By Simon Owens
If you have a profile on LinkedIn and have taken the time to upload your résumé and list all your technical skillsets, then chances are you receive somewhat regular inquiries from recruiters who have leveraged the social network’s premium services to seek out possible job candidates. What makes LinkedIn such a revolutionary platform is that it gives you access to millions of working professionals who might not be actively seeking new employment but are still open to new opportunities. Prior to LinkedIn’s launch, a recruiter needed to rely purely on word-of-mouth to locate these kinds of candidates, but now it’s a simple matter of typing in a few keywords and a geographic location.
I’m one of those people who isn’t actively seeking new employment — I’m a self-employed consultant — but I’m always open to hearing about new positions as you never know when a potential dream job could land in your lap. And so that’s why I’m generally warm to recruiters who show up in my inbox, even if the job for which they’re approaching me isn’t a good fit. I’ve even taken the time to connect a recruiter to someone I think would be a better candidate.
What I have less and less patience for are the growing number of recruiters who have flooded LinkedIn and cast wide nets without conducting the preliminary research needed to determine whether the person they’re reaching out to would be even remotely interested — or qualified — for a position. These recruiters simply type keywords into LinkedIn’s search field and will contact dozens of users at a time, often without taking more than a cursory look at those users’ resumes.
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So if you’re a recruiter who wants to leverage LinkedIn to flesh out your list of candidates, here’s what you should avoid doing:
Requesting a résumé
I often have recruiters reach out to me and then, after I’ve expressed interest in hearing more about a position, ask me to send them my résumé. To which my incredulous response is always: “But you found me through my résumé. Why am I sending you a document you’ve presumably already looked at?” I understand that once you’re ready to introduce me to a client then you’ll want a better-formatted version that you can hand over, but there’s no reason I should have to spend an hour updating my résumé before I can even learn about the position.
Reaching out to candidates before reading their résumés
There’s a lot more to a job candidate than just his résumé; otherwise why would you even bother with the job interview process? But the résumé is a good starting document for determining whether someone is a potential good fit. So why do I find myself getting on the phone with recruiters only to learn the position they’re recruiting for is aimed at someone with only two or three years experience when it’s quite clear from my LinkedIn résumé that I’ve been out of college for a decade?
Being vague about a position
I understand you want to protect your commission and avoid anyone going around you to get the job for which you’re recruiting, but being all cloak and dagger about who the employer is just ends up wasting my time and yours.
It’s not just for dating. Apparently recruiters love to reach out to a person, ask them for a good time and phone number to discuss a position, and then never reply again once the person offers up his availability. I can’t think of anything more unprofessional than proactively emailing someone for your job and then never bothering to reply when that person is kind enough to email you back.
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This isn’t just about common professional courtesy. Just because a candidate isn’t a good fit for a particular position doesn’t mean she won’t be interested in other jobs for which you’re recruiting. So if you send a person an email and show not even a modicum of professionalism, how likely is it that that candidate will respond to your future inquiries? Not likely at all.
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