Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Use LinkedIn InMail Templates

One of the most common concerns on the minds of recruiters is how to increase candidate response rates from LinkedIn InMails.  Recruiters know the problem all too well – candidates are inundated with calls, emails and InMails from recruiters, and so grabbing their attention becomes quite a challenge.

My advice to increase your InMail response rate is simple:  stop using templates.  Why?  Because your generic, un-personalized InMail basically sounds like this to a candidate:

“Hi Robert,

I am a recruiter.  Although I have never met or spoken with you, and know nothing about you, you are a perfect fit for this job.   Read my job description below. Or not, it doesn’t matter, just please call me so I can submit you, because I need to keep my hiring manager happy by submitting people.


Yet another recruiter spamming you”

Okay, so I’m sure that your InMail is not quite that primitive.  However, that is indeed how it sounds to a candidate. So now do you see why you are not getting the response rate that you desire?  The remedy:  stop using generic, pre-written templates, and instead personalize each and every InMail.  Look at each candidate’s LinkedIn profile, and get to know them.  Better yet, use a social recruiting tool to get to know their personal and professional interests on social media (Facebook, YouTube, Google+, GitHub, etc.).

To find candidates quickly and easily on social media, you have several options.  You can buy a social aggregator such as Gild, SwoopTalent, Entelo, Hiring Solved, Talent Bin (part of Monster), or Recruitment Edge (part of Careerbuilder).  Or you can use Chrome extensions, many of which are free.  Some of my favorite chrome extensions for social recruiting are Connectifier Social, Prophet, Lusha and Hunter (formally called Email Hunter).

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Make it Personal

Let’s get back to our InMail to Robert, our fictitious candidate.  Compare the InMail above to this one, written after I took the time to study his LinkedIn profile:

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“Hi Robert,
I hope you are having a great week.

I’m doing some research for a confidential client in Chicago, and found your profile here on Linkedin.

I am impressed by how much you have accomplished since getting your Bachelors degree eight years ago at Villanova (great school, by the way, I have a cousin who is applying there right now as her first choice).  I’m looking to network with people who are passionate about Project Management, and it’s clear from the progression in your career from Odell Systems to Jet Labs that you share that same passion (not to mention your certification from both PMI and Six Sigma).

My client is building a team that is excited about shaping the future of project management for years to come.  I have picked a few people with outstanding profiles like yourself to network with, as I search for the next superstar for my client.

Would you be open to a quick 15-20 minute conversation? I’d like to learn more about your background and at the same time talk about the role in more detail.

Kind Regards,


This type of highly personalized InMail serves three purposes:

  1. It makes the CANDIDATE feel special
  2. It makes YOU sound special
  3. It makes your CLIENT seem special

Robert is far more likely to respond to you, because you have taken time to learn about him, and have put thought into why you would like to connect.  Also notice that you are not shoving a job description under his nose.  In fact, you are not even suggesting that he is a candidate for you role.  Instead, you are asking permission to network with him, because talented candidates tend to know other talented candidates.  And by differentiating yourself amongst the sea of robot-recruiters, you will earn the right to talk to Robert, and have him either suggest himself as a candidate, or refer you to others that he knows.

Put yourself in Robert’s shoes – which type of InMail would you respond to?  Which recruiter would you choose to work with – someone who thinks of you a commodity, or someone who has invested time and energy into learning about you, and who seems to really care about you?


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