Stop messaging candidates on LinkedIn - try these tactics instead

LinkedIn makes everything pretty easy.

It’s essentially developed into a huge, professional A-Z, supposedly stuffed full of great candidates that are waiting for you to contact them.

The problem is that it sending messages to candidates on LinkedIn is so hit and miss. The LinkedIn sales department want us to aspire to a 25% In-Mail success rate – this is supposedly ‘good’. If you had a 75% failure rate in any other area of your business how impressed would your boss be?

You have to remember that this ‘success’ rate only encompasses ‘opened’ messages. A smaller fraction of recipients will actually read your message, and an even smaller percentage will actually reply. Not particularly satisfying after you’ve spent hours tracking down good candidates!

Instead of relying on In-Mails, why not try a few of these strategies to get yourself in front of candidates.

Quick Note

If you do want to stick with LinkedIn, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to boost your In-Mail acceptance rates way higher than 25% and contact candidates who reject everyone else.

Use your phone

“See those little black boxes? They’re called telephones” – Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street

You can use LinkedIn to track candidates down, find out where they work and which department they’re in. You can even use it to navigate to their company page to get a contact number. Then call them. It might be old-school, but using the phone still has the highest success rate for candidate engagement.

Don’t be scared of spontaneous conversation with candidates, try picking up the phone.

Find a referral

Employee referrals are widely regarded to be the best source of hire, so when you find a great candidate, see if one of your network can give you an intro. LinkedIn’s shared connections feature can be pretty helpful here. Referrals work best when your connection emails or calls the candidate directly to ‘intro’ you, but if this isn’t possible be sure to mention the fact that you have shared connections in your outreach.

Google them

Google the candidate’s name to see if they have a website or blog. This will have an information page with direct contact details. Getting in touch with a candidate in this fashion has the added benefit of showing them that you’ve taken the time to research them properly. It’s definitely worth mentioning how great their blog is in your message (even if it isn’t!)

Try a Facebook Graph Search

Once you have found the candidate on Facebook via a quick graph search, you can spend $1 to message them directly – this ensures that your message goes into their primary inbox.

Many people use Facebook for personal activities, so this tactic can come across as ‘creepy’. It is certainly an uncommon approach but, providing you craft your message effectively, it often works well.

Message them through Google+

If you can find the candidate on Google+, it’s possible to put a message directly into their inbox – pretty cool!

All you need to do is add the candidate to a new circle, and post an update direct to that circle. Ticking the box that says ‘Send Email’ will pop your message straight into the candidate’s Gmail.

Find their work email

It’s never too hard to find an email address if you really need it.

If you search for “email * *”, you’re likely to find the correct email format. To test this and make sure you’re not wasting your time, run it through a mail testing server – here's one that I use a fair bit.


LinkedIn is a great tool to track down top candidates, but it leaves something to be desired in terms of outreach.

Stop messaging candidates on Linkedin, and take a few minutes to try one of the six tactics listed above. It could dramatically increase your success rates when contacting passive candidates, and it might make your boss really happy with you!


About the author:

Ben Slater is VP Growth at Beamery, the only recruiting CRM powered by AI. Want to learn more? Check out a demo

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