13 Reasons Why your Job Emails are Going into Spam
Written by
Sakshie Pathak

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13 Reasons Why your Job Emails are Going into Spam

Published : July 26, 2019

We all know that email marketing is still among the top ROI-generating channels. But, do you know that email has an inbox placement rate of about 85%? Isn’t that pretty amazing – it surely is! But, still that means roughly one out of every five emails you send will never reach to your subscribers’ inbox – isn’t that awful?  I bet it is! And, it’s even worse if you are a job site – as we have seen for them the inbox placement rate is even lower.

Now the question is to how to make sure your emails land into your target’s inbox?

Well, to do that you first need to find out why your emails are landing in your recipients’ spam folder. As you can’t solve a problem without first finding out what the problem actually is.

If you want to find out what those reasons are – given below are 13 reasons that might be sabotaging your chances to land in your recipients’ inbox:

Here’s why your Job Emails are going into Spam [ 11 Factors Explained ]

We just introduced to you to a basic version of why emails in general land into spam. But let’s look at all of these factors in detail so your job alert emails can avoid getting flagged and get stopped from going to spam. 

Reason # 1.  You Are Not Targeting the Right Audience

The email ids that you send emails to should be the most relevant people. i.e, these people should be the ones who actually want to receive emails from you. This segment should ensure that you are getting very high engagement from the start of your warmup process. The targeting of the audience can be done generally the following order of preference:

  1. Opens and clicks from your mailing in the past 30 days. 
  2. Latest registered / subscriber users for the past 30 days. 
  3. Latest transacted users for the past 30 days.
  4. The rest of the database for the past 6 months, collected with permission from users.

 Several segments can be done based on users, as they can be targeted according to their preference of products/information. The entire blacklisted data from the previous vendor needs to be provided to the new one for blacklisting at their end so as not to target these users.

Example: If a candidate has received a job offer from your site and you are aware that they have taken the position, instead of sending the same job alert emails you can take surveys or give send best practices for best performance at their new job.

Reason # 2.  You Don’t Use Double Opt-in

The 1st rule of email marketing is to get permission to email. Never buy a list of email addresses or send emails to people who haven’t subscribed to your website, otherwise, you risk violating the CAN-SPAM Act and may be subject to penalties of up to $16,000.

To get permission, you’ll need an opt-in method for your subscribers that makes it perfectly clear that your visitors are subscribing to your email list. You can look out for single as well as double opt-in based on your preferences. 

There are so many ways double opt-in vs. single opt-in affect your response rates.

  • Anyone can add any email to your list (including a spam trap) if you use single opt-in
  • Many ESPs use separate servers to send emails to double opt-in and single opt-in subscribers – the double opt-in servers tend to have a better reputation and deliverability
  • Double opt-in subscribers have shown more interest in getting emails from you.

Reason # 3.  You Don’t  Switch up Your Email Template

 The HTML creatives that you need to use for your campaigns should be different than the ones used before and which have not performed. Following the same campaign format will continue the spam pattern with a new domain as well as ISPs have a bad mailing history pattern with the old creative layouts which were spamming.

The creatives need to have a healthy combination of images + text (60/40). You can also experiment with other types of layouts that suit the theme of your job board or the theme o0f the job alert you are sending.

The footer needs to be a customized footer that has your brand name and an actionable for your candidates to set their preferences.

Reason # 4.  You Think Purchasing Email List Is Better than Building One

Again one of the common reasons why your Job Emails could be going into spam is that you have a list which you purchased from an unrecognized source. With purchased email IDs on your list, you naturally have not obtained permission from the owner of the email address. This includes the email IDs you obtain from the back of a business card which someone gave to you at a conference. Since your ISP has no record of that person having any interaction with you, this is considered spam and it is unsolicited.

CASL provides for hefty fines for violations, up to $10 million! Just for the legal reasons alone, it’s best not to purchase email lists.

Even if your email list has a few names on it which have come there through unsolicited means, it could be found a flagged by a spam trap bringing your reputation down. This may affect the inboxing of your genuine job alerts to candidates who are expecting to receive them as well. 

Reason # 5.  Your Mail Infrastructure Does Not Have A Proper Set-Up

You need to ensure that all the DNS records are reflecting for the said domain and all the necessary settings (SPF, DKIM, DMARC, TLS) have been enabled for the mailing infrastructure.

What IP addresses have been assigned for delivery, are they shared or dedicated? If they are shared, what is the percentage of distribution in volumes for that IP?

Reason # 6.  Your Subject Lines Are  Misleading or Vague

As the CAN-SPAM act states, it is actually against the law to intentionally mislead someone with your subject line in order to induce them to view the message.

In a survey conducted by Litmus and Fluent, over 50% of participants stated that they have felt cheated, tricked or deceived into opening a promotional email by that email’s subject line.

This approach may help you in the short term for increasing open rates for a particular campaign. But they damage your reputation in the long term. This may lead to relevant job alerts landing in the spam in the future.

