Job Search via LinkedIn: A Cautionary Tale

Job Search via LinkedIn A Cautionary Tale: reflectionLast night, a Mr. R.H. initiated a thread on LinkedIn that is at best maladroit and at worst deceptive, so I include it as an example of how to *not* conduct a job search or business development or fundraising. I have withheld his name out of professionalism, even though I don’t want to because I’m hopping mad. Here’s the short thread in the order it happened:

How Not to Conduct a Job Search

Three-part thread starts like this…

On 10/21/09 7:05 AM, R.H. wrote:
Hi Christopher,

I am an education technology sales professional with a track record of success.

My clients are executives in education: superintendents, technology and curriculum directors. I have a current book of active sales contacts in the Midwestern United States.

Would you take a phone call from me to discuss job opportunities in e-learning?



Kind of ambiguous, sounds like a partnership or recruiting gambit. Wasn’t sure, so here’s how I responded:

Hi R.H.,

Thanks for reaching out, and I’m curious to learn more about your goals and how I might help. Part of my consulting practice involves mentoring and educating, and my social networking experience has many ramifications for learning, but I’d like to learn more about your business and what the connection is. Can you tell me more? I’d be glad to accept a call if there’s a fit.

Thanks and all the best- Chris

Asking for clarification and offering to help if appropriate. Here’s what I received the next morning, via email. Gotcha!

From: R.H. <email>

Subject: Can You Place Me?

Date: November 1, 2009 12:23:29 PM CST

To: Christopher S. Rollyson

Hi Chris,

Nice to hear from you!

I found you via linked in (it has become a primary resource in my
career search).

With my experience in e-learning and the education market, I thought
you might know someone who might hire me before the end of November

Would you like to have a telephone conversation Monday or Tuesday?


You Choose: Lack of Clarity or Deception?

My gut tells me the latter, but I’ll give anyone the benefit of the doubt the first time. My point is, digital communications need to strive for transparency, clarity, integrity and relevance. It is neither relevant, nor clear nor transparent.

I hope that this example serves as an example of how it can have a counterproductive affect.

What do you think?

1 comment to Job Search via LinkedIn A Cautionary Tale

  • I don’t think clarity is the issue. His motives were quite clear to me. Deceptive? Yes. Ignorant? Yes.

    I’ve had a similar experience to you. One CEO of a software company contacted me via LinkedIn asking “it would be nice to share experiences”. We set up a Skype call and within the first five minutes he asked me three times to visit his website and “register”. Register for what, and why? I made it clear from the initial mail that I was not interested in his company’s services, but would be happy to speak about Asia-Pacific focused matters. This is another example of pure deception. I wonder if these people realize the ramifications of “one-sided” relationships like this? Needless to say I am no longer connected with this individual (a “virtual door knocker” as I refer to them).

    Thankfully this doesn’t happen very often in LinkedIn as users are reaching levels of maturity and understanding of “do’s and don’ts” of professional social networking.

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