Positive exchanges between recruiters and LinkedIn users have increased by 40% in the last 2-years—all the more reason why an InMail strategy should be top of mind.

An InMail is your golden ticket to connect with some of the best candidates on the market. And they evaluate your communication style just as much as you evaluate theirs—and this includes first touch InMails. So, how exactly do you craft a successful InMail that sparks interest and triggers a response?

Well, that’s why we created this article: to share InMail blunders and wins to help you make more placements, faster.

9 LinkedIn InMail Blunders 😢

Mass-copy + paste InMails. Generic InMails are a great way to get left on “read.” It might save you time in the moment, but it hurts you in the end when your response rates dip.

Asking for too much too soon. Information overload is pretty much a guarantee that your InMail is a goner. Save the nitty-gritty details for later once you have their attention in the bag.

Writing long personal intros. People can already see your name in the header. Plus, they have free rein to check out your profile with just one click. 

Making it all about you or the company. It’s too early in the game to drone on about culture, company (or personal) history, clients, or perks. 

Asking for a referral in your first touch InMail. When you jump right from outreach to referral in just a few sentences, it’s clear that you’re the priority, not the candidate.

Long subject lines. People spend around 13 hours every week sifting through their inboxes. Folks want to know which email or InMail should be trashed or opened at first glance.

Reaching out to people who aren’t suitable for the role. While 3.4 million LinkedIn users have enabled the Open Candidate feature, that doesn’t mean it’s open season. If you reach out to unfit or disinterested candidates, consider the InMail an automatic loss.

Nonspecific compliments. A generic compliment is a red flag to passive candidates. It makes people feel like they’re just another face in the crowd.

Skipping the follow-up. Even though the next steps might seem obvious to you, you can’t assume the same for recipients.

8 LinkedIn InMail Wins 🎉

Tailored messages. Personalized InMails see close to 50% higher open rates, 22% higher replies, and hiring rates are 43% above average. Here are a few tips to ramp up customized InMails:

  • Reference user-generated content. Comb through candidates’ recent posts or achievements and mention them in your message. This tells folks that you put in the effort and didn’t just do a quick keyword search.
  • Reference to former employers. Recruiters who name drop former employers experience a 27% increase in responses.
  • Reference specific work experience and skills. Flattery is OK as long as it’s genuine. If there’s a particular skill or current or previous role that demonstrates candidates’ expertise, let them know.
  • Refer to candidates as “you.” Make it sounds like you’re having a conversation, not selling.

Emphasize commonalities. If you have something in common with your ideal candidate, mention it. One of the tricks to forming that crucial connection with a candidate is to establish common ground.

If you have any of these in common, try to naturally work them into your InMails:

  • Companies. Folks who already follow your company are 81% more likely to send a note back.
  • Groups. Mention groups you have in common and increase your chances of a response by 21%.
  • Education. Education commonalities show that you two have the potential to develop a bond, even if the college experience ended years ago.

Be short and concise. Experiment with techniques that spark curiosity in fewer than 200 words—you could see a 27% increase in responses.

End with a question. Whatever note you end on, end it with a question. Whether it’s asking for a call or more details about their career path. Give candidates a reason to respond.

Give a clear call-to-action. Folks are more responsive and attentive if they’re given clear directions. Offer up a few times that you’re available to talk. That puts the ball in their court. Fun fact: ending on words like “connect,” “discuss,” and “chat” can boost responses.

Combine different contact methods. It might be easier for candidates to connect through another medium. Be accommodating and throw in your direct phone number and email to spare the back-and-forth.

Engage with candidates first. Folks are 2x more likely to respond if you interact with them on social media before you send the first InMail.

Write short, compelling subject lines. Subject lines with 3 words or less increase response rates by 14%. Targeted, attention-grabbing subject lines receive a 93% open rate.

What’s your secret sauce?

Have you found any of these best practices to be true? So totally untrue? Do you have any go-to strategies of your own? Let us know in the comments to be featured in upcoming Qualigence content. And, of course, to help other recruiters kill the game like you do every day 😉.