Dear Matt: I’ve been contacted by a few recruiters about some job openings they are hiring for. I haven’t thought about leaving my current job but decided to listen. One recruiter said they needed a résumé that day for me to even be considered. Why so pushy?

Matt says: The primary role of most recruiters is to seek out potential candidates for specific jobs — individuals who are not actively looking for new employment, says Twin Cities-based recruiter Tony Nelson ( How they find you isn’t as hard as you may think. “Recruiters are very resourceful in finding good candidates,” says Nelson. “Recruiters will ask industry professionals for referrals. Recruiters will also use other tools such as LinkedIn to identify potential candidates. You can always ask how the recruiter obtained your name and they will often times disclose it.”

Drew Schmitz, President of Twin Cities-based Blue Octopus Search & Consulting (, says he gets just as many candidates through cold recruiting as he does directly through the original contact. “We attempt to be respectful if you aren’t interested, but we also do mean it when we ask if you know of anyone that may fit this position,” says Schmitz.

It’s smart to listen to what opportunities may be out there, says Twin Cities recruiter Elizabeth Laukka ( Just be leery of that pushy recruiter asking for a résumé that same day; they could be marketing you around to their clients or to companies they are hoping to gain as clients, says Laukka. Submitting résumés shows activity and some recruiters are judged on that. “The most thorough recruiters request an in-person meeting or a video interview,” says Laukka.

Make sure the recruiter will never submit your résumé without getting your prior approval and disclosing the name of the company it will be submitted to. “If they won’t agree to this, don’t send them your résumé,” says Schmitz.

When contacted by a recruiter, ask these basic questions, says Nelson:

• Can you briefly describe the position and the primary responsibilities? Why is it open?

• Where is the position located?

• What specific skill sets are required?

• What is the typical corporate ladder for this position? What is the corporate environment like?

• What is the hiring manager like and what are the expectations of the hiring manager?

• Who does this position report to, and what should I expect working for this person?

“Even if you love your job, who’s to say you won’t be a part of layoffs next month?” says Schmitz. “Why wouldn’t you listen if it meant a big salary bump, a closer commute or a dream job opportunity?”


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