why don’t recruiters send me any information on the jobs they’re recruiting me for?

A reader writes:

I currently work in payroll — a part of HR that is far from glamorous but that everyone has need of. Because of this, I’ve been getting lots of solicitations on LinkedIn about amazing opportunities at other companies, promising competitive pay, excellent benefits, etc. etc.. But all lacking really any specific information about what the pay exactly is, what the benefits are, even basic information on what the job entails. These messages all then invite me to schedule a time on their calendar, or to provide a time for a call.

I’m open to new opportunities, but I’m also perfectly happy where I’m at and don’t really understand why the approach puts all the onus on me to get more information. My initial thought (which I know isn’t appropriate) is to respond back saying essentially, “You reached out to me — you gotta give me more information if you want me to set aside time in my day.”

Is this just how recruiting works now? Is it worth it to push back at this at all?

It’s been how (a lot of) recruiting has worked for a while … although it’s particularly out-of-touch with this job market.

The lack of info on salary and benefits has been common for a really long time. If anything, more recruiters are including it now than they used to, because there’s been a push for salary transparency in job ads. But declining to share info on salary has been a thing forever. Employers like it because they can lowball candidates if candidates don’t know the salary range. (They don’t say that’s why they like it — they say it’s because salary can vary depending on someone’s qualifications and a candidate won’t possibly understand why they fall at the spot in the range where they fall — but that is BS and the real reason they like it is because it gives them an advantage in salary negotiations.)

Not including any real info about what the job entails is somewhat less common, although not terribly so. It’s bizarre, obviously, but it’s very much a thing. Recruiters seem to disproportionately be phone people more than “I will put lots of info in email” people — they like to get you on the phone and talk through the details rather than writing everything out. It makes no sense though, since a written job description almost definitely exists and they could just attach it — and they’d presumably better attract the right candidates and more efficiently screen out the wrong ones if they shared that info up-front.

It actually is quite reasonable to reply back, “My schedule is pretty packed right now, so before we carve out time for a call, could you forward me the job description and info on salary and benefits?” (You could leave out the “my schedule is pretty packed” line if you want, but I find if you don’t say something like that to pushy people, they try to convince you that they’ll share everything you want to know on the call … whereas if you signal that you’re very busy, they often get more forthcoming. It won’t work every time — for many recruiters, contacting candidates is a numbers game and they’re just trying to rack up as many hits as they can as quickly as possible — but it’ll work for the better ones, who are the ones you want to work with anyway.)

{ 174 comments… read them below }

  1. Bilateralrope*

    How cynical am I for thinking that they prefer the phone because it’s less likely to be recorded ?

    Thus allowing them more room to lie.

    1. Murphy*

      I always assumed it was because they wanted the opportunity to really sell it to you on the phone.

      1. kiki*

        Yeah, I think a lot of recruiters are more talented at selling over the phone or in person than via email.

        1. Suzie SW*

          This is exactly why. Sales people (recruiters included) are trained that it’s much easier to get a yet over the phone. In email, we have time to think of an excuse to say no, and if we can always just ignore an email entirely. When you’re on the phone, it’s much harder. They can ask questions that you feel compelled to answer, and they can gauge any hesitation and respond accordingly before you’ve had a chance to say no. None of that is possible in an email.

          1. Che Boludo!*

            Sure, salespeople are taught that and I think it is good practice. Yeah, they might use it in less than ghood faith, but I find it’s better to do a lot of uncertain or ambiguous tasks that reuire aking for omething like getting approval for an out of the ordinary marketing request from your boss.

            Unfortunatly, I think I lost an opportunity this week waiting to get somebody on the phone to take their temperature and be able to make my case better, I come from a sales background by the way so make what you want of it but these are the people with influence skills.

            Whatever happens in the cnversations should be summarized in an email and emailing basic information before a conversation is probably best practices, but trying to get people on the phone is not bad or sketchy. If you are just trying to hit your phone call quota or close deals by volume then it is pretty sh***y not to prep the caller ahead of time. I’m actually waiting to see if a recruiter will get me more info before we speak tomorrow. Normally, I find them not very helpful in the end. Some seem to want to help but some seem to just want to make a deal and move on.

            1. blerg*

              Trying to get people on the phone by withholding information they need to decide whether to talk to you just so you can have the opportunity to manipulate them is sketchy as F.

          2. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

            Over the phone (or even better, in person) they can try to convince you to take the interview / accept the job offer / buy the car / etc. They can get you to state your objections, which they can then overcome / minimize / dismiss. Once you are out of objections, you have to accept their offer, am I right?

            What they aren’t considering is that for every time they are able to over come a prospect’s objections, there’s ten prospects they lost because they withheld information trying to force the prospect onto the phone / in person.

            One time I asked a car salesman, who I had already test droven with, to give me a price on the vehicle I wanted. He refused stating “If I give you a price I will lose you.” If another dealer offered a lower price, I would have gone back to him to let him do his best to match it, and earn a commission. Instead by refusing, he ended up creating a self-fulfilling statement, and lost my business.

    2. Lacey*

      Yes. I find many sales people (and recruiting is a kind of sales) don’t want to be held to their words, so they prefer phone.

      And it’s not just because they’re all manipulative deceivers, but because often sales people are very good with people and not with details or numbers. But, again, they could easily solve that issue by attaching the job description. And all I can figure is that because somehow written words are their worst form of communication they assume that no one really wants written communication if they have the choice.

      I work with a number of sales people who are quite lovely human beings, but truly, written words just seem to confuse them. If I say the exact same words out loud, everything is fine.

      1. Che Boludo!*

        I made a comment above about how it’s probably best practice for everybody to discuss any unusual and complex deal on the phone but in good faith and adequate communication beforehand, but there is that dreaded person who does not want to be caught in email and held to their word.

        I worked with one manager who didn’t put things in email because he clearly didn’t want to commit and he did it purposefully. Another manager, who was fired for performance used to tell us to only work on the phone because it is easier to communicate and she had some other sill reason why it was better to work that way but it was just her excuse because she told us not to send her emails or even worse call her on her cell phone when traveling. Probably, she just didn’t want to work, but avoiding email is generally an indicator of several types of poor teamwork, communication and avoiding responsibility.

      2. ceiswyn*

        Yeah, I think this is a lot of it. I worked over with a recruiter who was actually really good, and I got a great job through him. But he insisted on phone calls for EVERYTHING. I was ridiculously busy at the time, and I’d constantly get out of things to see a missed call on my phone and listen to a voicemail saying to call him – so I’d call him, and he’d be busy, and eventually one of us would get through and he’d say “Yeah, they really loved you, but their main decision maker is in the US at the moment so they won’t be able to move on this until Friday”.

        Dude. We played phone tag all day for something that could have been a one line email? Voicemail at a push?

        I think recruiters just tend to be ridiculous extraverts who don’t even comprehend that there are other ways to be.

        1. pancakes*

          There are reasons people avoid writing other than extreme extroversion or sleazy business practices. Many people, for example, have a learning disability of some type, or otherwise read and write at a level below what their position in life would lead others to suspect. Spelling and grammar apps help a lot but they’re not going to transform someone who has trouble articulating themselves in print into a great communicator in print.

