Why are my Recruitment emails marked as spam?

The recruitment process generally involves a lot of communication between yourselves and your applicants.  HR Partner helps you to facilitate this interaction by providing an easy way to send emails out to (and now to even receive emails back from) your applicants.

But sometimes, the emails being sent out to your applicants may not reach them, or may be marked as 'spam' emails on their end.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot that we can do to prevent that, but there are some steps that we can take to try and minimize the flagging of outgoing emails as spam.

Checking The Logs

Firstly, it might pay to check that the emails have actually left the system and have not bounced back.  You can do this by checking the message logs in your HR Partner company.

In short, if you see the email in the logs, it means that it was sent out of our system successfully.  Once sent from our servers though, the email is out of our jurisdiction and we have no further control over it at all.

Setting a 'Reply To' Address

By default, all emails going out from HR Partner have the ' From' email address set to admin@hrpartner.io.  This is because (ironically, to reduce spam), our hosting provider insists that only emails from our hrpartner.io domain can be sent out using their Email service.

However, we can customize the email a little by setting the ' Reply To' header information to have any replies to the email sent to a specific address.  When entering or editing a Job Listing in HR Partner, you have the option to set the replies to go to a specific address, or even to more than one address, by filling in this field:

Any email address(es) you enter in here will be set as the ' Reply To' header in all outgoing messages from the recruitment system pertaining to this job.  If you leave this field blank, then the default 'Reply To' will be set as the name and email address of the admin user who is nominated as the 'Company Owner'.

NOTE: The 'Company Owner' is usually the admin user who initially set up your HR Partner company.  It can be changed to another admin user, but this can only be done by our support team by sending us a request in writing

If you have set a ' Reply To' address but your applicants still report their emails going to spam, then perhaps you could try changing the email address that the replies are going to.  Many email systems detect if the reply to is a free email address (i.e. GMail or Hotmail etc.) and flag those as a higher risk.  

Using 'catch all' email addresses like hello@mycompany.com can also sometimes cause false flags, but are less likely.  You may have to play around with the reply email address to see what works best for you.

PROBLEM: While most email systems will respect the fact that the 'From' and 'Reply To' headers are legitimately different.  However, some systems will consider this a possible spam attack and flag the email correspondingly.  This is especially true if the spam filtering is set to a 'Very High' or 'Brutal' level, as it bypasses all other sensibility checks and easily triggers a false positive.

Using Inbound Emails

Another way to try and minimize false spam filtering is to use the new inbound email feature in HR Partner.  This allows incoming email replies from your candidates to be stored directly against the applicants within the job listing.

You will need to turn on inbound emails in your global company settings, and then also within the actual Job Listing itself by ensuring this checkbox is ticked:

You can leave the email reply field above that blank and just tick this box, and what will happen is that BOTH the ' From' and 'Reply To' header in the email will be <your job name>@<your company subdomain>.hrpartner.email, which will be less confusing for most spam filters and increase the chances of your emails being received by the recipient successfully.

This will also make it much easier for you to see your applicant's responses all directly within HR Partner as well.  Using the old way, you could certainly send emails out of HR Partner, but replies would have to go into your external email Inbox.  

Now you can have the best of both worlds and have replies go to just HR Partner's Inbox, or both the HR Partner Inbox and your general email Inbox if you prefer.

Prevent False Applications

We are had reports of some customers having their job boards spammed by false applicants.  There are 'job bots' out there whose sole purpose is to bombard job listings with fake applications, but using stolen email addresses to do so.  

Unfortunately, if you get lots of these fake applications against your jobs, and you have automated response emails going out to these stolen email addresses, they will be flagged as spam emails by the recipients, and if you get hundreds of these flags, email systems around the world will 'learn' from these patterns and deem that the email address (i.e. your email address) sending these responses is abusive and automatically flag any future emails from that address.

We highly recommend setting a CAPTCHA test on your job board to try and eliminate 'bot' applications and to ensure that only valid human applicants are applying for your available positions.  

We recently updated the system to provide you with a couple of CAPTCHA options to reduce bot attacks, especially if you are noticing a lot of fake 'John Smith' type applications against your jobs.


There is no one set way to reduce the chances of your outgoing recruitment emails being flagged as spam, but we hope that some of the suggestions above will help you to reduce the risk.  We recommend that you try one or more things, and see if your results improve, otherwise tweak a little, and see what works best.