In less than one year, I cancelled my LinkedIn premium account.  It wasn’t because of the cost; two of my placements were the direct result of using their In-mail feature.  So why did I surrender over 75 unused In-mail credits?  Let’s just say that I was spending way too much time on the site.  Looking at profiles all day long took the excitement out of work; it made recruiting feel like a very boring job.  Here are a few things that I learned from that experience that may help you to recruit better.

These are the eight things that passive job applicants will not do or say when you are trying to recruit them.  Listed below are the eight signs followed by what they really mean.

1.       They do not respond to your In Mail

  • I don’t want to disappoint you because the only reason you are reaching out to me is because you read my LinkedIn profile.  What I didn’t tell you were that I am 10 years older, 20 lbs heavier, worked for four additional employers and I no longer look anything like the picture in my profile.  So whatever you’re selling does not have application to the real me.
  • There are not enough hours in one day to read hundreds of emails.  In my world, there are only two types of emails-essential and non-essential. I only respond to the essential emails because they directly impact to my job.
  • I don’t want you think that by sending me the same email you sent to everyone else would get me excited and inspire me to pick up the phone and call you to enthusiastically sell myself like I was actually unemployed and desperate to find a job.

2.       They do not return your phone calls

  • I really don’t know who you are and why you are calling me, especially at my job to talk about another job. That would be very disrespectful for me to have that type of conversation at my place of employment.
  • If I ever needed to look for a job, I would simply reach out to the people that I know.  I don’t want some stranger or word to get out that I am unhappy with my job and is actively looking for another one
  • I already have job alerts and relationships with few of the people in my network.  They know my situation and the type of opportunities I would be interested in.  I don’t have the time it takes to get to know someone new.  Especially when recruiters are only interested in my skills to make money for themselves.

3.       They tell you that they are very happy

  • Even though I should keep my eyes and ears open to new opportunities, I really lack the desire to go through the mental thought process of competing in a job interview circus.
  • I’m not sure I want to change my family routine; just to do the same job someplace else.
  • I am too busy doing the job I was hired to do; I cannot afford to waste valuable time on what could end up being a wild-goose-chase.

4.       They tell you that they are not looking for anything right now 

  • My salary is at or above the market.  I like the people I work with.  My boss gives me a lot of autonomy.  I have a pretty decent commute and they are doing a good job of taking care of me.
  • I’m not sure if I want to risk something secure for what might be a-bag-of-goods?
  • I am in a much better place now than where I was with my former employer.  I need to be more patient and appreciate how fortunate I am.

5.       They tell you that they would have to paid a fortune to get me to leave 

  • I’m in a pretty good spot- I worked very hard to get here; I’m certainly not about to give that up just to earn a few more dollars doing the same job someplace else.
  • I am not chomping-at-the-bit to leave my present employer, so why don’t you dazzle me with your creativity?
  • It sounds like something that could be of interested to me, but I don’t want you to know that I am interested.


6.       They tell you that they are too busy to talk right now, call them later

  • If you don’t call back, that’s fine-it proves that you were only on a fishing-expedition.  You only want to shop my resume in the market to build your own credibility with other employers.
  • I’m in the middle of putting together a spreadsheet for a finalist presentation, instant messaging with members of my team and trying to put out a few fires before shit-hits-the-fan.
  • Most likely it will be the same pitch I’ve heard a million times before about why your job is the best opportunity for my career.  If I am the one you are truly interested in, you will call back.

7.       They tell you that the job sounds interesting, but they are going to take a pass

  • The company and the title sounds OK, but I am not sure if the role make sense based on what they are willing to pay and what they would expect in return.
  • Sounds like a great opportunity, but I heard that it’s a sweatshop environment.  Why would I take on a bigger role on a sinking-ship?
  • Sounds like a great opportunity, but I don’t consider that organization as one of the major players in this space.  I’m not sure how that particular career move would look on my resume.

8.       They hang up on you

  • I don’t want to invest any more time talking about this. It sounds like it is the same job I’m doing right now.
  • I’m not sure that you understand the job you are recruiting for or what my skills are.
  • I interviewed with the same company in the past and they didn’t hire me/I wasn’t impressed with them or I never heard of them.

Final Thoughts

What happens when you send someone an email or a voice mail to someone you are trying to recruit and they do not respond? Or, what if you were fortunate enough to engage in a dialog with them and they responded in manner that would not take them down the right path of becoming an active job applicant?

Would you end it right there and move on the next prospect?

You wouldn’t… if you only get paid when a successful hire was made!

These eight signs are also when the real recruiting begins for the ones that are not actively searching for a job.  To be successful in recruiting them, you must be able to break through their on-line life to reach them in their real life.

So, the next time you are recruiting on LinkedIn, think about this:  Would you appreciate a strange guy telling you how beautiful you are, and how great your figure looks in that dress?  Or, would you tell a handsome stranger that you heard that he had a-big-fat-wallet?  But that is the email & voice mail messages you are sending to them in their on-line-life.