Reason # 7.  You  Don’t  Have an Email Marketing Strategy in Place

You might just be sending the best emails out there, but are they part of a long term strategy? Did your last email sent to a candidate make sense with the latest one that you sent? It is paramount that the marketer layout a plant for the following in terms of Email marketing strategies-

  • What is your business objective with Email marketing? 
  • What do you wish to gain in terms of your campaigns? 
  • Is it just retention or acquisition as well? 
  • Do you have a proper campaign calendar prepared for a month of your upcoming promotions? 
  • What is the larger vision you are looking at in terms of engaging with your email users? 
  • Do you have a clear plan for engaging with your customers in different stages of the buyer’s life cycle journey? 

Reason # 8.  You Use a Generic ‘From’ Address to Send Your Marketing Emails

 It’s also against the CAN-SPAM ACT to mislead anyone with your “from,” “to,” “reply-to,” and routing information.

For example, if you made your email look like it was from Bill Gates offering your candidate a job. That would be against the law and flagged as spam.

As a best practice, make sure you include your/ your job site’s name in the “from” field that your subscribers are likely to remember, and don’t change it too often. Be consistent with the ’From ’ name you have chosen and maintain uniformity. 

Reason # 9.  You Use Heavy  Images and Attachments in Your Emails

When you send job alert emails with large attachments that exceed the message size limit for either your or the recipient’s mail server, the message will be returned to you and not delivered or might turn into spam. To avoid exceeding the maximum message size limits, you should optimize the size of pictures and attachments. Include text version in case of HTML content. 

For eg: You might be sharing an attachment with your candidate containing a large and specific job description shared by the hiring company. This is very relevant to the candidate. But due to its format, it may get flagged as a spam email


No matter how good your emails are you need to give your subscribers an option to opt-out of them.


Because: Firstly it’s a mandatory requirement by law. Secondly, it is a good way to reduce the cost of your email marketing, as sending emails to people who are not interested in hearing from you anymore, is a sheer waste of money.

Most job sites forget that email marketing is effective as it’s permission-based marketing. The people on your email list that is your recipients have given you the authority to send them marketing emails. But, that does not mean that they want to receive your marketing mailers till eternity, as the preference of people keeps on changing. So, include an unsubscribe link at both the header and footer of your email to make unsubscribing an easy and hassle-free experience for your subscribers.
Also, the moment someone opt-out from your email list ensure that you remove them from your list within 10 days to avoid any complaints. As according to the CAN-SPAM Act marketers can take only 10 days to remove an opt-out from their list.

For example, you can’t make your subscribers fill out a form asking for their job preferences or the reason they are opting out before unsubscribing. If you want to survey your unsubscribing candidates, you can request for a survey after they have successfully opted-out. 

Reason # 11. You Don’t Follow the Best Practices for Avoiding Spam Traps


A spam trap is a process created by internet service providers such as Google or Yahoo.  It is used to detect and prevent unauthorized use of data by collecting junk emails sent indiscriminately in bulk. There are so many spam traps out there, and everyone from security companies, anti-spam organizations, and nation-wide ISPs are managing them. Basically, the email that you are not using but you still actively monitor is a spam trap.

When your email hits a spam trap, several things can happen. It depends on variables like the type of trap that was hit, how many times it was hit, and how the spam trap operators are using the trap.

This is what happens when your email hits the spam trap:

  1. Your sender reputation will get damaged, resulting in fewer of your emails to reach the inbox.
  2.  Your  IP address may be added to a blacklist database, which means deliverability for your other emails will be compromised. If you are using a shared IP and other users’ email hits the spam trap. Your email deliverability could also get compromised.
  3. If the email hits a spam trap operated by an ISP, such as Yahoo! or Google, that ISP could permanently blacklist your whole domain.
  4.  If the email hits a trap operated by an anti-spam organization (e.g. Abusix, Spamhaus, SpamCop), delivery of your emails to ISPs and companies who consult that organization’s database will be affected because they use the organization’s information to filter incoming email.

Reason # 12. Your IP Address Has a Bad Reputation

We all know that our domain reputation plays a big role in our email deliverability – a good domain reputation can increase the deliverability of our emails, and a bad one can damage our email deliverability. But, do you know that your IP reputation is also a part of the deliverability puzzle?
Now the question is how to improve your IP reputation?
Well, we have created few resources to help you do that – take a look!

Also Read: How to check Email Sending Reputation Score if you are a Job Site.

Reason # 13. Your email list has a lot of inactive subscribers

Last but not least – if your email list contains a lot of dormant subscribers it can hurt your email deliverability.
Now the question is how to decide whether a user is inactive? Well, if a subscriber hasn’t opened, clicked or responded to any of your emails in the last 6+ months you can consider them as inactive, and you should remove them from your list.
But wait – before you delete these subscribers from your list – you should try to reengage them by sending them a re-engagement campaign. If your inactive subscribers ignore your re-engagement campaign too, it’s time to say goodbye – remove them from your email list.
Most email marketers feel that removing people their email list is a SIN – don’t be one of them. Because, if you continue to send emails to people who aren’t interested in receiving them, internet service providers — like Gmail, and Yahoo will penalize you. And, if you keep doing that your emails may end up in your subscribers’ spam folders. Which in turn will decrease your chances of reaching to people who actually want to get your emails


We all want our emails to get to our targets inboxes. To make sure they will, you need to avoid these mistakes.
Did we miss any other reasons that can hurt the email deliverability? Feel free to chime in below in the comments with additions or feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
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