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About a week ago a recruiter connected to me on LinkedIn. He never sent me a message, which I thought was odd, since usually recruiters connect and send a message asking if I'm interested in employment opportunities. He should be able to see all of my information even without connecting to me too, so it's not like he needed to connect to see my full profile.

Normally I wouldn't care about this, but this time the company which he represents at the moment is actually a very interesting one, and I would be interested in at least having an interview.

My questions are:

  1. Why did he connect? Is this normal from recruiters?

  2. Should I send him a message asking why he connected or expressing my interest in the company he's representing?

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    It's normal. They do it constantly just to build a vast network. – Joel Etherton Aug 26 '15 at 17:20
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Unless it's very obvious that there's nothing to be gained by responding, I send the following reply via InMail:

Hi NAME,

I received your invitation to connection. I normally don't connect with people whom I haven't met or at least spoken with previously. Do you mind if I ask what brought you to my profile? Thanks.

Sometimes I get a favorable response, sometimes I get nothing at all. This helps to separate the people trying to just fill their contact database/expand their network from those with whom I might be able to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship. I'm not interested in being just another node in someone's network.

  • This is almost exactly what I was going to write myself. The problem can be where a recruiter is bolstering their list so they can pitch a certain candidate to a client (look at my list of possible hires, but I have one in particular who's more experienced/got particular skills/cheaper than the others). – The Wandering Dev Manager Aug 28 '15 at 8:14
  • If all they want me for is to pad out their list, I'm not sure I want them representing me to their client(s) in the first place. I'd like to have at least one conversation with a recruiter before they start throwing my name & resume around - they should know me, how I work, and the kind of position/company I want to be in, not just use me as another bullet point. – alroc Aug 28 '15 at 12:37
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Why did he connect? Is this normal from recruiters?

Recruiters often reach out to people on LinkedIn. It allows them to search and contact potential candidates easily, and is usually less time consuming than E-mail and phone calls. The recruiter also does not have to maintain a database of candidates - LinkedIn does that for him and keeps it up to date.

Should I send him a message asking why he connected or expressing my interest in the company he's representing?

Feel free to reach out to the recruiter. However, most recruiters often specialize in a particular area or type of role. Chances are your LinkedIn profile appeared in a search for that area. For example, if the recruiter specializes in C++ roles, he probably searched for C++ developers, found your profile and wants to connect with you in case you will fit future roles.

  • agreed, but I think it's bad form for recruiters to attempt to connect without explaining why. I would reach out as well, but not accept the invitation until you establish a working relationship. – mcknz Nov 23 '14 at 1:28
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    @mcknz I agree that is bad form, and I never accept these connection requests. But that's why they do it. – Carson63000 Nov 24 '14 at 3:31
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It extends their network and allows them to search LinkedIn more efficiently. When your connections then appear in their search results, they can easily send connect requests to those people, which they couldn't do before without those connections' emails. They may not actually care at all about your profile. There's actually no reason for a recruiter to not want to connect to you, which is why a great deal will just spam people with connection requests.

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"Why" he connected to you is not so interesting (your profile simply matched some keywords for skills or previous employers).

You can use that connection to your advantage, however, if the recruiter is knowledgable about the particular industry and employers he works with. Simply reach out to him and, if possible, schedule a phone conversation. You then have an opportunity to ask questions and gain insight about the employer/industry you're interested in. The goal of such a conversation isn't necessarily an opportunity to apply, but to pick-up useful information and or perhaps even get 3rd-party referral to opportunities you don't even know about yet.

That said, keep your expectations low. The fact that he didn't send a specific message means he was likely just building up a connection network, I would not have bothered to accept this connection. But... you don't have anything to lose by contacting this person. If you're going to accept a stranger into your contacts you might as well have a conversation with them.

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