I’m dumbfounded that recruiters run these great searches, find some names of great people, than send some InMail that uses the word “awesome job” or “great career move”, and then wonder why nobody responds.

The key point is that your message is phony. To the receiver it just doesn’t ring true. They know it’s sent by some recruiter who doesn’t know the job, the industry or the hiring manager. So why should they waste time responding?

The point of any contact is twofold: first, demonstrate that you’re someone worth knowing and that you know what you’re talking about; and second, that you’d like to arrange a short exploratory conversation to see if what you’re working on could be a significant career opportunity. If not, you’d still like to network in case something better comes up in the future.

Make the first contact something simple – a small step. Don’t be too hungry. You’re not trying to fill a job, you’re trying to get to know someone. It’s like speed dating. Don’t sell the job, sell the discussion and your expertise!

Next week, I’ll be leading a webcast with LinkedIn on how to engage with passive candidates. This will be a big Q&A stump Lou Adler session, so bring all your biggest passive challenges to the table. The key to passive candidate recruiting involves converting a job into a career opportunity. You can never do this on the first call. Unfortunately, too many recruiters try. You’ll find out a different approach next Tuesday at 1pm EST, 10am PST and 6pm for the UK crowd if you can make it. I look forward to seeing you there.