Why Do LinkedIn InMails have such a low response rate?

Last night I moderated a panel discussion on Sourcing Strategies at Quirky in New York. This was sourcing from an attraction and engagement perspective — Shally or Glen were not on my panel — so no boolean magic.

Our magic involved creating conversations through new-generation technologies: Elizabeth Shillo SVP Sales (Dice OpenWeb), Daniel Chait, Co-founder (Greenhouse.io), Brin McCagg, Founder (RecruitiFi), John Hassett Senior Sales Manager Search and Staffing (LInkedIn); old-school "picking up the telephone" Chad Astmann, Partner, Head of North American Asset Management (Heidrick & Struggles). To balance out the panel, Jason Medley, Director of Talent Acquisition at Quirky provided a recruiting practitioner's perspective regarding "shinny new objects" and hiring for a fast-growing New York technology company. (Check out more information regarding the event and pictures of Quirky here).

But here's the "meat and potatoes" of this post. In my prep call with John Hassett at LinkedIn, I mentioned that many recruiters I talk with complain about the miserably low response rate to InMails. Turns out, there's a good reason for this. Here's an InMail one of John's high-performing account executives received:

Subject: Account Manager Opportunity (Looking for Leaders)

Dear Blank,

As an Account Manager in the “ Blank” department, you will be responsible for providing support to company’s external job distribution customers. Serving as the primary support point-of-contact, The Account Manager will communicate with clients on a daily basis (phone/email/in-person) and be responsible for the continued success of the account. The ideal candidate is a well organized individual with exceptional communication skills who is able to multi-task and prioritize in a fast-paced technology environment.

Primary Objectives:
The efficient and accurate execution of the Account Manager duties is the key to ensuring that client expectations are met by providing support to customer related cases. The Account Manager offers product knowledge, solutions, and support to his/her clients and ensures accuracy and continued success.

Provide day-to-day support for all current clients
Help on-board and train new clients on the client system
Ensure accuracy of all services...

View Recruiter’s LinkedIn profile

Obviously, we've removed the name of the perpetrator of this InMail. (We don't want to embarrass anyone.) Is it any wonder InMails like this have a ZERO response rate from HighPros? This could have been sent by any company, anywhere. Who wrote this, the legal department? There's no personality, no personalization, nothing to compel any passive candidate to respond. The company that sent this happens to be a very cool, very fast growing New York tech firm. However, you would never know if from this generic, anemic job description.

You want high-potential passive candidate to respond to your InMails? Make them PERSONAL. Talk to them on a personal level. Identify with their interests and passions. Let them know this is a personal message written specifically to them, and for them. Be respectful of who they are — not just what they are.

This InMail really is Exhibit A in a Crime Scene: Posting this job req on a company career portal, job board, Indeed… anywhere is criminal. Who will respond? My Guess? Out-of-work or wanna-be account execs. Candidates who lost their jobs because they didn't measure up, didn't work, didn't represent their employer in a positive light.

Views: 1635

Comment by Matt Charney on July 9, 2014 at 1:10pm

I think this is a great post, but my theory is simpler: LinkedIn sends like 25 e-mails to my inbox every day, and eventually, you ignore even the relevant ones (or your spam folder does it for you). Nice job, Peter.

Comment by Anna Brekka on July 9, 2014 at 4:43pm

Very cool and there is truth to both your and Matt's observation. 

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 9, 2014 at 8:05pm

I have about a 33% return rate on my inmails on LinkedIn.  I think the key is personalization and good delivery.  I am fairly pleased with the response rate I have.  The example above is very bland, really.  Understandable that it doesn't attract much interest.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 9, 2014 at 8:18pm

This is the kind of email I send, which tends to get solid responses:

My $10+ Billion repeat client has retained me to identify strong candidates for a Senior Printed Electronic Materials Scientist position, who must be an expert in printing processes and formulation of conductive polymer/metal inks. A PhD with at least 2 years of relevant commercial/industrial experience is a requirement for this outstanding opportunity.

If interested, or if you have referrals, please alert me, and I will provide more information.

Best Regards,

Nicholas Meyler
GM/President, Technology
Wingate Dunross, Inc.
ph (818)597-3200 ext. 211

P.S. Please send me an invitation to connect here on LinkedIn if you wish! 

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 10, 2014 at 1:03am

Incidentally, my response rate is almost exactly the same as it was before LinkedIn removed free Inmails to other group members.  So, their claim that they were trying to 'raise the response rate' by permitting fewer emails was obviously a lot of hogwash.

Comment by Matt Charney on July 10, 2014 at 9:16am

Hey Peter - check out today's official LinkedIn Blog. Someone in Mountain View musta been listening! Curious to know your take on this: http://talent.linkedin.com/blog/index.php/2014/07/inmail-policy-change

Comment by Peter Clayton on July 10, 2014 at 10:34am

Interesting timing :) Thanks for sharing Matt!

Comment by Peter Clayton on July 10, 2014 at 10:37am

I agree, Matt, that LinkedIn sends out way too many emails -- I rarely open them -- It seem their whole "Endorse" feature was built to blast out thousands of emails.

Comment by Norman Clausen on July 10, 2014 at 1:26pm

I totally agree, Matt. Depending on the industry and individual, there's definitely a fatigue factor involved.  And to your point, Peter--perpetrator is the right terminology. Recruiters sending those InMails are just spinning their wheels and ruining the system for everyone. I have my own humble opinions on how to write an InMail that I've shared on our blog: http://blog.recruitifi.com/writing-the-perfect-inmail-on-linkedin

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 10, 2014 at 11:58pm

"Isolate the winner" -- Pink Floyd


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