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I received an invitation from a recruiter for an informal lunch meeting based on my LinkedIn profile to meet and discuss potential job opportunities. The recruiter did not show at the set meeting. I called the recruiter several times using the contact information I was given. I even waited 15 minutes over the agreed end time. I left a message confirming the time and place and time for our meeting as well as repeated my contact information in case of a communication mix up. No response was received at any time.

Would it advisable for me to contact the recruiter for some clarification?

How can I ask most effectively?

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    Yes unprofessional behavior would would hurt them. Let it go. If they don't contact you an apology and good excuse then don't do business with them. – paparazzo Aug 11 '15 at 2:47
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    You waited a lot longer than I would have done. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 11 '15 at 15:03
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    I've encountered more than few bad and shady recruiters, so I have no tolerance for stuff like this. It's unacceptable professional behavior. Be thankful you discovered this early, and didn't waste any more of your time. I wouldn't even bother to follow up or try to get clarification. Just move on. – Mohair Aug 11 '15 at 15:08
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    Recruiters aren't exactly a high commodity. I get 10 a week asking me to 'ring them and chat'. – insidesin Aug 11 '15 at 15:52
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    Recruiters aren't precious. Unreliable ones doubly so. If they can't keep an appointment would you trust them to represent you? – Murphy Aug 12 '15 at 12:59
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At the time of the meeting, the recruiter was a somewhat better option for you than a completely random recruiter pulled off the block, because they expressed interest in meeting you.

After the meeting, the recruiter is a somewhat worse option for you than a completely random recruiter pulled off the block, because they've failed in a simple task. Maybe for a good reason, maybe a bad one, but until such time as they explain their good reason they are below par and you can have no confidence in them. "Interested in you" plus "untrustworthy" still adds up to "bad".

If what you want is to speak to a recruiter, I would say either wait for the next one to come along, or else use whatever contacts you have (not current colleagues) to approach a recruiter who specialises in whatever you do.

If what you want is not to lose what seems like a "free opportunity" to speak with a recruiter without seeking one out, then forget about it. It's gone. There will be others. This recruiter might contact you again to apologise, or a different recruiter might contact you in future, but anything you do now to chase this particular recruiter, having already left multiple messages, is recruiter-seeking energy that could be better spent chasing a different recruiter who's never stood you up.

If the recruiter does call and apologise and offer you another meeting, then you should seek some small proof from them that they value the opportunity to meet with you (a show of "good faith", or "commitment"). For example, you could ask them to send you some job opportunities they believe suit your abilities and experience as described on LinkedIn. If they send you a load of generic keyword-matching rubbish, indicating they don't really understand your business or care to, then be ruthless and tell them you don't think they can help you. If they do reasonably well (judging them in view of the information they had to work with, and the fact they haven't yet asked you what directions you'd like to go), agree to meet them, they've proved they actually do want to put some effort in and that they have the capability to suggest suitable roles.

Also bear in mind you might well never hear from them again. It can be frustrating when recruiters just drop all communication and never reply to your last message, but fundamentally it's part of their business for many of them. They have a lot of jobs and a lot of people in the mix, it really doesn't hurt them if any one job doesn't get filled or any one person doesn't get their help finding a job. So the ones who don't care about their personal reputation will chase whatever seems best this week, and ignore everything else. Don't feel as if you've lost something: such a recruiter is basically just a switchboard operator anyway, all they'd ever have done for you is help you search job listings.

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Yes though I'd wait a couple of days before contacting as if there was some emergency, it may take a little while before getting back to you. The key is merely after that time to call and ask, "What happened that you didn't come to our appointment?"

There are possibilities such as the recruiter got sick, a close family member may have gotten ill, an accident happened or more than a few other things here that you don't know and won't know until you make the call.

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    Agreed :) Don't assume it's sinister. People is people :) – Jane S Aug 11 '15 at 2:07
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    Agreed, give them a chance to explain and apologize. But if they don't do so to your satisfaction, feel free to refrain from doing business with them. They need you more than you need them, especially if you're not actively looking to change jobs. – Carson63000 Aug 11 '15 at 3:10
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    @JaneS At the same time, remember that recruiters are human traffickers on commission and are capable of anything. – Gusdor Aug 11 '15 at 11:34
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    I agree that sometimes things come up and you have to cancel, but the fact that there was zero communication certainly shortens the list of acceptable excuses for me. – David K Aug 11 '15 at 12:20
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    "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." – SeanR Aug 11 '15 at 13:08
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My advice is to stop doing business with them unless they contact you and offer reasonable explanation of what happened and apologize.

