Why Your LinkedIn Prospects Are Laughing At You…

The following InMail (Linkedin’s email-within-it users) was sent to several targeted departments at my company recently:


Dear {recipient’s name}

Good Afternoon

My name is {recruiter’s name} and I am a senior technical recruiter here at {company’s name}…while searching LinkedIn I came across your profile…I would love to speak with you.

We are looking for passionate engineers who are interested in joining a team of equally passionate high performers here at {company’s name}. I was hoping that you might be interested or you would know a few people that would be.

Please call my recruiting partner, {recruiting colleague’s name & phone number) at your earliest convenience, we would love to find out a little more about you. If you’d rather send your resume directly to {recruiting colleague’s name & email address), that would be great too. We will review your resume with the appropriate hiring manager to see if you would be a possible fit for any of the positions we currently have open. Within a week of receiving your resume, we will get back in touch with you via phone whether or not we decide to move forward with you in the interview process.

We look forward to explaining to you all of the exciting things going on here at {company’s name}!


{recruiter’s name}


Was I offended by my fellow employees receiving this InMail?  No, I use InMail to recruit too.  Was I embarrassed?  Yes, but for my fellow recruiter.  The above InMail was the subject of ridicule and laughter by the recipients.  Why?  Here are a few observations:


Understand your audience


Whether you’re writing a blog or email, the cardinal rule is “know your audience”.  The author doesn’t demonstrate that they know anything about their recipients.  Yes, the best way to identify recipients in Linkedin is by the company and title fields – but don’t stop there.  Tip: Linkedin demographics show that they aren’t dolts, so segment your list and tailor a message that will mean something to them in their language.  Have someone in your organization, of that skill set, help you write it.


Burnish your credibility


Including your title, especially if it’s a recruiting one, are empty calories.  In addition, the mentioning of your organization’s name will likely not be of substantial help.  Even a world renowned brand needs a compelling reason why someone should read your InMail.  Tip: Drop a name (hiring manager, key leader) that will have credibility with your audience or a remarkable product.


A clear request


This InMail does tell the recipient what they’d like them to do (refer or apply), but it’s pretty naked in its aggression.  1/3 of the InMail focuses on “resume” and the selection process.  If the recipient isn’t looking, you have 1) insulted them and/or 2) given the recipient nothing to intelligently refer someone from their network to you.  If they are looking, telling them the process and promise of responsiveness is also empty calories.  Tip:  Focus on what you do want them to do.  Be direct and lose the extra words.  If you do want referrals, include your direct email account and direct phone number.


Remember that: 1) InMails have a higher response rate than email because the trust people have in Linkedin.  Add that to the reality that you have a finite number of InMails to use each month.  To take every advantage of InMail and Linkedin, dig into Jason Alba’s blog and book all about Linkedin or take a Shally Steckerl webinar on Linkedin.


You have tips on InMailing?  Let’s hear them!  With a little effort, you can avoid prospects laughing at or, worse, ignoring your InMail.

FOT Background Check

William Tincup
William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s written over 200 HR articles, spoken at over 150 HR & recruiting conferences and he’s conducted over 1000 HR podcasts. William prides himself on being easy to find on The Internet, Google him and connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Not up to speed in the social media game? Reach out via email. William serves on the Board of Advisors for Talentegy, Wellocity, GlitchPath, Talent Ninja, Universum Americas, Engagedly, Echovate, VibeCatch, Continu, Hyphen, Bevy, Happie, RolePoint, Causecast, Work4Labs, Talent Tech Labs, and SmartRecruiters. He was previously an advisor to PeopleMatter (sold to Snagajob Q2 2016), Good.Co (sold to StepStone Q1 2016), Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight Q4 2014) and a board member of Chequed (merged to create OutMatch Q3 2015). William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


  1. This does fall under “know your audience” but I thought it deserved to be spelled out. If I was a passive candidate receiving an Inmail from a recruiter I would expect that recruiter to have read my profile. It happens to be fully filled out and should have enabled them to already conduct the discussion with the hiring manager. Yes, I might not be interested and it’s a greater time commitment on the recruiter’s part, but if all that information is already there and I send in a resume and you have no positions that apply to me, then I’m really going to wonder why I was contacted in the first place and my opinion of the individual and company will decrease.

  2. William says:

    Beth – Thanks for highlighting a major “D’oh!” factor. Reading a profile, I could discover that said person would not likely be a fit, BUT they could be a likely referral source AND the InMail should reflect that accordingly. LinkedIn is a network based on (varying) degrees of familiarity. My not reading your profile undercuts that and marginalizes my message.

  3. Nice story around Linkedin Inmail. Its more or less’Spamming’. Should’n linkedin punish such spammers?
    Gireesh Sharma
    Bloger @ Talent Junction

  4. Yes, an Inmail asking me for recommendations for specific or general job types would be welcome even if I’m not the target/don’t fit the needs. I’ve actually received a couple of those.

  5. Gireesh,
    If your contact setting at the bottom of your profile includes “career opportunities” then it wouldn’t be spam. You’ve already given permission. LinkedIn also seeks to control it to some extent by only providing a limited number of Inmails per month.

  6. jessica lee says:

    so you recommend name dropping? i kid. good stuff, william. i think the lessons in your post apply beyond just recruiting. folks who use linkedin for business development, or actually, anyone who is using linkedin to pitch a story, idea, product or job could benefit from this.

  7. You know, recipients need a visceral this is for me at a very early stage.
    What’s in it for me?
    Because displaying yourself or your business in a badly written, poorly created, low budget, unattractive, same as everyone else light – guess what you get? Exactly what you pitched for! A small piece of the low budget, same as everyone else, unattractive market and your prospects will suspect that if they do business with you, they will get more of the same!
    Nah. there’s an art to writing compelling letters and I ain’t about to reveal it here.
    Happy Christmas. The Baldchemist

  8. William says:

    Jessica –
    Name dropping actually can give you credibility. The trick is not to be blatant about it. So I’m afraid that mention “Will.i.am” won’t help.
    * Note to our readers: “J-Lee” (as I call her) calls me “Will.i.am”. For the sake of holiday merriment, I will not rap for you.
    Baldchemist –
    You (as a writer) certainly get what you give by way of communication. You’re spot on. I should give some good examples, I suppose. That would be only fair, helpful.
    Am I worried about being copied? Nah. My take is if you’re good at this, you’re constantly changing, trying things. Those that get laughed at (on an on-going basis) do so because they won’t take the time (like you apparently do) to learn they just copy – and it won’t get them much further.
    Stay smart & Merry Christmas

  9. That’s the kind of letter that makes me delete contacts.

  10. roger says:

    Good advice. I hope I never have to recruit anyone but if I do, I will remember to use geek terms 🙂

  11. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a
    blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some
    nice practices and we are looking to swap techniques with other
    folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

    My web page – finance guide

  12. HOT-NEW Solo-Package. Your personal message emailed to 500,000 UNIQUE Prospects.
    All list members joined By A Double-Optin
    Process. Making Sure They’re Interested In New Services And Products. Most people find the list highly responsive. Starting With A personal-emailing to 500,000 UNIQUE Prospects is just *$9.95. Try It Today for a Boost of UNIQUE Prospects To 1,500,000. Plus, Lifetime Silver Submitter Access and a Global-Marketing Membership.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Do Recruiters Ruin LinkedIn?

Comments are now closed for this article.

Contact Us | Hire FOT to Speak | About FOT