A couple of weeks ago I received a message in my LinkedIn inbox. Here’s how the first sentence went: “Hello, Olga! I can see you and I have so much in common, especially our marketing background!”
I did not read on. Anyone who has actually read my LinkedIn profile would see that I have zero experience in marketing, nor do I have any marketing-related education. I have never even worked for a company that has the word “Marketing” in it.
This morning an email arrived to my work address, here is a quote from it: “I’m writing again to see if you’d be open to a quick discussion about our cloud-based solution to automate your accounts payable (AP) process?” Again, look at my profile. What is there that suggests that I am a decision-maker when it comes to accounts payable? The closest thing to AP on my resume is my Payroll certification that I have not actually used for quite a while, but I know enough about accounting to see that AP and payroll are two totally different disciplines.
Take a look at this artist-in-residence job description! Look at our purchasing software! You are a perfect match for the retail manager job!
This has been happening a lot lately. I open those emails, most of the time out of sheer curiosity, sometimes due to an interesting subject line, and I always want to respond and ask – what made you think about me? I understand that you are probably using an automated mailing system, but what made you put my name on this Excel file that the program uses to spam people? Well, for one thing – someone responsible for compiling the list did not do their homework.
I’ve never been a fan of mass emails. Yes, I understand that emailing the same message to a hundred people in a second is very efficient. Is it effective, though? Maybe, maybe not. I never send mass e-mails, I always like to tailor my messages to each and every passive candidate. I look through profiles, I try to find things that stand out – the university they went to (maybe they are from my alma mater!), their hobbies (like dogs – who would not bond over dogs?), or their hometown (maybe they were born in a small town where I went on vacation last year). I like making candidates feel special, so even if they are not interested now, they may refer their former colleagues, or give me a call a year later, when they are ready to make a move.
Today I was very excited to find a resume of someone who was an Air Cadet several years ago, and even won the Top Cadet award. My excitement was genuine, as two of my children are in Air Cadets, and one of them was the Top Cadet in her squadron last year. A few years ago I placed someone who runs marathons. In my email to this candidate I have mentioned that I was preparing for my first ½ marathon, and she enthusiastically responded with some (very useful!) advice. After exchanging a couple of emails and discussing running and training techniques, she casually asked for the job description, which lead to a series of interviews and eventually an offer. Have I sent her a generic “Hi, are you interested?” email, I may have never received a response.