4 Recruiters About to Get Blocked on LinkedIn

February 25, 2014 at 5:20 AM by Rob Stevenson

hammerIn a blog post late last week, LinkedIN announced an overhaul of privacy settings, including the introduction of the option for users to block specific members. In the wake of the mass-InMail messaging epidemic, this development should be especially concerning to recruiters. Although there are some tried and true methods of optimal messaging, it can be easy to give in to the temptation of options which pair quick fire with massive reach.

To date, we haven’t spent much time focusing on how NOT to recruit. Until now.

We asked professionals of various backgrounds -- designers, engineers, marketing, and sales pros -- for examples of outreach from recruiters that rubbed them the wrong way. Some people thought they were funny, some were annoyed, and some were completely turned off to the recruiter’s entire organization. Read on to see the types of messages that will result in gleeful utilization of LinkedIN's new features.

1. I'm sure you get this all the time...

Hi X,

I came across your profile today on LinkedIn and wanted to reach out as your background parallels a specific confidential search I'm conducting.

I realize you may get many inmails like this and routinely might disregard them. However, since your profile indicates you are open to hearing about new career opportunities I wanted to see if you might be interested in learning about this unique and exciting role. Please indicate your interest in a response to me and I will reach out to you.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

The bolded text represents the most baffling facet of this message. Here, the recruiter recognizes that his message is essentially white noise, but persists anyway with his canned message. It’s not enough to admit bad practice, recruiting pros. Take action!

2. For those Elusive UX/Management Engineers

The position presented in the following message, sent to a UX/UI designer, not only falls outside the candidates’ realm of expertise, but also includes an unintentional sleight to the professional’s work.

Hi X,

My name is Y and I am an executive recruiter for the top tier recruiting firm here in the bay area. Thought you might be a good contact for both future business and candidates in the market. Your background is extremely interesting and your recent work is very marketable. I have several open roles in the management/architect engineering world. If you know anyone or are looking yourself please feel free to reach out. Either way would love to stay in touch.


To which the candidate responds:

I'm not in management or software architecture. No engineer or designer
wants their work to be considered 'marketable'.

Only to receive ANOTHER canned response:

Thanks for getting back to me X. I have a few individual contributor
roles that you may be interested in. Are you actively on the market?

Are you all facepalming as hard as I am right now?

3. Looking for a Senior Web Dev/Part-time Sourcer

Hi X,

Hope this message finds you well!

I work for Z and came across your LinkedIn profile and could use some networking assistance.

We are currently looking for a senior level Web Dev with a JavaScript / front-end / UI focus for our division in downtown Seattle, WA.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in discussing a role like this (or even someone that might know someone) I would appreciate any help you might be able to give.

Look forward to hearing back from you and please let me know if I might be of service to you!

I have to admit, this is a new one. Here, the recruiter asks for ‘networking assistance’, essentially proposing the candidate do his job for him. This is tantamount to asking the cute girl at the party “do you like me? or have any friends that might?” If you don’t have any sort of relationship with the candidate--perhaps built from engaging them about their projects and expressing interest about their career goals rather than ability to merely fill a req--then they aren’t going to lift a finger to help you.

4. Phantom Sales Experience

Hi X,

My name is Y and I am the Corporate Recruiter at Z. I took a look at your profile and I love your Sales experience. If you are considering a new role right now, I think Z would be a perfect fit. We are currently looking for ambitious, self-motivated individuals to join our fast-paced environment as an ACCOUNT MANAGER. I would love to further discuss this role with you so please feel free to send me a message or you can reach me on my direct line.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you,


On the surface, this one doesn't look that bad. Until I followed up with the recipient, who clarified by saying "I have never sold a day in my life".

Think your open req is hard to fill? Have a look at this position a full-stack engineer friend was solicited:

My all-time favorite was a really pushy email offering me a part-time gig, way below my then-rate, using tech I hate, working in rural Georgia, building something on-site for the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Even though this recruiter had their work cut out for them filling a job position that essentially amounts to a prison sentence, it is no excuse for the discrepancies in compensation, full-time to part-time downgrade, and use of skills the candidate has zero interest in.

Although examples of poor outreach are always entertaining, now more then ever, there are lessons to be gleaned. As a result of LinkedIN's update, recruiters must improve or risk being silenced. 

What do you make of the new LinkedIN privacy settings? Leave a comment or tweet @EnteloRob!

How to Email an Engineer