Here’s the recruiting scenario:

An executive search firm principal (let’s call him Jack) searches for and sources potential prospects via LinkedIn

Jack finds and contacts a potential prospect (let’s call her Jenny) through inMail

In his inMail message Jack introduces himself, his search firm, and briefly describes his client’s opportunity to Jenny

Jenny politely replies to Jack that she would be open to discussing the opportunity and provides her contact info and availability for a call

Jack calls Jenny the next day and leaves a voicemail and also emails her the official job description

Jenny is unable to return the call by end of day (for Jack’s time zone – 3 hours ahead), so she emails Jack to thank him for the additional information and let him know her availability for a call the next day

The following day, Jack replies to Jenny’s email and requests her resume

Jenny thinks Jack is a JackHole

Jenny’s recap (recruiter rant) of the scenario:

Resume THIS you typical jerkface recruiter! You found me on LinkedIn, liked what you saw enough to contact me, presumably to speak with me, so why do you suddenly need a resume in order to do that?

Don’t jack me around Jack! 

(BTW: Jenny's LI profile is comprehensive, so her resume would be redundant at this stage)

Views: 1864

Comment by Pete Radloff on July 25, 2014 at 1:04pm

Well, I work in digital media, so lack of an online presence is usually not so bueno. Your experience may vary, as always. 

Comment by Keith Halperin on July 25, 2014 at 2:39pm

I don't think it's unreasonable to professionally and politely ask for someone's resume who's indicated they're open to an opportunity, aka (haven't bothered to "opt out" of the default setting). I don't want something to "start a conversation"- I want something to send to a hiring manager STAT.



Comment by Amber on July 25, 2014 at 4:11pm

If the scenario happens as written in this post, I don't think it was so out of line. But if I don't have the resume and we haven't had a chance to talk (even if I did call when they requested and got voice mail), I would probably just ask for it during our call if things were going along the right lines. I rarely see a LI profile that is as comprehensive as a resume, though. 

I've never had anyone seem put aback or express anger/irritation, etc. when I ask for a resume - I hope I haven't secretly been pissing off a bunch of people!

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 25, 2014 at 4:50pm

Pete Radloff:  Well said.  I wonder why it is that I am so lucky that I never have that problem, though (of candidates saying that they have a resume on LinkedIn and won't provide anything else).  I haven't had that happen for at least a year, if not eighteen months.  It used to happen to me when I was a first-year recruiter, though.  I used to write resumes for candidates who didn't have one... I haven't had to do that for 25 years.  I think that if you are working with a more professional level of candidates, they understand the need to 'jump through an occasional hoop'.  Insisting on working only with motivated candidates is actually a good idea for a recruiter.   Giving a candidate too much power, leeway, etc. rarely works.  My opinion, of course.

Different recruiters have very different styles, sometimes.  I would go with whatever style works best for you.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 26, 2014 at 1:28pm
Pete, I have been apologizing to both clients and candidates for the behavior of idiot recruiters since before you were born. So yes it is working well for me and has for just short if 40 years as a recruiter.

Let me draw you a picture. An in mail and an email is not a conversation. If a recruited candidate is just initially showing interest, the time to ask for a resume ,when you have made contact based on a linked in profile ,is either during or after a phone conversation with that candidate. Most reasonably intelligent people who are working do not want their resume in the hands of a recruiter or anybody else they have at minimum not spoken with on the phone.

There is more to recruiting a candidate than sending a job description and getting a resume. Before many people ship their resume out they want to speak with a real person to ascertain if they want that person to represent them. They want more detail about a job than the canned job description. They want to know who the company is, what is the culture, why is it open, has the recruiter ever worked with this company before, what is the time frame for hiring, detail about benefit programs, 401k matching. They may want to research the company before deciding if they want to have their resume sent.

By the same token, as recruiters, we need to know more about that person than can be ascertained by looking at a profile or a resume. What are they looking for other than the technical fit for a job description and multiple other things we can't get from a resume.

