5 Tips to Help Increase Your InMail Response Rates

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 9.16.21 AMPaul DeBettignies recently published an ERE.net post titled, “Informal Survey: 1 In 10 IT Recruiting Inquiries Do Not Suck,” which generated several comments about increasing InMail response rates. Todd recommended everyone read this post, but a few recruiters said the tips it provides are “basic.” So I asked Todd if I could share five tips — some new, some oldies but goodies — my team and some of our customers use to increase InMail response rates. Here you go:

  1. Send personalized InMails. You’ve more than likely heard this tip before. But it bears repeating because it flat out works. Personalized InMails garner 37 percent higher response rates than generic bulk (1:2 or more) InMails. Higher response rates increase the likelihood of a hire. So, if you lazily spam members with generic InMails, you aren’t doing your job. And worse yet, you’re making everyone else’s jobs harder because you’re conditioning some members to be less responsive to recruiters. You can make your InMails more personalized by not only reviewing prospects’ member profiles, but also reviewing the content they InShared, commented on and ‘liked,’ the Groups they belong to, and the Influencers they follow. All this info can help you garner greater insights into their smarts and professional interests, and find more meaningful ways to InMail them than, “Hey, interested in a job?”
  2. Send InMails Thursdays between 9 and 10 a.m. Two weeks ago at Talent Connect Sydney my colleague James Raybould asked all 541 attendees to raise their hands if they track which days of the week and times of the day garner the highest InMail response rates. Only two recruiters raised their hands, which is a shame given those factors influence InMail response rates. The optimal day and time to send InMails is Thursday between 9 and 10 am (the prospect’s time zone). And whatever you do, don’t send InMails over the weekend. InMails sent on Saturdays are 16 percent less likely to be accepted than InMails sent during the week.
  3. InMail Members who’ve viewed your profile. Ashley Cheretes, manager of talent brand and media at Avis Budget Group, frequently reviews who has viewed her profile. Then she sends every single relevant member thank you InMails like, “Hi Brendan. I noticed you checked out my profile. Thanks! Is there anything I can help you with?” It’s simple, yet very effective. “Prospects regularly check out my profile because I manage Avis Budget Group’s talent brand. Even though I’m not a recruiter, the InMails I send them garner a 60 to 70 percent response rate. And the best part is they often lead to interviews and/or referrals.”
  4. Ask a shared connection for a warm intro. There are few things I loathe more than cold InMails. That’s because you can easily see on LinkedIn (and other social networks for that matter) how you’re connected to a prospect, and in my experience, warm intros made via a shared connection almost always garner a response. So, before sending a prospect a cold InMail, check out the “Connection Path” module in Recruiter or “How You’re Connected” module on LinkedIn.com to see how you’re connected to a prospect. Then ask a shared connection to make a warm intro. If that person isn’t able to make a warm intro, simply mention the shared connection in your introductory InMail.
  5. Reference a shared hobby or personal interest. My colleague Rebecca Vertucci’s customer was having a hard time recruiting optometrists in Florida. So, Rebecca used the “All Groups” filters in Recruiter to find relevant members who joined LinkedIn Groups related to popular hobbies among doctors in Florida — like golfing and beach going. Her customer then sent those members InMails saying something like, “I noticed in your profile that you’re an avid golfer. Our company is based in Jacksonville, right next to Pablo Creek Club, which Golf Digest just named one of the top 10 golf courses in Florida.” “The message was more of a networking type message. And it worked. The company’s InMail response rates skyrocketed, and within six weeks they filled the optometrist role that had been open for a year,” said Rebecca. “Instead of only contacting prospects based on skills, expertise, and experience, I recommend recruiters also consider contacting them based on their hobbies and personal interests. It works like a charm.”

If you have some tips of your own, share them with everyone. I’m always interested to hear about creative ways fellow recruiters are increasing their InMail response rates.

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Brendan Browne is LinkedIn's director of global talent acquisition. He has been recruiting for 15 years working in markets across the globe. Previously, he was the head of HR at Deem, and held senior recruiting roles at Microsoft, Northwestern Mutual, and Sapient. He graduated from Villanova University with a BA in Spanish Communications.

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