How to Grab Candidates’ Attention With Your InMails, According to LinkedIn Recruiters

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Every talent professional has a “one that got away” story — that perfect candidate that just seemed to slip through their fingers. But when that ideal candidate doesn’t even respond to your first outreach message, it can feel especially gutting.

With so many recruiters vying for in-demand candidates’ attention, your emails and InMails (private messages on LinkedIn) really need to stand out. If you don’t make a compelling first impression, your messages probably won’t get opened, let alone answered.

LinkedIn’s new ebook, The Secrets to Optimizing Your Outreach, delves into the subtle art of the outreach message. And to find out what makes for an exceptional message, LinkedIn dug into its data and identified which of its own recruiters have the highest response rates. Here are five top tips from five of LinkedIn’s recruiters, and some examples of how to execute them successfully.

1. Open strong: A short, catchy subject line leaves candidates curious to see what you have to say

Your subject line is your first opportunity to grab a candidate’s attention — and it can make or break your chances of getting a response.

If a candidate is happy at their current company, they’re not exactly going to leap into action when they read a subject line like “Trying to fill X position” or “Career opportunity.” And if they’re receiving dozens of generic-looking messages, the chances of them opening your generic-looking message are even slimmer.

It doesn’t matter how good the opportunity is if the candidate never gets as far as reading about it. This makes your subject line the most important part of your message to get right.

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Related: Writing InMails: 4 Common Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

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“The best advice I ever received was to keep the subject line short and punchy,” says Maire O’Connor, a sourcer at LinkedIn. “I like to put on my candidate hat and ask myself what would make me want to open a message.”

Keep your subject lines concise. A little intrigue encourages the candidate to open the message to see more, so you don’t want to give too much away up front. And whenever possible, try to build a personal connection — like calling out a shared interest or past employer.

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