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TL:DR Contacted on LinkedIn, agreed to a meeting with an account rep about my experiences at my current company. I'm not sure if she wants to talk job opportunity or looking for me to put her in touch with someone in order to sell their services.

The long of it: Recently (like 2 weeks ago), I started a new LinkedIn account for 2 reasons. To try to network with people and maybe see what kind of job opportunities exist. I'm currently employed so I wasn't actively looking to change that unless something great popped up.

My profile was incomplete for a couple of days while I was putting it all together but had the basic information, my job title, my current employer, and my goal.

I was contacted during that time by someone from a fairly local software engineering company. Its a little hard to get a clear idea of what this company does, they are intentionally broad/vague on their website but they are an established company. A few years back when I was still in school I was at job fair where they had a booth and the rep was very vague and secretive about what they did. It left me and a couple classmates a little turned off (Why would we be interested when they can't interest us?). I think they were just trying to put out a start up vibe even though they had existed for 20 years already.

The message I receive on LinkedIn essentially stated that this person was going to be in the area, wanted to have a quick chat over coffee about my experience at my current company. I didn't put too much thought into it and agreed thinking this would not only be a good networking opportunity but possibly discussion of job prospects as well.

After I accepted, and as I was building up my profile some more, I noticed that the person that contacted me was an account rep or sales rep. Hm. I looked through the companies other LinkedIn employees and there wasn't anyone listed as HR so this had me wondering a couple things.

Is this person trying to solicit some kind of sales contract? My job title listed doesn't peg me as anyone with the kind of position to contract an outside party for work. Our company is pretty big, while some things are in-house at our segment, some things are outsourced, and other things are done from a corporate, global level. I'm not even close to being a contact.

Is she using me to get in touch with someone that is? Why the need to meet in person?

Would an account/sales rep be in a position to also act as a recruiter? My job title also doesn't seem to be solid indicator that I'd be qualified to work for them. My profile is more complete now, and would reflect that better. I don't feel it appropriate to say, "hey, check my profile now for more info." While this was all a pretty informal chat to meet for an informal meeting, I don't want to make the entire thing goofy.

What can be accomplished over coffee? Am I just wasting my time?

It feels a little late to ask for clarification and a bit awkward as well. How should I handle this?

Is there a question similar that has some insight? I can't find one.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Daniel, gnat, Dukeling, OldPadawan, carrdelling Jun 23 '18 at 6:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Can you TL;DR this? – dfundako Jun 21 '18 at 15:39
  • Maybe they don't have an official HR department and recruiting is handled by team leaders/management? – user1666620 Jun 21 '18 at 15:42
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    Well, really the question you have to ask yourself is "what will this cost me". Right now, a chat over coffee seems to only cost you time. But by all means, feel free to ask them what the meeting will be about. – user1666620 Jun 21 '18 at 15:46
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    The only person that can answer your question seems to be the one who wants too have the coffee with you. Why don´t you ask her directly? Oh and be sure not to blab too much about your current employer - you don´t want to be a tool of industrial espionage! – Daniel Jun 21 '18 at 15:55
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    A person who wants to meet with you face-to-face without first revealing what the meeting will be about is a person who intends to sell you something you never would buy if you had time to think about it. She will want you to commit to a contract based on her salesmanship and personality instead of on the actual value of the contract. - Be prepared to be pitched something like a multi-level-marketing scheme. – A. I. Breveleri Jun 22 '18 at 0:05
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Is this person trying to solicit some kind of sales contract?

Impossible to tell. That you will know when you two meet and her intentions become clear.

Would an account/sales rep be in a position to also act as a recruiter?

Possibly yes, in a way.

She might be probing around to see if you are interested in the job switch, with possible future meetings (perhaps then with an official recruiter) if you decide to pursue them.

Is she using me to get in touch with someone that is?

Hard to tell also, if she is indeed hunting employees chances are that if you turn it down she might try asking if you know of anyone else that might be interested (a move that I've witnessed a few times). It will be up to you what to answer if that happens.

What can be accomplished over coffee? Am I just wasting my time? It feels a little late to ask for clarification and a bit awkward as well. How should I handle this?

Discussing things over a coffee and in person can be a more effective way of communication. The conversation is more direct, fast, and efficient when speaking face to face. Not to mention the non-spoken aspects (body language, etc.) involved in the conversation.

In a way, you are doing her a "favor", as you aren't looking for another job now as far as you have told us, but it still can be a situation that could serve you as networking or similar; the only way to know is to meet with her.

Remember that when/if you meet you are free to end the meeting anytime, if it turns out to be something you don't want.

I think that you can still ask for some clarification, without having it to be awkward. You can write to her saying something like: "Hello Jane. I would like to know more or less what topics we will be discussing in our upcoming meeting, so I can better prepare myself and perhaps prepare some things to show you as example."... this way you will be probing her intentions more directly, without seeming like you are backing off or being awkward.

Just, if you end up meeting with her, it's worth remembering to be careful not discuss sensible or confidential things about your current job, as that can get you in trouble.

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Welcome to LinkedIn... You're going to get a bunch of requests to connect and to do things. Some of them are well formed and some aren't. Your very first one seems special. But once you've been on LinkedIn a while and get hundreds, here's what you'll learn to do.

  1. Be very clear about what people are asking for. A lot of people want to "just get together and chat." These are almost never worth your time. Use the LinkedIn chat to clarify. "What would you like to discuss?" If they're too vague they are probably either salespeople trying to sell you something you don't particularly need, spammy recruiters, or weirdos. If the answer is "I wanted to talk to you about whether there's a fit for opportunities here at SecretTech," then that's good clarity.

  2. Say no or ignore contact requests when it's not interesting. When you're getting quantity 1 this seems "mean." But when you are getting quantity 100, you come to realize this is just another channel for spam. You have some historical context with SecretTech so maybe it's worthwhile. But you'll end up getting a lot of people trying to shove you into whatever job req they're recruiting for, unless you're hard up, say no to anything that doesn't sound great.

It's like online dating. You don't (or at least probably shouldn't) meet with someone unless you've gotten to know them enough to know if it's likely to be worthwhile. YMMV though - if you're unemployed, new to a city, and bored, well then go on a bunch just to meet people, realizing that 90% of it will be a waste of time. I am busy, so I don't meet with folks unless there's a specific good reason (or they're really a personal friend/acquaintance).

I get dozens of connect requests and as many random solicitations in a given month. Recruiters always want to meet with me as a hiring manager to "talk over lunch." Sorry, here's the job req, get me resumes, I don't need a free lunch I have things to do. Or random people from other countries want me to walk them through career development. Here's some links, enjoy. I connect with some folks I don't know, but often (especially if there's no personalized note) I assume they're a bot or a crank if I don't know them IRL and don't accept (I still have more than a thousand connections, I probably need to be pickier).

People you know are best, local is decent, other than that, you'll want to get in the habit of screening and denying.

  • The company is established, even though I don't know a whole lot about what they actually do. So I'm not concerned as much about weirdos or scams. Thanks for your insight. – SiXandSeven8ths Jun 22 '18 at 4:48

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