A recruiter at my company, one of the big SV software companies, has asked me to collect a list of contacts from LinkedIn to send recruitment emails to. I consider this really spammy, and an abuse of my out-of-work relationships, and I want to refuse to do this.
I believe that I'm supposed to be enticed to do this by the prospect of a referral bonus if we actually hire any of them, but I value my relationships with these people, many of whom are my friends as well, much more than I do a small chance of receiving a few thousand dollars. Personally, if a friend or even worse, a contact I hadn't talked to in a while, sent me a generic recruiting message out of the blue, I'd definitely think less of them and consider it a breach of trust in our relationship (the software engineers I know really don't like recruiter spam).
The company I work for has probably dug itself in a bit of a hole here by being one of the top-paying companies in the industry: I already make enough money to not really care about any incremental bonuses.
Is this something that is common at these companies? I've only worked at startups before, really. How can I avoid it?