All of that is recruiting 101. The time to ask for a formal resume is when both paties have determined that they want to work together,both feel they want to move forward. The biggest mistake I have seen recruiters make that put them in the "idiot" catagory is to ask for a formal resume, then get the candidate on the phone and discover that for any of a million reasons they will not fit the job. Idiot recruiter now has the resume in hand and has created an expectation with a candidate that idiot recruiter has no intention of fulfilling. Thus the reason that person after person rants about recruiters asking for their resume and never hearing from recruiter again or being able to reach them on the phone.

It is a totally different situation with an unemployed candidate advertising they are interested in being contacted or a candidate reaching out to a recruiter in response to a job posting

Perhaps the question a recruiter should ask themselves before they ask a recruited candidate for a resume is, "am I willing to provide this candidate the name of my client, the salary range, the name of the hiring manager and full info about everything I know about the job in an email before I know if they are really a fit?" If the answer to that question is yes, by all means send all of that to a candidate and ask for their resume. If the answer is no, then don't ask for a resume until you have been willing to provide that info.

The biggest complaints I hear from clients about candidates from recruiters are, slamming resumes in on candidates who aren't a fit, turn out to not be interested or really willing to move or travel or didn't even know their resume had been sent. The biggest complaint I hear from clients about recruiters period is that recruiters are pushy, arrogant and try to argue with them about a candidate being a fit.

I'll close this diatribe with this thought. Until you have spent 27 more years in this industry apologizing for the actions and attitudes of recruiters, I would suggest you hush and don't be so quick to group yourself with the idiots who seem to think they are the center of the universe.

Keith, get it through your head that the little box on a profile on linked in that says "open to career opportunities" is an automatic option that a lot of people never even notice. Recruiters may believe that Linked In is a giant job board but millions of people do not because they are not recruiters.
Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 26, 2014 at 6:53pm

@Amber: I agree.  I get requested to accept unsolicited resumes all the time (I don't mind if people send them without asking my permission, either).  Bankers run credit checks, doctors run tests, dentists take x-rays, interior decorators want to see the inside of the house they are being commissioned to decorate, architects need to know dimensions of properties they are designing houses for, etc.  Why shouldn't recruiters ask for resumes?  We aren't charging the candidate a penny, unlike all the previous examples I gave.  If the candidates' resume is already on LinkedIn, how could it be such a sensitive subject?  I've had people say "no", but generally I will talk to them in more detail and then usually get the resume.  If not, there are always other candidates out there.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 27, 2014 at 1:58pm
It's a matter of timing not a matter of asking. Bankers don't run credit checks until after you fill out a loan application. Doctors don't run tests until after a patient has had an initial consult with the doctor nor does a dentist take X-rays until after you have gone into their office. I don't know about anybody else but if I called a doctor or dentist and was told I needed to go to the lab for tests or X-rays before I was able to see either I would find another doc or dentist. If a doc, dentist, banker, architect, interior decorator called me soliciting me as a client then wanted my X-rays, test results, wanted to see my house or wanted the info about my property before I had decided for sure that I wanted to work with them they wouldn't get that information.

Let's not forget here, who contacted whom and how. If that banker sent you an email saying they wanted to possibly make you a loan, you emailed back that you were interested in speaking with them. They left you a voice mail trying to reach you and in the same message asked for information to do a credit check before you spoke to them. If a dentist or doctor emailed you soliciting you as a patient, you emailed back, they left you a message to go to the lab. In all of those situations a professional does not ask for personal information prior to at a minimum a phone call.

Keep in mind people, we work with hundreds of resumes. Each person only has one resume ( with a few notable exceptions). A resume to us is one of a hundred we may look at in a day, to each person it is their life story so they might be more than hesitant to put it in the hands of anyone they have not at least spoken with on the phone.

The act of sending a resume gives us de facto permission to represent, submit and act as agent for that person.