    3. T. Boone Pickens*

      I can’t speak to all recruiting places but almost all the larger companies (Robert Half, Aerotek, etc) have recording software on the phones for training purposes.

        1. pancakes*

          The question isn’t “do they share those recordings upon request”; it’s “are recruiters generally trying to avoid having their words captured in writing or a recording?” The answer is no, probably not, if they are affiliated with a reputable employer.

    4. anonymous73*

      I am Captain Skeptical and have never given that any thought. But I’m not wasting my time on a phone call until I know if it’s worth my time to talk to them. So I ask questions before I give them the okay to call me. If they refuse to answer them, I refuse to answer the phone. IME, 75% (probably more) of the initial contact I receive from recruiters is for jobs I’m not qualified to do, or for something I’ve done in the way back past and therefore my knowledge would be obsolete.

      1. quill*

        Well over half the recruiters I get don’t understand my qualifications… I know some must be bots when they spam my email, but I’ve got a lot of actual humans who think that microbiology and virology and computer programming and HVAC engineers are all the same qualifications pool…

        1. Petty Betty*

          Or my experience as an improv actor means I can work as an experimental pilot. I mean, I do have experience “flying by the seat of my pants”, but I doubt that counts…

          1. ecnaseener*

            I know nothing about piloting, but I suspect the “yes, and” rule is not the safest approach. Should I press this button? Yes, and this lever!

            1. Anon Airedale Spouse*

              Yeah, speaking as the wife of a person with a private pilot’s license – if you don’t know what you’re doing please don’t venture into the skies.

        2. anonymous73*

          They use a computer program to scan resumes, but don’t bother reading through the resumes with key words found to see if you’re actually qualified because they have quotas to fill. I once got an email from a recruiter looking for an Apex developer. I had been a developer several years before and also worked for a company with Apex in the name. A simple HUMAN scan would have told them I wasn’t qualified.

          1. blerg*

            Thing is, if they’re spending any time at all on unqualified resumes, they’re wasting their time and not filling their quotas. (I assume it’s a quota of “positions filled”, not “candidates contacted.”)

    5. quill*

      I’m thinking that they probably are paid in part by how many people they actually get on the phone.

    6. RJ*

      All the upvotes to this. I can’t count the number of recruiters I’ve spoken to over the phone who’ve ‘sold’ me on a job they’re recruiting for….never to be heard from again since I’ve been job-hunting.

    7. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Eh, maybe. But even if they did put it in writing, for the majority of the U.S., it still wouldn’t constitute any sort of binding agreement. I imagine in places that do have contracts or negotiated collective bargaining agreement, they are much more quick to provide the written details, because there isn’t any room for negotiating.

    8. RagingADHD*

      I’d say that’s cynical to the point of irrationality.

      Recruiters don’t actually gain anything by lying. They get paid to *place people in jobs.* That means the candidate has to be offered the job and accept it. No adult capable of living independently is going to go through rounds of interviews, read an offer letter, and then ignore all of that input and information to make a decision about the job based on what the recruiter told them in the initial call.

      And if their client companies are unhappy with their work because they aren’t getting qualified, interested candidates, then the recruiter will lose contracts. So if they send people to interviews that are a terrible fit, they waste their own time and harm their own company’s long-term prospects. Yes, there are recruiters who are bad at their jobs, just like any other job. But it’s not a strategy or a conspiracy.

      They mostly prefer the phone because it’s a more effective way to discern who might actually be interested or not (like hearing your tone of voice).

      1. Sleepless in Cincinnati*

        I have only once been placed in a job. Not quite by a recruiter, but a temp agency. The vibe is similar – sketchy details, very secretive. And although I had the chance to interview with the organization, I never dreamed that the agency misrepresented the job and I’d have to confirm the actual day-to-day duties. So I showed up on Monday, almost immediately figured out that the job was only tangentially related to what was pitched to me and I left on Friday.

        They thought they’d get their fee by lying to me. They thought I’d stay in a job that wasn’t a good fit. They were wrong.

        1. RagingADHD*

          You went to a job interview and didn’t actually discuss what the job entailed?

          I really don’t think anyone was trying to trick you. I think they assumed you would use your words.

          1. Middle School Teacher*

            Can I just say I love your comments. You are for sure the voice of reason.

        2. Defining gravity*

          I’m not trying to be a jerk but like, can you please walk me through the thought process here? I do not understand the relationship between what you did here and what you were hoping would happen (presumably, that you’d have a job).

          1. This is a name, I guess*

            Eh. If it’s a recruiter, it’s one thing. I would say that what Sleepless in Cincinnati went through is still pretty standard for temp firms. The temp-to-hire world and straight temping world can be incredibly vague and inefficient because of all the middlemen. I’ve been on temp interviews where no one in the meeting actually fully knew what I was doing. It’s a weird process.

      2. LilPinkSock*

        Thank you for saying this. I’m not sure why recruiters seem to be universally hated around here, but I did a short stint as one, and I found it extremely offensive when someone here said we were human traffickers.

        1. pancakes*

          It seems to me that a number of people who complain about their experiences with recruiters here are only familiar with the sketchy, high-volume end of the market – they’ve received emails or voicemails from recruiters who are doing very unfocused trawling. That isn’t all that’s out there, but it probably is all some people see.

      3. Philip*

        Although I must say I’ve talked to a lot of (external) recruiters recently, and I have the impression they don’t care if I’m interested or not. It happened often enough they’d forward my CV although I said I’m not interested.

        On the other hand internal HR or Hiring managers are very sensitive towards that and ready to stop the process altogether if they think I’m not fully committed/might consider another company as well. To me it seems like a giant waste of everyone’s time.

    9. Evvie*

      Little do they know that Millennials know when the live in one party states AND how to record phone calls…

      Also what a sad freaking world that we have had to learn those tricks. I HATE needing receipts for everything. Just let me trust you, dang it.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I know, right? What on earth is the point?

          The recruiter contact is just a job listing. You don’t take a job based solely on the listing, anymore than companies hire based solely on your application. That’s what the entire screening/interview process is for.

    10. Anonny*

      My fiance is working with a few recruiters for his next job, and honestly, I think they just like talking on the phones (weird people.)

      Seriously, one called him at late o’clock at night to inform him that they’d sent him an email.

    11. Defining gravity*

      The ability to record phone calls has been around for way longer than email, texts, etc. Reporters weren’t just sitting at their desks, twiddling their thumbs while hoping their written notes were accurate.

      I’ve been reading this site for years but I don’t understand why/how so many readers are so traumatized by life that they’re like “everyone is literally out to get everyone else all the time!!!”

  2. Lacey*

    I’ve been getting these too! I’ve just been ignoring them because I know that almost 100% of the time recruiters don’t understand what I do and want to recruit me for programing jobs or sign making – instead of graphic design.

    1. Green great dragon*

      This is where I am. I click a link, it goes to a generic job ad without salary info, so I close it down and give up. It’s just not a good use of my time to email 100 people to find the one that actually fits where I am in my career, given I’m not yet desperate to move.

