The good news is that I’ve discovered, tried and tested a number of easy methods to make your limited InMail quota go the distance. By using all, or a combination of the following methods, I estimate that I have cut down the use of my InMail credits by about 80% each month without losing any momentum in my sourcing efforts:
1) Maximise your 1st Degree Connections
InMails are free to send to anyone that you have a 1st degree connection with, so the more 1st degree connections you have, the more free InMails you have. Unless I’m in a rush, I send customised connection requests to every profile a few days BEFORE I attempt to send them an InMail. I usually get about a 50% success rate with this technique and not only does this cut your InMail credit usage in half, it also provides a warm introduction for the InMail that follows.
Quick Tip: By customising the message in your LinkedIn connection requests you’ll experience a higher rate of acceptance.
2) Maximise your Group Memberships
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups and I recommend joining as many relevant groups as you can. Why is this useful? Well, the dialogue box that opens when you attempt to send an InMail will tell you which group memberships you both have in common. I use this information to visit the group and search the directory for the candidate’s name. Most of the time you’ll be able to send them a direct message from here (which you can cut/paste and customise from the InMail templates) thereby ‘sidestepping’ the InMail credit.
Quick Tip: Don’t want to join groups because of all the pesky email notifications? Once you’ve requested to join a group, immediately click ‘adjust your settings here’ and untick ‘Digest Email’ and ‘Notifications’.
3) Bring Out Your Inner Stalker
Ok, so maybe they aren’t intended for ‘stalking’’ but there are a number of free and easily available tools that will cross reference online profiles and provide their twitter profiles, blogs, websites and direct email address etc (and sometimes phone numbers!). From here, a simple cut/paste and customisation of an InMail template is a quick way to send a direct message. I’ve been trialing a number of these tools and my favourite right now is Connectifier but I also use other ones such as Aevy, Connect6 and TalentBin as backups.
Quick Tip: As this method won’t be automatically recorded as an InMail, make a note in each profile detailing the group and job you messaged them about for future reference.
4) Start Back Scratching
As well as showing the groups you have in common, the InMail dialogue interface will show you what mutual 1st degree connections your share. Because of the nature of our profession, there’s a good chance that a fellow recruiter will be connected to the profile so a friendly ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ message requesting their direct email address (and phone number if available) is usually a good way of producing a direct contact method. It will also help to build strategic win-win relationships with other connected recruiters in your market. Once again, from here do a quick cut/paste and customisation of an InMail message. Better yet, phone them!
Quick Tip: Again, by sidestepping the InMail process don’t forget to make a note of your activity on the profile for future reference.
5) Google It
Google is your friend. This method can be hit or miss and may require a bit of ‘manual labour’ but sometimes simply googling a profile name can reveal some very relevant and useful information. You might be pleasantly surprised: direct email addresses, phone numbers, old resumes etc can be found on the web and you can refer to information found on blogs or published articles to increase the quality of customisation of your direct message.
Quick Tip: Use this search string to try to find an online resume for the candidate: “firstname lastname” AND (“resume” OR “c.v” OR “curriculum vitae”OR “online profile”) and then filter by adding relevant keywords.
InMails are a great tool for recruiting but don’t let their limited quotas disrupt your momentum. By applying one, a few, or all of the methods above you’ll significantly reduce your rate of InMail credit usage which means you can save them for when you really need them.
Photo credit: idealcandidate.com