Creating Custom Email Templates Using HTML

Updated by Sean Welch

Your Criteria account includes default invitation and reminder email templates, which provide the information your candidates need to complete their assessments. Looking for tips on improving your candidate experience, download our Candidate Communication Toolkit.

You can also create custom email templates to include the additional information you need candidates to know. Click here to learn more about creating custom email templates.

To make your custom email template more visually appealing and emphasize the assessment link candidates need to click on, you can use the “Source Code” button to add some html code to your template.

Not familiar with using html code? No problem, we have created an example for you here.

HTML code example

Here is the full code for our example email template. Below, we will highlight the items you will need to change to suit your organization's needs and where to add it in your Criteria account.

<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="299063-512" height="71" /></a></p>

<table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">



<td style="background-color: #f0f0f0; padding: 20px;">

<p><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Assessment Invitation</span></strong></p>

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">{[firstName]},</span></p>


<p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;">You have been invited by&nbsp;[COMPANY_NAME] to take an assessment. Click the button below to start the assessment.</span></p>

<p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Expires on: {[eventExpirationDate]}</strong></span></p>


<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="20">



<td style="background-color: #00b7ce; text-align: center;">

<p style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Start Assessment:&nbsp;{[candidateTestingLink]}<br /></strong></span></p>





<p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;">Please give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete the assessment. If your session expires during your assessment, you will not be able to finish.</span></p>





<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 8pt;">You can also copy and paste the following URL:&nbsp;{[candidateTestingLink]}</span></p>

<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 8pt;">If you need assistance regarding your test event, please contact Customer Support by clicking Help below, and reference the following event ID: <strong>{[eventId]}</strong></span></p>

<p><img src="" alt="CriteriaLogo.png" /></p>

<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 8pt;"><a href="">Terms of Use</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="">Privacy Policy</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="">Disability Accommodations</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="">Help</a><br />

&copy; Criteria Corp 750 N. San Vicente Blvd. Suite 1500 E. Tower West Hollywood, CA 90069</span></p>

HTML lines to update

Line 1: this is where your organization's logo will sit. Criteria do not host images on behalf of our customers but your own organization may have this function set up already. We recommend checking with your Marketing or IT departments to see if they can host your images for your custom email template. If not, some of our customers are using the image hosting site below and have found it reliable. Please use your own due diligence before using this or any other image hosting site to ensure it is right for your organization.

<p><a href=""><img src=" signature logo.jpg" alt="299063-512" height="71" /></a></p>

  • Change to your own organization's website or another address you want candidates to be directed to if they click on the image.
  • Change to the URL for your hosted image. This might be your organization's logo or a promotional image.

Line 5: this line is for the grey box that the main text of the email sits within.

<td style="background-color: #f0f0f0; padding: 20px;">

  • Change f0f0f0 to the HEX code of the background color you wish to use.
  • If your organization does not already have colors specified in a style guide, you can use an online tool, such as this one or this one, to select your colors.
  • Colors used in displaying web pages can be specified using RBG values. Each color has a red value, a green value and a blue value, which are measured between 0 and 255. The HEX code compresses these RBG values into a 6 digit code. Online tools such as the ones linked above can convert between the RBG values and the HEX code for you.

Line 15: this line is for the colored box around the assessment link.

<td style="background-color: #00b7ce; text-align: center;">

  • Change 00b7ce to the HEX code of the color you wish to use for the assessment link box. We recommend using lighter colors as darker colors will make the text in the box harder for candidates to see.

Line 16: this line is for the text in the colored box around the assessment link.

<p style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Start Assessment: {[candidateTestingLink]}<br /></strong></span></p>

  • If your organization's color scheme is dark, you can change the font color from black (color: #000000;) to white (color: #ffffff;) to make it easier for candidates to read.

How to add to your Criteria account

To add a html email template to your account, log in to your Criteria platform and select “Email Templates” from the Manage dropdown list.

Click “Create Email Template”.

In the email body field, click the Source Code icon, which looks like two arrows pointing away from each other.

Paste in the source code for your email template and click Ok.

Your email template will appear in the email body field. To update the html for your template, click the Source Code button and make any changes there.

Updating the content

You can change any of the text in the email template from within the email body field, by overwriting text you want to update. We recommend not making any changes to the text at the bottom of the email, which contains links to our help content for your candidates.

Text that is shown in {[ ]} (for example {[firstName]}) indicates an email variable that drops the relevant text for each candidate into the email when it is sent from the system. When updating the text content of your email, the text shown in the template for any email variables should not be amended; the text must be exact so the system knows to insert the appropriate text into the email.

[COMPANY_NAME] in the email template is not an email variable; the text saved here is what will be sent to your candidates. You will need to update this to your organization's name (or another identifier you wish to use, such as department name).

{[candidateTestingLink]} is an email variable that must be included in the email template so it can be used as an invitation email. As it is an email variable, this can’t be converted to a hyperlink.

{[eventId]} is an email variable that drops the candidate’s unique test event ID into the email when it is sent from the system. We recommend including this in your email template so candidates can return to their session if required.

If you will not be setting expiry dates for your candidates' invitations, the expiry date line should be removed from the email template. If the line is left in and there is no expiry date set, the candidate will see Expires on: but the remainder of the line will be blank. This may confuse some candidates.

Before putting your new email template into use, we recommend creating a dummy candidate and sending the invitation email to yourself to check how it will appear to candidates.

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