    2. Meganly*

      It’s funny; I don’t usually get contacted by recruiters, but in the past week, I’ve received three of these types of messages on LinkedIn! At least two of them had links to the job description (that didn’t have any info about salary, but at least they described the jobs). Now I feel a bit less guilty about messaging them back that I’m happy where I am and would need to know more about the salary and benefits before I call them.

  3. MollyG*

    I have had worse. I got a recruitment emails saying that they think my skills would be good for a few jobs at their company and invited me to apply. But would not tell me which jobs. There were about 200 open jobs that could have fit my resume. And I bet they complain about not having enough qualified applicants.

    1. Lacey*

      I had one of those during a time where I was desperate enough to try it. They asked me in for an interview and asked me why I was interested for the job without ever specifying which job I was interviewing for.

      When I explained which one I wanted they told me they weren’t hiring for that!

      I later realized that the company changed names every 6 months and is almost certainly some kind of scam, but I didn’t make it far enough to figure out what it was.

      1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        One time an interviewer told me “We have this other job that seems like it would match your resume better, would you be interested in that?” And when I said sure, he was all like “AHA! I knew you weren’t truly interested in this job!” The other job was just a ruse to trick me into revealing my supposed lack of interest.

        1. HeraTech*

          That is SO weird! I can’t understand why someone would do that to a candidate. Job hunters are already vulnerable, that’s such a cruel power play.

  4. lb*

    The thing that annoys me most is when they don’t say *who* they’re recruiting for. I think it’s because of contractual stuff when it’s an external recruiter, which… fine… but it’s also the sure-fire-est way to get me to ignore you. I do in fact care about the values of the place I’m working!

    1. Giddyup*

      This one I at least understand – if they tell you the company, what’s to stop you from going around them and applying directly? They keep it under wraps as long as possible so that they can “own” your candidacy with that company.

      1. Me!*

        On the rare occasions when this happens to me, I just state flat out that I want to do my due diligence on whatever company I’m considering. I also want to know so I can look up where it is, to see if it’s a long commute or what housing is like in a new area, etc.

        When the staffing company reached out to me for the temp thing, the first thing I asked was what the company was, and he told me right away.

        1. Me!*

          Forgot to add, I was already in their database since I’d talked to a previous recruiter about something I wasn’t a match for. So YMMV.

      2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        A lot of the contracts I’ve worked are only available thru agencies. Multiple agencies are trying to fill the role, and I get to pick who I work with, but I have to go thru one of them. (And they are then my actual employer.)

      3. Re*

        On the lone occasion when I applied via a recruiter, I was able to identify the company through Googling the posting language, found the manager’s email, and applied directly to them, too. I’m not putting my career in someone else’s hands.

        1. Che Boludo!*

          I recently had a recruiter contact me for an unusual job with a foreign company. I’m really good at researching companies and info online for market research stuff anddoing what you said Re, it was pretty easy to determine the person’s clients (I even had copies of importation documents which I didn’t mention), but when he got on the phone I asked straight out of his client was Company X and man did that freak him out.

          He also seemed to be in over his head so I don’t think he understood that my ability to find information domestically and abroad was actually very relevant to the job. It was an international business development role. Finding information on the competition and other market factors are absolutely key activities for that work. It was another case of the recruiter wanting to keep the information to himself and not understanding to job at the same time.

      4. Blueberry Grumpmuffin*

        I kinda get this… but I’m also the type of person who prefers going through (competent) recruiters than direct application, so this whole mystery-company thing just wastes my and their time. Tell me upfront who it is, I do research, then if I’m interested, let’s talk. Easy!

        I get this kind of recruiter emails so many times, ugh.

        1. Che Boludo!*

          I think the farther up the ladder and more highly skilled you are the better quality recruiters you connect with. You speak with poeple that are specialized and know their field.

      5. ceiswyn*

        Except that some companies don’t have exclusivity contracts with a single recruiter. And I don’t need a new recruiter trying to sell me on a job I’ve just had a second interview for.

    2. nnn*

      Reminds me of the time a recruiter didn’t tell me who the employer was but strongly urged me to move forward in the process, and it turned out it was an employer I had just interviewed with and been rejected from.

    3. Cereal Killer*

      Ugh, I had one years ago that made me *guess* which company he was recruiting for. “It’s a large sportwear company based in CO, guess who…” and when I said “I don’t know there are LOTS of sportwear companies in CO” he WOULD NOT tell me until I guess correctly. That was when I decided to hate recruiters.

    4. raktajino*

      My husband lost his job a few years ago when the contract wasn’t renewed. A recruiter called him up…for that position. Awkward.

      The recruiter wasted his own time by a) not reading my husband’s LinkedIn properly in the first place and b) not disclosing the company up front so husband could have at least asked whether it was position ABC.

      1. Deanna Troi*

        This could make sense, though if the new entity with the contract wants to hire qualified people who worked under the last contract. I work for the government, and when a contract goes to a new consultant, often people are laid off from the consultant who held the contract during the last round, due to it not being renewed. Then, the company with the new contract reaches out to a lot of the people who were laid off, since they don’t need to be trained and can generally just step into the job and go.

      2. TrixM*

        Only one recruiter out of literal hundreds of contacts from LinkedIn has bothered reading the first line of my profile, where I clearly state I’m not a citizen of $country and therefore I don’t have security clearances, which are required for nearly all govt-related jobs in $CapitalCity (i.e. 90%+ of IT-related jobs).
        So, if their reading comprehension doesn’t go that far, there’s no way they’re getting my phone number.

    5. Leandra*

      The company may be looking either to replace someone, or to hire from outside instead of promoting from within.

        1. Leandra*

          The company doesn’t want word of their search to possibly get back to the employee(s). Someone may not know she’s on the way out, or hopeful internal candidates that the company’s determined to hire from outside.

    6. Brett*

      If they are doing that, then you are probably being subcontracted out to another company. So you are not ever going to be an employee of the company that you will actually be working for.
      When I first did this, I was actually contracted by one company to a second company who had a labor contract with the third company. I talked to people from companies 1 and 2 less than 2 hours total in 2 years. Everything in my day to day work was done with company 3. Company 1 and 2 both took _huge_ slices off my billable rate. They were taking about a combined 80% cut. Company 2 literally was only getting paid because they had a contract with company 3.

  5. ThursdaysGeek*

    What I don’t get is who is paying the crummy recruiters? Don’t they need to match bodies to jobs to get paid? Does sloppy work still come up with enough people willing to work with them that they are still making a living? It seems a decent company would want to work with decent recruiters, so this might be another good way to filter out the crummy companies that you don’t want to work at anyway.

    1. Gracely*

      It’s definitely a numbers game–the more they contact, the more likely they are to find someone who was already looking/thinking about looking. They can weed out for quality after that.

    2. Filosofickle*

      Some of them aren’t getting paid. Many of them I assume are fishing, collecting resumes and/or trying to find candidates to submit for jobs they don’t hold a recruiting contract for. They hope to get lucky and find a candidate so amazing that the company will pay for the placement without an advance agreement. (Given the number of posts I see that include some version of “We absolutely will not review any candidates whatsoever brought to us by recruiters” it must be a problem.)

