20/05/2016 08:26 BST | Updated 20/05/2017 06:12 BST

Would You Reply to Your LinkedIn Inmail?

The LinkedIn InMail. Possibly the most abused form of communication out there.

It's a nice idea. In theory, it democratizes networking. Anyone can talk to anyone. In practice, it's led to the temptation to spam large groups of candidates in the hope that a few will be interested.

Not only is this damaging your brand pretty significantly, but it's horribly ineffective.

Whenever you reach out to a candidate you don't know, the goal should be to start a conversation. They (probably) don't know who you are, and you're trying to convince them why they should spend time talking to you.

This means you can't just go in all guns blazing talking about your opportunity. You have to make a connection first.

Think about how receptive you are when you get a sales email out of the blue, pitching a product you've never heard of. You have no idea about the company, you don't know the salesman and you don't know how they got your email.

How many of you would reply? How many of you would even open the message?

You're not going to seal the deal with your first message. It can be the first step towards placing a great candidate or, if you get it wrong, it can be hugely damaging to your brand.

The goal should be to find out about the candidate's career path and goals, introduce yourself and tell the candidate why you're messaging them. You need to write a message that's highly personalised and helps you stand out. These are the only KPIs at this stage.

When you find out a little more about their motivations, you can adapt your job pitch to fit their motivations and increase your chances of success.

When you look at the metrics, it should be pretty clear that this approach is far more effective.

What should you do?

We've run the numbers at Beamery - if you want to write an InMail that gets results, there are a few things you need to focus on.

Subject line. Keep it short and snappy. You're looking for the highest possible open rate

Research. You need more than a first name! Try and find a few interesting points in the candidate's profile that you can reference

Pitch. Make sure your pitch is both personal and persuasive. You should reference a number of different unique details about the candidate (e.g. education, skills) and explain why they would actually be interested by your role. What is in it for them?

The best way to make sure you're writing a great InMail that actually has a good chance of success is ultimately to put yourself in the candidate's shoes.

Before you hit send, ask yourself: would you answer your message?