Responding to an offer via LinkedIn
December 19, 2011 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I got an email from a recruiter at a well-known "web 2.0" company via LinkedIn. How should I respond?

The message was basically "I saw your profile; we're looking for talented people; let me know if you're interested in discussing opportunities." As far as I know, I have no connections with the guy, and the company is 1500 miles away. I'm a software engineer.

On a scale of 1 (spam) to 10 (you were highly recommended by a respected mutual acquaintance)... where does this type of email fall, and what's an appropriate follow-up?

posted by mpls2 to Work & Money (13 answers total)
If you're interested in working for them (or, maybe, not convinced that you don't want to work for them), just email back and say, "Sure, I'd like to hear what opportunities you have available" and set up a time to talk. It ain't no thing.

I get a lot of headhunters contacting me through LinkedIn--that's sort of what it's there for. People put out feelers like this all the time.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:13 PM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

That's how I got my job at Google. I got a recruiter email through Linkedin. It should be easy enough to verify. Just ask to call him and if need be, get an email from someone who is definitely at the stated company.
posted by GuyZero at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I second the Admiral on this. I also had a job for several years that (although not distant) came up this way. Open a discussion and then if it seems legit, and the offer(s) sound attractive to you then it's just a matter of exercising due diligence as you would for any company/offer.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:20 PM on December 19, 2011

It's very likely legit. Quite a few of these companies cast a pretty wide net, and narrow their candidates once they get to the interview stage. And it's really easy to do this with LinkedIn. (I got an unexpected recruiter email from Google once, and it was real, but I totally bombed the phone interview.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:22 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Recruiters do keyword searches and the spam the crap out of everyone who matches. They probably email a few hundreded people, of which tens will reply and if they're lucky they get a single hire out of the other side. So, on your scale, I'd put it around 3. That said, I got my current job that way, and if you're actually interested in the company, it's a legit way of getting recruited.

Either way, act professional. If you're not interested, say "Thank you, but I'm not really looking to [ changes jobs | move to a new city | work in that area | etc ]." It pays to be nice; recruiters change companies all the time and you never know when they'll be someplace you do actually want to work.

If it turns out to be a hoax, or they don't act professionally, report it to LinkedIn.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:23 PM on December 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Ha! I just got one of these today, too. Was this company recently featured in a major motion picture? I live in Texas, so I was surprised that they would contact me from California. But I agree with Metroid and jeffamaphone, they are probably casting a huge net to see if they get a response. I get a lot of LinkedIn mail like this, and I rarely respond. Though, in hindsight, maybe I should send them something back .. then again, they are spamming me ...
posted by theRussian at 3:31 PM on December 19, 2011

I just ignore these (I get at least one a month, frequently more), but if I were looking and at all interested in the company (not even necessarily the position), I'd feel comfortable following up thought linked in but keeping my email private until I'm more confident they're legit. Otherwise, meh. These guys operate on volume and the messages are essentially targeted spam, so I don't feel any obligation to reply unless its beneficial to me.
posted by cgg at 3:52 PM on December 19, 2011

It's generally not much higher than spam, but is most likely a perfectly legitimate attempt by a recruiter. I've gotten the "someone who works here respects you and recommends you" email, and they tend to say as such when they contact you. Obviously, be prepared for the possibility that you're being scammed and verify things appropriately, but this is quite common on LinkedIn, especially in software.

Keep in mind that these emails aren't saying "we want to hire you." They are saying "we want to put you into our recruiting pipeline." If you respond, odds are decent that the recruiter will at least look at your resume and/or set you up with a phone screen. That's a leg up compared to if you applied by yourself out of the blue, but beyond that, the odds are pretty much as good as for any other candidate they talk to.

One thing to differentiate are the in-house/dedicated recruiters who are actually attached to the company they are recruiting for and the independent headhunter types who will shop you around to as many openings as possible in an attempt to get a large commission. The latter type may not tell you the name of the company they are recruiting for (so you don't do an end-run around them). That doesn't mean the latter type is all bad (though their overall reputation is certainly worse), but it helps to know who you're dealing with and what relationship they have to the employer.

So basically, decide whether you're interested and respond accordingly. If so, I'd send back a real resume (they might be fine with just your LinkedIn profile, but a more formal resume is a nice touch if you have one prepared), a couple sentences about why you're interested and what kind of teams you might want to work with, and some times you'd be free for a phone call. If not, it doesn't hurt to send back a quick "not today" and keep their contact information around for the future. I don't do this for every random message from recruiters (I like my job!), but it doesn't hurt to have the email for a rep at Google or wherever in case you're looking some day.
posted by zachlipton at 3:57 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, even if the recruiter is in California, they may be looking to staff an office closer to you, so don't necessarily rule them out based on distance. Several well-known web 2.0 shops have offices in Austin, for example. If you contact them, they should be able to tell you where you could work and what relocation benefits they typically provide, if applicable.
posted by zachlipton at 4:03 PM on December 19, 2011

On a scale of 1 (spam) to 10 (you were highly recommended by a respected mutual acquaintance)... where does this type of email fall, and what's an appropriate follow-up?

As others have mentioned something in your profile, whether it's keywords or experience has caught the eye of a recruiter. It's about a 3 on your spam-scale.

I've got a standard template I send out. Something along the lines of "At this time I'm happy in my current position and am not looking to pursue other opportunities. Thank you for the email, I'll keep Company X in mind if I find myself on the market again." etc.

If you are interested, realize you'll still need to go through the interview process. If the email was very personalized to you and you have well-known or specialized experience, there might be some decreased weight placed on the interview.
posted by formless at 4:38 PM on December 19, 2011

You could do worse than doing exactly what these guys suggest:
posted by sudama at 6:50 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Recruiters are sometimes employed by the companies themselves and are sometimes outside recruiters who get paid by the hire. I wouldn't read too much into it, as recruiters are matching against a specific set of skills which they think you might match based on education, past experience, references, etc. Recruiters do try to cast a wide net since they're getting paid by the hire and it's hard to hire in this environment.

I wouldn't worry too much that they're far away. Relocation is a pretty minor expense in the scheme of things for these companies. I used to work for a 30 person startup and at least 4 employees were relocated from other countries, and several more from other states.

If you're interested, or just curious, you may as well right back. You've got nothing to lose, but you'll probably start the interview process as if you've just submitted a resume (probably a recruiter call, followed by a phone screen by an employee)
posted by iamscott at 7:10 PM on December 19, 2011

That's how I go tmy current (awesome) job - if it sounds good to you, follow up! Otherwise, hit the archive button and move on.
posted by thatone at 7:16 PM on December 19, 2011

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