Are people ignoring their LinkedIn inbox because of too many messages from recruiters?

I have been using LinkedIn since the beginning and have had a LinkedIn Recruiter account for the last few years. I was doing a audit of my current account usage, as well as trying different formats to increase responses. With a current accept rate of 15%, I should be happy with the results, right? I look back to comments by Lou Adler about how to get a much higher response rate. I use templates and personalized messages. I try both direct and indirect recruiting. 

In doing a deep search for Office 365 candidates in Chicago today, I noticed that most of the candidates have received a message from my company in the last two years. I was surprised at how many of these messages were still pending. On the first page of 25 results, 23 had received messages from my company. Of the 52 messages sent to these individuals, there were 47 listed as pending. And they were not all the same structure. Some were direct messages asking about interest in a job, and others were simply asking for "Insight". This was a list from a nice bullion search that I assume puts the top respondents at the front of the list.

Let me also clarify that I have over 13,000 1st level connections in LinkedIn and all but 2 of these results who were at least second level.

So, what is the issue here? Is it that people are ignoring their LinkedIn inbox or messages from people they don't know? I do understand that a lot of people are actually more likely to respond if they have a need to (ie on the market or looking). But LinkedIn Recruiter was designed to take advantage of what might be the largest professional database in the world. And they charge a lot. 

Is it possible that people are not seeing the value in LinkedIn it had a few years ago? Or is it more likely that the Fad of LinkedIn is passing like MySpace did? Either way, or even if it is something else completely, there is a higher success rate by looking on Dice for or guessing the person email address and messaging them directly, after finding their name on LinkedIn. Before I had a LinkedIn Recruiter account, the system was nothing more than a name generator. I would find the person, get their name and their current company, and call them. Is that perhaps the best way to utilize it now as well?

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Comment by Ionut Roghina on October 4, 2013 at 5:28am

This is probably something that every recruiter is thinking these days. In my opinion, there is no straightforward answer, since there are many factors that can influence the rate of response: poorly structured messages, shortage of talent hence more approaches by recruiters and the fact that more and more companies are actively advertising / approaching candidates directly.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 4, 2013 at 12:24pm

Thanks, Chuck and Ionut. The answer is that the " open to career opportunities  etc" button is an "opt out feature" so if you don't click it, you're presumed to be open to these, WHEN IN FACT YOU AREN'T. My experience is that  a good 60% of people who do respond aren't open to ANY job, and then there is the vast majority who don't get back at all. A solution (that'll never be implemented) would be for LI to send out a number of notices to all members saying:" Effective x x, 2014, all interest categories will become "opt in" and will need to be renewed every 30 days. Other members will still be able to reach out to you, but they won't presume you are interested in being open to something unless you've opted in in during the last 230 days." This way we wouldn't be wasting our time and money going after uninterested people.



Comment by Ionut Roghina on October 4, 2013 at 12:49pm

Keith, I seriously doubt this is the answer. You need to bear in mind that most professionals on LinkedIn are not there just to engage with recruiters!

Most people check their profile once or twice a week (if that) and might even have the notifications switched off completely (no email sent to them when they receive messages via LinkedIn). This means that when they do check their profile, they have quite a few messages from recruiters, which they probably choose to ignore / delete after a few seconds (or immediately) if they look like the usual junk.
More to the point, if LinkedIn would implement such a "solution", I suspect many people would leave the platform. What recruiters need to remember is that LinkedIn is a professional network before anything else, where people register to be in touch with like minded people, to network, to exchange ideas regarding their field of interest (and sometimes to be visible to recruiters / employers). 
Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 4, 2013 at 1:37pm

I hear you, Ionut. As a member, I don't want to be contacted about things I haven't indicated an interest in, so I don't think it's too much to ask people to indicate their interests on an occasional basis. As a recruiter, I only want to reach out to people who are open to hearing about a job (even if not mine) and don't want to waste my time on and money on people who clearly are uninterested in any opportunity, even if they aren't un-interested enough to "opt out". While LI would lose a large number of people who are inactive, it would benefit by having a n engaged quality of gr many millions who at least were interested in the past 30 days in what they say they were.

