10 Ways To Contact Candidates Without Relying on LinkedIn Inmails

This post originally appeared on SironaConsulting.com.

What would your manager say if you had a 75% failure rate? Would he or she be happy?

Turn it around the other way – you are successful 25% of the time – would that make it anymore palatable? Well, that’s what LinkedIn sales people are saying –  that having a 25% success rate with InMails is good and aspirational. That’s a great sales message that fills you with confidence in a product, right?

My intent is not to bash LinkedIn here, I am just highlighting recent conversations some of their sales teams have had with my clients when they are trying to sell them products. I guess that they have at least been up front with the answer to the question, ‘what InMail response rates can I expect?’.

So just to be clear about this (if you are achieving 25% success rate), this means that for every 100 InMails you send to people on LinkedIn (candidates and company contacts), only 25 of them click on the email to open it – and that doesn’t necessarily mean they read it! Not brilliant when you know that your efforts are failing 75% of the time. What about the other 75 people in your search? How can you reach them? Do you even bother? (Sadly, I know a good number of recruiters that just work on bigger searches instead, playing a numbers game instead of going for the quality.)

So what can you do to contact these 100 people you have found in a search and want to reach out to?

Do you just hope, pray, or assume that these 100 people will buck the trend and actually all respond to you? After all, don’t they know who you are?  Don’t they know what you have to talk to them about is critical to their future success? Dream on, it just won’t happen!

Many people I have asked these questions of (both candidates and company contacts) view InMails from LinkedIn as non-essential emails. Also, consider that while recruiters, business developers, and serial networkers might ‘live on LinkedIn’, most ‘normal’ people only login once a week or less. Add to that the number of daily emails that LinkedIn  sends out – job changes, birthdays, job anniversaries, dog’s birthdays and local weather reports (ok, I am joking about the last two) – it’s not surprising that many people just don’t pay attention to your LinkedIn InMails.

So back to my question. What are you doing to reach out to the people you have worked so hard to identify?

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Pray. Hope. Assume. 

Here are 10 things  you can do to find a way of making contact and engaging with these people:

  1. Call them on the phone <shock! horror!>. You have seen their profile on LinkedIn, you know where they work, what their name is, and which department they work in. A click on the company name on their LinkedIn profile will take you to the company’s page with a phone number. Easy.
  2. Try to get a referral. See if there is someone you know who also knows them (LinkedIn is good for this). They contact them for the best email or phone number. Alternatively, use the introduction route via LinkedIn (although this can take time to work).
  3. Do a Google search for their name, they may have their own website or blog. Visit their ‘About.Me’ page and you will find contact details, or at the very least, a contact form to send them.
  4. If you know where they work, it shouldn’t be too hard to find an email address for the person. Simply do this search on Google  ”email * * companyname.com” using the url of the company as their likely email domain. You will see the email format. Copy it and run it through one of the main email validation tools like http://mailtester.com/.
  5. Do a Google search for their name and find which other social networks they are on. Most social networks have a high page rank with Google so this shouldn’t be too hard. Check their bios on the social sites for contact details.
  6. Message them via the social networks you find them on.
  7. If they are on Google+, you can put an message right into their inbox. First add the person to a new Circle. Then post an update but only choosing the Circle you have just created as the recipient. Tick the small box that says ‘Send Email’ and that message will appear only in that persons GMail inbox.
  8. Search for them on Skype. Open Skype, go to Contacts in the top toolbar and click Add Contact. Then do a search. You will have to send a request to connect, but you can add a message with the request so that may well work.
  9. Try using one of the Chrome Apps that show you people’s other digital presence. Try Connect6, 360Social or Connectifier.
  10. Do a graph search on Facebook to find them. Then spend a $1 to message them directly. This goes into their primary messages, and they will see it. Just be careful how you phrase the message as some people will find it invasive that you have messaged them this way. It’s still an uncommon approach but as long as you do it right and the message is tailored to your target person, it can work well.

And remember….

No praying, no hoping, and certainly no assuming.

99.9% of people have some form of digital footprint now – you have just got to find it! If the person you want to reach is worth it, then it is worth the effort, isn’t it?

Andy Headworth works with companies to help them improve their recruitment strategies, recruitment processes, candidate attraction, employer branding, and recruitment content marketing strategies. He is currently writing his second book, Social Media Recruitment, which will be published early in 2015.


4 Comments on “10 Ways To Contact Candidates Without Relying on LinkedIn Inmails

  1. Andy

    B2B Marketeers know LinkedIn has evolved as a recruiting tool, and most people have their personal email tied to their LinkedIn Account. – So sending business emails to LI doesn’t work for most people who don’t live their lives around LinkedIn as recruiters and lead-generators do.

    eGrabber Account-Researcher is a tool that quickly finds business email-Id and phone for anyone on LinkedIn. It can be a time-saver for those who are pressed for time and can’t follow all your great advice.


    Just to be fair & put things in context
    – I am the Founder of eGrabber company that makes the tool

  2. Andy, there was a picture on FB the other day.

    It was an old picture of people sitting at a train station waiting on a train reading newspapers; the idea behind it being that although they were all sitting next to each other they preferred to read newspapers rather than converse with one another. The pundit who posted the picture said (something to the effect): “And they say technology has alienated us.”

    I got to thinking about that. Maybe this reluctance to “reach out and touch someone,” as MaBell encouraged us to do back in the 70s was really trying to strike a chord that needs to be struck into action.

    What’s so hard about striding forwardly up to someone, sticking out your hand and saying, “Hi, my name is _______. You don’t know me but I’d like to introduce myself and learn a little bit about you!”

    I find that charming and irresistable. I wish I could teach all young adults that good habit. It’s one of my phone sourcing secrets.

    “Hi, my name is Maureen Sharib and you don’t know me.” From that jumping off point the world is usually my oyster.

    I guess what I’m asking here is why is there so much reluctance in our industry to talk to strangers? If we don’t do it who’s going to?

    Maureen Sharib
    Phone Sourcer
    513 646 7306
    maureen at techtrak.com

  3. Digital footprints…we rely too heavily on it. My generation (older and not a huge texter) tends to rely too much on emails. It’s easier, convenient and when you don’t feel like a possible confrontation, it’s an easy way out. The younger generation is all about texting. short, quick and much easier to avoid the awkward possible issues of the spoken word.

    Just as you pointed out Andy…#1…pick up the phone! Now, to find that phone #, just as you said it’s easy enough to find the company ph # and w/ all the information you can get from social media, you can find a means of getting past that gatekeeper IF there is one. Many times you get the option of the company directory by entering in their name. You may not get their direct line but you can leave a vm and that gives you better odds than an email that may go to spam depending on how savvy you are in your note.

    My biggest challenge as a sourcer is to find the direct phone # in addition to the email (which normally isn’t too hard via Google). Also, have you noticed the trend of various companies who are now allowing nontraditional formats to be used? My wife is working for a major IT firm and they can chose most any format for their email.

    So, bigger mouse, bigger mouse traps so it is said. THIS is what I love about sourcing…the challenge to break the bank and find what is not supposed to be found!

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