social_talentRECRUITERS – admit it, you’ve been a lazy recruiter. Have you ever sent a LinkedIn connection request to a cold candidate and inside that little 200-character message box told them you may have a job opportunity they’d be interested in?

Yes, of course you have.

Yet again this week, I received LinkedIn connection requests where the recruiter was so lazy and inconsiderate as to approach me about a job in their connection message, so this blog comes from a place of frustration and wanting to stop this epidemic from spreading.

I hope you find it helpful.

3 Reasons Why Being a Lazy Recruiter on LinkedIn Can Cost You Candidates

Here’s 3 reasons you should NEVER do this ever again, and 3 ways to reach out and approach your potential candidate in a more appropriate way that a) increases the chances that they’ll respond to you, and b) won’t decimate your reputation as a recruiter and headhunter.

Reason 1: LinkedIn will put you in LinkedIn Jail

LinkedIn say that you should only connect to people you know. If you were to invite a fellow LinkedIn member to connect that you don’t know, and they hit the “I Don’t Know” button, this sends alarm bells ringing in LinkedIn. 3 instances of this and LinkedIn will send you to LinkedIn Jail, and insist that from now on you’ll have to enter the member’s email address before the connection request will be sent.

If this is already the case for you, then read this excellent post by Stacy Zapar on how to get out of LinkedIn Jail.

Reason 2: Your message won’t even be seen

The new LinkedIn layout means that connection invitations now come up as an instant “Accept” or “Ignore” option, allowing a user to see the invitee’s name and headline and make a quick decision as to connect or decline without ever reading their little message.

LinkedIn Connection Request Message

So, your offer to discuss job options is wasted.

You may be thinking, “But they’ll see my message in the email LinkedIn send them”. Will they? The answer is probably not.

LinkedIn Connection request email message

What your connection request message looks like in Email – which no one reads

More and more often, people ignore notification emails from social networks because they just aren’t important! In fact, Gmail have segregated their email inbox into 4 compartments, banishing all social networking notification emails to another tab that no one reads, leaving only real emails in their inbox. So again, your job opportunity message goes undetected.

Reason 3 (and most important): It’s incredibly lazy and very annoying.

As a potential candidate, I want to feel special. Why do you think I’d be suitable for this job opportunity? What is it about my profile and experience that fits with this job?

In this connection-request message box, you get 200 characters to send to your potential candidate. That’s not a lot of space to personalise your message, put in enough detail to introduce yourself and why this member is ideal for the job. If I’m such a worthwhile candidate, realise that I’m probably getting at least one of these messages a week (which is about right).

Irrelevant LinkedIn connection request

The amount of times I’ve been sent LinkedIn connection requests with references to job opportunities that are completely irrelevant… This only makes my dissonance worse. I will end up not responding to introductions from recruiters at all because I’m going to start tarring you all with the same brush.

3 Alternative Approaches for Reaching Great Candidates on LinkedIn:

1: Pick up the phone.

Recruiters are becoming too computer-happy these days. What happened to good ol’ conversation? Watch this webinar on how to find the contact details of potential candidates. Seriously, it’ll change your life.

2: Reach out to them elsewhere.

Phone not suitable? Ok then, send them a real email (again, watch this webinar on how to get their email details) or reach out to them through a common connection.

By the way, I explicitly state on my LinkedIn profile in the “Advice for contacting Holly” section my email address and Twitter handle. How lazy must a recruiter be?…

Advice for Contacting Holly on LinkedIn

3. Find them on a social network they actually use.

Recruiters are really the only ones who actually use LinkedIn regularly. The average time spent on-site per month on LinkedIn is 17 minutes, compared to Facebook which is 8.3 hours per month.

So find them on a social network that they actually use – Twitter, their blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Github, Stackoverflow and so many more.

What are your thoughts? Are you still successful at getting candidates to respond to your job opportunity messages, or are you getting sick of them as well? Leave your thoughts in the comments :-)

Learn more about sending LinkedIn connection requests at Social Talent

hollyAbout the Author: Holly Fawcett started out her working life as a retail manager, working for giant PLCs like Topshop and Gap Inc. Holly had always wanted to work as a marketeer in the buying departments of these big brands, and as a result, decided she’d need to go back to college to start learning business.

While completing a one-year Advanced Diploma in Marketing in 2011, Holly took the plunge and left her retail career behind, starting as an intern in Social Talent in April 2011.

Holly is the conscience of the company and as well as answering phones, correcting homework from Black Belt trainees, moonlighting occasionally as her boss on LinkedIn, and keeping the office presentable she is the moral compass that stops Johnny from planning to invade small countries.

Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyFawcett or connect with her on LinkedIn.