test 33 
InMail vs. Email – What Channel Is Better for Recruiters?
Skip to content

Talent Management

InMail vs. Email – What Channel Is Better for Recruiters?

One Minute Takeaway

  • Recruiters have to decide the best ways to communicate with candidates between InMail and email.
  • A combination of email and InMail may yield the best results.
  • Paycor Smart Sourcing is an AI recruiting tool that can automate and optimize candidate messaging.

When it comes to recruiting communication tactics, recruiters often have to choose between emails or LinkedIn InMail. 49 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs each week. And, LinkedIn InMails have a better response rate than emails. The average email open rate 22%, while InMail can have it up to 57.5%. Even though this evidence is pretty substantial, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of InMail vs. email and other ways to optimize your recruiting process with AI.

The Pros and Cons of InMail vs Email 

LinkedIn InMail  

The Good 

  • LinkedIn InMail gives you access to more people. 
  • InMails messages allow you to contact 2nd and 3rd degree connections without sending a connection request first. 
  • You don’t need email addresses.  

The Bad 

  • LinkedIn InMail is a premium feature which costs up to $5 per message.
  • LinkedIn has a limit on InMail messages.  
  • You can’t send follow-ups message with InMails. If you want to re-send an InMail to a candidate whom you had contacted before, this will cost you another credit.  
  • Many passive job seekers do not log into LinkedIn regularly. 


The Good 

  • Emails are free! 
  • You can send follow-up emails to a candidate.  

The Bad 

  • You need to find the right email addresses. This is a challenge.  
  • You could be categorized as spam and risk being blocked 
  • With so many email messages, the open rate to an email from an unknown sender is low 

Cold Outreach Best practices 

Whether you use email, InMail or other tactics to contact candidates, make sure you are using these best practices and strategies for success.

  • Do not spam candidates. Quality is more important than quantity.  
  • Email candidates at the best time for them, not for you. 
  • Use compelling and attention-grabbing subject lines. 
  • Have a clear call to action. 
  • Add the reason you are contacting them and make it about them! Personalize your message to connect with them on a personal level.
  • Short copy – shorter InMails and emails get higher response rates.  
  • Avoid vague call-to-action.  

Use an Email and InMail Combination Strategy 

To get the best results, you may want to use a combination of email and InMail in that order. Since LinkedIn InMail’s cost is higher, it might make the most sense to save it for last. We recommend the following sequence: 

  1. Use LinkedIn to connect with the top 20 candidates on your list. Once connected, send them a message. 
  2. Email the rest of the candidates. Follow up with a second and a third e-mail to anyone who did not respond. Please note that the second and third emails are likely to generate 50% of your response. 
  3. Wait for a response from the candidate pool and if you do not have enough responses, send a follow-up InMail message. 
  4. Don’t forget that you can also call candidates. 

How Can Recruiters Use AI & Automation for Candidate Engagement?

The recommendations above will not save you any time, but they are likely to help you become more effective in getting a higher response rate from candidates. However, there is a way to save you both time and money in your engagement efforts. AI technology for recruiting has matured enough to allow you to automate many of your candidate engagement activities. 

First, an AI recruiting tool can select the best candidates to contact. The result is that you save much time in your sourcing efforts and increase the number of candidates you reach for each job. This will increase your interview pipeline, without extra effort. 

Second, AI can automatically engage with candidates for you. It can create highly personalized messages that would be truly relevant and appealing to the candidates. It can reach candidates with a sequence of automatic messages, using both email and LinkedIn, with a click of a button. 

Finally, it can do many things to improve performance. Here are some examples: 

  • Find out what messages work best for specific types of people. 
  • It can send messages on the best day of the week and the best time of the day based on big data analysis. 
  • It can identify response rate problems for specific jobs and recommend actions (or take them automatically). For example, a campaign may have a problem with either message open rate or job link click rate which can be tied to different elements of the campaign (for example, the job description copy). 

How Paycor Smart Sourcing Helps

Discover all the ways AI can reduce recruiters’ workloads, make them more efficient, save money and increase interview pipeline with Paycor Smart Sourcing. The Paycor Smart Sourcing platform combines email and InMail campaigns at no extra cost. It’s just a part of our process.