7 Top Candidate Outreach Messages for LinkedIn [FREE TEMPLATES]

A candidate sourcing strategy involves actively seeking out and engaging with qualified and viable candidates to fill your company’s current or future positions.

The strategy can be composed of multiple candidate sourcing techniques, which are typically utilised in combination to maximise results.

According to LinkedIn, only 36% of the workforce is actively looking for a new opportunity at any given time, but an incredible 90% is willing to talk and learn more.

Why it’s important to have a candidate sourcing strategy

Candidate sourcing gives you the opportunity to engage with both passive candidates, and active candidates who otherwise wouldn't apply because they aren’t aware of your company or open opportunities.

Sourcing allows you to take control and initiate conversations with the talent you really want, and having a strategy is a way of maintaining that control.

With a candidate sourcing strategy, open positions can be filled almost immediately as you may have already identified and vetted a large pool of talent, thus shortening the hiring cycle and reducing your workload.

Why LinkedIn is good for sourcing candidates

LinkedIn is a vital tool that showcases one thing: talent.

The use of LinkedIn as a virtual resume is becoming the more popular way for candidates to present themselves, and for companies to hire from.

Not only does LinkedIn allow candidates to list all of their experience and skills, but previous employers can endorse these skills and provide candidates with mini references. You could even reach out to their previous employers prior to hiring.

With the LinkedIn network and messaging features, candidate sourcing becomes simple!

Key components of a good candidate outreach message

An outreach message is one that will be sent to a prospective candidate on LinkedIn, to encourage them to engage with you regarding a job position.

There are many employers and recruiters that will send out cold messages on LinkedIn in the hope that the receiver will pick them up. These rarely work as they are quite obviously fake and impersonal.

Sending mass messages to random contacts has a negative impact on the candidate’s perception of your company and recruiting strategy.

80% of HR leaders say employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to attract talent. Setting out your employer branding from the beginning ensures a healthy candidate relationship.

With a candidate sourcing strategy, you can use LinkedIn to your advantage and make sure you’re hiring the best talent for your business.

  • Grabbing the candidate’s attention is the main component of a good outreach message.

Ultimately, you want your recipient to read and engage with your message, so something personal and unique is more likely to get a response than a generic message.

  • It is equally as important to encourage further engagement by offering a phone call or personal meeting.

This may seem forward, but many people would prefer to schedule a meeting than find time to sit and reply to continuous messages.

Here are seven templates that each incorporate the key components of a successful candidate outreach message.

#1: The Personalised Message

Hi [candidate name],

I hope this message finds you well!

I’ve just been having a look at your profile and, based on your experience with [previous company], you seem like a great candidate for some exciting [job role] opportunities that we have available at [company name].

I’d love to tell you more about them and see if they support your career ambitions.

Could we schedule a quick call to discuss? What time works best for you?

Thanks, and looking forward to connecting with you.

Best,

[Your name]

Why It Works

A successful candidate outreach makes it clear that you have studied the candidate’s profile and resume. The reason candidate’s fill their profile with work experience is for employers like you to read it!

However, you cannot always guarantee that a candidate is a good fit just from looking at their LinkedIn profile. That’s why it’s important to find out about a candidate’s career aspirations as well as their skill set.

Introducing them to a role that aligns with their career path will intrigue them more than simply putting them into a job.

#2: The ‘New Job’ Message

Hi [candidate name],

I hope this message finds you well.

I see that you recently started a new position at [candidate’s company] – congratulations!

I know you may not be looking right now, but perhaps you know someone who would be interested in an opportunity at [your company]?

I’d love to tell you about a role we have available and see if you know of any quality candidates who may be interested.

Can we schedule a brief call for later today?

Best,

[your name]

Why It Works

This outreach message is a great way of subtly sourcing passive candidates.

It allows the candidate to consider an opportunity without being directly targeted. This way, they have the freedom of hearing about the job role for either themselves or for someone in their network.

They will appreciate the respect that you show for their career, improving your employer branding; and they may even be able to boost your LinkedIn network simultaneously, even if they aren’t interested.

#3: The ‘Mutual Connections’ Message

Hi [candidate name],

My name is [your name] and I work for [your company]. I notice that we have some mutual connections; [connection’s name(s)]? I have worked with them in the past.