    3. kiki*

      External recruiting is an interesting situation because companies are generally the ones paying for recruiters’ services but job seekers are the ones who get hit with the lack-luster interactions. Companies don’t often hear feedback on their external recruiters, especially from folks who declined to engage with the recruiter, so there’s not a pressing incentive for a lot of recruiters to do better by job seekers.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Yeah, but wouldn’t they want to do better for themselves? If they can’t get people for jobs, they don’t get paid – so why bother?

        1. kiki*

          I suspect it’s a broken feedback loop and the “numbers game” mentality. Recruiters get ignored a lot and are probably infrequently told why. And then to some extent recruiting is a numbers game, so some of them push harder on casting a wide net than ensuring they’re using the right kind of net for these fish.

  6. LinuxSystemsGuy*

    My general experience, and your milage may vary, is that recruiters often have a stable of related jobs they’re recruiting for, and they want to get more info on you before they nail down which specific listings to send you. This isn’t always the case, but it often is. In fact, I generally find the initial pitch to be much more specific and tailored when a recruiter is looking to fill a specific role.

    Usually I find that internal recruiters are trying to fill specific roles (though occasionally contract recruiters will be trying to land a specific big fish), and contract recruiters are usually wanting to talk to you to figure which of their numerous available roles you’d be best suited for.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      This was my (very) limited experience as well. When I was actually working with a fairly good recruiter a few years back, near as I can tell, he had somewhere between 5-10 positions that were vaguely a good fit, and he narrowed down which ones were actually a good fit.

      He also didn’t lead off with an email similar to what I received today, telling me that that (different) recruiter has a PERFECT opening for me as a Senior Alpaca Care Technician. Except that I know very minimally about Alpacas, as I’m a senior OSTRICH care technician. That was worth a laugh before I hit delete.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        I love the ones that tell me my resume says I’m a perfect fit for the position… where the position is nothing I’m remotely qualified for. I get it – it’s a numbers game. They use boilerplate and send mass emails. But it’s easy enough to avoid positive statements that are likely to be untrue.

      2. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

        I received one where the recruiter thought I’d be a great candidate for an internship… the same internship on my resume from over 10 years ago.

  7. ahhh*

    Two things come to mind….If I got such a message, I would automatically think this was just a recruiter’s ploy to get you into a discussion about switching jobs with no real position in mind. I’m lucky to have worked with some amazing recruiters but I am constantly getting messages such as above. Also if they give you the name of the company what’s stopping you from applying outside of the recruiter’s contacts. I kind of get being discreet from that aspect but at least the recruiter could send you a job description, salary, benefits without the name of the company hiring.

    1. DMLOKC*

      This has been my assumption when they are vague — there is no job. They are trying to build a base of applicants with which they can sell their services to employers. I ignore the vague contacts.

  8. Antilles*

    It actually is quite reasonable to reply back, “My schedule is pretty packed right now, so before we carve out time for a call, could you forward me the job description and info on salary and benefits?”
    Not only is it “reasonable” to do so, I’d argue asking for more details should be part of your standard practice when a recruiter is reaching out to you cold via LinkedIn. There’s way too many recruiters out there who have only very vague ideas of what they’re looking for, so if you just immediately jump into calls, you’ll waste a lot of time on phone calls where you’re not even remotely a fit for the roles they’re offering.

    1. mli25*

      The first thing I respond back with is “is this contract or permanent?” when the job description doesn’t reference it one way or the other. My second question is about the job being remote, if not specified. Two vital pieces of information for many people to know. At least half of the time, I get no response, which means I wasted 30 seconds of my time, tops

      1. anonymous73*

        Same. I’m not leave my FTE position for a short term (or even long term) contract.

      2. BabyElephantWalk*

        I find those two questions eliminate many of the recruiter pitches I’ve had lately. It would be great if they could just be up front about it and not waste so much time on the back and forth.

  9. Job Fairy*

    I don’t know why people do this. I work for a search firm and we always reach out with the position profile at minimum. Sometimes we don’t share the salary in a message, either because the client doesn’t want us to or because we don’t want to turn off people we’d fight for, but if someone asks we will always share it. If you’re possibly interested, it’s worth having a blanket note that you can use to quickly respond. Recruiters won’t be offended if you ask for more info. If they are, that’s a huge red flag and all you need to know.

    1. Ins mom*

      I was just going to ask if recruiters ever write in-and here you are. I can tell you are one of the thoughtful ones. After my first job, all the rest came through network contacts;)

  10. HR in CA*

    What I’m less than fond of is the recruiters who barely read your LinkedIn profile and then cold contact you for an interview for a job that you aren’t even qualified for or is tangentially related to what you do.

    When a job description has a requirement of say 5 years working on System X and my resume clearly states I worked on 1 specific barely related module of System X for 6 months … why is it that you think I’d be a perfect fit?

    1. As per Elaine*

      Or something that isn’t tangentially related… I once had a job with “technician” in the title… that doesn’t mean I’d be a perfect fit for Pipet Technician Level III.

      1. quill*

        Technician, scientist, associate… I swear they have a poorly trained AI just picking out resumes with literally any word that appears in the job description they’re looking for.

        1. Shelley*

          My husband is a Management Accountant and is constantly getting offers of jobs as Account Manager. Sounds the same but isn’t the same and drives him bats.

    2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

      I love it when they contact you for a job you are really overqualifed for. I got one to tell me the salary, and I laughed out loud. “Honey, I haven’t made that little in twenty years, I make about three times that much now.”

      The one that I disliked most was a guy who managed to reach me. I wasn’t interested in the job, but had a friend who it sounded like a great fit for. “Give me more info and I’ll see if she’s interested and who was making noises about moving on” Nope, he wanted me to give him her name. No way. I’m not giving up friends to cold call recruiters without some basic info on the position – company, salary range, job description.

    3. anonymous73*

      100% this. I just had one a few weeks ago do that to me. When he told me the salary range and the high end was almost double my current salary, I was skeptical but I figured what the hell. It was a position managing 70 people. I have no management experience. None. Zero. Nor do I want to do that…at all.

      I’ve also had recruiters send me emails for developer roles. I was a developer…from 1995 to 2003. So sure, my experience from 20 years is relevant today. UGH!

      1. Me!*

        Per some advice here, I changed my LinkedIn location to my target job-hunting area to catch the eye of searching recruiters in that area. My profile VERY CLEARLY says at the top, “In City X; want to relocate to City Y. Full-time, direct hire only.” It’s a waste of time to contact me for a two-month contract, unless it’s fully remote. Read the thing!

        Also LinkedIn’s algorithm helpfully let me know my profile fit a certain job. What was it? Archaeologist. Do I know how to dig in a test pit? (Yes, actually!) Does that make me an archaeologist? No. Is that anywhere on my profile? No.

    4. Brett*

      And they submit your resume and put “6 years System X” under your skills section. On the hiring end of that, this happens way too much and I don’t hold it against the applicant when it happens because I know it was almost certainly recruiter artistic license. (Of course, the candidate is still underqualified, but I’m not going to penalize them for the recruiter’s dishonesty.)