I left a message confirming the time and place and time for our meeting as well as repeated my contact information in case of a communication mix up. No response was received at any time.

You did your part. Now, it's their turn. They are recruiters. Meeting you is part of their job. They invited you for the lunch meeting. There need to be good reasons for them to miss it. If they do not provide truly good reasons for missing the meeting, how do you trust them in the future?

There must be strong mutual trust between you and the recruiter. For example, the recruiter tells you that there is a good job opportunity and wants you to take one day off for an interview. Are you going to sacrifice a vacation day to go to the interview? How do you make such a decision if there is no trust between you and them?

If they don't call you in couple of days or so and explain what happened in good faith, you should burn the bridge because that bridge is already burnt by them.

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    Never burn a bridge you don't have to. You never know who is going to be looking at your resume 10 years from now. – corsiKa Aug 11 '15 at 14:51
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    @corsiKa: When the bridge is comprised of 500-year old rotting timber and stretches across a wide ravine, you're certainly best off burning it lest you forget not to step onto it. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 11 '15 at 15:05
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    I don't think the intent of burn the bridge here is to scream at the person and insult them. It's just, let them know you're no longer interested in their position. I don't imagine the recruiter would hold that against them (or even really remember it ten years later)... – Joe Aug 11 '15 at 16:20
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    That is not what burn the bridge means, Joe. – corsiKa Aug 11 '15 at 16:46
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    Specifically note scaaahu has said "the bridge is already burnt by them", so whatever is meant by the phrase here, it does not on this occasion mean anything like hurling abuse. – Steve Jessop Aug 11 '15 at 21:21
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Obvious possibilities here:

(a) Some emergency came up. The person had to rush a sick child to the hospital or that sort of thing. If that's the case, courtesy would be for them to take a couple of minutes to call you and say they won't be able to show up. But maybe the situation was so extreme that they just weren't worried about this appointment, or they tried to call but couldn't get through, etc. This is unprofessional but understandable.

(b) The person forgot or didn't want to stop something else he was doing to see you. This would certainly be lack of consideration and professionalism and very bad.

(c) There was some confusion about the time or place of the appointment. Maybe you thought you had agreed to meet on Tuesday but the other person thought you had agreed on Thursday, or you thought you had agreed on the Joe's Diner on the north end of town but the other person was thinking the Joe's Diner on the south end of town. You say you called to confirm but maybe it's possible there was still some confusion.

I'd call them back and politely say that you showed up wondered what happened. If they have an explanation and are full of apologies, I'd be inclined to let it go. If they give the impression that they don't care and that meeting with you just takes time away from something more important they have to do, I'd thank them politely for their time and not make a follow-up appointment, just go somewhere else. If they give a good excuse and schedule another meeting, if they miss a second one, I'd conclude they either don't care about you or they're incompetent, neither of which is good, and move on.

While it might feel good to yell and scream, I wouldn't. If you dump them after they miss a meeting, they'll likely figure out why, and if they don't, they're probably beyond hope anyway. I think it's bad practice to burn bridges. Annoyed as you may be, you may find that down the road you need to do business with these people again.

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    I should point out that only the first possibility you suggest is a valid reason for being incommunicado for the entire planned duration of the meeting. Other than that, this is exactly the advice I'd give, +1. – Lilienthal Aug 11 '15 at 10:24
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Just forget about them - not worth your time. In the end, it doesn't matter why they didn't meet you - the important thing, is that they didn't tell you that they weren't going to be there. The majority of recruiters work with a recruitment agency, and if there was some emergency that called them away abruptly, someone else in the agency should have looked over their appointments and at the very least contacted you to reschedule. The fact that they didn't shows a shocking lack of professionalism. And not having someone answer the phone is even worse - what kind of operation are they running? Their whole job depends on facilitating communication between you and an employer - being unreachable looks very bad for them.

There really is no shortage of recruiters, and if this one couldn't even take the time to send you a quick text message to keep you up to date, don't waste your time with them.

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