Composing a Killer LinkedIn Message as a Recruiter

Andrew Watson
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With over 875 million users, LinkedIn is easily one of the most popular social media platforms and undoubtedly the most popular for professionals looking to network, find new roles, and engage with the wider professional environment.

According to statistics, around 49 million users browse LinkedIn’s job board EVERY WEEK in the hope of finding a new role for themselves – and more than 200 million job applications are submitted through the platform every month.

Life before LinkedIn for recruiters seems almost as distant and dusty as… well, as some of the unread messages in my LinkedIn inbox actually. Here’s the good news though: it only takes a few small changes for LinkedIn messages to go from drab to fab.

Do NOT bulk-message

There is nothing worse than receiving a message that is clearly a copy-and-paste job from a recruiter using a scattergun approach, sending the same thing to anyone with ‘marketing’ in their job title.

An impersonal opening line and a generic main body are guaranteed to make candidates feel like one of many - and will do very little to convince a prospect to connect and engage with you. At best, it can be a boring waste of time to read one of these messages, at worst – it will lead to candidates receiving roles totally irrelevant to them, like a job that’s based in a different part of the world. These messages are never going to bring the right outcomes and will paint you as someone who doesn’t care about making the right fit for the client and the candidate but just about making a placement and earning a fee.

DO personalise

The messages that WILL bring outcomes are the personalised ones.

Do some quick research to make sure you can produce a message that is clearly targeted at your recipient. For candidates, this means you can pick out the key aspects of a role that will speak to them - perhaps the new role comes with a promotion or is based in an industry they are interested in. This is information that can easily be gleaned from looking at their current role and interests listed on their profile.

For prospective clients, it is crucial to identify if they are decision maker or an influencer who works in the department you are keen to recruit for. This ensures that you ask the right questions to the right people and can tailor your message to suit the role they play in recruiting for their company.

Do NOT draw it out

Receiving a long message with a number of paragraphs or simply one never-ending block of text will often fall on deaf ears.

This is your elevator pitch, and the best relationships with clients or candidates will always be built in person (or at least over the phone or via zoom), so the goal of your InMail is simply to win a call or a meeting. In today’s world of short-form and click-bait content, it is unlikely that anyone will sit down and read a novel-length message. Don’t try to sell too much information about the role – the time for that will come later!

DO stick to a short and snappy structure

An attention-grabbing opening line that is customised to the recipients’ needs is all that is needed to get your candidates and clients interested. Follow this by adding a brief highlight of the role for candidates. For clients, a short description of the candidate you would like to spec or an explanation of how you will add value will do wonders!

From here you must always close your messages with a clear CTA. Do this by asking to organise a call or meeting - and be specific about it!

Do NOT make it all about you

InMail messages are not the place to be preaching about how good a recruiter you are or simply asking for things. A message from a strange salesman you have never spoken to, asking you to apply for a job or give them money to recruit your vacancies will always be met with a suitable level of skepticism.

As a candidate, I have received messages from recruiters who would take my CV for a role without asking even the most basic qualifying questions to establish how the role suits me. As for clients, they receive emails, messages, and phone calls every day from recruiters who simply ask to recruit for their roles without establishing where their pain points are or adding any value. Don’t be one of those!

DO make it all about them

When entering a cold conversation, it is always helpful to build some reciprocity – which basically means adding value to your recipient to show your worth and to warm up a future discussion where they are familiar with what help you can provide. To do it right, you should ask questions to better understand where it is you can add value. This will show the other person that you are genuinely interested in their needs and can showcase your expertise in providing solutions.

For candidates, you should take the time to understand their needs and weaknesses and provide solutions in the form of advice on sharpening up their CV or Interview Skills. This will cement your place as a trustworthy recruiter and reassure them that you will bring them relevant roles that might actually better their situation.

For clients, you should try to understand their pain points and the gaps in their knowledge. An effective way to do this and show your value is to help educate them on the landscape of the candidates in their industry. Sharing recruitment statistics and current average salary expectations will show your expertise and convince them to enlist your help on current or future unfilled vacancies. Also, being realistic about the current market is how you can stand out from all the other recruiters that are promising them the stars and the moon.

Whilst these changes will make your LinkedIn messages more likely to be read, remember to be realistic. Cold messages will have unpredictable results by nature; you’ll always have more luck with a warm introduction, so don’t put all your eggs in the InMail basket! However, a little time and thought can improve your LinkedIn response rate so that the time you do spend there is productive. 

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