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      When I was looking prepandemic, I was getting too many that ignored my stated commute max.
      I was jobhunting to reduce my commute and they regularly pitched positions 50% farther away.

  11. Hiring Mgr*

    Your own initial thought which you dismissed is actually your best bet. If they’re reaching out to you, you can absolutely ask for more detail before scheduling a call… I’ve done that many many times. Often they will, sometimes they still just want to have a convo, or they’re concerned about someone reaching out directly to their clients. etc

  12. NotATerribleRecruiter*

    Just ask in a follow-up message!

    Personally, I’m always happy to share a range with candidates but, depending on where you recruit for (I’m in corporate), including all the info on salary and benefits + trying to give a basic overview of the job can take more characters/words than a LinkedIn Recruiter reach out message allows (some recruiters will include a link or JD to their messages but lots of scammers do that to, so many people wouldn’t open those). Regarding comp, the company work for has a bonus (but I like to explain in detail how that works) and RSUs (not everyone understands RSUs and how the vesting works), so stating a annual salary range really doesn’t give a full picture. I do include a link to our company benefits in my LinkedIn and email signature.

    Generally, LinkedIn Recruiter is an imperfect tool and not particularly user friendly (though it’s getting better) on the recruiter side which is also why many good recruiters will send you their email/phone number.

    1. T. Boone Pickens*

      Yup, this is a good point too. It’s one thing if a recruiter is sending over an InMail which allows you to dive into more specifics but even then, you’re limited by character length. It’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax if you just send over a ‘request to connect’ because then you only have 300 characters or some pittance.

    2. BabyElephantWalk*

      From a candidate side: I care about the annual salary, my guaranteed monthly income. Bonuses and RSUs or options or anything that needs to vest is great, but not what I’m making my decision on. I don’t consider those monies solid until they are actively deposited in my bank account, and holding back salary info because you want to explain about things that the candidates may not care about seems a little out of touch.

      Of course your mileage will vary, and the importance of those matters differently in different fields/at difference compensation levels.

      1. NotATerribleRecruiter*

        Interesting take! I recruit in corporate large tech so RSUs and how fast they vest are seem (?) to be #1 for the majority.

        1. BabyElephantWalk*

          Those are questions I would ask too, but they aren’t going to matter unless I’m happy with the salary. Some of that comes down to my personal levels of monthly financial commitments, my personal comfort level of financial risk etc. But good bonuses and RSUs won’t cause me to overlook a salary I’m unhappy with. They might be deciding factors between different job offers if the salary is good, but withholding salary information so those can be explained at the same time would probably eliminate a prospect for me.

          But! I get that many people have different risk levels, different overall financial situations, and different industries have different norms.

        2. HeraTech*

          I’m someone who works in technology, but not in a role that usually qualifies for RSUs. I’ve also known more than one person who got stock grants during a high market, only to have the bottom fall out of the stock price. One year my Wasband’s bonus was paid in company stock when it was at $64 dollars a share. That stock hasn’t been worth more than $20 a share in the past five years. So I’m with BabyElephantWalk, I make my decisions based on my guaranteed income, not bonuses that might not get paid, or stocks that might end up being worth a fraction of their current value.

      2. Jora Malli*

        Same. I’ve never had a job that included bonuses/commission/stock options/etc., and I’ve always thought of those as less stable forms of compensation since they seem subject to change based on a lot of factors outside my control. I want to know with some level of certainty how much my pay is going to be on a regular basis, so I’d be much more interested in hearing about the base salary.

        1. Brett*

          In those situations, you should also ask information about how much the bonus fluctuates. Bonus is a huge part of my salary (40% of my compensation at 100% target) and in theory I could fluctuate year to year from 50% of target up to 200% of target. But with the way all the different rolling averages work out, in practice over the last decade I never would have gone below 105% of target and 8 out of 10 years I would have been between 135% and 145%. (Both exceptions were adjustments because of changes in bonus formula following an acquisition or divesture.)
          Meanwhile, I’ve negotiated an extra 2% of bonus over the last 5 years. Doesn’t sound like much, but with long term and short term bonus plus hitting ~140% of target every year plus the extra matched contributions to my retirement plan I get to make (not a 401k), that 2% really ends up being an extra 11% every single year.

    3. ShinyPenny*

      Thanks for chiming in with another persective! You are brave and appreciated :)

  13. JF*

    I’ve noticed also that the types to reach out via email and LinkedIn are often some sort of SDR/BDR or equivalent – I’ve tried to say I wasn’t a match for a position and gotten “Just hear us out on the call, maybe you know someone,” leading me to believe that they were somehow compensated on how many calls they set up with a more senior recruiter.

  14. anonymous73*

    What you need to do is think about your deal breakers and what things would make you leave your current position. I always respond back asking those questions that would determine if I want to move forward with a call, because I’m not wasting my time on the phone with someone who just needs to fill their quota and isn’t really interested in me or my abilities. Many times they leave me alone after I’ve responded with my questions because they realize the old “bait and switch” isn’t going to work on me.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      This is excellent advice and would very likely reduce the chance that the call would be an epic waste of time. I can see it also just generally being helpful to take a moment to sit and think about these things, so you are more prepared to make career decisions if/when they come up. Heck, it could be helpful in realizing if there’s anything at your current job that’s sub-optimal for you that you could ask to be changed.

    2. WindmillArms*

      Exactly my approach! For me, 100% remote is a bare minimum so that’s always my first question. Any reply other than “Yes, 100% remote” goes straight to the “no thanks” pile. Very efficient!

  15. Meow*

    In my experience, they do it for the same reason that employers don’t want to tell you salary until they’ve decided to hire you – sunk cost fallacy. If you have to put in a lot of work upfront, you’re less likely to turn down the position even if the pay and benefits are crap.

    1. MM*

      Please don’t go through an interview process without knowing details about pay! As you say, it puts you at a tremendous disadvantage — don’t let yourself be in that position. I always ask in the initial phone screening if they don’t volunteer that information first. Even when recruiters are cagey on details or say things are still being finalized, I always gently push to at least have something to go on. I usually use some polite variation of “even if it’s not definite, I would just like to have a range in mind so that we can make sure it makes sense for both of us to move forward. I wouldn’t want to take up any more of your time if it doesn’t seem like it would be realistic for me.” They usually understand and will concede on giving at least tentative details, and if they don’t I would consider it a pretty big red flag.

      1. Meow*

        Oh yeah, I’ve definitely learned that now. But when I was young (and the job market wasn’t as hot) I was taught it was normal to not know salary until after the interview and never to ask about it because it makes you look greedy. I am sure that recruiters know that young people are taught this and take advantage of it. If they are recruiting for a job where they know the pay is crap, the only way to get applicants placed is to try to hide the salary and push people through the process without giving them a chance to discuss it.

  16. MicroManagered*

    Hello fellow Payroll Professional! I just wanted to let you know I feel your pain. I find recruiter emails like this to be especially unhelpful because the pay grade and duties can vary so widely for our profession. Is this a temp-to-hire position? Is it entry-level or more experienced? Is it simple data entry or more Big Picture tax compliance projects? Multi-state? US only? Global payroll? Does the job pay $12 an hour or $150,000 a year?

