I get a lot (2-3 a week) LinkedIn messages from "cold calling" recruiters. I've answered to a few, set up 30 minute meetings, but in every case I either never hear from them again, or I get a nicely worded rejection email.

What's the "success rate" for people who answer these? I've met with at least 10 in the last 8 months and none ended with a job proposal. None of them has ever given me a real reason why (honestly, after making me waste 30 minutes with them, I'd at least expect some courtesy of giving feedback, but it doesn't seem to be something these people do).

In the same timeframe, I've applied for a company that led me through a 2-week (on and off) recruitment process and ended up offering me a Senior position after an "impressive" hiring process. All very impressive but the salary was about the same as my current job, and I'd lose all of my benefits.

So, I'm very confident about my abilities, but I don't seem to impress these cold-callers. Should I keep bothering with them, or are they a waste of time?

  • 2
    Should I keep bothering with them, or are they a waste of time? - Your results seem to suggest that this is a waste of your time. Would I engage in these conversations with random recruiters? No.
    – joeqwerty
    Apr 15, 2021 at 13:48
  • 2
    @joeqwerty I mean, I'm trying to figure out if the hire rate of this type of hiring is extremely low and not worth the time, or if I'm doing anything wrong and that's why I'm being rejected.
    – hjf
    Apr 15, 2021 at 13:56
  • Do these recruiters offer you, prior to these conversations, descriptions of jobs they are looking to fill? If not, such requests can be safely ignored.
    – mustaccio
    Apr 15, 2021 at 19:32
  • You're cold calling the wrong people. You need to contact the hiring managers. And if you do know people in your industry, you need to use those contacts. Apr 16, 2021 at 3:03
  • I've had people try and contact me even though my entire Linkdin profile is just my name
    – Kilisi
    Apr 16, 2021 at 10:56

4 Answers 4


In my experience, Linked In recruiters are NOT reliable source of positions.

From what i understand, they are going to LinkedIn to fill up base for their star candidate or busy work to show volume.

Would suggest not to take it to heart and give them the time of day if and when you are seriously down and looking everywhere or curious ;)


Personally, I have gotten multiple job offers after starting off with a 'cold calling' recruiter on LinkedIn. The 'cold contact' to 'offer extended' ratio is still probably about 40:1, but about 5:1 or better for 'cold contact' to 'getting to a technical interview round'.

But you should apply a few filters to the recruiters reaching out, because most are still able to be ignored.


  1. Direct Recruiter - work with recruiters employed by the target company directly, not a 3rd party recruiter.

  2. Check out recruiters company - Have you heard of them? Are they local/have an office in your targeted region? What's their reputation like?

  3. Details in first contact - are the details they provide in reaching out to you correct? Most are not, trash them. If they actually connect to real skills or items in your profile, they are likely actively targeting you specifically, rather than mass mailing.

Learn about your Industry and Market, even if position is not for you:

Even after filtering with the above, many times the positions are not relevant (wrong/poor compensation, misfit skills, etc).
But, you can use this opportunity to gather 'market research' about your industry, compensation range, and ask the recruiter questions about what certificates, technologies or other things you should focus on - make sure you extract some value out of the conversation with the recruiter, even if you don't end up applying, and you will come out ahead over time.


In my opinion, recruiters generally do not fill a meaningful market niche.

They may make sense in highly specialised industries, but most of the time you're better off activity looking for a job rather than waiting for them to come to you.

If I'm going to be honest, if recruiters are ghosting you, you have not impressed them. It's in their interests to keep impressive candidates on-file. Sending an email is easy, and ensures you think well of them.

Maybe your Linked-In profile is not highlighting the right skills, which means you are attracting the wrong recruiters?


“Success rate” for cold-calling recruiters?

It's low but it's not zero either. The key here is to quickly assess whether a LinkedIn ping is just a random scattershot or a meaningful outreach that shows a high level of customization and some actual effort on the side of the recruiter.

Ignore the first kind (which is the majority and indeed a waste of time) but there is no harm in answering to the second kind.

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