I made the mistake this morning of picking up a phone call from a recruiter. I saw the caller ID and thought it was someone else. When I realized it was a recruiter my first thought was "ah shit", and my second though was "how patient and polite should I be with this lady before I tell her to fuck off and leave me alone?" (Answer: about 15 seconds)
Afterwards, I began thinking about all the tricks of the trade (i.e. scumbaggery) that recruiters use to get you on the phone, keep you on the phone and then take it to the next step. Here's what I came up with off the top of my head…
The straight cold call – This is where they just call you and start pitching themselves and/or their firm without establishing any personal or professional connection first. It's pretty clear that 99% of the time the way they found you was through a LinkedIn search, followed by a call to the main number at your company's office. This is clearly the approach taken by beginners (i.e. young recruiters who haven't sold their soul yet).
Pretending that they know you – Maybe you briefly met them once at a networking function. Maybe they left you a voicemail or email a while ago. Maybe you hung up the phone on them when they cold called you three years ago. Any of these interactions appear to meet the threshold of them "knowing you" in their mind. So the start of the conversation will go something like "Hey, its been a while since we last chatted and I thought it would be good for us to catch up…"
Name dropping – This is where they mention a mutual acquiantance, no matter how loose your relationship with that 3rd party may be, in attempt to connect with you. For example, "Hey, I was talking to Bob Jones at ABC company a couple days ago and discovered that we both know you. So I thought I'd reach out to you to see if I can help you find a new opportunity."
The anonymous referral – This is one of my favorites because I don't know if they're lying, or just lazy, or both. If involves some form of "Hey, I was meeting with one of your colleagues the other day and he/she gave me your name and number. They said you might be interested in new opportunities." I'm guessing that about 99% of the time they didn't get any referral, but rather they just found me through LinkedIn and they're not as honest as "straight cold call" guy.
The recruiter's assistant – This is where the recruiter has his or her assistant (i.e. some bum they hired off the street and pay with Arby's roast beef sandwiches) to call you and try to schedule a meeting between you and their boss. Basically, the recruiter is a really busy guy and can't talk to you right now, but would love to set up an appointment to come by your office and meet in person.
Anyway, I'm sure there are a lot more stupid recruiter tricks for making "first contact". Does anyone have some examples to add to my list?