & digital team who are also facing this change!

And remember, even if you're not a 'bulk sender' currently, the likelihood is these will become the requirements for everyone in the future so there's no time like the present to adopt email best practice.