Using Square Brackets in Templates

Created: May 19, 2015 03:25PM PDT      Updated: Dec 09, 2015 09:41AM PST
In TalentBin, we always recommend a personalized approach when contacting promising candidates. We've seen increased response rates and positive responses when our users take the time to add specific information from a candidate's profile page (i.e. professional skill data or other interests).

However, we realize that it can sometimes be hard to remember to add this information, particularly with a typical recruiter's hectic workflow!  
We've built a simple feature into TalentBin to help with this - Let's take a look at how to use square brackets [like these] in your email templates as a reminder to add a personal touch for each candidate.

How are square brackets used?

Square brackets act as a reminder to add personalized and unique information to your outreach emails. Think of them as user-created "fill-in-the-blanks".

Here's an example of a template using square brackets to indicate "more information needed" (You may recognize this as one of the generic templates we automatically include in your TalentBin account):

Image of square brackets within an example email template

Figure 1: Square brackets in an email template

In the example template above, the information inside the square brackets acts as a reminder to insert personalized information about the candidate, such as the website where you found their technical skills (i.e. GitHub, StackOverflow) and/or the particular skills that makes them a good fit for the position (i.e. Java, Python, Ruby, etc).

But you can use square brackets for whatever you want! Just think of it like candidate outreach MadLibs.

MadLibs - How to talk like a pirate

Figure 2: Good old-fashioned MadLibs, like you might remember from your childhood.

Other examples of ways to use square brackets:
  • I was cruising the web looking for candidates for a [role/position] I am trying to fill in [City, State]
  • Your passion for [personal interest of candidate] would make you a great fit for our office!
  • I saw your [repository name] on GitHub and thought you would be the perfect person for this role.

What if I forget to put something in the square brackets, then hit "Send Message"?

TalentBin has a built-in failsafe to prevent you from accidentally sending a message with square brackets to a candidate.

If there are any square brackets in your email when you hit send, you will receive an error message reminding you to either remove or replace them before the message will send.

Figure 3: A message won't send without first removing the brackets

Note: Don't try to use square brackets in your Automated Follow-Up Campaign templates!

Square brackets should only be used in your initial outreach templates (i.e. "Templates not in Campaigns"). In fact, TalentBin will not allow you to add a template to an Automated Follow-Up or Drip Marketing campaign if it contains square brackets.

Figure 4: The error message that occurs if you attempt to add an existing template with customized content like square brackets.

How do I add square brackets to my email templates?

You can type square brackets right into your template using the bracket keys on your keyboard, located next to the "P" key.

Remember, don't hold down shift, or else you will type curly brackets {like these} which serve a totally different purpose in TalentBin email templates (see below).

Figure 5: Where to find the bracket keys on your keyboard (Note: This is a standard English language keyboard and the placement of these keys may differ slightly depending on your country)

How are square brackets [ ] different from the curly brackets { } in my templates?

Curly brackets are usually tied to our 
template variables. These variables are another time-saving feature that pulls specific text from your account preferences in TalentBin, such as the candidate's name, your contact information, or the careers page URL for your company.

Please note: These curly brackets will not act in the same way as the square brackets, so make sure to use square brackets when adding your "fill-in-the-blank" sections.

Figure 6: Square brackets vs. Curly brackets.

See also:

Q​uestions? Thoughts? Either c​ontact your Product Specialist, reach out to us at anytime, or leave a comment below!
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