Think Like a Recruiter while on LinkedIn

December 18th, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

In the last post I talked about how to cheat the system by joining Groups (in regards to contacting people you find on LinkedIn).

Here’s another tactic, though, which I’ve used.  When I find a target contact I will use the internal messaging if I have to.  I like LinkedIn Introductions, to a point… but what might be better is just a plain old email to the target contact.

However, if you are not a first degree contact it might be really hard to find an email for the person.

Now it’s time to start thinking like a recruiter.  If a recruiter found the perfect candidate, and the email wasn’t there, that would not stop them from moving forward.

A recruiter would look for another way to contact the person – phone ( or email or something else.

Recently I found someone who I wanted to contact.  It was the CEO of a company.  In doing some company research (first on LinkedIn, to find other employees there, then on their blog) I found the naming convention of their corporate email addresses.

How?  I found two employees who had their email addresses posted online (0utside of LinkedIn).  Both of their email addresses had the same naming convention… so I GUESSED on the CEO’s email.

It worked – within 24 hours I had a reply to my email, from the CEO.

Just because you can’t message someone through LinkedIn’s mechanisms, don’t stop!  Find other ways to get in front of that person – when I’m stuck I think “what would a recruiter do?”  Tacky, I know, but they do this stuff all day long.

  1. 6 Responses to “Think Like a Recruiter while on LinkedIn”

  2. By Sara on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    I wish LinkedIn would make it easier to contact people, but it is what it is I guess. Thank you for your wonderful tips. To make it easier for people to contact me, I provide a link to my VisualCV resume in my profile, and my e-mail address is right at the top of the resume. I’ve made most of my LinkedIn profile public, so everyone can access the link.

  3. By Don on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    Jason – I could not agree with you more. In this job or selling market, you need to be both creative and persistent.

    I took a similar approach in researching a company I was interested in. In addition to reaching out to employees (of the 3 I contacted, 2 replied within 48 hours), I reached out to a few of their partner organizations (this company sold product through resellers only. the position I was looking at was a reseller manager. who better to tell me the good, the bad and the ugly than the people who I would be managing). I sent out 5 emails and 2 replied.

    One other comment….if you there are a few different possible email address structures for a company (i.e. Microsoft has so many employees, they have had to expand/change their email structure – firstname.lastname or firstnamelastinital or lastname.firstname…) ALWAYS send 1 email to each email address. This way you will know which email address is the correct one through a process of elimination…for the bad ones you will get a “UNDELIVERABLE” notification. Chances are it you do not get a notification, you have the right email address.

  4. By Bill Kerschbaum on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks, Jason. So what are the advantages to contacting someone outside of LinkedIn, in your opinion?

  5. By Jason Alba on Dec 21, 2009 | Reply

    @Sara – good point… however allowing anyone to communicate with other users would take away possible revenue opps for LI :)

    @Don, Very nice – I just blogged about this today – quoting you :)

    @Bill – I’ll post a response to your question on Wed :)

  6. By Gary Donnelly on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    You all have hit the “new” nail on the head. I’ve been telling people that the rules have changed drastically within the last 9 months that I’ve been out of work. Forget about contacting HR departments directly. You’ll most likely get a “dead” voicemail and you won’t get a response. I have also used these ways of “cheating” the system to reach out to contacts with mixed results. But I have gotten results. With no other viable alternative this is the way to go…until companies figure out what we as job seekers are doing and come up with a way to ignore us once again. As I continue to tell friends job search rules are changing fast and we have to be resourceful and creative in our approach.

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  2. Dec 21, 2009: I’m On LinkedIn – Now What??? » Blog Archive » Think Like A Recruiter While on LinkedIn, Part II

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