So I have been trying an experiment.  You try it.  I haven't sent an inmail in 2 months.  I have only sent invitations to connect with a brief explanation of why.  It seems to be working well.  It could possibly be working better.  Maybe it is more personal?  I don't know.  I wanted to see if anyone else had tried this.  Someone with not much $$ to spend on LI Recruiter- this could be your answer.

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Well, I use the LI Talent Finder, think it's around 100/mo. I don't particularly use it for InMails, mostly so I have more access to full names. Or that was my thought. Anyway, I haven't tracked it in any detailed form, but I seem to get as much if not more response to invites then InMails. I guess I choose InMail in the case where I want to write a little bit longer message or include email/website? I don't even now if that is different for the invites vs. InMails any more. We will not be going for the higher cost paid accounts, especially not full LI Recruiter! -and will possibly discontinue our 2 paid accounts as we don't really use LI that much.

People are catching on.  I think you are doing it right.  Unless you work for some big corporate firm, just send them an invitation.  I pay $110 month or something like that and use it like you do- for last names.  It is LI Recruiter Light.  No reason to pony up any big dollars anymore when there is so much information at your fingertips and candidates seem to respond just as well to invites.  

I just started at a company that uses LinkedIn recruiter, so I have only been using inmails for 2 weeks now. However, all of my previous recruiting was usually done by sending an invite with a personalized message. I know its still too early to really tell, but I feel like I was more successful with sending the invite as opposed to inmail.

I have been using inmails for years, and I think you are right.  I think a personalized message works better.

This is the second year I'm using LI Recruiter. Paid service ($ about 900.00 a year). I often use InMail but I also use requests to connect with a brief note.  I find InMails are not always responded to and sometimes ignored. Connection requests get more attention.

Jeanna, you have LI Recruiter for $900/yr? Or do you have one of the "Talent" paid accounts?

I believe it's Talent Finder. I thought LI Recruiter was the same service? Yikes! I'll need to take a closer look.

I know - it changes all the time, Jeanna! In the services right now for Recruiters, there are 3 paid accounts: Talent Finder, Recruiter Lite, and Recruiter Corporate. I've been using Talent Finder, the features on the other 2 are not needed by me as an owner of a small recruiting company. The Recruiter Corporate account is really expensive, 700-900 month. It has some sort of pipeline management, team share capabilities, more inMails, and it does let you see the profile of ALL LinkedIn members. 

If you are a smaller firm, to my point- I think all you really need is Talent Finder.  I am paying for Recruiter Lite, but I don't really use any of the inmails.  I have just been sending invitations which works in my opinion , better.  

Thanks guys for sharing the info! Yes, I am a smaller firm also. I already paid for the Talent Finder subscription for the year. I'll have to continue to be watchful on whats working best for us. So we can plan for next year.

I have tried both.  I send quite a few LI inmails per week and have tried also just sending an invite to connect.  It depends on the person and if they are actually looking or open to connecting with a recruiter.  I agree - that you don't need to spend big money on a recruiter seat.  I just have the $100 per month account and it works fine.  

I know people who use invitations successfully but I am personally not a fan. Invitations max at 3,000. If the person presses IDK (I don't know you) the invitation is wasted. For people whose invitations are marked "IDK" LinkedIn automatically introduces some restrictions (though nothing too bad).

A paid account with InMails works better, I think. If an inmail is not accepted in seven days, the point is recycled back to you.

There's also a little-known trick, that you can go back to an expired InMail and send a reminder by pressing Reply-All.

@Amber: Names can be found for free. Here is how (a blog post).

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