When to engage with that recruiter in your inbox

Personnel Matters

Your smart watch is buzzing, another chime reminds you to use a texted coupon before it expires, and you’ve got two more friend requests from people you’ve never met. Opening your email, you see an accounting department that encourages downloading an attachment to verify your identity. And who is this person sending you a LinkedIn notification?

Mental clutter abounds in today’s digitally savvy world. The fear of phishing, hacking and identify theft raise our guard to hit the delete button in response to any unsolicited communication. 

As principal of a staffing and recruiting firm that seeks to align talent to grow businesses and change lives, facing that reality is part of my job. Unlike 25 years ago, if you’re hearing from a recruiter today, it’s likely through technology — a LinkedIn notification, an email, maybe even a text. If you’re truly ready to explore a professional change, hitting delete as a reflex could prevent you from learning about the perfect professional opportunity.

Before responding, of course, be careful. Vet the person just as you would anyone. Look up the name and study the website. Don’t click on the link provided. Find the website on your own. If the email is from a free account like Hotmail or Yahoo, that’s a red flag, as are punctuation and grammatical errors. Examine the sender’s LinkedIn profile. Look for details, recommendations and connections.

If you’re being presented with a career move that intrigues you, set up a phone call. If you truly have never thought about making a professional change, think long and hard about responding. Remember to be respectful of the recruiter’s time, too. You don’t want to waste your time or the recruiter’s time. But if you’ve had an eye out on changing jobs, if you’ve posted your resume on one of the major job sites, why not listen to what the recruiter has to say? Remember, just knowing what a job pays and the benefits aren’t the end all. You want to work for a place where the culture, geography and actual job align with who you are.

Your discussion with the recruiter should be a partial continuation of the vetting process. Find out who the recruiter works with inside the company. Ideally, recruiters partner directly with hiring managers. Working with talent acquisition specialists is what I call a pink flag. Typically, recruiters who don’t have consistent interaction with hiring managers are at a disadvantage. Their effectiveness is often diminished as is their ability to get direct feedback. So, proceed with caution. The recruiter should be able to talk about the position and the company in great detail. If they can’t, walk away.

If you’re still interested after the initial conversation, go with it, but if you change your mind, don’t be that person who ghosts the recruiter. It’s perfectly acceptable to respond with a “No, thanks.” It’s helpful for the recruiter to know why you’ve lost interest if you’re willing to reveal that. Try your best not to make decisions on assumptions or a lack of information, though. If you’re interested in being remote or hybrid and the job description lists neither, ask the recruiter about that possibility. Learn as much about the position and make the best decision for you.

Are you in the market for a change and not hearing from any recruiters? Enhance your LinkedIn profile and make sure you have a quality head shot, key words and details about your skills. Grow your network and make your headline stand out.

Every notification in your inbox isn’t a life changer. Maybe you lose a half hour in your day by agreeing to a discussion. Or maybe you gain a life-altering opportunity that you would have never even known about had you not been open to the discussion. 

About Eric Kean 8 Articles
Eric Kean is principal at The Lee Group, executive recruitment and headhunting firm, serving in multiple roles as one of the firm’s leaders and visionaries. He manages business across all of The Lee Group locations, collaborating with the leadership team on key decision making and strategy. Kean can be reached at 873-0792 or by email at eric@leegroupsearch.com.