linkedin tips

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.


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It’s no secret that there’s a ‘talent war’ happening right now – especially in the tech industry. Although, today I heard it referred to as ‘an arms race for talent’, so I’m not sure what the correct analogy is, but I think we all get the idea: the biggest hiring problem right now for most organizations is finding good, talented people with the right level of experience, and who also fit the company culture.

But don’t fret, I know the solution to this problem, and it can be summed up in three simple words:


What does this mean?

It means that instead of hiring a candidate because he/she has successfully performed a similar role in the past, you hire a candidate because you believe that he or she has the right attitude, skill set and fundamental understanding of the position to be successful in the future (even if they’ve never actually held the same position before). Now, I know you’re probably thinking: “That’s the solution? That’s not revolutionary at all – it’s simple!” And my answer to you would be, “No, it’s not simple as you may think.”

You see, by moving away from the ‘old school’ hiring philosophy of qualifying top candidates by trying to determine “has this candidate done it before?” towards a new hiring philosophy of determining “does this candidate have the potential to do it?”, you’re essentially changing your hiring culture. And, as most seasoned business people know, changing the culture of any organization is a very challenging task and it takes time, strong leadership, and support from the top. Further, companies will need to commit to investing time and resources to ensure the candidate will have enough training, support and mentorship to be successful in the position.

The next Wayne Gretzky?

I was at lunch today with a fellow industry recruiter and we were discussing the topic of hiring on potential and he came up with the obvious (yet eye opening) comparison to the sports industry. He commented that by hiring on potential, you’re essentially hiring your ‘draft picks’ that have a good chance of becoming your best players in 2 – 3 years’ time. Think about it – this is true for any professional sport and it works! Whether it’s the NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA, rugby, soccer etc., there are many examples in which the draft picks came in with no ‘big league’ experience, yet, have totally transformed entire teams within a few years to win a championship.

New Dog = New Tricks

By hiring on potential, not only will you have more candidates to choose from, but you’ll also have highly motivated employees. Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It’s an old expression that applies perfectly to this topic: by hiring on potential, you’re essentially hiring a ‘puppy’ that, with enough training, support, and mentorship, will learn as many tricks as your throw at it. Further, your ‘puppy’ will be more motivated because they will encounter more challenges (which is a natural motivator for most people) and be more eager to impress and prove themselves to others.


Don’t get stuck in the ‘old-school’ philosophy of hiring on experience. Keep an open mind and try looking for someone that doesn’t necessarily have the level of experience you’re looking for, but is talented and fits the company culture. By taking this approach, your talent pool will be much deeper and you might hire the next Wayne Gretsky.

Footnote:  If you’re not Canadian, then you may not know who Wayne Gretzky is. In short, he’s often referred to as “the greatest hockey player ever” and more information about him can be found here.

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linkedin tips

Saved Searches are a Recruiter’s Best Friend

One of the best features of LinkedIn Recruiter is the ‘saved search’ function that you can set up to run on a daily basis. This is particularly handy if you have a constant need for a specific skill set such as Java Developers or QA Analysts etc. Once you’ve set up your saved searches, it will save you time while giving you a leg-up on your competition by sending you daily notifications of any newly created LinkedIn profiles matching your search parameters (according to LinkedIn, 2 profiles are created per second globally – so that’s a lot of new profiles to review!). Additionally, this search will include any existing members who have updated their profiles.

More information about the saved search feature can be found here.

Copy and Paste This:

Everyone will have different set of saved searches set up depending on the area you recruit in. But, there is 1 saved search that EVERY recruiter should have running on a daily basis:

“seeking” OR “new opportunities” OR “available” OR “looking” OR “new challenge” OR “unemployed” OR “new challenge” OR “next opportunity”

Once you’ve set up automatic filters for location/industry etc, this will search will notify you daily of anyone that has become an active candidate.


Linkedin Recruiter is a great product that offers many tools such as saved searches that will save you time and increase your recruitment performance. By adding this search string to your list of saved searches and monitoring the results daily, you will be the first to know about freshly active candidates which will give you a head start on your competition, and increase your chances of filling open positions.

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