Writing InMail to Potential Candidates

Steve Lowisz
LinkedIn is an incredible tool for recruiters looking to find and connect with candidates. However, it also can be a serious challenge to get candidates to respond – or even read – cold InMails.

Just like any form of good communication, cold InMail messages require a thoughtful strategy.

To learn how to increase open and response rates on LinkedIn, read on for some basic InMail best practices!

Stay Away From Small Talk

Try not to fill the message with needless small talk. No one’s got time for that. The whole message should only be a few sentences. If someone has to spend more than a minute just to get your pitch, you’ve probably lost their interest already.

Remember, InMail subject lines are just as important as the InMail itself. Make them snappy, memorable, and concise.

Ditch Impersonal InMail Templates

We know how appealing InMail templates are when time is of the essence for a recruiter. However, those templates can actually reduce response rates.

If you send a personalized message in place of bulk InMailing, you can increase response rates by 30%. This isn’t to say that you can’t use templates; just jazz them up a bit and tailor them to the candidate.

Which brings us to our next tip…

Make the Message About the Candidate, Not About You

Speak directly to candidates. Use “you” whenever possible. Replace over-used clichés like, “I have a great sales role that pays XYZ…” with “You have the sales expertise to lead our team.” People are happier when they talk about themselves. Give them the opportunity to do so. Plus, it never hurts to stroke the ego a little bit.

When you tailor cold InMails to specific people, it shows that you actually took the time to review their background. It also builds credibility that you aren’t a self-serving recruiter cranking out InMails to whoever crosses your path.

Establish Common Ground

Commonalities jumpstart the relationship-building process. So, if you see that you and a candidate are part of the same group, went to the same school, or have similar past experiences, weave it into your messaging. The more unique, the better.

Talk Like a Real Person

Most folks can tell if they’ve received a copy-and-pasted template. As we mentioned earlier, it’s completely fine to do as long as it’s personalized. When personalizing messages, act like your everyday self.

Write how you talk, ditch jargon, and don’t be overly formal. Approach the cold InMail like you’re meeting the person outside of a screen. This may sound like a scary strategy, but you should be more afraid of sounding disingenuous and stiff.

Just think, are your friends stale and boring or are they fun and easy to talk with?

Strike a Balance Between Money and Growth

A LinkedIn study found more than 70% of candidates want to hear salary range in the first message. This is likely because 45% of candidates claim that higher compensation is the top reason that they switch jobs. Tied for second place are better skills and more growth opportunities.

Interestingly enough, science disagrees that it’s all about money. Research shows that income-induced happiness caps out around $75k per year. So, while income boosts may give us a temporary high, it’s best to briefly mention the salary range and then move on to other aspects. Be sure to emphasize opportunities for growth and impact.

Wait to Request a Referral

It’s a bad move to ask for a referral before you’ve even had the opportunity to get to know the candidate. They won’t feel unique or in-demand if you close the first InMail with a referral request; it just looks like they’re another number in a long, faceless list. And frankly, it reinforces the ugly stereotype that recruiters are only out for themselves. It may not be intentional, but it’s important to see things from the others’ point of view.

At any rate, if you don’t receive a response in the first few days, it’s OK to reach out and then ask for a referral—but do it politely!

Send InMails Whenever

Despite popular belief, it doesn’t matter when you reach out to prospective candidates. Response rates don’t depend on days or times; it boils down to when people on the receiving end have time. That might be mid-week, or it might be Sunday afternoon.

Using these tips, find the strategy that works best for you and get to InMailing!