There is no single “right” answer for how to reply to a LinkedIn message, including knowing how to respond to recruiters on LinkedIn.
The thing is, learning how to answer messages on LinkedIn takes understanding many things about LinkedIn.
It takes knowing what LinkedIn users might want to read...beyond the simple “thank you for connecting” message.
Confused? Not for long!
In this blog post, we explain how you can turn your LinkedIn messages into positive experiences for all involved, as well as how to respond to a recruiter.
First things first...
Important Tips About Linkedin Messaging
Keep these things in mind when communicating on LinkedIn:
1. Remember your goal behind the message.
Use your desired outcome to outline your messages.
- Do you want an interview?
- Or maybe a phone call?
- Are you contacting or replying to a recruiter?
Don't get so carried away with writing the message that you forget the goal of your message.
2. Drop the LinkedIn “suit and tie” messages.
Even when you are conducting professional interactions on LinkedIn, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- LinkedIn is still social media.
- Be human and friendly.
Check out this example of knowing your goal and being friendly in a LinkedIn message to a recruiter:
Hi, *****. Pleased to meet you. I'm very interested in your job posting for a [position]. I have 10+ years of experience [insert requirement(s) from job description].
Would you be open to seeing my resume or maybe a quick call this week about the position?
3. Never ask the person you message to do any work for you.
This is very important, whether you are determining what to say to a recruiter on LinkedIn, or you are connecting with someone for some other professional purpose.
You messaged them, after all.
Don’t expect them to serve you or do you any favors!
4. Never offer too much information.
Remember to keep your LinkedIn messages focused and to the point.
- We all have busy schedules, so respect the other person's time.
- Stay on topic with LinkedIn messages.
See a sample message of TMI and asking people to work for you in LinkedIn messages below.
This is definitely not how to reply to a recruiter or potential job connection:
What's wrong with the above LinkedIn message?
First, I asked the person to find me an online link.
The person I messaged does not work for me. They are doing me a favor by even communicating with me.
Next, I offered too much information and came across as though I am apologetic for my experience.
This type of message raises questions and makes further communication awkward.
Finally, this LinkedIn message is more work than the person bargained for.
This is what happened:
- I wrote to them because I needed something.
- They replied to assist me.
- I replied by giving the person more work when I was the one who needed help.
In essence, my message was all about taking with no giving.
LinkedIn Messaging Fail
Let’s look a little more closely at another sample of an “all take and no give” interaction.
(The names have been changed to protect the innocent LinkedIn messaging fail participants!)
In this scenario, “Steven” needs a job and is communicating with a LinkedIn recruiter.
Decide for yourself whether Steven needs a few lessons on what to say to recruiters on LinkedIn.
Example of an “all take and no give” interaction:
Steven at 10:04 AM (good message)
Hi *****. Thank you for accepting my invite!
Recruiter sent the following message at 1:08 PM
No problem. I actually have a role open:
Sr. manager planning and program enablement. Take a look and see if you think it would be of interest.
Steven sent the following message at 2:51 PM (failed message)
Not seeing it here, *****. Is there another place I can find it or a link you can send me? Thanks.
Recruiter sent the following message at 9:35 AM
Just go to our website! But it should be in LI too...
Steven sent the following message at 9:55 AM (failed message)
Ok, I applied, thanks. I also have a Master's Degree in Chemical Science but have no interest in the industry. Wanted to use it long term to grow within my next career.
Let me know if you have further questions. Thank you!
Recruiter sent the following message at 11:21 AM
If you notice the tone of the recruiter's messages, they come across as seeming a little frustrated with Steven’s requests.
Steven contacted a recruiter to get something. But the recruiter ended up doing all the work on LinkedIn himself. Totally not a win for either of them.
Responding to Blank Messages
Yes, that initial interaction on LinkedIn counts as a message!
Someone accepting your invitation request triggers a notification back to you.
It looks something like this:
How do you respond when your new LinkedIn connection doesn’t send a personal message back?
- First of all, consider that the person might have no idea how to reply to invites with notes.
- Secondly, you don’t want to sound needy in a LinkedIn message.
- And of course, you want to be respectful of their time.
