Yes, I recruit sometimes. No, I don’t want your CV/Resume.

Whenever anyone learns that part of what I do involves recruitment, they ask me “can I send you my CV?” I used to hate the question because it represented the same transactional, abstracted, inhumane thinking that I’m fighting. Now, I see it as an opportunity to explain why their CV is meaningless and the wrong place to start. Instead, I recommend to them, start with a relationship until you get asked for your CV.

“Call me. Don’t email me your CV.” Is how I used to reply to people who sent me their CV without an introduction or even a question. Most never called. I’ve received emails without content, just “See Attached” in the subject line and their CV. Some don’t even bother to send the message out BCC, so I could see the emails of the hundred other recruiters, HR and other random people who were on the “send your CV to this list of emails” post.

Things don’t seem to have changed much in the few years since I’ve been frontline in a large recruiting organisation where those kinds of messages are common. These days being small and focused has its benefits. Yet, from what I see and the people I talk with, the mindset that the best way to get a job or get in front of a company is to “work the numbers game” and “send your profile to as many people as you can every day” and “personalise every application to beat those pesky robo-filters”.

I used to advertise a lot. Reposting job ads every day, sometimes a few times each day. We were always looking for ways to maximize reach and exposure. Find a way to get that ad in front of a few more eyes. And it did work. We got increasing response and visibility in the market. We were spending hours each day on job posting, response filtering and follow-up. To help manage the response, we started putting a disclaimer in every ad “Call us to process your application. If you do not call us, we will not consider you.” We could receive more than 300 applicants for a job and receive no calls. Now, we just don’t advertise.

Don’t send me or anyone else your CV before you speak with me/them. If you think I can help and that you can help me (good old: “win-win”), drop me a message, email or call and explain why. If I agree, I’ll confirm and we can find a time to speak further. It works the same with anyone else. Ideally, after a few discussions, you want the other person to say “wow, it would be great if we could work together,” or “do you have a CV you can send me?”

If you want to speak with someone or send your CV, you have (at a minimum):

  • Checked their LinkedIn profile and confirmed that your background and seniority matches their focus areas. If they aren’t on LinkedIn, google them. Chances are the people you want to speak with have some info on the internet, somewhere.
  • Have looked through their articles and posts and think that you have some common views or opinions.
  • If you are looking for hiring/HR/consulting/data/advice: Don’t want them to “give you a quote” so you can compare with your other providers. You actually want to discuss your challenges and see if they have opinions.
  • If you are looking for a job: Don’t want them to “find you a job” and actually want their advice / insight on your job search / profile.

If you are going through this process for a chance to speak with me, I would prefer a call first, agree that it is mutually agreeable to move forward and then receive an email specific to the points of our conversation with any agreed actions. I’m also happy to receive an email requesting to setup a call to discuss these things.

If you just want to put your CV in my database, add me to your network, get more insight into my posts, etc — just follow me on LinkedIn, complete your LinkedIn profile, and keep looking for interesting people to speak with. Eventually, someone will find you. Or, you might figure it out the point that I’m emphasizing over and over again in this article…

As a warning, if you do just send me (or anyone else) your CV (or any marketing pitch for that matter) without doing basic preparation and personalisation, that is SPAM. We are human, we want to hear from another human who is sincerely interested in us. Part of that sincerity can be motivated by money, yet no one wants to do business with someone whom they have nothing in common and are clearly approaching things as only a business transaction. Or, I should say that I do not believe that is a sustainable way to do business. We normally refer to the people who do business with other people just for money scam-artists.

Anyone with any reasonably senior role in any publicly accessible function (HR, Management, etc) gets hundreds of unsolicited, unqualified blank invites, CVs a month that are clearly copy-pasted templates, mass emailed out to a list or just randomly “click here to invite”.

If you really want to stand out and get someone’s attention, invest time in building a meaningful, reciprocal relationship. We have more than enough tools to make personal, empathetic connections easy: use them.

Duct Tape

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