Sometimes it’s more, and sometimes it’s less, but I guess I average about 2-3 recruiters a week that contact me in some way. Mostly it’s through LinkedIn, then by e-mail, and occasionally through some other channel. It’s not a problem, and I generally don’t mind. But some of them do come across as… well, a bit lazy. Whenever I get the standard LinkedIn message from a recruiter, saying “I’d like to add you to my network” I most often ignore it. “Of course you would. I’m sure you would like to have thousands of potential prospects in your network”
But that’s not the reason I write this post. It’s to tell you about an experience I had last week.
A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn, asking me if I was interested in working for their company (a consultancy firm, if that makes any difference), and would I consider a call sometime during the week? I responded the way I normally do; I thanked him for reaching out, and told him I’m not currently looking for new assignments. However, if he still wanted to, he was welcome to give me a call.
“Great, I’ll have one of my colleagues give you a call on Thursday” was his response.
That’s a strange way to approach things. I thought I had given him permission to call me, but whatevs…
Thursday eventually came around, and a man called and introduced himself. We can call him Carlos. That’s not his name, but it’s a good name, so why not?
“You’ve been in contact with us through LinkedIn” he said, somewhat twisting reality. More accurately, they had been in contact with me, but that’s an aside. This is where we come to the real kicker in this story.
“I’ve briefly skimmed through your profile on LinkedIn”, he said.
“I thought you could tell me about yourself and your career, and then I can tell you about what we have in mind for you”
Now, before we go on with the story, I’m aware that some of what I’m about to write will make me come across as arrogant and self-important. Make of that what you will, but keep in mind that if this was the case, I would not have responded to any message in the first place.
As any recruiter will know, one of the must do:s before going to an interview, is to research the company beforehand. Read through their homepage, ask trusted contacts what they know. What are their products? Their profile? Their branding? Be prepared. It’s good if you can ask insightful questions during an interview. It shows you’re eager to learn and that you’ve done your research. However, don’t ask questions where the answers are front and center on their home page. That will make you come across as lazy and uninterested.
So the question here is, why did Carlos think that this didn’t apply to him? Why, if he’s willing to pick up the phone and spend his precious time talking to me, is he not willing to read through my profile properly? Why only “skim it”? And why admit to me that he’s not willing to do his research properly? The very least you can do is to fake an interest, dude.
Bear in mind, Carlos has yet to offer me anything. I even said in my initial response to his colleague that I’m not really interested in a new assignment, meaning it is unlikely that he can offer me something of interest. (Remember what I said above about coming across as self-important? Woomp! There it is!)
I remember thinking that the order could be switched at this point, with Carlos telling me about what he had in mind for me first, and then me filling him in on the blanks if need be. But I went ahead and gave him a brief summary of my life story so far. It all ended with him and me coming to the mutual conclusion that I really wasn’t a good fit for them right now (or if it was the other way around), and we parted peacefully.
Mind you, throughout our conversation, Carlos was polite and friendly, and despite me coming across as a crybaby in this text, we really did have a nice chat. I bear no ill will against Carlos, I just wanted to point out the oddity of a recruiter not being more vested in his or her role.
And while I may have scared away a few recruiters from ever contacting me again by writing this, I still think there’s a lesson to be learned here. Or maybe more than one:
- If you’re a recruiter, live as you learn, and do your research before asking your prospects to do the work for you. And…
- …if you still insist on just “skimming the profile briefly”, don’t admit it openly during the first 10 seconds of your call!
Now, to round this whole thing off, it’s time for a bit of humble pie. For me, that is. I openly admit that I haven’t really payed all that much attention to my LinkedIn profile for some time. There are a lot of things that can be improved in order to make things easier for recruiters. So I’ll just go ahead and fix the most glaring issues, and hopefully I will find the time to make gradual improvements from there.
All the best!
(Feature photo: Marco Verch)