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When Email and InMail Do More Harm than Good

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There are so many great communication tools now for recruiters to help make getting a message out to lots of people more efficient. More so than ever, recruiters can search, find, and email a candidate within a matter of a few clicks. And in some cases that may be automated. But misuse of these communication tools may be damaging your employment brand and your organizations image.

I just got the following InMail from a recruiter on LinkedIn. I’ve kept the person’s name and company out. I didn’t change any formatting or grammar except to italicize it to more easily distinguish it from my comments. So I ask you this… What does this say about this person? About their company? Was it effective in achieving the desired result? Would a top performing, high potential, happily employed sales person respond to this email?

Hi Michael,


I came across your resume and wanted to see if you’d be interested in speaking. We are in heavy growth mode and are currently looking for several Sales Managers and Dirctors of Business Development to join our company. I wanted to reach out to ask if you are open to exploring new opportunities, or have someone in your Network that may be interested. COMPANY brings the power of social commerce to the world’s best brands and is the best-of-breed solution for using user-generated content to drive customer loyalty and multi-channel sales. Please review our website We have been voted to CITY Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in 07, 08, 09. In 2009 we were voted best medium sized company to work for by CITY Business Journal –

Please send me an updated resume if you’re interested. If not, please feel free to pass on my information if you know of anyone who might be interested in learning more about the opportunity. If any questions come up on your end please let me know how I can assist.

Let me point out some obvious concerns I have:

  1. Two greetings – “Hi Michael,” and “Hello,” – instantly recognized as an email template, lost me already.
  2. First sentence says she came across my resume. Last paragraph asks me to send her my resume if I’m interested. Huh?
  3. Spelling errors – Dirctors of Business Development
  4. Who wants to speak with someone who’s looking for several of the same thing? Doesn’t exactly make the position very “exclusive”. Just leave that part out and say, “I’m looking for a Director of Business Development” and by all means spell the job title correctly.
  5. Finally, the entire email has everything to do with their company and NOTHING to do with me or my accomplishments which, since she “came across my resume”, could easily point out right?

It really has nothing to do with LinkedIn. This could have come over any email system. The bottom line is put yourself in the shoes of the recipient of your communications and ask; will they respond? Will they feel compelled to refer me to someone they know? In asking for their resume am I asking for too much up front? Can I personalize my message so that it at least feels like one-to-one? Can I point out what I liked about their profile and how that might align with our needs? I know doing this might feel like extra work but if you get more pointed and relevant in your message and focus on sending it to qualified people then your hit ratio will be much, much higher. Otherwise, this type of exercise does far more harm than good.

One final point: This is actually the second time I’ve gotten this email from this recruiter. Every time you send an email like this the audience gets a little more numb to it. Don’t blow your chances. Sitting behind an email address is a living, breathing person who will react very differently based on what and how you write them. Might be worth training your recruiters on how to effectively write emails.

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