The Do’s and Don’ts of Contacting Candidates with LinkedIn InMail Templates

Esteban Gomez | August 3, 2019

LinkedIn’s InMail messages and templates are great tools for communicating with potential candidates early on in the recruitment process. As a number of public blunders prove, though, there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about “cold calling” talent on LinkedIn. Before you jump into the process and press send, check out these LinkedIn InMail best practices and 10 InMail do’s and don’ts.

The Do’s of LinkedIn InMail

  1. Do Keep It Brief: “Keep your first communication with passive candidates brief and succinct,” says Melissa Haber, Director of The Executive Search Group’s Legal Staffing division. “Chances are, the candidate is busy, so in the InMail, briefly introduce yourself and state the purpose of the message.”
  2. Do Provide Your Contact Information: “Provide the candidate with your phone number so that if they are interested, they have a much more direct way of contacting you,” suggests Haber.
  3. Do Leverage Common Connections: “If you have a connection in common with the candidate you are contacting, do mention this in your first InMail,” says Haber. “Passive candidates are much more willing to respond to recruiters and hiring managers if they know someone who can vouch for them.”
  4. Do Give Candidates the Chance to Share the Opportunity: “Towards the end of your message, it may be helpful to say, ‘If this is not the right time or type of role for you right now but you know someone who may be interested, please feel free to forward along my information,’” recommends Haber.
  5. Do Develop a Relationship With Candidates: “Show them why working for you will not only be more pay but also a better quality of life,” says Scott Rawitscher of Collaborative Business Solutions. “Getting to know a candidate on a personal level sounds fundamental but is often overlooked. Building an honest relationship will help gauge a candidate and also provide a great reputation for your company.”
  6. Do Put Yourself In the Candidate’s Shoes: “Leaving a company is often filled mixed emotions, and going through an interview is often seen as a daunting task,” says Rawitscher. He recommends approaching passive candidates through InMail with the mindset that you can help them through those issues will go a long way. For example, he says, “Make your first meeting informal in terms of atmosphere and conversation, and not in your office with pre-determined ‘interviewer questions’ ready to judge them.”

The Don’ts of LinkedIn InMail

  1. Don’t Send a Lengthy Job Description: “I have found that using LinkedIn mail works better when you don’t provide a lengthy job description but approach it in a friendly manner,” says Tracey Russell of Naviga Business Services. “Too much information right off the bat can be overwhelming.”
  2. Don’t Overwhelm the Candidate With Asks: “People are cautious about giving out personal information,” says Russell. “Don’t ask for a resume since you already see information on their profile. Don’t expect them to provide you with their phone number right off the bat, especially if they are people you have sourced and don’t have a connection with.”
  3. Don’t Make Any False Promises: Samantha Lambert, Director of Human Resources at Blue Fountain Media, warns against InMail messages that tell the recipient that “they will be ideal for the position.” Leave that judgment up to the hiring manager, and instead mention that “they would make an excellent candidate to be considered.”
  4. Don’t Get Yourself Into a Time Crunch: “Keep in mind that the turnaround for a passive candidate to respond can be anywhere from one to three months’ time,” says Lambert. “Don’t fail to plan ahead by setting unrealistic expectations or hiring goals.”

Follow these LinkedIn InMail best practices for recruiting and contacting candidates and you should avoid the blunders that can costs you a quality candidate. Have any more tips of using InMail? Let us know.

About The Author

Esteban Gomez is a marketing consultant with interviewstream. He loves learning and has a passion for traveling, having visited many countries including China, Colombia, Italy, and Peru.


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