I’m usually flattered when a recruiter calls me. Even though I’m happy at my current job it’s always nice to know there are people out there interested in what you have to offer. Today, however, I was more upset than I was flattered.
I was sitting at my desk at my workplace, the offices of my employer, plugging away at a project when my phone rang. When I answered the person identified himself as someone with a consulting firm. Thinking he might be trying to offer services to the company I asked what he was calling me about to verify. If he was trying to sell services to us I’d try to redirect him to the proper channel since I don’t have the authority to be fielding such a question. Everyone would be happy.
But this turned out not to be the case. Instead he was calling to recruit me.
When I asked him where he got my number he said he went through the company’s IVR phone directory. Obviously this was not the answer I was looking for so I rephrased the question. “Where did you find me?”, I said. “On LinkedIn“, he responded.
LinkedIn is a social networking site aimed at linking professionals. It’s a great site for keeping up with former colleagues, linking to people in similar professions, general professional networking and, of course, recruiting & finding new jobs. I’ve maintained a profile on LinkedIn for several years and have found it to be very useful. I’m always flattered when someone likes my LinkedIn profile and contacts me for possible a project or position they’re looking to fill. Well, almost always.
This situation was no different except for one thing: this person called me at my employer’s offices.
I asked why he called me while I was at work instead of one of the other methods of contact on my LinkedIn profile. After all, on the top right of every LinkedIn profile there’s a link clearly marked Contact Person X (where ‘Person X is’ the name of the person who’s profile you’re on). The response was “this is how we contact people”.
Let me get this straight. Rather than click the contact link to discreetly send a message to the person you’d like to recruit you call them at their employers offices and have them possibly risk their current jobs by having such a conversation on a company phone? What if somebody overhears the conversation? What if that somebody is my boss? I’m perfectly happy with my job and the last thing I need is to have such a conversation at my desk and risk any repercussions it may bring.
What are the ethics of cold calling someone via their office phone to recruit them? I’d say it’s not ethical at all. It’s one thing if you email me and I reply telling you to call. It’s quite another to assume that it’s alright to call about this kind of subject on an office phone without permission.