LinkedIn InMails Don’t Work. Try These 4 Alternatives for Contacting Candidates.

Posted by SeekOut on Apr 17, 2018 4:26:03 AM

You’ve put together a strong search.

You have a saved project full of great candidates.

Now, you just need a way to get in contact with them.

So, you do what 85 percent of recruiters do to get in touch with talent:

You send them a LinkedIn InMail.

And inevitably, you end up disappointed. Why?

Simply put, because LinkedIn InMails have a pretty dismal response rate.

That’s right:

Despite InMail being most recruiters’ preferred method of contacting candidates, LinkedIn themselves admit that response rates are a mere 28 percent on average.

That means for every ten people you contact, less than three of them are getting back to you.

And to be clear, the responses you get back aren’t all enthusiastic candidates excited to hear about your opportunity.

That 28 percent response rate includes accepted messages...and declined.

In other words, those three responses will probably include one or two people saying “thanks, but no thanks.”

And for most recruiters, that just won’t cut it.

According to SocialTalent, your average recruiter’s candidate-to-hire conversion rate is just 0.4%.

That means you need to identify 225 potential candidates just to make one hire.

And with just one or two in every ten people even accepting your LinkedIn InMail, you’ll be spending a lot of time (and energy) working to fill that one job.

Luckily, there are other ways to contact candidates that are much more effective.

But, before I share those, let me explain the problem with LinkedIn InMails:

Here’s Why LinkedIn InMail Doesn’t Work.

Look, with 546 million members and counting, LinkedIn is clearly doing something right.

And when they first introduced InMail, recruiters loved it. So much, in fact, that in 2014, AdWeek highlighted that 48 percent of recruiters used LinkedIn exclusively for contacting candidates.

But, that’s exactly where the problem comes from.

At the time when LinkedIn InMail was taking off, recruiters could send a message to a candidate and if they didn’t hear back, LinkedIn would credit the InMail back to their account.

That policy made it so that recruiters could blast out up-to-100 InMails at a time, with no repercussions.

Recruiters thought: “Who cares if candidates don’t respond to me? I’ll just get the InMail credit back and send it to someone else.”

Which is admittedly a great experience for recruiters…

But not so much for the people they contacted.

LinkedIn quickly changed their policy in 2015, but the damage had already been done:

Top talent — especially in the most in-demand fields like tech — were tired of LinkedIn InMails. Many candidates receive upwards of 20 InMails per week according to one source.

And that over-saturation of InMails led to a ton of fatigue for passive candidates.

As Dorothy Dalton, CEO of 3Plus International, puts it her personal blog:

“[P]eople are ignoring notification emails from social networks because of the sheer volume of rubbish coming into their inboxes. InMails are not important enough and are often routed to other junk mail boxes. Gmail segregates its email inbox into four compartments, shifting all social networking notification emails, leaving only high-value emails in their inbox.”

In short, LinkedIn is so big and LinkedIn InMail are so overused, that their effectiveness just isn’t what it used to be.

Today’s recruiters need to be more creative in their approach to connecting with top talent.

And here are four ways you can make that happen:

4 Alternatives to LinkedIn InMail that Get You in Contact with Candidates

#1. Good Ol’ Fashioned Cold Calling.

I’ll admit, cold calling a candidate can be pretty intimidating.

And for many recruiters, the old “smile and dial” method of contacting people may seem outdated.

But, the truth is thart a 2016 survey of recruiters found picking up the phone was the most effective way to get in contact with potential applicants — by far.

Cold calls had a 44 percent response rate for recruiters.

Of course, when you reach out has a significant impact on your success.

A study from CallHippo found that the best time to make calls is between 4:00pm and 5:00pm on Wednesdays.

But, that’s not the only factor in cold calling success. If you really want a high response rate, you absolutely must do this next step in contacting candidates:

#2. Follow Up, Follow Up, Then Follow Up Again.

One of the problems with LinkedIn InMail is that until a candidate responds, you can only send one message at a time. (Unless you want to use another of your valuable InMail credits).

That means most recruiters send one message to a candidate...and then move on to someone else.

Which, frankly, just doesn’t work.

A report from MarketingDonut found that 80 percent of “sales” (a.k.a. hired candidates) require five follow-ups.

But, Yesware found that 70 percent of emails stop after the first one.

So, despite the fact that data shows you need to follow-up to “close a deal,” few are actually doing it.

This can single-handedly be the easiest way to differentiate yourself from other recruiters and have a huge impact on your response rate.

Michelle McSweeney over at SocialTalent explains why on their blog:

“Believe it or not, some [candidates] enjoy the feeling of being chased by recruiters. They like to get a couple of messages before they feel as though it’s time to reply. In-demand candidates could be getting courted by plenty of recruiters at any given time so they know all too well about the dance that’s involved. We often say that sourcing is like a courtship, so don’t forget that some candidates may have the same view…and they may want you to do your groundwork before they will agree to move forward.”

But, because LinkedIn limits you to one InMail at a time, you need an actual email address to contact candidates. That’s where SeekOut can help:

#3. Find Candidate Email Addresses in SeekOut

The SeekOut team recently announced the launch of our new Google Chrome extension, Sourcing Assistant.

Now, recruiters using our platform have two ways to find candidate email addresses:

  • From a search in the SeekOut platform. With over 100 million candidate profiles and over 25 different filters for sorting through candidates, thousands of recruiters are turning to SeekOut as their primary sourcing tool. For those that do, accessing verified email addresses is as simple as clicking the “Get Contact Info” button from a candidate’s profile card:


  • From social sites like LinkedIn via Sourcing Assistant. Even if you haven’t migrated your sourcing strategy over to SeekOut, our Chrome extension allows you to access email addresses on your go-to sites for finding candidates:


The combination of cold calling and sending emails to a real email address (as opposed to LinkedIn InMail) is a great first step toward improving your response rate.

(Don’t forget to check out our cold recruiting email template for some suggestions on how to write a killer email to candidates.)

But there’s one other method to loop into your outreach strategy we haven’t covered yet:

#4. Use social profiles for omni-channel candidate engagement.

In 2017, 81 percent of the U.S. population had at least one social account.

And what does every social account have?

A way to contact the person behind the profile.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all have direct message capabilities. You can also tag people in a post of your own (or one you think a candidate might find interesting) to engage candidates.

Omni-channel recruitment marketing isn’t something reserved for huge companies with big marketing budgets.

It’s something you as an individual contributor can do to communicate with candidates in a creative, out-of-the-box way.

And to be clear, finding those social profiles doesn’t mean scrolling through the thousands of people with the same name on every social channel.

SeekOut includes social channels alongside email addresses on our platform and through Sourcing Assistant. That includes:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • GitHub
  • Pinterest
  • AngelList
  • Klout
  • LinkedIn

All easily accessible from wherever you source talent.

And That’s It…

Expanding your candidate outreach strategy beyond LinkedIn InMail will boost your response rate and give you better access to the candidates who started ignoring recruiter InMails a long time ago.

Think we missed something?

What other outreach strategies do you use to contact candidates?


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Topics: seekout