In the last year I’ve been approached by four recruiters from one single firm. Their boss should fire them and hire their competitor who phoned me two weeks ago.
I’m an established interim/contractor, and even though I have an extensive network of end-clients with whom I deal directly, I also have a very healthy working relationship with a small number of really excellent headhunting firms. I’m not one of those contractors that are always bad-mouthing recruitment firms – they bring me half my work.
How NOT to network...
The “four amigos” each sent a bog standard message - “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. I always reply to these asking “were you contacting me in regard to a specific opportunity?”
Recruiter 1 couldn’t muster the energy to go on any further, so while I previously had no idea of who he was, I now know he’s a lazy, time waster that I don’t want to have a professional relationship with.
Recruiter 2 replied with details of a role that wasn’t right for me. I connected and referred three people who might be right for the role. Last month he advertised a new role that would be perfect for another ex-colleague, so I pinged Recruiter 2 to clarify the job location. No response. Now I know that he is a selfish, time waster that I don’t want to have a one-way relationship with.
Recruiter 3 took two days to reply that he had a role he wished to discuss. I accepted the invitation and agreed a time he would phone. Ten days, four chasing mails from me and two further missed appointments by him and I finally called it a day. He came back with an apology, saying he’d been in and out of the office due to illness. Sadly he forgot that as I was one of his connections I’d seen his many updates on LinkedIn, including the posts about his mate’s new bar, what 8x8+8x8=?, etc. Now I know that he is an incompetent, lying time-waster that I can’t afford to be associated with.
Recruiter 4 is trying to out-sloth Recruiter 1 and still hasn’t replied, so now I know the entire firm is full of time-wasters.
How to DO IT!
Two weeks ago Olivia contacted me with a short personalised invitation to connect. She included the role title and location in the invitation and what aspect of my profile had led her to believe it was a suitable role. She called me at the agreed time and I clarified one important aspect of the role, concluding it was not for me. I provided her with the name and number of an ex-colleague who was a perfect fit. As I usually do, I then dropped my friend an e-mail explaining that I’d passed on his details. “I know", he said, “she’s already phoned me!” A few days later he had an interview, quickly followed by an offer which he accepted.
I know all this because Olivia also took one minute to write a further mail thanking me again for the introduction and updating me on the successful outcome.
I know for a fact that the first agency is also on the PSL at the bank where my friend is now working; it’s a bank I know very well and I’m almost certain to work there again at some point, most likely in a role that will require that I hire other contractors.
If like me you find yourself on the end of both good and bad experiences, I recommend a very simple approach – ruthlessly refuse to connect with timewasters and invest instead in those who respond professionally. Over a few short years you will find you have a consistent, reliable network of contacts …and you’ll be a valued part of theirs.
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