How to improve your LinkedIn response rate from passive candidates

LinkedIn is an invaluable resource. Online recruiting makes everyone’s lives a little easier. You’ve got access to a wealth of talent, and you’re able to investigate and hand-select your potential candidates. When it comes to hiring, you’d be a fool to pass up LinkedIn.

The only problem you may experience is being overlooked by passive candidates. If you’re presenting opportunities and not getting the response you desire, it may be time to rethink your approach. Here are five ways to improve your response rate.

Open on a strong note

Think about what happens when you get an unsolicited email or message. If it starts off like spam, you’ll probably delete it without thinking twice. If you want to capture a candidate’s attention, you need to give them a reason to keep reading. This doesn’t mean using click-baity headlines or misleading information to draw the candidate in, but you need to make your purpose for the message clear and appealing from the start.

Don’t send generic messages

You may be trying to draw up a message that you can copy and paste to several candidates. This is a terrible idea. Your candidates will be able to tell. If there’s nothing personal in the message, and you haven’t drawn from anything you’ve read in their profile, they aren’t going to take you seriously. It’s okay to pre-write your main fact-based points about your career opportunity, but you need to include a short paragraph that shows you’ve taken the time to read the candidate’s profile and history. This makes your message less like a solicitation and more like a personalized outreach effort.

Stop acting like an inconvenience

There’s such a thing as being too modest. Many recruiters make the mistake of including lines such as “I apologize” or “I’m sorry for inconveniencing you” in their messages. What do you have to be sorry about? They’ve created a LinkedIn profile to improve their network and find opportunities. Your message is exactly what they’re looking for. Acting as though you’re a nuisance will only cause you to be perceived as a nuisance, and you won’t have much luck if you voluntarily assign yourself that title.

Let them know what you have to offer

They already know you’re trying to fill a position. You’re no different from any other recruiter in that regard. Some of the people you’re messaging may already be employed, and they won’t feel inclined to switch employers if your company offers up everything they’re already getting at their current workplace.

Provide the highlights and the contrasts. What are the best aspects of working for you, and how do you differ from similar employers? Now is the right time to emphasize the things that make you unique. They need to know more than the simple fact that you’re hiring – they need to know why they’d want to work for you.

Give them the right resources

If your message is well crafted, some eager candidates may be quick to message you back. If the candidate you’ve messaged is the type of person who would prefer to research you and consider things before getting back with you, you need to tell them where to go. Include relevant links and a clear call to action. Give them things to ponder, including key information about your company, and tell them what you’d like for them to do. They need to know how to submit a formal resume to you and where to go to set up an interview. Don’t make them work for it – provide them with clear instructions.

It’s crucial to remember that when you’re the one reaching out, it’s your responsibility to leave a great first impression. These people aren’t coming to you and asking for a job – you’re going to them and asking them to work for you. Having the right attitude counts for a lot!

Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and is passionate about the Australian startup scene.

Views: 961

Comment by Maury Hanigan on April 11, 2016 at 5:35pm

Great point about providing meaty information that explains why your job offers something they don't currently have.  You have to offer them something other than a job in their field - they already have one of those.  Instead of attaching a job description, send them a Sparc.  Your response rate will skyrocket.  Check it out at

Comment by Quintin Ford on April 12, 2016 at 8:39pm

I like your ideas on not being to modest. I hate when people use phrases like "I just wanted to reach out" or "Just touching base"  YUCK!   It's so unconfident. Be proud of what you do.


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