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Five tips to increase your InMail response rates

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 | By Dan Dackombe
Dan Dackome

Used properly, LinkedIn’s InMail platform can be enormously valuable for recruiters looking to make that initial introduction to a prospect. 

However, you may find that response rates to your messages remain stubbornly – and disappointingly – low if you treat InMail as a simple mass direct mail tool. The personal touch is key. 

Here are my top five tips for improving your InMail response rates.

1. Send personalised messages. This should go without saying, but it bears repeating. Higher response rates increase the likelihood of making a hire, and personalised InMail messages garner 37% higher response rates than generic bulk InMails. So, if you simply bombard members with generic InMails, you are making your job an awful lot harder. And, what’s more, you are making all your fellow recruiters’ jobs harder by conditioning members to be less responsive to InMails from recruiters. 

Personalising InMails isn’t just about highlighting things prospects mention on their profiles, though – look at the content they share, comment on, and ‘like’, as well as the Groups they belong to and the Influencers they follow. This wealth of information can help you garner greater insights into their professional interests and motivations, providing much more meaningful ways to InMail them than just, “Hey, interested in a job?”

2. Send InMails on Thursdays, between 9 and 10am. At LinkedIn’s recent Talent Connect event in Sydney, LinkedIn’s senior director of marketing and speaker James Raybould asked the 500-plus recruiters in the room to raise their hand if they were tracking the days of the week and times of the day at which they saw the highest response rates to their InMails. Only two put their hands up, which is a shame given that LinkedIn’s own research has found those factors influence InMail response rates. 

The optimal day and time to send InMails, it turns out, is Thursday between 9 and 10am (in the prospect’s timezone). Meanwhile, InMail messages sent on Saturdays are 16% less likely to be accepted than those sent during the week.

3. InMail members who view your profile. Ashley Cheretes, manager of talent brand and media at Avis Budget Group, frequently reviews who has looked at her profile. Then she sends every relevant member an individual thank you message, like, “Hi David. I noticed you checked out my profile. Thanks! Is there anything I can help you with?” It may be simple, but it is very effective. “Prospects regularly check out my profile because I manage Avis Budget Group’s talent brand. Even though I’m not a recruiter, the InMails I send them have a 60-70% response rate. And the best part is that they often lead to interviews and/or referrals.”

4. Ask a shared connection for a warm introduction. There are few things I dislike more than cold InMails. That’s because you can easily see on LinkedIn (and other social networks for that matter) how you are connected to a prospect, and in my experience warm introductions made via a shared connection almost always receive a response. 

So, before sending a prospect a cold InMail, check out the ‘Connection Path’ module in the LinkedIn Recruiter recruiting and candidate search tool or the ‘How You’re Connected’ module on LinkedIn.com to see how you’re connected to a prospect. Then ask a shared connection to introduce you. If that person isn’t able to make the introduction, simply mention your shared connection when you contact the prospect.

5. Reference a shared hobby or personal interest. Instead of contacting prospects based only on skills, expertise and experience, also consider their hobbies and personal interests. Say, for instance, that you are struggling to recruit optometrists in Surrey. You could try using the ‘All Groups’ filters in Recruiter to find relevant members who joined LinkedIn Groups related to popular hobbies among doctors in Surrey – golf, perhaps. Then send those members InMails saying something like, “I noticed in your profile that you’re an avid golfer. Our company is based in Virginia Water, just a stone’s throw from the famous Wentworth Golf Club”. This more networking-orientated type of message can help increase response rates and fill troublesome vacancies.

Dan Dackombe is director EMEA, search & staffing, LinkedIn

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