Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

How You Can Help Me Help You

2015-07-23 12:36:14

This came across my Facebook wall this morning from someone that has a large social circle. He was posting it on behalf of one of *his* friends that had requested wide distribution:

"Call out to my friends (and my friends' friends, should you be kind enough to share). . . I know two people looking for work. If you know of any places that are hiring, I would love to be able to pass on information."

One person is turning 18 next week. Has lots of volunteer experience, but is looking for a first paying job. It needs to be in Seattle, as he relies on public transportation.

The other person is older with significantly more skills and experience and personal transportation. In either case, I can't really say what is appropriate for them, but would be happy to tell them about any opportunity and let them decide."

For the record, there is *no* contact information for the referrer (I guess s/he just assumed that any leads would be passed along.) For the 18 year old, I recommended he apply at Starbuck's. Plenty of jobs, they are always looking. For the second person, I was a bit more blunt. "What does s/he *do*?"

Then I asked my friend to please send them two links: one of my earliest blogs on "How NOT to Network" and another from a friend, "Ask A Career Coach" (

I am a super valuable contact to have. I'm an established, senior recruiter in one of the hottest employment markets in the country. I am generally happy to help job seekers - especially those I know - with general advice/expertise.

But there are a few caveats:

-Know what you want. "A job" is not an acceptable answer for me or anyone else. Take some time to determine where you are going to focus your energy. Which leads to:

-Don't waste my time. By that I mean, don't be vague or say, "hi I need your help". Give me a specific request.
"Hi, I am looking for a mid-level position in the banking industry in xyz city and I was wondering if you had any resources or suggestions of where I can concentrate my efforts?"

-Follow directions. This one applies specifically to my LinkedIn profile. It clearly states, in no less than three places, that I don't accept random connection requests. If you just send me the generic, "Hi I would like to join your LinkedIn network" with no context (what are you looking for, how do we know one another?) then I'm going to archive it. There are rare exceptions, and usually those are because knowing the person is beneficial to *me*.

-Don't ask me for favors if I explicitly offer services for hire. What this means is, no, I'm not going to give you a resume/LinkedIn profile review out of the goodness of my heart if I don't know you. I charge money for that. I have a blog, articles all over the internet on the Seattle Times and UW Continuing education about how things work. The whole reason I started this blog is during the Recession people kept asking me the same questions about resumes, job seeking, networking, recruiting, etc. over and over. I decided to share my expertise so people could have a free online resource to get common questions answered. If you read my writings and have specific questions, *then* I'm happy to expand.

-Avoid trying to use me to sidestep the system. By that I mean, if you are looking at a specific job and you haven't applied for it, don't ask me to consider you for the role unless you have done so. Legally I can only respond to candidates that have expressed interest in a specific job. And please, be aware that I usually am looking for a very specific skill set and only recruit for a very few types of positions; I have those positions listed on my LinkedIn profile. If you are a brand manager in the health/beauty industry, chances are slim to NONE that I will be able to help you land a job at my tech company.

-I am not anyone's personal recruiter. Unless you are at the VP level or above, those don't *exist* (and if you are at that level, you need to be contacting Executive Search firms, not corporate recruiters). There is no money in it, even for agencies. They are paid by *companies*, not by individuals. On top of that, I have serious ethical and non-conflict concerns with my full time employer; they pay me to recruit candidates for them, not other employers. I literally cannot help you in that respect. Your best bet is to find an agency (temporary and full time placement) and register with them. That being said, if you are looking for a connection at a specific company and have already identified a job, I am probably willing to facilitate a LinkedIn introduction to someone if they are in my network. But *you* need to ask me for exactly what you want from me.

So, in what ways am I willing/happy to help? If you are looking for a job in Seattle, send me your resume and I'm happy to share it with the general recruiter population. It takes 3 seconds and I'm happy to do it. If you have a specific question about a job I have associated with my profile, I will answer that question (ie "I see this job is requiring XYZ skill set; here is my relevant experience, is it worth me applying for the position?" or "is that position still open?") If you are looking for an online resource and haven't been able to identify it ("where are the best places for me to post my resume" or "what are the best ways to network at JKL company?") drop me a line.

I know my caveats seem rather harsh, but I get random requests like this *every day from several different people around the world.* I truly do believe in paying it forward, but please be sensitive to my time. I have a demanding full time job, I have a very active social life, and I volunteer in several ways. I choose how I spend my time, and answering random and vague requests for help from people I don't know several hours out of the week is not on that list.

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