Cold Outreach Strategies

Cold Outreach Strategies

Everyone is familiar with cold outreach when it comes to sales and marketing. You know the emails we’re talking about. The ones that fill up your inbox with pitches for services and products that you didn’t request. Cold outreach is any message sent to someone who doesn’t know you and isn’t expecting to receive communication from you.

You might be wondering what this has to do with recruiting. Reaching out to passive candidates that have not applied for your open role has become an essential part of the recruiting process. The days of placing a ‘help wanted’ ad and watching the applications roll in are gone for most companies and competition for the best employees is fierce. To hire the best people, you will have to find them and invite them to apply.

When you are reaching out to these individuals who don’t know you and don’t even know that they want to work for you (yet) the most common methods of outreach are email and LinkedIn messaging but you could also consider less conventional approaches such as phone calls and text messages.


When sending a LinkedIn message there are a few unique things to consider.

  • Treat your LinkedIn messages like text messages and don’t send a large block of text. The more the recipient has to scroll, the less likely they are to read the entire message or respond.
  • Avoid adding links in your message. A link in a LinkedIn message will turn it into a large thumbnail that will occupy a lot of space on the recipient’s screen. This will make reading the message cumbersome for the reader and if they have to put a lot of effort into reading your message, they’ll just skip it.
  • Make sure your LI profile is up to date and has a photo. There’s a good chance the recipient will check out your profile so make sure it looks professional and legitimate.


Sending an email might seem like a simple task. You probably send dozens of emails every day. But here are some tips to consider when crafting this particular type of email.

  • Grab the candidate’s attention with an engaging subject line. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you open an email with that subject line?
  • Craft a message that is short and concise. You’ve grabbed their attention with your stellar subject line. Now you need to keep their attention. Don’t overload them with too much information in the first message. Your first outreach is a conversation starter.
  • Be clear and direct about your purpose for reaching out. Busy professionals respect someone who can get to the point quickly.
  • Personalize your message to each candidate. ****The better you know them the easier it will be to generate an engaging relationship. Scan their LinkedIn profile and mention something specific about their qualifications or work history. Make note of mutual connections or commonalities. And don’t forget to add value for the candidate. What’s in it for them?

Following up

The way that you handle follow-up is just as important as your initial message. Reaching out one time won’t be enough in most cases. Statistics show that 4 or more attempts to connect are often needed before someone responds.

Keep in mind that you are reaching out to busy professionals that are already employed and, in many cases, probably happily employed. They may not be looking for a new job or a change in career path. Don’t assume they are ignoring you or not interested because they don’t respond the first time or even the second. Persistence can pay off.

  • Try connecting through more than one method over a period of time to see what gets their attention. If they don’t respond to your email, try an LI message.
  • Be respectful of the candidate and don’t be too pushy. Give them some time to respond between outreach attempts. Reply to every response, even if it’s a rejection. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to make a good impression and build your network.

Remember, the purpose of this outreach is to start a conversation and get the candidate interested in your company and your open role. The way that you approach them will say a lot about you and your company culture. Be engaging, respectful, and patient. It takes time to find the right person that’s going to be a great fit for your company. They are out there if you put in the work to find them.

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