Your happy in your current job and you were not even looking for a new job, but then, almost out of nowhere, you’ve received a message on LinkedIn from a recruiter saying that they want to have a discussion with you about a job opportunity. What do you do?

This isn’t an uncommon situation to find yourself in. In a digital world of social media, recruiters have evolved and they use a variety of technology solutions to help identify or find the best candidates for any given role.

There are a number of ways recruiters do this, but there are three common reasons that your profile could be attracting the attention of recruiters.

  • You may have your LinkedIn profile set to “open to hearing about opportunities”.
  • Your skills and experience listed on your profile categorise you as a suitable match to the available vacancy.
  • You have been active online.

I am sure that the message you received will most likely have asked if you are interested in discussing the opportunity further, either over the phone or in person. Recruiters want to provide you with more information about this opportunity while also learning more about you, where you are at in your career, how open you are to new opportunities at this point in time, and whether you would be a good match for the role they have available. The questions is….. what should you do next?

Respond to the message – How you respond will depend on your current circumstances. If you want to know more, and there’s no harm in learning more about this job opportunity; you can have a confidential discussion with the recruiter. Remember, you don’t need to share anything with the recruiter until you are ready. On the other hand, you may be adamant that you are happy in your current role and not interested in hearing about new opportunities.

  • If you are not interested in this role then you need to thank the recruiter for getting in contact and suggest when they could message you again in the future to see if your circumstances have changed. If you are open to new opportunities but this role isn’t right for you, let the them know what you are looking for so they can ensure that you are only contacted about relevant roles in the future. You may also want to send a copy of your CV.
  • If you are interested in the job opportunity, reply to the message as soon as you can. You could either ask the recruiter to email you a copy of the job specification or suggest an initial phone call so that you can have an open and candid conversation about the role. Remember, this is simply an exploratory conversation. It doesn’t tie you into applying or taking your application forward. Before your call:
    • Find out about the recruiter and the areas they recruit in by reviewing their LinkedIn profile and recommendations. This can give you a better idea of their area of expertise, and which other roles they may be able to place you in.
    • Make sure you find a space where you can talk confidentially and take notes about the opportunity
    • Have a copy of your CV in front of you, and be ready to talk through it, highlighting your key skills and experience
    • Prepare some questions about the role and organisation, depending on what your career priorities are.

Do you like the sound of the role and would you like to be put forward? – The recruiter will ask you to send across your CV if you haven’t done so already. At this point, I advise that you review the job advert, highlight the keywords and phrases, and tailor your CV accordingly, so that they can pass this to their client for interview consideration. The recruiter will also suggest meeting up so that they can get to know you and your ambitions more and discuss any other job opportunities they have available. Even if the position is not for you, it is still worth having the recruiter as a connection on LinkedIn as they may be able to support you with something in the future.

Having a recruiter reach out to you on LinkedIn is a positive sign. It means you have a strong profile and relevant, employable skills. Regardless of whether you are interested in the opportunity or not, by keeping the lines of communication open you will build your professional network, learn about current opportunities and mark the start of a new promising career partnership.