​The Right and Wrong Ways to Approach Recruiters on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has undoubtedly transformed the way the recruitment process works. More than any function, the preferred social networking site by professionals makes it easier for recruiters to connect with job seekers and vice versa. Naturally, this emboldens applicants to reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn when applying for a job. Some believe this is perfectly fine, while there are those who deem it as wholly inappropriate.

But more often than not, how a recruiter finds your efforts to connect depends a lot on your approach. Do it right, and you can boost your chances of getting noticed. Do it wrong, and you could end up annoying the recruiter to the point that they would no longer be willing to consider reading your resume.

Unless the job opening outwardly states that applications should only be coursed through officially designated system or personnel, it won’t hurt to attempt getting in touch with a recruiter to let them know your keen interest in a job position.

How to Approach Recruiters on LinkedIn: Right ways

LinkedIn is a versatile and valuable tool that job seekers can use to strengthen their position as a candidate. Practice professionalism, respect, and purpose when using it to connect with recruiters and you’ll increase your chances of hearing back. Here are four ways you can do that.

  • Introduce yourself

Before clicking on the ‘Connect’ button, think about what to say first. Attaching a personalized message helps you stand out, which is important because the recruiter likely gets a ton of these requests, and you don’t want to be among those that get ignored. Use the information on the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile to find common ground. For instance, if you went to the same college, your message can say:

“Hey Jim, I saw that you went to the same college I did. I do miss hanging out in the student center. I recently moved into San Francisco and am trying to gain some traction in my tech career. I could really use some guidance and would appreciate discussing things further when we connect on LinkedIn. Thanks.”

  • Be unique

Speaking of standing out, you need to think of a way to set your message apart and give the recruiter a reason to help you. The best way to do that is by being polite, respectful of the recruiter’s time, and providing something of value first. Show that you have done your research on the company.

  • Time your connection request right

It’s wise to send your connection request AFTER you submit your resume to the recruitment agency and not BEFORE. This can give your connection request a sense of urgency and provide you with better discussion fodder should they choose to respond. If it’s a job at a small agency you’re applying for, send your request two to three days after sending your resume. If it’s a large company, let a week pass by. Don’t worry if you don’t get a response immediately—not everyone visits their LinkedIn account frequently. Even when your request isn’t accepted, it doesn’t mean your application is not being considered, so there’s no need for you to keep following up. The point of your request is to get the recruiter to notice you, not to make them want to avoid you.

  • Keep the communication lines open

If you’re successful with your connection attempt, you must do your best to remain connected. Stay on top of the recruiter’s mind by staying in touch, but don’t pester them asking how your application is going. Your initial interaction was a casual one, so keep your communication that way. Maintaining a friendly conversation running makes you easier to remember, and also put you in the recruiter’s mind as someone who may be perfect for the job.

How to Approach Recruiters on LinkedIn: Wrong ways

Just as there are right ways to approach recruiters on LinkedIn, there are wrong ways to go about it as well. Here are four examples.

  • You’re trying to connect with the wrong person

If you make the mistake of connecting with the wrong recruiter, all your efforts will be for naught. So make sure the recruiter you’re reaching out to is actively associated with a company where you sent your resume. You may be able to confirm this with the personal information on their LinkedIn profile. If not, include an inquiry in your private message asking about their association with the company.

  • You’re making the wrong assumptions about the recruiter’s job

A recruiter is someone who finds candidates for job vacancies, not the other way around. So, questions like ‘Can you help me find a job?’ or ‘Do you have a vacancy that fits my qualifications?’ are out the window. Most recruiters would be glad to give you advice on your job hunt, but don’t treat them as your personal job finder. This is why it’s important to send your connection request after submitting your resume. You put the recruiter in a position where they can actually do something and be able to help.

  • You’re asking for too much too soon

Active recruiters are open to making new connections to expand their network, but if they don’t know anything about you besides your LinkedIn profile, it would be wrong to ask them for an endorsement or recommendation, especially if it’s just your first interaction. Don’t assume that you have a personal relationship right from the start. Likewise, asking to grab a coffee or meet up for lunch may make sense after they’ve warmed up to you, but in the meantime, limit your interactions to emails to a recruiter and personal messages on LinkedIn.

  • You’re harassing the recruiter with constant messages

Don’t be an email stalker and keep sending follow-ups every time you don’t get a reply. You’re supposed to look like a dependable professional in the recruiter’s eyes, and flooding their inbox with messages is not the way to achieve that. In fact, it’s completely inappropriate, and all it does is hurt your chances of establishing rapport with the recruiter.

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