It's a moot point- LI doesn't want to or have to do this, and as a near monopoly, they can continue to behave almost any way they like, at least until the class-action  lawsuit(s) is (are) decided.





Comment by Chuck Radcliff on October 4, 2013 at 2:58pm

Keith, I don't think that will work. One point you are missing is the networking aspect. Maybe it is a dying art form, but passive recruiting does not really message the person and point blank ask them if they are interested in a new job, but more assume that they are not and ask if they know anyone who might be qualified and interested. 

Comment by Chuck Radcliff on October 4, 2013 at 3:00pm

But to your Status or Opt in or out point, perhaps they could add a notice at the top of a persons profile about their status and ask if they need to update it now. They could do this ever month or quarter.

Comment by Paul Alfred on October 6, 2013 at 2:04pm

HI Chuck,  Recruiters need to realize that LinkedIn is not just a rolodex of names to hit up with " I have a job interested? " ...  LinkedIn is a Socialnetworking platform where folks engage with their connections who have similar interests with respect to a business or specific area of industry practice ...  Let' pull out a key word 'Engage" you don't engage with target candidates you want to reach if you only share in one direction a job you have.   Are you as a recruiter providing any "Useful, Relevant Content" that your target candidate can say damn that " That article on growth of BigData" was great.  Now you provided some useful content that a potential candidate found interesting.    Recruiting profiles need to provide more for target users ( Candidates) if you want to increase your InMail response rate.  Share interesting blogs, provide more value than " I have a job" ... 

I have maintained an InMail response rate of 85% applying techniques mentioned above and writing InMails from a totally different perspective ( That part I would have to bill you for) ... 

Recruiters who fully embrace the "Social" when utilizing the SocialNetworking platform Linkedin will realize tremendous results over the long term ... 

Comment by Chuck Radcliff on October 7, 2013 at 10:17am


Are you using the LinkedIn Recruiter tool? Your suggestion seems to be more in line with only having candidate access if they are first level connections. This is not what I am discussing. If I share articles or blogs or other content, it does not get seen by anyone who is not a level one connection.

I am talking about using the LinkedIn recruiter tool that gives you access to the entire database or even using a premium individual membership that lets you message anyone in the system. If you are messaging people outside your first level and keeping an 85% response rate, you might want to think about a book instead of billing individuals.

Comment by Paul Alfred on October 7, 2013 at 11:23am

Yes ..  I use both the LinkedIn recruiter tool and LinkedIn my closed network in the same way.  Look this is not a secret ... Build a great profile, provide useful content, keep it fresh, share content you curate and share from others.  Construct InMails specifically tuned to the candidate you are targeting.  Ask for expertise with respect to the your job search. Candidates even if they are not interested in your job are willing to lend a hand in your search.  It works!

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 7, 2013 at 2:01pm

@ Chuck, @ Paul: I don't use LIR to create a pipeline or network, I use it to try and fill positions immediately. If my company or I am paying $8,000-$10,000/yr to use LI Recruiter, I think it's right that when I reach out to someone who says they are open to a job, they are REALLLY open to a jo, and just haven';t gotten around to saying they're not. I am going after people who say they are interested, and if LI sets it up so that I go after people who aren't really interested, I not only waste my time an in pursuing them, but I waste the money we've spent (deplete my InMails) on those people who respond and say they aren't interested. I'd much prefer a smaller, more accurate LI. Fundamentally, when I look on a job board and someone has their resume up, there's a reasonable expectation that person is open to hearing about a job. LI is fundamentally a very large job board without contact information (that you can also reach out to people for other reasons). If they won't set it up to make sure who is really open to jobs, then perhaps they should remove the category completely.




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