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7 Top Candidate Outreach Messages + FREE Recruiter Message Templates

Not sure how to approach a potential candidate on Linkedin? Don't worry - we've got you covered! Here are 7 FREE templates to use for outreach messages!

By Chris Smith

17 Sep 2020 · 8 min read

Table of Contents
7 Top Candidate Outreach Messages + FREE Recruiter Message Templates

Finding talent can be a NIGHTMARE.

If you’ve ever put out a job posting and received ZERO response, or you didn’t quite attract the kind of talent you wanted, you’re not alone.

Instead of waiting for potential hires to come to you, the key is to seek them out first - and what better place to do that than on LinkedIn?

Today you'll learn EXACTLY how to source candidates on LinkedIn with the 7 best LinkedIn InMail templates for recruiters.

These aren’t your cringe-worthy, spammy copy-and-paste jobs that are rife on LinkedIn; instead, they will help build awareness of your brand, establish trust, and connect with the best talent in your industry.

🛠️ Want to create your own unique outreach message? Use our free AI candidate outreach message generator here.

In fact, these 7 free LinkedIn message templates helped us source our team here at GoHire.

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These 7 templates include:

  • #1: The Personalised Message
  • #2: The ‘New Job’ Message
  • #3: The ‘Mutual Connections’ Message
  • #4: The Complimenting Message
  • #5: The ‘Have We Met?’ Message
  • #6: The Creative Message
  • #7: The Follow Up Message

Before we get started...

If you need more data to find candidates? Check out Apollo to source all the data you need. Or take a look at the Linkedin sales navigator, which will be useful not only for finding candidate emails but also for contacting potential customers in the future."

Also, Hunter is incredibly useful for finding contact details for any candidate you can't connect with on LinkedIn. You can still use the same outreach templates below. Just send them an email instead.


If you want to see how to message candidates using the templates below, watch this video:

linkedin video

What is recruiter outreach?

Recruiter outreach involves various techniques that help you actively seek out and engage with qualified candidates to fill your company’s open jobs. It means you can find the best people for the job without waiting for them to come to you.

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. This shows that there are plenty of people out there who will be pleased to receive a message from you on LinkedIn about potential roles at your company.

What is recruiter outreach?

Why recruiter outreach is important

Recruiter outreach means you can engage with both passive and active candidates.

Working alongside recruitment marketing and job board posting, candidate sourcing allows you to take control and initiate conversations with the talent you really want. Not everyone who’s the best fit for a role will see a job posting, which means you could be missing out on some really great hires.

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 essential time-to-hire and time-to-fill metrics.

Why LinkedIn is good for sourcing candidates

LinkedIn is a vital tool that showcases one thing:


Using LinkedIn as a virtual resume is becoming the more popular way for candidates to present themselves and for companies to source talent.

Not only does LinkedIn allow candidates to list all of their experience and skills, but previous employers can endorse skills and provide candidates with mini references.

However, spotting and sourcing top talent are basically useless without a well-crafted candidate outreach message.

Why LinkedIn is good for sourcing candidates

Why you need LinkedIn recruiter message templates

Sourcing candidates and sending them personalised messages can be time-consuming. You’ve probably got other things you should be spending your time doing, yet all of a sudden, you’ve spent half a day poking about on LinkedIn, trying to find the right people and then finding the right words to get them to consider your role.

LinkedIn recruiter message templates make it easy to replicate the process repeatedly, giving you a template you can customise to suit each candidate. Not only does this save you time and effort, but it also means you won’t miss out on any important information if you’re contacting potential hires in a rush.

Key components of a good candidate outreach message

A candidate outreach message will be sent to prospective candidates on LinkedIn, encouraging 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 candidate that they are attempting to attract will pick them up, but these spam-like messages rarely work.

Sending mass messages to random contacts harms your employer branding and the candidate experience.

80% of HR leaders say employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to attract talent.

Here are the key components of a good LinkedIn outreach message:

  • Include the recipient’s name
  • State your company and the role up for grabs
  • Be human - people get enough spam messages on LinkedIn!
  • Show an interest in something the recipient has done or achieved
  • Ask a question or include a call-to-action to encourage a response

Recruiter outreach lets you use LinkedIn to your advantage and make sure you’re hiring the best talent for your business.

So, here are 7 top LinkedIn recruiter message templates that each business should use as part of a successful recruiter outreach campaign.

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#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.


[your name]

Why this candidate outreach message works

A successful LinkedIn recruiter message clarifies that you have studied the candidate’s profile and resume. The reason candidates fill their profile with work experience is for employers like you to read it!

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

Introducing them to a role that aligns with their career path will intrigue them more than simply putting them into a job. The next step is getting them on a call to discuss their previous experience and their interest in the role to see if they’ll be a good fit.

#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 an available role and see if you know of any quality candidates who may be interested.

Can we schedule a brief call for later today?


[your name]

The ‘New Job’ Message

Why this candidate outreach message works

This LinkedIn recruiter message template is a great way to subtly source passive candidates.

It allows the candidate to consider an opportunity without being directly targeted. This way, they have the freedom to hear 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 in the role themselves.

#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 this candidate outreach message 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 whom to contact.

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.

Mutual Connections

#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 looked at your blog too – you really know your [skill]/you’ve got fantastic [skill].

I lead recruiting at [company], and 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?


[your name]

Why this candidate outreach message works

This casual interaction can easily adapt 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?


[your name]

Why this candidate outreach message works

Jogging the memory of a candidate to a previous meeting can make all the difference, and shows the importance of networking. After all, we’re humans that are seeking out other human connections - and who doesn’t like to be remembered?

Don’t assume they will remember you from your name alone, though, so make sure you 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 in 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!


[your name]

The Creative Message

Why this candidate outreach message 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 Follow Up Message

Hi again [candidate name],

Just checking to see if 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.


[your name]

Why this candidate outreach message 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.

Candidate outreach

The importance of following-up with candidates

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

Applicant Tracking System

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, it's essential to keep on top of candidate outreach in a talent hiring platform or candidate pool.

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

Each LinkedIn recruiter message template we’ve covered here 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.

Sourcing candidates in a way that encourages a good relationship before any hiring process has occurred makes it more likely that an employee will be successful in the long run.

By Chris Smith

17 Sep 2020 · 8 min read

Founder of GoHire, dedicated to simplifying hiring for SMBs across the globe. Passionate about tech, SaaS, business, and recruitment innovations. Always up for a chat about the latest in our field. Let's connect!


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