[Connection’s name(s)] mentioned you might be a great fit for a [job role] opportunity that we have available in [location].

I’d like to arrange a call to tell you more. What time works best for you?

Thanks, and looking forward to connecting with you.

[Your name]

Why It Works

Mentioning mutual connections you have in your network establishes credibility and trust, as well as employer branding.

The power of the LinkedIn network is that you meet candidates with specific skill sets, so that when the right job comes along, you know who to get in touch with.

From the candidate’s point of view, knowing that they have been personally recommended by their connections will be encouraging and may spark their interest.

#4: The Complimenting Message

Hi [candidate name],

Great post on [topic], I ended up sharing it with my whole team and we all loved it! I’ve also taken a look at your blog too – you really know your [skill]/you’ve got fantastic [skill].

I lead recruiting at [company], we’re pretty keen on hotshot [job role] with a flair for [skill].

I’m looking for someone to work in our [team/department] - would you be interested in arranging a call to discuss?

Best,

[Your Name]

Why it works

This casual interaction can be easily adapted to your needs, from marketing to software development.

Recognising and complimenting the candidate’s skills encourages a healthy candidate relationship before even meeting them in person.

Candidates that spend time on their skills outside of work may not expect recognition for it, so to hear this from a potential employer will be encouraging.

They will appreciate the personal touch and like that you made the effort to notice their work, especially if it’s posted elsewhere to LinkedIn.

#5: The ‘Have We Met?’ Message

Hi [candidate name],

It was great to meet you at [event/meeting/work], and even better to connect on LinkedIn! How are things?

After meeting you it became apparent that you might be suitable for an opportunity that has arisen at [your company].

Would you have some time today to discuss it?

Best,

[Your name]

Why it works

Jogging the memory of a candidate to a previous meeting can make all the difference, and shows the importance of networking.

Don’t assume they will remember you from your name alone, mention where you met and add some small talk to encourage a reply.

This may also encourage another face-to-face meeting, which may ultimately result in a successful hire.

#6: The Creative Message

Hi [candidate name],

Do you listen to music while working?

Music is a huge part of my working day, I can’t function without something on the background!

I’d love to know what kind of music you listen to at work - it’s a topic I want to highlight to my colleagues.

Could you check out this playlist I made? My typical working tunes!

Best,

[Your name]

Why it works

Sometimes it’s best to use your company to its advantage.

This is an example of how one employer creatively attempted to source candidates: by creating a playlist that asked them (in song titles) if they would like to discuss a position.

If you really want to grab a potential candidate’s attention, you’ve got to think outside the box.

If they’re not interested, it doesn’t matter. The creative gesture will get them talking and may spark up a connection with someone who may be interested in the position.

#7: The Persistent Message

Hi again [candidate name],

Just checking you got my previous message?

I know work can get hectic so I’m not surprised if my message got lost in a sea of others!

I still believe that you’d be a great candidate for a role I have available at [your company].

Drop me a message when you’re free and we’ll arrange a call.

Best,

[Your name]

Why it works

A follow-up message shows that you are not reliant on cold messaging and you are genuinely interested in the candidate.

It also puts the ball in the candidate’s court, which they will appreciate if they have a busy schedule.

Most candidates may have looked over your first message, but a second or third will encourage them to take another look.

The importance of following-up messages

It’s on you to keep track of your efforts and plan what to do if you don’t hear back from a candidate.

There are many reasons why candidates may not have replied the first time, but a further message will only encourage that outcome, even if they tell you they aren’t interested.

It’s best to follow up 1-2 weeks after the first message, using your previous message as a starting point.

It may also be useful to take parts from other templates in this post. Mention a mutual connection, their previous experience, or current role as a talking point.

A follow-up message could be the catalyst to a successful and talented hire.

One thing these messages all have in common? They don’t go for the “quick win.”

Each message has the primary purpose of seeing if the candidate is a good fit for a role— not to fill the role as quickly as possible.

If someone is pushed into a role, they’ll end up in a job that doesn’t fit. The candidate resigns, and you lose the trust you’ve built up.

Engaging with candidates in a way that encourages a good relationship before any hiring process has occurred, makes it more likely that a successful hire will happen; either with the targeted candidate or another in their network.

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