  17. Aggresuko*

    I think I’m glad I’m not in the sort of business that attracts recruiters. A friend of mine works with them and they all sound godawful. The lies and hedging she’s gotten is astounding.

  18. a clockwork lemon*

    My understanding of these particular flavors of message is that they’re just trying to get a feel for if you’re even interested a new role at all. I’m currently in a new-ish job with a restrictive covenant which involved a cross-country relocation. Because of this, I’m not open to talking to recruiters at all–but none of this info is stuff they would be able to find out from looking at my LinkedIn profile.

    It would be a waste of both our times for someone to send me a job description, and I’d be pretty put out if someone started sending me unsolicited job postings without at least talking to me first and confirming my interest and my correct email address.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I mean, on LinkedIn you are either marked as open to work or you’re not. Recruiters can see that.

    2. Nightengale*

      I made a Linked in profile over a decade and 3 or 4 jobs ago to read an article someone sent me. I have not updated it since and don’t even remember my password. I am definitely not listed there as open to new experiences. That has not stopped recruiters from contacting me, by e-mail and on one memorable occasion, by telephone, at my current workplace.

      Although the one I am still laughing over is the postcard I got at home a month or so ago. It was addressed to [Nightengale] or current resident. For a job for a very rare specialty medical field.

  19. Inigo Montoya.*

    One thing most recruiters are worried about is a candidate bypassing them and applying directly to the company. They are worried that putting too many details/keywords in an email will allow a candidate to search online and locate the opportunity.
    They also don’t want to spend the time rewording the job description to avoid this.

    It is out of touch with today’s job market, but I think that is where they are coming from.

    1. Me!*

      This is why I’m open with them about why I want to know. I’m fine going through them, if it’s a place I want to work and not something like Evil Corp from Mr. Robot.

    2. MistOrMister*

      This is what I assume when it happens. I had one recruiter tell me she couldn’t give me information about the job unless I committed to applying because otherwise I would apply separate from her. Clearly not a lot of trust there!

  20. TeenieBopper*

    I dunno, maybe it’s my white cishet male privalege talking, but I usually do just say “you reached out to me. I’m happy where I am, you gotta convince me you’re worth my time.”

    Of course, that might also be why I’m like 50/50 in getting passed an initial screen.

  21. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    I will say “I’m quite happy where I am, so unless the pay is very generous I think I need to pass.” That gives them the opportunity to name a number. Which is generally less than I’m making now.

    1. The German chick*

      Similarly, recruiters insisting on a call to tell me WHERE the job is located even if I tell them that there is 0% I am willing to consider anything outside of city X.

  22. SchuylerSeestra*

    Generally the initial outreach email is to get attention, to start the conversation. I’ve always been thought to keep it short, but to the point. I usually give a little insight into the my company and the role, but the goal is to go further in depth in the interview. If a candidate wants more information, I’ll give them additional details, but again, we want to speak to you.

    I have a feeling this thread is going to delve into recruiter bashing, so I will say this: sourcing and outreach are complex. Sometimes recruiters are working with limited information, sometimes they are going off of company scripts. There are a lot back and forth on what methodology works. Please don’t trash recruiters for trying to get a hold of you.

    1. OyHiOh*

      My issue is with the “robocall” nature of some of the recruiting contacts I get. I have the word “manager” in my LinkedIn title. There are some key words sprinkled throughout my LinkedIn documents that relate to systems, operations, and planning. I get the most amazing recruiting calls for IT systems engineers and similar – which is so far to the left of what I actually do that the recruiters who do this are playing in another ballpark. In a neighboring state.

      I’m an office manager, in an economic development organization. The work we do in economic ecosystems and planning is fascinating but the key words do not mean the same specific things they mean in IT!

      I ignore the random cold contacts and move on, but it gets tiresome to continuously get solicitations for a field I am not remotely qualified to enter.

    2. Former Retail Lifer*

      I’ve had good experiences with recruiters who have messaged me with, “We’re looking for a (job title) in (your city) with a well-known, national company. If you’re interested in learning more, let me know.” That’s quick and gives enough information for me to decide if I want to know more. It’s the messages that say something to the effect of, “We’re hiring for a great opportunity in your area and we think your skills might be a great match.” that I have a problem with. That just screams PRIMERICA or MLM or something else shady to me and I won’t respond.

    3. David R.*

      I guess my question here is “If I’m already indicating that I’m not interested in looking for a new role, why should I be making it easier for recruiters to get a hold of me?”

      I get calls about my car warranty despite not having a car, I’m sure they’re working off limited information with company scripts. But should I be making it easier for them, or just block them?

    4. Meow*

      I think this is precisely the point though. Talking on the phone is what the recruiter wants and is the recruiters goal – that’s fine but it doesn’t match with the goals and wants of candidates and that’s a real problem especially when you’re passively recruiting folks who are already employed and tenfold in a candidate’s market. It’s not recruiter bashing to point out this disconnect.

      In most sales related fields, companies spend a lot of time and money to figure out the best way to connect with their target audience and they try to reach that audience wherever they want to be reached. If a company was still insisting in 2022 that they only wanted to sell via newspaper and mail order catalog because that was their goal, you wouldn’t be surprised if that didn’t go over well or didn’t connect with the right people but this is really no different.

      1. Jora Malli*

        I think this is a really good point. Having a phone interview may be the best way for the recruiters to get the information they need, but it’s not always going to be the best way for a potential candidate to get the information they need. We’re at a point in human history where text based communication is much more common than phone calls, and younger generations in particular are not going to be interested in scheduling a phone meeting if they’re not sure it will be productive.

        SchuylerSeestra, do you tell your contacts in the initial message that you’re willing to answer questions if they have them? That one sentence at the end of the introductory message might go a long way toward encouraging people like OP to respond to you.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Yes, the outreach is just to start the conversation. Not looking? Don’t respond. Curious? Respond. Want more info? Ask. I have ignored many a recruiter message, but I’ve also opened up some great conversations. If you’re actively job-searching, having the conversation can lead to other opportunities. I established relationships with several recruiters who didn’t initially have a job that worked for me, but when they did, they got in touch.

    6. J.B.*

      I had a recruiter reach out over LinkedIn who at least summarized the job so I could see that I had only one of the three “must haves” and nope out. Nothing about my profile would have suggested background in those must haves though so why I got it in the first place?

  23. voluptuousfire*

    I’ve run into that myself a lot on LinkedIn. Many of the roles weren’t even listed on the company’s website when it was internal recruiters. If they couldn’t be bothered to even give me a few bullet points of some of the duties, I would just decline the email. It’s basically a scattershot approach to reach outs.

  24. I Need a 9 Hour Nap*

    I get a few recruiters reaching out and they always leave the juiciest details and leave out the stuff the would allow me to make an informed decision. That’s a Huge red flag to me.

    A handful of times I’ve tracked down the job ad they were trying to bait me with and the salary range info is abysmal. It then makes sense that they’re actively recruiting and spamming candidates for a senior leadership position that maxes out at $85,000/year and they haven’t been able to fill it for three months.