Let's be clear. There is nothing wrong with asking for a resume but asking for a resume from someone you are trying to recruit before they have a chance to speak with you is making the assumption that they want you to represent them,are interested in moving forward with your client and are in fact a fit for the job. Hubris in it's finest form or inexperience at worst. The objective in successful recruiting is to not risk making assumptions that get your nose slapped by either a candidate or a client.

The outcome of this example might have been totally different if mr. Jack Mehoff had taken the opportunity to speak on the phone for 10 minutes with a candidate he was trying to recruit who was expressing interest, give her full information about himself and the job before he asked her to give him permission to represent her. The outcome was, she thinks he is a jack wagon, he lost a potentially good candidate and she will talk about it. Timing and keeping in mind that a resume is a person's life story as well as permission to represent and not a word doc. Is in fact part of the candidate experience that we beat our gums about all the time.

Unless of course you are copying linkedin profiles and sending them to clients without speaking with the person. If you think there are not idiots doing that, you will run across it.

Recruiting is a different ball game from asking a person who reaches out to a recruiter to send you a resume.
Comment by Nicholas Meyler on July 27, 2014 at 5:23pm

I would only ask for a resume from someone who has already indicated a strong interest in a specific opportunity, generally one which I had already provided a detailed job description for.  But that doesn't necessarily involve speaking to them until I've gotten a little more information.  No, I wouldn't ask for a resume from a complete stranger who had no idea of the job requirements ... But a candidate getting upset about being asked for a resume is a red flag.  A more appropriate response would be: "I'd like to speak with you first before I send a resume.  Please call me."  If the headhunter continues to ignore that, then he is a jerk, but not necessarily an idiot.  I've seen a lot of high-powered executives do 'jerky' things, but they generally had their reasons.  Sometimes, it is very difficult for busy people to synch-up schedules.  "I'll have my machine talk to your machine," is pretty common, as is phone-tag.  Someone trying to expedite a search by asking for a resume can be a smart move, in some circumstances.  I wouldn't do it, as a rule, however.  And, yes, I've had doctors I've never met before tell me to get extensive amounts of tests before they would see me, and dentists, etc.  And your 'credit score' is definitely already calculated and available to any person to whom you apply for credit.  Car dealers have access to it...  Headhunters should also be able to do credit checks on some of their clients to make sure that they can really pay fees... I've been lied to by a client before, and I should have insisted on a credit check before starting the search.  The bottom line is, it's better to get the resume, documentation, etc. as early as possible.

Comment by lisa rokusek on July 28, 2014 at 10:37am

Isn't this a fun thread?

Neither candidates nor recruiters are carbon copies of each other - so there won't be a one size fits all answer here.  BUT in an industry where we fight for credibility and respect it might be worth our while to think about this from the candidate's perspective more often.

The problem isn't asking for a resume, it is the when and the how of the ask. 

I can ask for anything I want at any time if I make the askee see it as something that is in their best interest.  Yes, time kills all deals.  Getting the resume fast is important, but so is earning the trust and respect of the candidate you might want to represent.  In my world trust and respect trump pure speed - especially speed w/o skill and nuance and care.

In my opinion that is where Jack messed up.  Great recruiters are able to make this happen almost effortlessly. It may even look a bit different every time, because people are different.

That is one reason why I love this business.

Comment by Alejandro Guzman Acha on July 28, 2014 at 10:53am


You're 100% right about the when and how comment. I like - no love, the fact that you rightly point out that we're always under the gun time wise as well. 

Something no one has pointed out however IMHO is that recruiting is still a sales function, and getting people to start agreeing to our suggestions early and often is sometimes (please note that I said sometimes before anyone goes nuts) helpful.

Getting a resume from someone is a small signal of commitment to "the process" that scoots things along too no? 

The caveat that everything is situation dependent shouldn't have to be stated but I guess I will add it in, since there are some strident comments flying around.


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