Writing a Compelling Linkedin InMail

InMails are expensive but quite useful.  If you take your time to devise  compelling text for your inmail, you will reap the benefits.  While each person won't be a slam dunk for the position at hand, you will have impressed them with your style enough to rise above the recruiter fray.  

1. The Subject:

I often spend the most time on this part.  It should clearly convey the reason for the message.  It should be catchy but not salesy.  It should be complimentary without being flowery.  It should be memorable.  And you should play to your audience.

Since I deal with startups, I often use a term like "Poised for Greatness" or Clean Whiteboard" . 

2. The Opening Line

I always start off with

Hi Candidate:

Impressive Background!

'3. The Grabber- Make it Exclusive

"I'm reaching out to a few choice profiles before I launch a full search..."

4. The content

A few lines about the company and role:  Not too much, you want to explain it yourself so leave some mystery.   Make sure to play to your audience still and talk about "what's in it for them"

(I don't really think it's necessary to pitch your company as your profile and company page is usually available at a click. )

5. The Close

Be bold!  One line I use is "Keeping in mind that most successful people find opportunity not when they're looking but when it knocks,  how's my timing?


Impressive Background. I'm representing what could be you next career move. 

The company is growing rapidly and has had a 500 % increase in business this year. It's an interesting and rewarding product that is already being used by millions. What you'll find exciting about this position is the challenges that exist for the talented individual who lands this position. This startup is growing quickly with BLUE CHIP CUSTOMERS, household names that you'll recognize 

As a result, there is many exciting decisions to be made to keep it in line with demands on customization. You won't find formulaic thinking here. As a company that specializes in innovation, they want the best and brightest creative visionaries who think so far out of the box that the box isn't even in the picture anymore. Where others say "can't", you say "how". 

I'd be happy to talk to you further about it. I'm reaching out to key individuals before I go on a full scale search for this.. You have an ideal background and I think it's a good match for you geographically.


Please feel free to comment or share your suggestions

Happy Sourcing!



Views: 17082

Comment by Valentino Martinez on July 17, 2012 at 4:27pm


You are too good to be true...in helping others help themselves rise above the fray in the field and discipline of recruitment with your "how to" example here.

The challenge then will be...to follow-through.


Comment by Bill Schultz on July 17, 2012 at 5:23pm

Well Lord knows I try, V.  ;0)

Comment by Elise Reynolds on July 17, 2012 at 6:17pm

I am interested in the exclusive aspect of your message.  How much do you think the exclusive aspect plays into your responses?  I have not thought of being giving my recruiting emails/messages an exclusive feel.

Comment by Bill Schultz on July 17, 2012 at 6:30pm

Hi Elise- Good question.  Let me check my spreadsheet. :p

The most response I get is from paying them a compliment about their background.

Second, I think is to make them feel it's personal.  But I rarely personalize it.  

Exclusivity is a standard marketing principle.  Look how successful Gmail was when it was invitation only.



Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on July 18, 2012 at 8:50am

Really good suggestions - I often struggle with how to 'catch' the candidate's attention when sending InMails - I often think they fall into an abyss - thank you for the sample - very helpful!

Comment by Chuck Klein on July 18, 2012 at 8:58am

I think you abolutely must have the candidate's name in the subject.

Comment by Johnny Campbell on July 18, 2012 at 9:05am

Great topic Bill, thanks for starting the conversation.

To me, personalisation is key, I find it is much more effective to refer to unique segments of the person's background such as previous jobs, experience they have that is relevant, etc; after all we do have a full LinkedIn profile from which to use. In Europe, I find that the candidates are more cynical about comments such as "Poised for Greatness" but everyone is different. For subject, I experimented with lots of different phrases and finally settled on something that neither tried to sell my job nor would put them off. Either their job title or preferably their employer name has worked best for me. It's meaningless yet personal. I'm not trying to close them in my subject alone!

The WIIFM comments is bang on, totally agree with you there Bill. Too many recruiters focus on why they are contacting the candidate ("your profile is perfect for a role we have" etc) whereas the candidate only cares about their needs. If you have read their profile and know your own role, you should be able to make a guess at why this candidate may want to work for you in this position. Sell this from the start.

I'm also big into time specific call to actions; something like "Are you free to take a call at 5pm tomorrow?". Being direct and asking a closed question with a hint of time pressure usually elicits a better response.

One thing is for sure, the template feature of LinkedIn Recruiter is a bad idea!!! Do not let recruiters use this. It's much better to force them to personalise each mail or call. If the person is worth contacting, they're worth spending some time on!

Comment by Craig on July 18, 2012 at 1:57pm

I agree with Johnny Campbell on multiple levels. You MUST mention something specific about the candidate's background to show that you actually read their profile. Otherwise your message looks like a basic template you send to everyone.

I've also found that subjects such as the ones you described are a little cheesy and don't work as intended. I prefer to be straight forward with something to the effect of "job opportunity w/ great software company in SF".

Comment by Elise Reynolds on July 18, 2012 at 3:17pm

I too prefer more straight forward, less sales- y verbage. 

First, I find that the Inmails really don't give me as many charecteres as I like to work with.  This is probably a good thing because it forces me to be more concise. 

I try to mention the highlight of the position and hope that this is more exciting.   Where I am sales-y is more on facts such a::  "This company is globaly recognized for their gas production equipment. 

But my jobs tend to be very technical so my candidates tend to want to be technicaly excited. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 18, 2012 at 3:35pm

Ok Bill, I struggle with this all the time! I'm going to try your advice... working on a big deal Director of E-Commerce role reporting to the CIO. Pretty high profile and I need to not blow it. :) Thanks for the post, I'll let you know if I reel anyone in with it!


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