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This is a rare post for the candidate (and perhaps the client) who want to spot if their recruiter is "legit" - and I dare the recruiters out there to share this post...

I bet you are on LinkedIn - over 238 million people are (Sept '13 - currently 11 million in the UK alone). I also am dead sure that you have been approached by a recruiter. May be you welcomed it. Perhaps you found it a little strange/down right annoying!

Are you one of the 21?

According to LinkedIn, only 21% of people on their lovely platform are active job seekers. The rest are a bunch of “passives”:

  • tip toers – thinking about a career move
  • explorers  - not actively looking but willing to discuss
  • super-passive-greta-garbo-I-want-to-be-alone types

(Which are you?)

There are no stats for how many “employers” there are on LinkedIn, although the company area currently totals 3 million.

Everyone is a Candidate / Client! (Aren’t They?)

Irrespective of what you think you are, to the average recruiter you’re a candidate. Don’t take that the wrong way, it’s a good thing! They’ve seen something in your profile that their client/candidate wants and they’re not afraid to get in touch. The majority of recruiters out there are really good eggs; I work with a lot of them and I rarely come across a loon. (Yes, they exist, but loons are a fact of life in every industry… banking, mechanics, brain surgeons, astronauts…)

Are they Legitimate?

So, you’ve been approached by a recruiter.  You may be flattered or annoyed (you may even be a little confused… you’re happy in your job, aren’t you? Aren’t you…? Doubt sets in… the grass could be greener!) If you’re a client, you think you have enough staff, but you are growing and…

The average person on LinkedIn spends 17 minutes per month on LinkedIn.  Recruiters on the other hand are on it all day long… therefore it’s a safe bet that they know the system better than you, and are able to market themselves well.  Hence you have a great opportunity to check them out.  Here are some ideas for checking if they’re legitimate:

  1. Are they a recruiter, or a job board?  What are they updating their status with? Jobs, or decent “I know my stuff” content? If they have a Twitter account – check this too.
  2. Is your connection list bigger than theirs?  Not always a firm indicator, but taken with other indicators, a low connection number could mean a lack of sector knowledge (as well as network).
  3. Who are they connected to?  People like you?  Are you on the same planet in terms of network / connections?
  4. What does their profile actually demonstrate?  Yes, they may say that they are “experienced recruiters”, but what do they demonstrate about their sector knowledge? What groups are they a member of, what news streams are they following?  (Do they “get” you?)
  5. A real bugbear of mine is the email address – is it personal, or business?  Now again, measure this with other indicators.  There could be a perfectly innocent explanation about why they are using their Hotmail account – but I would worry if you can’t send them an email to their work email address.

Don’t be offended if a recruiter contacts you via LinkedIn (it is a recruitment system…) And don’t forget that conversations and interviews are 2-way – you have the right to ask questions about their experience in your sector – they’ll be asking about yours!

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