  25. Fikly*

    It makes sense for the recrutier to hide information until a phone call, because it’s much harder for people, especially minorities and people socialized as women, to say no on the phone than over email, and that way they can take advantage of people more easily.

    1. Recruiter*

      > because it’s much harder for people, especially minorities and people socialized as women, to say no on the phone than over email

      This sounds like a stereotype? Where are you seeing data to support this?

  26. John*

    I think another factor is that our attention spans are very short these days. A lot of recruiting messages are short b/c there is concern the msg won’t be read if it’s too long. LinkedIn even advises recruiters to keep their message length under a certain threshold. (And if recruiters are using connection requests to recruit, the limitation for those messages is greater.)

    If I got such a recruiting solicitation I might reply and ask for more details. And I would specifically request the salary range.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      Depends how long “these days” is? I’ve been seeing this for as long as I’ve been contracting, which is almost two decades now.

      Recruiters can send very short emails and still include things like company names and rate offered. They choose not to.

  27. Sudsie*

    I had a recruiter reach out to me for something that made no sense. He/she had a fantastic opportunity for “AP Professionals like you.” Clearly he had never glanced beyond the AP in my Linked-In job description. I work at a school. Among my titles there, I am the AP Coordinator – as in the coordinator of Advance Placement exams, run by the College Board. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Accounts Payable. But he/she didn’t even glance at my job history or info, because it would have been glaringly obvious.

  28. Former Retail Lifer*

    I was a retail manager for almost 20 years and now I’m a property manager. I made OK money in retail and make good enough money in property management, but I get emails from recruiters looking for part-time salespeople at the mall. I’m OK with them not sharing the pay range for those because they get deleted immediately. I’d be really annoyed if they weren’t upfront about the basic job info in the email, though. I’m luckily not in a position where I have to apply to anything and everything, and vague emails (or emails for jobs that I am obviously way overqualified for, even at a quick glance) are in that category.

    1. Leandra*

      I might prefer that to “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

      Especially if I was recruited for the position, instead of applying for it myself.

      1. Mid*

        I was asked that and answered honestly, “I don’t, but this position seemed interesting enough that I decided to learn more about it.” I got the offer actually (and turned it down because they wanted me to take a $20k pay cut.)

  29. Apel Mjausson*

    There are lots of recruitment agencies in the US that will pretty much hire any warm body to fill their seats. To them it’s all about volume and the turn-over among recruiters in that kind of agency is sky high. They can’t answer your questions because they have no idea about the industries and positions they’re hiring for. The words in the job description don’t mean anything to them. Often these agencies have no relationship with the company they are trying to hire for. They’re contacting people purely on spec. Finding a suitable position through that kind of high-volume/low-quality agency is unlikely, in my experience.

    I don’t respond to low-effort messages on LinkedIn or email. I ignore them like I ignore people who want to sell me timeshares. Serious recruiters know that, so they make an effort to demonstrate that they understand the role and industry they’re hiring for right off the bat. Usually they already have one or more people placed with the company they’re hiring for. There’s a relationship there. So I pick up the phone when they’re calling.

  30. That one over there*

    Many recruiters use this way as a way to pad their internal databases with potential hires. There may or may not be a great job out there that aligns perfectly for you. But sometimes they are just building a database for *when* a job does come along.

    I have some accounting background and deleted my LinkedIn bc i was getting contacted everyday by recruiters. I reactivated it and left those jobs off, as I am no longer in accounting.

    Personally I don’t care for recruiting firms or recruiters. I worked for one once and it was a nightmare. I have also been recruited and it too was nightmare. I realize that not every place is like this, but I have never had a good experience.

  31. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

    I’ve said this here before and now I’m saying it again: my first reply back to a recruiter always asks for the info I need to even decide if it’s worth talking. (And I never answer unscheduled phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize.) So my first reply back ALWAYS asks for (1) client name, (2) salary range (or hourly rate) offered, (3) location/is it remote. And I keep it brief to the point of terse. I’m saving time for both of us.

    Part of my reason is that this gets their email into my contacts, which is useful the next time I’m looking for a contract. But most of my reason is that I know this info will rule out at least 3/4 of the potential jobs in a minute or less. And if they reply back saying that they’ll tell me everything in a phone call, I either ignore and delete, or I tell them I won’t talk until they give me the info I’m asking for. And if I’m feeling nice, I even point out that I’m saving their time as well as my own. (Do they want a phone call because their boss pushes them to make phone calls? I don’t actually care. I don’t want a phone call until I know that it’s a job worth discussing, and I get SO many emails for jobs that are not what I do.)

    LW, your initial thought actually is entirely appropriate! You want to word it all nice and business-like, but remember that recruiters are salespeople. They want to sell you a job, and they want to sell you (=your services) to the client. If they want your time, they need to make it worth it to you. After all, they reached out to you. Don’t give your time away for free without being confident that it will actually be worth it.

  32. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I’m mystified by the phone thing too. Seems to me that if you emailed the info, you’d be able to fit in more calls where you can actually sell the job to the potential recruits.

    But then I consider a few things. Like whether they have a written description that’s suitable for distribution. We’ve all seen how badly written actual job ads are. Imagine what an external recruiter might have to work with. Stream of consciousness notes, copy-and-pasted ads from competitors, resume snippets, etc.

  33. Meow*

    In my experience this is much more common with agency recruiters rather than recruiters, even high volume ones, that work directly for a company. Agency recruitment seems to be a better experience if you’re very senior or very niche, from what I’ve heard the candidate experience is much more high touch and candidate focused. I’m mid career and a generalist so I get spammed with a lot of really vague stuff or positions that are very junior or contract/temporary. On the rare occasion where I’ve agreed to a call I’ve had a poor experience – lack of information, call feels rushed, too salesy or its fine but then I get ghosted after. For this reason I no longer respond to agency recruiters and instead focus my energy on posted jobs or direct recruiters.

  34. Cold calls ugh*

    I caved once and took the phone call to hear about the great opportunities. After 15 mins the recruiter seemed astonished that my range was double anything she ever recruited for. She was annoyed but she was the one that insisted on the call. No more. I hold firm. I don’t take the call without knowing at least a range to know it’s not a waste of both our times.

  35. The German chick*

    Similarly, recruiters insisting on a call to tell me WHERE the job is located even if I tell them that there is 0% I am willing to consider anything outside of city X.

    1. Tech writer*

      I’ve had at least 5 of them ask if i would be willing to move to Wisconsin or Mississippi or wherever the job location is. For a 3-month contract job. That doesn’t give health insurance in the US where healthcare is tied to employment. Yeah.

  36. Evvie*

    Every single LinkedIn recruiter reads like a bot to me. If you’re going to reach out, tell me what exactly on my profile made you do it so I a) know you’re not a bot and b) are someone I can feel comfortable working with

  37. Tech writer*

    I’ve found that while regular companies will include a job description, external headhunters will not. External headhunters are notoriously terrible for a million reasons and this is one of those reasons. They’re terrified that if you see their job ad for Google, you’ll just go to Google’s website and apply there. And yeah, you probably would since that cuts out this middleman that treats job candidates horribly 95% of the time. So that’s why headhunters don’t list the company. It’s not a good reason.

