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LinkedIn “Focused” Inbox Guts InMail 

Congratulations! Your staffing agency has been doing a fabulous job despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. New hires are happy with your swift yet organized processes, and your team is basking in the glory of hitting goals. Despite your clients changing their minds on what they truly want, your staffing agency can still deliver the best service and shield your clients from irregularities in the candidate market. 

Yet, sometimes you realize some good things come to an end. It’s natural to expect the worst to still happen and not rest on one’s laurels. For avid LinkedIn users, the new Focused Inbox is one to keep a close eye on. If your staffing agency is big on sending messages to LinkedIn users to engage them, you might want to read on to see how a LinkedIn feature currently in the test phase could be a punch to the gut and what to do about it. 


What is LinkedIn InMail, and what is Focused Inbox? 

You’re probably one of many users now grasping how to leverage LinkedIn for marketing and recruitment. In fact, as of the current year, out of the 58 million companies registered on social media sites, 87 percent are using LinkedIn to get recruits

This data should not be a surprise, as the pandemic caused many professionals to dive back into the job search, and companies had to make do with resources within their reach to fill vacancies. 

But since regular LinkedIn users can only send messages between their contacts, recruiters upgraded to LinkedIn Premium to ensure they can use the InMail feature. LinkedIn InMail allows you to send messages even to users you aren’t connected to yet. Based on your subscription, you are allowed a particular number of monthly outgoing messages or InMail credits. Recruiters can extend their reach and approach active and passive job seekers through InMail. 

In a recent development, Tomer Cohen, Chief Product Officer at LinkedIn, mentioned that there were requests on how to improve the site’s messaging process. One of the suggestions was to improve the inbox. There was a clamor for improvements on how one can manage their messages, specifically in delegating messages so that they enter well into one’s daily workflow.

This is why there is a massive change to the LinkedIn messaging system currently in the works, called the Focused Inbox. In this update, the LinkedIn messages will be under two category tabs: the Focused tab and the Other tab. Users can now place messages with better importance in the Focused tab while letting the rest stay in the Other tab. Users can switch between message tabs as they see fit.

Cohen believes that through the Focused Inbox, users can be smarter about keeping track of their LinkedIn messages. Moreover, since LinkedIn is a brilliant place to discover career and business connections, the Focused Inbox will put more power into categorizing messages based on how the user sees fit. However, this might not be entirely an advantage, especially for recruiters. 

How will the Focused Inbox leave InMail “gutted”?  

A LinkedIn Premium Career account costs start at $29.99 a month. Companies and staffing agencies see this as an investment, especially since 67 percent of recruiters believe that LinkedIn provides candidates of top caliber, according to a 2020 study. But with an incoming update like the Focused InMail, recruitment personnel might have a bad gut feeling about this will affect their job search efforts. 

While we are still yet to know how the Focused Inbox will truly work, some apprehensions surface on how it will change LinkedIn messaging: 

  • Ignoring messages can become more systematic. By placing a conversation in the Other tab, what is the probability that the LinkedIn user will scour this particular tab for a message from a job hunter that should be deemed important? Keeping messages in the Focused Inbox means there is a clear disparity between these messages and the ones in the Other tab. 
  • Is “Other” synonymous with “Spam”? Will it be possible for users to quickly transfer messages from Focused to the Other tab, even if they haven’t read the message at all? Also, will there be additional options to put messages from certain parties into the Other tab automatically? It sounds like how we filter spam emails, and for recruiters passionate about introducing their company to potential hires, all efforts will get smashed by getting the “Spam” label. 
  • Will InMail lose its shine? Recruiters typically adhere to considerable tactics when using InMail: using a catchy message title, messaging users with mutual connections, and personalizing messages to build rapport right away. However, these tactics might not work anymore with the Focused Inbox. Are messages automatically placed in the Other tab of LinkedIn users by default? Will they even appear as new messages? 

Don’t let the Focused Inbox leave you gutted. 

Let’s be clear, though, that the insights mentioned above are mere speculations of what the Focused Inbox can do to your recruitment efforts. However, many ways exist to engage with job seekers on LinkedIn. Hence, while sending messages through InMail should not be a vigil to abandon altogether, perhaps it’s time to roll up your sleeves and look into these steps: 

  • Join or create LinkedIn groups. Like many social media sites, LinkedIn also has a dedicated space for professionals with similar interests and career visions. What’s great about these groups is that you can start them independently. How about gathering job seekers within the niche of your positions and allowing them to use this space to address knowledge gaps?  
  • Engage directly on LinkedIn posts. LinkedIn Groups are good platforms to look for more individuals seeking jobs, both actively and passively. By evaluating your current group members’ connections, you can look at their professional circles and comment on their posts. Offer them a chance to apply at your company, and what’s good about your comments is that the person’s connections can see them too. Free marketing, yes?  
  • Rethink the “Connection Request.” Building rapport directly with LinkedIn users is the objective of sending connection requests. It’s also a brilliant means to inform prospective connections of your company’s job openings, but don’t go for the mundane sales pitch.  

How about mentioning a past LinkedIn post of theirs in your short Connection Request message? It gives the impression that you are interested in getting to know them. You can even weave in some common interests of yours, as seen on LinkedIn. Come to think of it. The Connection Request has a more personal touch than InMail, so use this common ground to entice LinkedIn users to give it a shot with your company. 

It all boils down to a well-crafted message. 

We don’t know yet if the Focused Inbox is an advantage or a detriment to your search for the best talent. But instead of fearing being punched in the gut, how about speaking from the heart? In the end, it’s all about sincerity.  

Listen to the message you send to potential hires, be it a post comment or an InMail message. Does it serve you (we have a job opening), or will it benefit them (knowing an opportunity for career growth just opened up)? Break anonymity with a heartfelt message.  

Speaking of sincerity, for your needs in forwarding your staffing agency’s brand recognition and supporting corporate initiatives, Allied Insight is the marketing delivery agency for you. Our solutions will give you customized tactical designs based on your company’s needs and consistency in expressing your true brand. So be prepared to weather ever-changing corporate initiatives and attract more business opportunities. 

Strike a conversation with us for solutions tailor-fit to staffing agencies like yours. Contact Allied Insight now. 

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