It's happened to all recruiters and sourcers at some point. You're scouring LinkedIn or LinkedIn Recruiter in the hopes of finding the ideal candidate. You skim the preview, see what you're looking for, and excitedly click to open the profile.
Excitement turns into disappointment when you see the greyed out/faint colored "Send InMail" button or message that reads, "[Name] is not currently open to receiving introductions or InMail.”
The fact that someone on a professional social networking site is being anti-social does strike me as a bit ironic. Still, there are a few workarounds that may be useful to try before you move on to the next profile.
Using my own name as an example, here are three options to finding alternate ways to contact people you've discovered on LinkedIn.
1) Deep Web
Start with a search for the candidate's full name in quotations, and the operator NOT LinkedIn.* This technique works best for uncommon names. For "John Doe," go straight to option 2.
Search string 1: "Maisha Cannon" -LinkedIn OR "Maisha Cannon" -LinkedIn -Facebook
*I also exclude Facebook in this first pass. Feel free to ask why if curious...
Review results and add "near email OR contact OR phone." Near will find words within 10 words of each other.
Search string 2: "Maisha Cannon" -LinkedIn -Facebook near (phone OR contact OR email)
This search resulted in a Twitter handle that allows me to follow the prospect on Twitter. If I am followed back, I can direct message the person via Twitter.
Next, search the world wide web for the Twitter handle in the hopes that this person is also using this online name elsewhere. If those results are too limited, I will try the NEAR operator again.
Search string 3: talentgenie NEAR (gmail.com OR yahoo.com OR live.com) *
You can also try this string with the full name of the person in quotation marks.
Know the industry and use relevant sites to help track down where the person is present online. For example, if you're looking for a software engineer, try the full name with NEAR (Github OR StackOverflow).
Get creative. If you need to add the school or city name, go for it. Though I tend to rely heavily on Google, Bing is another option for deep web searches.
If you still aren't able to find anything viable, try a filetype search. You will likely get far fewer search results, but you may hit the jackpot (or find another clue that leads you to the next search string). If the prospect mentions any professional groups on LinkedIn, I would absolutely add those to the string as a next layer search.
(1) filetype:pdf "maisha cannon"
(2) filetype:doc "maisha cannon"
(3) filetype:xls "maisha cannon" ("PIHRA" OR "Professionals in Human Resources Association")
2) Call or email the prospect based on current company information
Since you are still able to view current employment information via LinkedIn, you can call the company directly or guess at the prospect's email format. I use verifyemailaddress.org to double check. Rapportive used to be a great way to verify email addresses, but it was purchased by LinkedIn and has lost some of it's core functionality. See a few alternates to Rapportive at the end of this post.
YouTube allows you to message anyone from their "About" page. If you can locate a person's YouTube page (which you usually can find easily if you've found their Google+ page), it's simple from there.
From the About page on YouTube, click Send Message. That's it! I get about 1 reply from every 3 messages I send this way. Pretty good return rate, I think. One caveat: you must be logged in to your Google/YouTube account to send the message and you must remember to check your YouTube inbox for replies.
The truth is that even if you don't find the email using one of these techniques, you will stumble upon another clue that may lead you down the right path. Such is the joy of sourcing - you never know what idea or clue will lead you to your next step. Be creative, but know when to say when. I'm not a fan of going down too far down the wrong dark alley late at night.
What's worked for you when promising prospects aren't open to receiving InMail?
Maisha Cannon is a Technical Sourcer/Recruiter committed to introducing employers to talent that will enhance and grow their businesses. Over the span of her 15 year career in Human Resources, Maisha has filled over 1,000 positions, and has coached hundreds of candidates on resume writing, interviewing skills, and career planning. She spends her limited free time wishing she were blogging more, engrossed in social media, and catching up on all the shows she's missed on DVR.