We Explain How to Contact Recruiters on LinkedIn to Leave a Strong Impression
When you’re an enthusiastic job applicant eager to find the perfect new position, sending a LinkedIn message to recruiters may be something you’re tempted to do.
But is it the right choice?
We asked recruitment experts for their thoughts on the matter.
Glazer is the founder and president of MindHR, a recruiting agency based in Canada.
Taylor is the Senior Recruitment Advisor at VelvetJobs, a global job board and employer branding facility.
Sternbauer is co-founder and CEO of The Female Factor, an organization that advises pioneering companies on how to attract (female) millennials.
French is the managing director at Intrinsic Search, a leading executive search firm.
Hunter is the recruitment director with more than 20 years of experience working at Hunter Heywood, a boutique, UK-based recruitment consultancy.
Hill is the chairman and CEO of The Energists, an executive search and recruiting firm specializing in the oil and gas industries.
Should applicants contact recruiters on LinkedIn?
Our panel agrees that applicants should contact recruiters on LinkedIn, as long as they go about it in an appropriate way.
Glazer: “Yes. Reach out directly to a recruiter to stand out. It’s a great way to stay connected to them as well.”
Taylor: “It is definitely acceptable to reach out to recruiters via LinkedIn. It is exactly what LinkedIn is used for – to network and create relationships with other professionals.”
Yes, contact the recruiter or hiring manager of your dream company!
It can actually help you to get on their radar and get [you] the information you’re aiming for faster.
Worst case is that you’re getting ignored completely.
- Tanja Sternbauer, The Female Factor
French: “A thoughtful message can be a smart way to get on the recruiter’s radar, helping you stand out in an otherwise competitive job market.”
Hunter: “Messages from applicants can show good initiative, providing there’s something of value in there for me as a recruiter.”
Hill: “I mostly see it as a positive if an applicant reaches out directly through LinkedIn, provided their messages demonstrate they’re aware of what we do and the types of positions we fill.”
What is the best way to reach out to a recruiter?
Now that you have a sense of the benefits of reaching out, you need to know how to message a recruiter on LinkedIn the right way.
Simplicity and purpose are ideal.
French: “First things first, keep your message short; we are talking no more than five sentences so you can get straight to the point. Think about what you want to communicate to the recruiter, what you want from them, and what you can offer in return.”
Glazer: “Pick industry professionals that match your background and recruiters in areas you want to work in and for. Send a message on how you are relevant to a job they are working on.”
You should choose the people you contact carefully and only reach out if you can clearly and concisely express why you could be a good candidate for the types of jobs they need to have filled.
- Jon Hill, The Energists
Sternbauer: “Write your message well, only include necessary details, and you may attach your resume.”
Hunter: “Providing some concise context on your background and how it’s relevant to the role will help differentiate you from other applicants.
What should an applicant avoid when contacting recruiters on LinkedIn?
While the right message can increase your chances of getting the job, the wrong one can put a dent in your prospects.
When you send a LinkedIn message to recruiters, take care not to make problematic mistakes such as the ones mentioned below.
Hunter: “Avoid meaningless messages. If all you have to say is that you’ve applied, reconsider whether you need to reach out.”
[Avoid] mass messages that have not been customized for the particular recruiter and position you have applied to.
An irrelevant or generic message that doesn’t tell the recruiter why you are contacting them can certainly create a poor impression and possibly run you out of the race.
- Paul French, Intrinsic Search
Taylor: “Avoid unnecessary details that make you seem desperate and don’t be too persistent because it can be bothersome.”
Hill: “Also avoid sending a second message unless and until you get a response to your first. You’ll only annoy them and leave a lasting impression for the wrong reason if you continue to message them.”
Sternbauer: “It gets problematic when the candidate passes personal boundaries and takes the conversation too far or if personal information (of the recruiter or an employee) is requested.”
What does a well-written message look like?
The general consensus from our panel was that an effective LinkedIn message includes the following components:
- Personalized greeting
- Expression of interest in a specific role
- Outline of relevant experience and/or qualifications (keep it brief)
- Call to action (such as setting up a time to speak)
- Thank you and professional sign off
- Contact information
By keeping your short and to the point, you avoid inundating or frustrating the recruiter while still conveying everything you want to share.
Stray too much from this formula, and you may be at risk of doing more harm than good.
As with any part of the job application process, you need to be purposeful and avoid wasting the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s time.
If you would like to send a LinkedIn message to a recruiter, feel free to do so. However, make sure that your message:
- Is appropriate
- Adds value
- Isn’t pushy or persistent
By following these strategies, you’ll craft a message that piques the recipient's attention, potentially giving you an edge in the job search – and that doesn’t end up being a red flag against you.
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