So you’ve published your job post and the resumes have started to flow. Now you’re ready to evaluate each applicant and send out a set of initial interview invitations. As you write a first interview letter, keep one key fact in mind: Your letter will serve as an invitation, not an announcement or a command.
The most successful LinkedIn sourcing superstars have mastered Boolean search and learned to manipulate the platform’s filters to unearth those candidate gems, and they’ve also cracked the code on something equally important: they understand how to write a LinkedIn InMail that candidates can’t ignore.
An InMail, which is LinkedIn’s messaging system for linking up with people who you don’t already have a direct connection to, is often the first point of contact between you/your company and a potential candidate, and well, you know what they say about first impressions.
In the tips that follow, we’ll spell out how to create an effective message, but before you even put pen to paper and write a LinkedIn InMail, there’s one critical action you must take: update your own LinkedIn profile so that you seem like someone worth talking to and someone who loves where they work.
This is key as you can guarantee that the people you’ll be reaching out to will look at your profile, just as you’ve looked at theirs. And the last thing you want to do is to seem elusive, mysterious, unapproachable, or unhappy in your job.
How to Write a LinkedIn InMail
1. Research, research, research.
Clearly, we can’t emphasize this enough. Regardless of whether you have a nearly never-ending supply of InMails or a small, finite amount in your account, you want to thoroughly research every candidate you’re interested in messaging. For one, this will help you decide if they’re indeed qualified and worth contacting, but it will also prove invaluable when it comes time to write a LinkedIn InMail that’s tailored to your prospect’s interests and thus engaging and worth reading and responding to. This means going beyond just scanning their LinkedIn profile. See what other social accounts are linked to their profile and check those out. Have a look at what groups they’re part of and investigate accordingly. Read any publications or peruse any digital portfolio work they may have attached.
2. Aim to establish rapport.
The purpose of your message should be to start a conversation – not to procure a resume, convince a prospect to lodge a job application, or get them to recommend someone else if they’re not interested in talking to you. You want to build a relationship that’s built on credibility and trust, and to do that, you need to prove that what’s in their best interest is your priority. Making demands merely shows that you’re in it for yourself and your company.
3. Hyperpersonalize your letter.
The absolute worst mistake you can make is sending the same generic message in every LinkedIn InMail. Second to that is mistakenly assuming that including someone’s name in the salutation is sufficient personalization. When you write a LinkedIn InMail, weave in references to a candidate’s individual skills, experiences, interests, etc. This simple action quickly and effectively communicates that you’ve taken time to think critically about this candidate and their accomplishments, which implies that you value them.
4. Leverage your mutual connections.
You may not share a common friend, colleague, or professional connection with a passive candidate, but it is possible that you’re part of the same group, attended the same university, previously worked at the same company, etc. If this is the case, absolutely make mention of it when you write a LinkedIn InMail. According to the platform’s own research, mentioning mutual groups or past employers you share increases response rates 21 and 27 percent respectively.
5. Keep it brief.
LinkedIn provides a whopping InMail word count limit of 2000 characters, but don’t feel obligated to fill this space. On the contrary, keep your message short and tight. Assume the professionals you’re reaching out to are busy people, so engage them quickly and effectively. Start by introducing yourself, move into why you’re reaching out (see tips 3 and 4), and then wrap it up with a clear, concise call to action.
6. Craft a killer subject line.
Even if you’ve written the most engaging InMail message on Earth, if your subject line is subpar, it doesn’t matter. First point of order is convincing a candidate to open your note, and to do that, you need a short, snappy, personalized subject line. Consider employing some email marketing tips and tricks:
• Use the candidate’s name in the subject line
• Time it right – weekend open rates are far lower than weekday open rates
• Pose a question
• Make people feel special
7. Include a call to action.
Don’t leave the candidate wondering what to do next; rather, make it clear how they need to move forward. You want to keep the ball rolling, so consider suggesting connecting for a “quick 15-minute chat” and then give them the option of selecting a few different dates and times – or recommending a date or time that best suits their schedule.