Bad Recruiter Networking Redux

E-mail exchange...some portions have been paraphrased to protect involved parties...regardless of whether they are innnocent...

From: Recruiting Director at a well-known company

To: Microsoft Heather with a Trump Obsession

Heather, I recently found your blog and I love what you are doing. We should touch base. Please give me a's my number.


From: Microsoft Heather with a Trump Obsession

to: Vague Recruiting Director

Hi Vague,

Nice to hear from you. <Insert some small-talk stuff here>.

Let me know what you'd like to discuss. I'm always happy to network.


From: Vague

To: Heather

We'd like to see if you would be interested in joining our Staffing team. Blah, blah, blah.  Please give me a call.


From: Heather

To: Vague

Thanks Vague. I'm not looking at the moment, but I network quite a bit with other recruiters. So let's do connect so I can share your job specs with my network.


And, I never heard from him again. Recruiting and networking should not be mutually exclusive activities. What went wrong here?

1) You know how I feel about people that want to "touch base". Absent some WIIFM or even some WIIFY, it's really easy to ignore this kind of mail. I answer mail all the time from people just asking me for advice. The key is they just come right out and ask for it and that it totally OK.

2) The "who do you know?" approach always works better. If people are interested themselves, they will let you know. But to assume they are interested is a bit much. And don't try to engage them with the vague "touch base" tactic. Anyone that is good has other demands on their time. I don't block off my calendar for "touch base". Sorry if that sounds bad, that's just how it is.

3) People who don't know how to leverage connectors have no game. I try to remember that not everyone is a candidate, not everyone is a prospect. Some are simply connectors. And frankly, these the the most valuable people in my network. Obviously, not everyone feels that way. People out there in the industry (marketing, finance, tech) should think about this too. Many recruiters are great nice and they could hook you up with their recruiter buddies at other companies (professionally speaking, of course).

4) If you don't get what you want out of the contact, at least be polite. So this person does not want to leverage my network (whatever). Some kind of polite response to close out the conversation would have been appropriate.

5) If you are going to try and recruit people that work in recruiting, you have to be good. At least as good as your targets are. Otherwise, they will not want to work at your company (the first thing they are thinking is: do I want to work with this person?). Now, how do you suppose I feel about the recruiters at this particular company?

Anyway, if this mail sounds like it came from you (actually there are more than one of you out there...naughty!), let's just consider this feedback from one colleague to another. Nothing personal. But as recruiting professionals, I think we can do better.

Comments (4)

  1. Christien says:

    This is interesting. I’m young so I’m still learning how to sift throught the BS. I do know that I can’t stand it when people just talk and don’t get to the point. The great thing about email is that it lets you be succinct, so why abuse it?

  2. D-Wang says:

    I think this type of mentality from "Vague" is a by-product of the times. Having some experience (the receiving end)… I think people have a view of who they want but not what they need. Just imagine if Trump were the candidate. I wonder how he would do in his own competition.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah- I think that people neglect to imagine what their mail looks like onthe receiving end. And they certainly don’t think through the concept of networking.

  4. ScottMagoon says:

    I also think we have a societal issue where everyone is so convinced of the value of their own time ("Oh, I am just SO busy") that they think nothing of disconnecting completely from people, personally and professionally, for great lengths of time. Thus, when you talk about the value of networking it becomes asking for something after a long absence, or even at the initial contact, when it should instead be an ongoing process. It is ironically difficult these days with so many means of electronic and instant communication to maintain meaningful long-term connections with people. We blame the job, the overflowing inbox, the travel schedule, the kids’ soccer games. It doesn’t take much to nourish the relationships that build networks, and it is much better to maintain contact with a simple monthly email than to ask desperately for job leads after two years of nothing.

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