I received a tragic InMail on LinkedIn the other day.
Here’s a (slightly edited to protect the identity of the culprit) look at this sad, sad message:
Searching for a job role in the city for a leading company. We are looking for someone who has done relevant work. If you do not have all of this experience, they will consider individuals that have worked within a relevant industry.
Other relevant experience is great as well as this kind of experience.
Please send resume to this email.
If you’ve fallen asleep after reading the egregious outreach, it’s time to WAKE UP, because there are lessons to be learned here.
The sad reality is, this InMail message probably sounds hauntingly familiar because most recruiters who use LinkedIn have sent messages to candidates that read along these lines. But your candidates deserve better, and you as a recruiter deserve to deliver better. I’m calling anyone who has sent an InMail like this one out, and you should take it as a wake-up call.
Here’s a look at the biggest issues with this message, and what you as a recruiter can do better:
- You could play Mad Libs with the bolded words. Remember road trips with the family and playing the fill-in-the-blank word game, Mad Libs? That’s what this InMail message is – recruiting Mad Libs. You could take any job role, any city, any relevant work, etc. and fill it into these bolded parts, and the message would still be the same. This message was so bland it took me no time at all to strip the qualifying pieces of it and turn it into a fill-in-the-blank exercise. What does that tell us? No original thought whatsoever went into this message.
- This message could have been sent to any candidate. I opened this message up and showed it to my colleague and we agreed: this message could have just as easily been meant for her. There was no indication this recruiter looked at my profile and took the time to make this message about me—it was meant for myself and the thousands of other candidates who are like me. What does that tell us? No original thought whatsoever went into this message.
- There aren’t even complete sentences. “Searching for a job role…”? “Please send resume…”? C’mon. There was such little thought for the content of this message that it sounds like someone mumbling to themselves at their desk about the role they’re trying to fill. What does that tell us? No original thought whatsoever went into this message.
In case you aren’t keeping up, there’s a recurring theme in this list of grievances: no original thought whatsoever went into this message.
And when you’re sending a message like this to candidates? You’re not putting any thought into it either!
But you know what candidates want? They want to feel like you are critically thinking about them as a fit; they want to feel like they’re talking to a person who genuinely cares that they’re finding the right person for the job; they do not want to feel like they’re being messaged by a bot who has also contacted hundreds of other candidates who vaguely fit the profile they do.
InMail isn’t a hard one to get right, and it’s important that you do. When I opened this message I didn’t even bother to look if it was an opportunity I was interested in because it read more like spam than an actual opportunity.
At every step of the recruiting process, treat your candidates like they are real people and not another cog in your candidate pool machine—you might even get a response or two out of it.
Kate Weimer is a Marketing Lead at Kinetix, specializing in social media recruitment marketing and account management. Using a combination of her background in social media and love for the written word, she’s shoving all buzzwords aside and making HR and recruitment marketing work in today’s digital world. Want to hang? Hit her up on Twitter or LinkedIn , or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.