4 InMail Mistakes You Might Be Making

November 27, 2014

Most of us get inundated with messages every day: texts, emails, online chats, social media alerts, and even good, old-fashioned voicemails. Studies show we spend around 13 hours a week going through email alone — and that’s before InMails enter the equation. You can see why a prospect would ignore (or trash) anything that doesn’t immediately pique their interest. 

Think that’s happening with your InMails to potential candidates? To figure out what’s going wrong, ask yourself if you’re making any of these common mistakes, based on the Talent Connect session, Hit Your Target: InMail Best Practices, and the Recruiter’s Guide to Writing Effective InMails.

1. You overload your prospects with information.


While it may be tempting to throw in as many details as possible about your company and the opportunity, remember, candidates are just as time crunched as you are.

Quick fix: Don’t hide the hook. Rather than listing out every skill required for the job or sharing your full company history, get the prospect’s attention by telling them briefly what’s great about your company and the role.

For example, let them know that you’re representing a multibillion-dollar business and the position you’re recruiting for will allow them to help shape the direction of the industry. Or, perhaps you’re with a boutique firm that would enable the candidate to make an immediate impact. Get to the point in the first line or two.


However, read on to avoid taking the “about us” concept too far and falling victim to the next mistake:

2. You make it all about you and your company.


Have you ever been cornered at a party by someone who struck up a long conversation – all about themselves? Meanwhile, you nodded politely while planning your escape in your head. It’s the same for InMails. People won’t want to engage in a conversation with you if they sense it’s going to be completely focused on you and your needs.

Quick fix: Focus on the prospect, and what they have to gain from a conversation with you.


3. You don’t make the prospect feel special.


Cranking out obvious templates with no personalization only frustrates candidates and damages the recruiter’s brand. Remember, InMail is just the initial contact, not a sales pitch or screening opportunity.

Quick fix: Show the prospect you’ve done some homework. Point out common groups or interests, refer to content they’ve posted, or mention connections you both know. Then make it enticing to get back to you, i.e.: “I’d like to learn more about you,” or “I’d like to talk further about X project you’ve been working on.”

Suzanne Myers, Director of Talent Acquisition at RealPage, says her team gets higher than average response rates because they review all the professional information a candidate posts on LinkedIn and then focus on the connections to their business. Check out this post from top LinkedIn recruiter Brendan Browne for more on this tactic.

4. You have bad timing.

Stay away from weekends, when prospects aren’t necessarily checking in or in work mode. InMail messages sent on Saturdays are 16% less likely to garner a response.

Quick fix: The best time to reach out is between 9 and 10 a.m. local time on a Thursday. You’ll be 12% more likely to get a response then than on Friday afternoon when many prospects have checked out mentally.

Moving forward: test your progress

Once you’ve mistake-proofed your InMails to potential candidates and have done some outreach, check out the analytics page in Recruiter to measure how well you’re being received. Then, you can make some tweaks and see what language and approach work best.

recruiter dashboard

For more information and best practices, check out the Recruiter’s Guide to Writing Effective InMails.

* image by Fabian Reus