At the same time, however, you want to get a response without being intrusive.
How to use a blank LinkedIn message
Here’s how to reply to a recruiter or other professional connection when there is nothing but a blank "you are now connected" LinkedIn message.
Wait 24 hours.
The next day, send this short and sweet message:
Hi *****! Thank you for accepting my invite.
What are you doing with this simple six-word message?
You are reviving the conversation, which is a vital step to initiating further interactions.
Also, you should send this reply at the very same time they accepted your invite.
This means you will likely catch them during the time of day they are active on LinkedIn.
Most of the time, this very simple message leads to a response and the opportunity for further communication.
How to Write LinkedIn Messages
Here are some general rules for how to respond to LinkedIn recruiters and other professional connections.
These tips will help you properly answer each and every time:
1. Message as if the entire world is having an amazing day.
Some of the most effective messages on LinkedIn always have phrases such as:
I hope you are doing great…
Pleased to e-meet you…
You have an amazing [insert something interesting about his/her profile].
It shows that you are positive, friendly, and take an interest in the other person’s profile.
Even when you are figuring out what to say to recruiters on LinkedIn, you can be sure that everyone will respond well to politeness and cheer.
2. Keep it short and sweet and get to the point.
Long messages kill the eyes.
The more you write, the more you create a chance to lose someone’s attention.
Remember, professionals are busy people...and busy people don’t have time to read book-length messages.
3. Make sure your LinkedIn messages are easy to read.
Remember that LinkedIn is used on a mobile app by 57% of its users. You have to consider what your message will look like on the other person's device and if it will be easy to read.
Using shorter, simpler words in a paragraph format in a short message reduces scrolling both on an app and desktop.
And if you fear you are dumbing down your own message, read it aloud to yourself before sending it.
Shorter conversations also require spacing to get your point across and make “breathing room” on the page.
Check out the image below for an example:
Simply by clicking “Shift + Enter” twice after each sentence, you avoid creating a large block of text in a LinkedIn message.
You can select the "Click Send" option in your LinkedIn message settings. This way you don’t have to worry about adding “Shift” or accidentally sending your message before it’s complete if you hit "Enter."
4. Never write like a spam message template.
If you are “spamming” in your first message to a recruiter or any other professional connection, it is very unlikely that the LinkedIn message will be a success.
Why would I have any reason to reply to a message like this?
Hello Steven Lowell,
I sent you this free guide to assist with your online success.
The information is provided by our partners (blah blah) ...
We are all people doing business on LinkedIn.
Talk to others on LinkedIn like they are real people, not prospects you enjoy spamming.
5. Make sure your message has relevant context.
No one likes to read a boring message with information that is useless to them.
Especially in knowing what to say to a recruiter on LinkedIn, keep in mind that every message you send should relate yourself to the job you are seeking.
For example, you could mention skills you have or certifications you earned.
Note the circled portion in the sample message to a recruiter:
What makes your message stand out to the reader?
- It is unique and adds value to the person you contacted.
- It shows you have read their LinkedIn profile.
- You know what the person thinks is useful.
For example, the message you see above was sent to a technical recruiter who recruits engineers in Phoenix.
You might be interested to know that the message led to a job interview because this person clearly understood how to respond to LinkedIn recruiters.
LinkedIn messaging advice comes in many forms.
Your approach will differ whether you are reconnecting with a former colleague, replying to a recruiter, or reaching out to a potential job connection for the first time.
In every case, it is still a social media tool used to connect with people for the purposes of business networking.
It is important to be just as social as you are professional in order to properly answer messages on LinkedIn.
If you need more help with LinkedIn networking and knowing how to respond to recruiters on LinkedIn, we can help!
We offer an elite LinkedIn Networking Coaching service that will enable you to:
- Navigate LinkedIn effectively to find a job
- Find key decision-makers for the jobs you are interested in
- Learn what to say to recruiters on LinkedIn
- Know how to respond to a recruiter if interested
Another option is working with our Reverse Recruiters with Career Finder. In addition to finding and applying to jobs for you, your dedicated Reverse Recruiter will guide you through LinkedIn messages and networking to secure interviews.