Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Five Things Not To Ask An Executive Recruiter To Do

I am constantly being asked for favors.  All executive recruiters receive these request. So I thought I would write a post about the questions/requests you can’t ask a recruiter.
I don’t mean to sound curmudgeonly, it is just that, like most recruiters, I am always busy.   And mostly the favors are such that I cannot accommodate them.  

1.    Asking a recruiter to network them 
The problem with all recruiters is that we meet too many people.  I see on average of three or four people a day.  Many of them are wonderful and I would love to be able to help, but I just can't.  I always think it would be an abuse of my position to introduce them to people I know.  I see dozens of new people a month.  And, after all, how many times can I call my friends and contacts when I don’t have a specific assignment?

There is an exception.  Because I am in advertising and marketing, if someone comes to see me with specific experience which may be relevant to an ad agency which is pitching an account or where I know they are needed, I will call to make the introduction.  But that is rare.

 2.   LinkedIn Introductions
With some frequency, people I know (and people I don’t know) ask me to connect them to people who are my LinkedIn connections.  I don’t do that.  I get paid to make introductions and when I make them, I only connect on LinkedIn with people I actually know or have had contact with.    It is surprising to me how many people, both working and not, ask me to introduce them to some senior executive for the purpose of networking or interviewing.

3.  Freebies
Just recently, a friend sent me job specs and asked if I know anyone who fit those specs.  I asked if I could get paid.  He told me he was doing a favor for a friend.  Recruiters get paid for making introductions.  So, I declined.

4. Being A Reference
Occasionally, candidates I have known for many years ask me to be a reference. I always decline because they have not actually worked with me or for me and anything I may know about them is hearsay.  Sometimes those requests are also a conflict of interest  because I am actually working to fill the same job with candidates of my own. 

5.  Putting In A Good Word
Sometimes, candidates call and ask me about a company they are interviewing with; often, they have networked themselves into the company for an actual job. They then ask me to call the people they have interviewed with to put in a good word.  First of all, it is none of my business.  Second, the people I may have been asked to call may be good , but it is a form of pressure which no one likes; forcing references on people may actually be counter-productive. (In the post I just linked to I told the story of a candidate who was rejected because of the pressure.)

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