As I head to InfluenceHR in two weeks to talk with HR vendors about how to sell into the space, I'm continually amazed by the tactics people use. I'm not a career salesperson, but I have spent quite a bit of time in the buyer's seat, and now that I run a consulting firm, new business is constantly on my mind.  So I understand quarterly goals, year-end stress and pressure to make numbers. But I'll never understand why people think the mass contact strategy will work. Sales = relationships. But some recruiters still don't get it.

Recently, I got this InMail on LinkedIn:

Subject: quick question.... 

I am a Tech recruiter from [company redacted]. I am representing an especially gifted Lead Software Engineer with a Master’s, who recently moved here from the Silicon Valley. He currently works for innovative media titan [company redacted] and previously led teams while at [company redacted] and [company redacted], respectively. He is more than proficient in several languages, but specializes in custom mobile, web, and software application development as well as Amazon Web Service and API management. His high quality code has scaled and supported over 600K in Daily Active Users in the past but his objective in his next role moving forward is to introduce and evangelize the process of continuous technological integration. He will prove an immediate and tangible asset to any Tech environment. If you are looking to do any hiring these days, let me know and I can send you his resume right away. I promise I will not waste your time.

But here's the thing. You just did. I'm not a recruiter. I don't have any open tech positions. So the 30 seconds it took to read your InMail was a waste of my time.  And I certainly wouldn't connect with you or recommend you to anyone (and I know many recruiters in the space) given your approach. Now, I'm from Philadelphia. And I'm Italian. That means I'm brutally honest. I could have hit delete, but instead, I sent back the following response.

I appreciate you reaching out but mass messages don't work. Here's why: my company wouldn't be hiring someone like this or any tech professionals quite frankly. You do yourself and the profession a disservice by recruiting this way.

And his response?

I disagree but thank you for your feedback Susan.

I'd love to know why he disagrees but I'm not wasting any more of my time. Whether you're a recruiter, marketer, job seeker or you're selling tech software, this approach is flat out wrong. As a candidate, I don't want to be mass marketed. Do you?  And as a recruiter, I don't want my tech talent to come from a Costco-style approach. I want a boutique store that takes the time to cater to the right kind of shoppers--not one that's selling Chico's to 15-year old boys.

This recruiter is only 4.5 years out of college--and normally I wouldn't fault someone who is still learning. But his terse response shows me he's not looking to learn. And the firm he works for clearly isn't coaching him. That firm has been around since 1999. So that means some people are buying (and teaching) what he's selling.

So tech talent shoppers, buyer beware. Don't buy what this guy, and many others like him are selling. I won't throw him or his firm under the bus here, but I will tell anyone who contacts me individually not to work with this firm. Ever.

The recruiter that doesn't take the time to build meaningful and targeted relationships isn't going to look out for you. It's a sandwich board or apartment leasing sign-flipping strategy. And do you want to fill your skilled jobs this way?  I sure hope not.

 

 

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