    1. Mid*

      I wonder if that’s industry specific. I work in law, and it’s very common in my experience that positions aren’t listed externally anywhere, because they want a recruiter to do the initial screening for them. You could tell me the hiring manager’s full name and home address and it still wouldn’t help me apply to the position, because it isn’t listed.

  38. Mid*

    I had a recruiter reach out to me for a position, and ask me for my resume. All she gave me was the most generic job description, to the point where I knew it was in law but not even what area of law, nor what company (but I did get the salary range!) So I sent her a generic resume with no company names on it (not uncommon in my weird niche because all the firms know and work with each other, but it is a weird practice.) She wrote back asking me for a more specific resume, and I told her I was happy to give one if she told me literally any information about the position. At which point she did give me an actual job description, and what company it was for, so I could send her back a customized resume and cover letter. But, if you give me a job description that says “mid-level paralegal with experience working with county courts as well as Federal courts,” I’m not sure what you expected to get back!

  39. Brett*

    Cynical me says that’s because the recruiters don’t really know enough to describe the job to you. I have seen external recruiters make a lot of mistakes in understanding what a role entails. This is understandable when you realize that they are recruiting for a wide range of roles and that lots of the hiring managers they are recruiting for are horrible at describing what they want. I am very detailed and specific about what types of candidates I am looking for and it has paid off in recruiters doing a much better job in connecting me with candidates.

  40. AnnaF*

    This annoys me too! I’m in admin and looking for something new but I specifically want to work for a company in the creative space and definitely don’t want to work in real estate (personal reasons), which is a huge industry in my city. I understand recruiters can’t always post the company but the fact they’ll go into detail about the skills you’ll need and won’t tell you the industry the company is in drives me crazy. I’m job hunting so it’s on me to make the effort, I get it but I won’t even get on a call without knowing this basic thing.

  41. learnedthehardway*

    Keep in mind that LinkedIn often won’t let you attach a file if you haven’t already had contact with a person – I forget the actual rules right now, but it’s one reason why you might not get a full position profile in the first approach.

  42. Mother Trucker*

    My favorite question is ‘Can you tell me why you’re looking to leave your current company?’ I’m not, you reached out to me.

  43. talos*

    The recruiter does not understand what the job is and therefore cannot tell anyone else, either.

  44. Daniela Morales*

    The response I have been using lately is to say that I am happy where I am and that I will not lose my and their time by scheduling an interview without compensation or benefits details. I don’t think it’s unreasonable since it’s not me looking for a job, it’s just me existing on LinkedIn.

  45. tokyo*

    I had a friend who worked in recruiting; one of the reasons they want to get you on the phone is because phone calls are one of their KPIs. They’ll have a specific goal of X calls per week/month, and X interviews per month. Since that is tied to their evaluations, sometimes they get really pushy.

    1. Sylvan*

      This is true at my company. Also, some recruiters don’t have the professional experience or desire to Google things necessary to understand different jobs.

      (Note: I’m not a recruiter, I’m in a whole other department, and I can’t do anything about this situation that’s probably costing us candidates.)

  46. Mehitabel*

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with replying to solicitations like this with a request for more information before scheduling a phone call. Asking for a job description and a salary range is *completely* appropriate – having that information up front will tell you if you and the recruiter have something worth talking about or if you’d just be wasting each others’ time.

    If the recruiter is genuinely interested in you – rather than just casting a wide net to see who turns up – they should not object to providing you with the requested information. And if they are just casting a wide net, then you would probably be wasting your time talking to them anyway.

  47. Antilla the Hon*

    I get a lot of cold calls via Linked In and the vast majority of those are for jobs that do not actually exist. I can usually tell right away because the only major employer in my small rural town NEVER (and I do mean never) has jobs available in my field. When I get the message that says that “large employer in my area has X-position in your field available,” I automatically know it is fake and/or a ruse. When I reply, the recruiter always says “oh that job has been filled already.” I happen to Get email notifications of all jobs posted with the large employer in my town—so I know there is no such position. It still infuriates me that these people resort to dishonest tactics.

  48. veebee*

    I get recruiting messages like this almost daily! They won’t tell me what company the client is, which is like… a huge part of what the job is. I think it’s so you don’t bypass them and just apply on the company site, but still—I’ve gotten on the phone only to learn the company was one that had given me a (really bad) offer a week before.

    And I’m not sure if this is some psychological training trick, but the recruiter is usually 5-15 minutes late for the call.
    I’m so over it!

  49. Raida*

    This sounds like recruiters trying to fill their records with contacts – the more information they can get from you the better they can match other jobs for you based on your requirements and interests, plus they have a more specific candidate to spruik to companies they’re selling their services to. Many times they’ll not have a great job match, but are using a poor match as the conversation opener to promise a much better match in their future dealings with you.

    Or just the process has *always been* to say “Hey I have a great opportunity for you, you should want to talk to me about it so let’s set up a meeting” and they haven’t spoken to candidates about what would be the most effective way to do that first contact IE salary, short list of types of work, industry.

    Also there’s the tried and tested sales method of *talking* to the person – it’s far easier to control the conversation when you’ve got a great phone manner if you’re talking. Good recruiters are (in many cases) good salesmen, so they need to connect with the companies and contacts in a way that places them in a good light, allows them to build a relationship.

    But the best recruiters I’ve seen… Far more likely to use a more open way of approaching a potential contact – by not over-selling the role they have, by making it clear they don’t know what your professional intentions are so they’d like to see if it matches where you’re going in your career, by honestly stating that they recruit for the industry you are in and would like to discuss with you getting you on their books to help funnel job opportunities your way that match with your skills and career plans.
    So they are still trying to have that conversation with you, but are doing it without promising the world, and are approachable and polite.

    1. Raida*

      So for advice, I’d just respond with the information you’d like to know along with it being a rule.
      “Sorry, without some more information like [salary, location, industry, tasks] I don’t start conversations with recruiters. I’ve just wasted so much time on cold calls via LinkedIn in the past where the role is not of interest to me, this has screened out a lot of roles or recruiters that aren’t a good match, hope you understand.”

      but I am blunt.

  50. HeraTech*

    I literally just sent the following message to a recruiter, “Rather than spamming me with four separate e-mails that essentially ask me to do lots of homework about your company, why not just cut through all the BS and just send me the job description and the salary range so I know if a call is even worth my time?”

    I already work from 100% from home, at a full time job with benefits. They need to do more than just offer me an opportunity to get my attention these days. Especially as I’m a senior in my position.

  51. Veronica 01*

    My favorite recruiter story was getting contacted to interview for the job of someone who I had worked for – who had literally written me a recommendation on LinkedIn.

  52. Retired (but not really)*

    A friend of mine who had two very unrelated sets of skills, think senior teapot designer and llama groomer, was getting sent opportunities for things even more unrelated, like mall security, warehouse worker, bookkeeper. Apparently they were just sending her the whole list of whatever new openings they had gotten that day. None of which ever matched anything she was qualified for or interested in. She has since found a job through contact with a former coworker who has started his own teapot business.

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