Build and maintain relationships with potential candidates with these messaging best practices.
Message potential candidates.
To send a message to a potential candidate on LinkedIn, you’ll first need to connect with them.
Send a request to connect and use the “add a note” function to provide context for your request. For example, you can add a note saying that you’re hiring for a specific role and you’d like to discuss it with them. Keep in mind you’ll only have space for 300 characters, so keep things brief and compelling.
Upgrading to LinkedIn Premium or using LinkedIn Recruiter allows you to message potential candidates who aren’t already in your connections.
Personalize your message.
It’s always best to personalize your message to potential candidates. Address them by name, include some specific details about their profile that impressed you, and mention any connections you share. This can help candidates feel special and, even if they’re not interested in the role, will leave them with a positive impression of your organization.
Include clear next steps in your message, but try not to overwhelm or appear demanding. Before you know the candidate’s interest level, it’s best to just ask if you can schedule a call to discuss the opportunity, rather than asking them to send their resume or provide other information. Make it easy for them to want to talk to you.
Don’t be afraid to follow up.
Candidates might check their messages at work and decide to respond later, then forget. Or, they may just miss the message. A polite follow up lets them know you’re really interested in them. But avoid following up too soon or too often because this can come across as pushy.
Create a template.
Templates can help you save time in your outreach, but remember to personalize your communications. Here’s some example language you can copy and paste to get you started:
Connection request note
Use this template to connect with candidates you’re interested in, so you can share more details about the role.
Hi [candidate name]! I found your profile and was really impressed by [include personalized detail here]. I’d love to connect to tell you about an opportunity at [your organization’s name] that I think is a great match for your skills.
Initial outreach message
Use this template to concisely introduce your organization, outline the opportunity, and establish next steps.
Hi [candidate name],
I hope you’re having a great week!
I’m reaching out about an open role at my nonprofit, [your organization’s name]. We’re currently looking for a new [job title], and I think you’d be a great fit given [include personalized, flattering details here, ex: “your extensive experience in donor stewardship” or “the creative flair you demonstrate in your featured work”].
[Your organization’s name] is a nonprofit that [briefly outline your mission]. This role will [briefly outline the nature and impact of the role].
I’d love to tell you more about this opportunity. Do you have 20 minutes this week for a quick call?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
No response follow-up
Use this template to politely nudge promising candidates who don’t respond to your first message.
Hi [candidate name],
Just wanted to send a quick follow-up message about this opportunity, as I think it’s a role you’d really enjoy.
Let me know if you have time for a quick call this week. I’d love to tell you more about our organization and how this role helps support our mission of [concisely summarize your mission].
Candidate decline follow-up
Use this template to maintain relationships with promising candidates who are not interested at this time.
Hi [candidate name],
Thanks for getting back to me. I’d love to stay in touch in case other roles open up at our organization that might be a better match for you. Would you be open to me reaching out to you again in the future?
In the meantime, if you think of anyone in your network who might be interested in this current opportunity, please feel free to send the job description to them or share their name with me.
All the best with your career!
Maintain relationships with previous candidates.
Hiring isn’t a one-and-done thing. Once the hiring process is over for a role, it’s easy to forget about it and move forward with other tasks. But you’ll be hiring again at some point, and by doing a little extra work to stay in touch with high-potential candidates, you’ll save yourself a lot of time down the line.
Identify, make note of, and ensure you stay in touch with these types of candidates:
- Candidates you’re interested in but you don’t currently have a role open for.
- People who reach out to your team directly because they’re interested in your organization.
- Candidates who aren’t interested in a role at the time of your outreach, but may be interested in the future.
- Great candidates who applied or interviewed for a job in the past but weren’t selected at that time.
How to stay connected with potential candidates.
Follow up later, even if the candidate doesn’t respond to your request to stay in touch about future roles, as they might not have seen it.
Invite candidates to follow your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page so they can learn about your work and future roles that open up.
Follow candidates you’ve interacted with and people you think might be a good fit for future roles on LinkedIn.
Send periodic notes to any candidates you have an open dialogue with on LinkedIn to keep your organization top of mind. This could be a congratulations on a professional milestone or an accomplishment. Or, you could share something they might be interested in relating to your organization, like a recent report or an invite to a gala where they can meet some of the team.
Note: This is especially useful for leadership roles, which sometimes require more long-term planning and nurturing.