What to Say to a Recruiter on LinkedIn: A Detailed Guide for Entrepreneurs

As a small business consultant who has helped dozens of entrepreneurs find talent through LinkedIn, I‘ve seen firsthand how impactful a thoughtful messaging strategy can be. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll be sharing key insights on crafting the perfect outreach based on extensive research and experience in the recruiter-entrepreneur relationship.

The Power of LinkedIn for Entrepreneurial Hiring

With over 722 million users representing the world‘s largest professional network, LinkedIn offers tremendous potential for entrepreneurs seeking talent.

  • LinkedIn reports that over 50% of users are open to new job opportunities. That‘s over 360 million prospective candidates!
  • 63% of LinkedIn jobs are filled through networking and relationship-building.

As an entrepreneur, you can leverage your LinkedIn presence to connect with top talent in a more targeted way than traditional job boards. But knowing what to say is key.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile as an Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, your LinkedIn profile serves as your professional storefront to talent. Make sure it‘s optimized to attract qualified candidates:

  • Highlight achievements like funding secured, revenue growth, products launched, etc. Recruiters want evidence of your ability to build successful ventures.
  • Demonstrate leadership by detailing your responsibilities as founder/CEO. This shows your strategic vision.
  • Leverage multimedia by including relevant videos, slide decks, or other content that spotlights your expertise.
  • Promote your mission and values. Recruiters look for culture fit, so showcase what makes your company unique.

Crafting Your Initial InMail to Recruiters

Let‘s dive into how entrepreneurs can craft effective InMail messages to grab the attention of recruiters and talent acquisition professionals.

Personalize the Message

Generic outreach is highly unlikely to receive a response. Personalize by:

  • Noting how you discovered them (job board, Career Page, mutual connection, etc).
  • Mentioning shared experiences, associations, or interests.
  • Referencing their background where relevant.

Here‘s an example:

"Hi [Name], I came across your profile after looking at [Company‘s] Career Page on LinkedIn. As a fellow University of Michigan grad, I was thrilled to find another Wolverine leading talent acquisition for such an impressive firm. I wanted to introduce myself…"

Express Clear Purpose Upfront

Don‘t make recruiters guess why you‘re reaching out. Be transparent by clearly expressing your interest in talent opportunities. Here are some examples:

"I am very interested in exploring talent acquisition partnerships as we grow our team at [Company]."

"Are you open to discussing potential roles at [Company] for candidates with [relevant skills]?"

Concisely Summarize Qualifications

Quickly summarize 2-3 key qualifications that make you or your candidates a strong match for the recruiter‘s openings. But keep it focused.

"In particular, I lead frontend development and have spearheaded initiatives resulting in a 20% increase in mobile conversion rates. I would excel in any frontend role on your digital team."

Close with a Specific Call to Action

End your message by proposing next steps to move the discussion forward, such as requesting a phone call or meeting.

Here‘s an example close:

"Would you have 15-20 minutes this week to briefly explore whether there are any good matches between your opportunities and our candidates‘ backgrounds? If so, please let me know some days/times that work for you and I‘m happy to schedule something. Looking forward to further discussing talent acquisition initiatives together soon."

Following Up Politely and Professionally

If you don‘t receive a response within 1 week, follow up politely. Here are some tips:

  • Thank them again for their time reviewing your message.
  • Reiterate your interest in partnering to meet mutual talent goals.
  • Ask if they would suggest moving your discussion forward, or if any additional information from you would be helpful.
  • Offer to provide full candidate profiles, company overview, etc if needed.
  • Close by noting you will await their reply, but don‘t pressure.

The key is showing ongoing enthusiasm without being demanding. Avoid sounding impatient or entitled.

Here is a sample follow up message:

"Hi [Name], thanks again for considering my previous message proposing discussion around potential talent acquisition collaboration between [Your Company] and [Their Company]. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on moving our conversation forward, or if any supplemental candidate materials from our end would be helpful in assessing mutual interest. I will await your reply, and please don‘t hesitate to reach out if you would like any additional information from me. Talk soon!"

Leveraging LinkedIn Features

Beyond basic InMail, LinkedIn offers useful features entrepreneurs can leverage:

Open Candidates

The Open Candidates feature signals that you or your candidates are interested in new opportunities. This can lead to more inbound recruiter outreach.

Career Pages

Follow Career Pages of your target companies to stay on top of openings and events. This ensures you reach out at the optimal time.


Joining industry and niche LinkedIn Groups can expand your reach and network. But focus on active groups aligned with your goals.

Company Research Tools

Use LinkedIn‘s company research tools to identify key hiring influencers and tailor your messages accordingly. The more personalized, the better.

Common Messaging Pitfalls to Avoid

As an entrepreneur reaching out to recruiters, you want to avoid several messaging pitfalls:

Too Casual Tone

Resist the temptation to be overly casual. Avoid slang, emojis, or informal language. You want to come across as professional.

Spelling/Grammar Errors

Consistency spelling/grammar errors will destroy your credibility. Always proofread messages. Enlist a colleague‘s help if needed.

Overselling Yourself

While showcasing achievements is good, avoid going overboard as it may come across as egotistical. Focus on collaboration.

Talking Only About Your Needs

Balance showcasing your capabilities with expressing interest in helping the recruiter meet their needs. It should be a two-way dialogue.

Key Takeaways

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile to highlight achievements and leadership.
  • Personalize your outreach by referencing shared experiences and recruiter backgrounds.
  • Express your purpose clearly and propose specific next steps.
  • Follow up politely if you don‘t hear back within 1 week.
  • Leverage LinkedIn features, but avoid overusing InMail.
  • Proofread carefully and avoid sounding too casual or salesy.

As an entrepreneur, you can unlock tremendous value from LinkedIn recruiting by avoiding common messaging pitfalls and crafting thoughtful, personalized outreach. With a strategic approach, you can build relationships with recruiters that yield high-quality talent acquisition for your growing venture.