A Recruiter Contacted Me. Was it Bad of Me to Ask a Question?

Dear Evil HR Lady,
So a few days ago I received a connection request from a local recruiter at [awesome company I want to work for] on Linkedin. I’m not really looking to leave my company or anything, but I noticed that there was a great  role with [awesome company I want to work for] posted for my city for which I might be a good fit (and it’s [awesome company I want to work for]!). So I sent the recruiter the following message:
Hi, [recruiter].

I hope this message finds you well.

Thanks for the recent connection! Life is all about relationships, and I’m always excited to expand my network.

With that said, as a [awesome company] recruiter I’m hoping you might be able to share some advice on how I can learn more about two of your company’s currently posted  opportunities.

Specifically, I think I might be a good fit [position 1] and [position 2].

If possible, I’d like to have an informational interview with someone associated with these positions in order to learn more about the opportunities. Might you be willing to provide some insight into the best way(s) for me to go about making this happen?

Thanks a *lot* for any consideration here! And if this isn’t a situation where you can assist at this time that’s perfectly alright!


John Doe

^^ I never heard anything back from him, though. I mean, I don’t really mind the lack of response if he couldn’t help, but is there something deeply inappropriate about this message? I wouldn’t have just sent it to a random person, but as it’s a recruiter that connected with me I figured… why not?
Thanks for any insight into anything I may be missing here from an etiquette standpoint.


I don’t think you’re missing anything from an etiquette standpoint. This recruiter sent YOU the LinkedIn request, right? If you had sent the request, and immediately followed up with this note, then I would think you’re being a bit too pushy.

Now, of course, LinkedIn used to be about  maintaining old relationships, and now it seems to be about creating as many new relationships as possible. So, you don’t have any real relationship with this recruiter. But, it makes me wonder, what on earth was this recruiter linking with you for, if not to build some sort of relationship?

Chances are, he saw your headline and wanted to read your whole profile (I don’t know whether yours is public or not), so he linked to you. Now he can read your profile and that’s all he wanted.

Or he wanted to pad his numbers because it looks cooler if you’ve got 792 connections instead of 42. I’m not sure. But, I will tell you this, I find his behavior rude. If YOU send a LinkedIn request to someone you don’t know, and they graciously accept it, and then ask you a question, I think you should answer it.

And especially in his line of work. You may not be a good fit for this position that is currently open, but you may be a great fit for one later on. He may well be lessening your chances of wanting to work with this guy should a position open up that you would be perfect for.

I guess you could argue that your email was a bit pushy, but since he started the relationship, I don’t think so.

Anybody else want to throw out another opinion?

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10 thoughts on “A Recruiter Contacted Me. Was it Bad of Me to Ask a Question?

  1. In general I agree there was no etiquette breach, and I thought the inquiry was very pleasant. If I were the recruiter I would probably have just acknowledged, especially since I had jsust reached out via LinkedIn. However, I think the overall tone of the inquiry was very soft, and not really something that would excite a recruiter. Certainly polite, but not much energy behind it. I read it just the way the letter writer described: not really looking to make a job change. I bet the recruiter looked at the LinkedIn profile, decided the candidate was not in fact a good fit for those positions, and dropped the matter without further action. If they did anything at all.

  2. What you did was fine but possibly naïve. The recruiter has a function to fill a specific position. It is not the recruiters place to educate someone about a company regarding a position the recruiter is not now and not likely to be filling later.
    If you want to learn about a company, contact them directly.

  3. I wrote a whole book about what’s right and what’s wrong with recruiters. And you should not think twice about this recruiter — he’s not worth another second of your time. A good recruiter contacts you because he wants to TALK to you. That is, he’s actually recruiting. This guy is not recruiting. He’s wasting his time and yours because he has no idea what he’s doing or why. The problem is, the world is full of such wannabe “recruiters” who are basically dialing for dollars, looking for a cheap hit.

    There is nothing awesome about a company that has recruiters like this. Imagine you were a prospective customer and this guy was a sales rep for the same company. If the Sales VP saw how he treated you, the guy would be fired in short order. Customers and job candidates — what companies don’t realize is, both of them will trash a company’s reputation if they’re treated poorly or dismissively. Move on to another, better company that values its relationship with the professional community it recruits from.

    Then, go back into LinkedIn and cancel your connection to this turkey.

  4. I LOVE talent that pushes back on recruiters. Nice job. 85% of recruiters should be greeters at a big box. You keep us all honest and actually doing our jobs. Love to see “invested” talent. Odds are they were just fishing because THAT is the tired formula for most recruiters……shoot lots of bullets and “hope” to hit something…..true professionals use the One Shot One Kill strategy…..the rest is just bandwidth.

    Congratulations on taking charge of your career. (Of course recruiters and HR hate it when that happens! lol)

  5. Heh, heh, I just got an email – I see you are an engineer. I represent various engineering firms. But I don’t know what your specialty is. So let me know what your specialty is and email me back so I can send you updates.

  6. It is rude, but I’ll give you some possible scenarios (that probably won’t make you feel better and will only lead to more Recruiter bashing, but whatever):
    1) Recruiter that contacted you forwarded the message on to other Recruiters working on the specific jobs you inquired about, and no one responded.
    2) Recruiter gets so many LinkedIn messages in a day (I know I do) that they just overlooked your response by accident (it’s happened to me).
    3) Recruiter had absolutely no idea who to contact about setting you up for an informational interview about the positions you referenced and either intentionally or unintentionally failed to follow up with you as a result.

    I’m one of something like 10 Recruiters in my company, and all of us have 25-30 jobs open at a time. I often don’t have visibility to what everyone else is working on. I’m not looking for pity, but please do bear in mind we’re human too.
    If you really like the company, continue networking into it .And I don’t think a follow up note would hurt anything.

    1. I was just about to post something similar. The recruiter’s rudeness may not be intentional and thinking of it that way doesn’t help. I would definitely think following up would be appropriate and just do so under the assumption that your original note was overlooked or forgotten about. You can also check the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile and see if she has an e-mail listed and maybe follow up that way, or see if there are any other HR people with the same organization on LinkedIn and see if any of your contacts are linked to them and ask for an introduction. Maybe the recruiter has been reassigned to working on other openings, or maybe she is on vacation or medical leave, who knows… but don’t let your bad experience with this individual keep you from finding out more info on positions with this organization that you have so much interest in.

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