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I have received a couple of these types of recruiting mails on Linkedin or by email every now and then and I'm just kind of stumped as to what's the point of them. Here's a snippet from the latest:

Title: Help with search for POSITION(higher seniority than me)

Body: Your assistance would be appreciated on a search we are conducting for a POSITION(higher seniority than me).

End: This is an exciting opportunity and your help in identifying qualified candidates would be appreciated.

Now doesn't it sound like they are not considering me for the position they're writing me about or am I just being too literal? And why on earth would I help them do their job in that case? There's no mention of referral bonus or anything either. I always found these emails to be kind of rude.

  • It's basically a fishnet. They are hoping you respond or forward or whatever. Just ignore them/delete. – NotMe Oct 23 '14 at 18:07
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    What question are you asking? This sounds like a rant more than a question. meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2693/… – David K Oct 23 '14 at 18:10
  • Voting to close, as I have no idea what question the OP is asking. – Vietnhi Phuvan Oct 23 '14 at 18:24
  • I get what you're asking. I see it as them asking "Do you need work?" without risking you coming back and saying, "My profile says I'm employed, of course I don't need work!" as well as the slim chance you'll pass it along to a fellow candidate. – Chris E Oct 23 '14 at 20:47
  • In my book this is just spam. Ask them do their own work instead of trying to use you. – user8036 Oct 24 '14 at 7:07
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It's basically a fishnet.

They are hoping you respond with something like "Hey, I'm qualified!" or forward it on to a friend or whatever. Just ignore them and delete the messages.

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Of course they're just trying to get as many connections as they can and in a way you are helping them do their job, but think of the person you recommend. They may return the favor. They may refer you to this new company if a position opens.

I understand the frustration, but you'll get a lot more out of sites like LinkedIn if you can benefit others instead of waiting for them to do something for you or pay you for your help. Otherwise, it's just a bulletin board for recruiters to try and get you to apply for a position even if you're not qualified. It's a bit of a numbers game for them.

Take advantage of it and chances are you may be doing someone else a favor.

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Imagine if you had a boss that you really liked and passed along the position information to that person. This person applies for the job, gets it and then decides that you should come work for this company as a kind of "Thank you" for mentioning them as well as being a place where you may have a raise in title or pay or something. I've seen in more than a few places where some new executive will come and bring over more than a few people in other leadership roles that could be a benefit to you down the road.

The other idea is that if you can pass along some good people then you may become a future recruiter that may be a better job than what you are currently doing or something you do as a side project and collect referral fees or build up a network. At least this would be a couple of possible advantages I'd see.

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Why on earth would you find a letter asking for referrals to be rude? That is how the better recruiters get candidates.

You are free to ignore. But you seem to want to know what is in it for you? Well taking the long view, if I recommend someone for a job I am not qualified for and he gets the job, then he owes me a favor. He also might be inclined to hire me because he knows my work just as I knew his, so it may be a way to get entry into an organization.

Further the recruiter knows you helped him. They will consider you a person they want to work with and where is the downside to that for you?

People who work with other people's needs and cooperate tend to get more cooperation in the long run. People who want to be given something up front before they will make any effort no matter how minor (usually when I recommend someone to a recruiter, it takes me less than five mintues, maybe ten if I don't have their contact information handy.) come across as arrogant and greedy and hard to work with. Is that really the impression you want people, especially those who have say in what potential future opportunities come your way, to have of you?

Asking for a referral bonus from a recruiter would be rude and inappropriate. It would pretty much guarantee he won't want to work with you in the future or use the person you recommended. That is a lose-lose situation, through greed you lose a possibly value future contact, your recommendee loses out on a job he might be interested in and nobody wins. And really how much work did you do? You wrote an email with a name and contact information. Asking for compensation for that just looks petty.

  • Excellent answer. I'm amazed at companies that struggle to fill a spot on a team and not one member knows at least one person to recommend. – user8365 Oct 23 '14 at 18:27
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    I can't agree with this. It's hard enough for me to identify if I would be a good candidate for a job, or if the job is any good. Why would I risk my reputation by suggesting my potentially ill-qualified friend for a potentially hellish job, or potentially spamming my friends with stuff they've seen? And if my friends gave my contact information to every random idiot promising a great job, I would be less than pleased with them... – Telastyn Oct 23 '14 at 19:16
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    I agree with Telastyn. While it might be fine to pass on info to a recruiter or manager I already have a working relationship with, it sounds like this question is more about cold-call emails from random recruiters. I am never going to give someone else's contact information to a recruiter I know nothing about. Better recruiters might get referrals from people they know, but bad recruiters get referrals from random unknown linkedIn profiles. – David K Oct 23 '14 at 19:25
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    @HLGEM - I dunno; at least for me, it's not the good recruiters whom I've actually networked with asking for this, but people cold-emailing me. Headhunters already irk me with their general uselessness, so seeing such active horribleness waste my time makes me angry. I mean I have 10 job descriptions sitting in my mailbox from the past week. 1 is from someone I've worked with that is looking for people skilled with a language I've not used in 8 years, and 9 are from people I've never talked to for jobs I'd never take (but forward on to people you know!). It's simple laziness. – Telastyn Oct 23 '14 at 19:40
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    "That is how the better recruiters get candidates." It's also how the worst spam every resume at every position and every position at every possible worker recruiters get candidates. "Not all solicitors are predators, but all predators solicit" applies to recruiters as much as to roofers, basement waterproofers, or anyone else. I'm no more likely to give information to a recruiter whose first contact was asking me for colleagues he can spam than I am to a person who knocks on my door saying he was driving through the neighborhood and saw that my roof needed replaced immediately. – Dan Neely Oct 23 '14 at 19:43

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