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Friday, November 25, 2011

Zombies:brains::In-house recruiters:your address book

Have you experienced the "address book plea"? If you've only ever worked at smaller companies, maybe you've been lucky enough to avoid it.

Spend enough time at a large enough company and I am convinced this will eventually happen to you. You will get internal recruiters who are looking to set up a meeting with you. You've been doing your fair share of phone screens and on-site interviews, so you figure they want to talk about that. You want to help them out so you accept the meeting.

That's when they jump you for all of your tasty address book info. If you're on Linkedin, they want your connections. If you're on Facebook, who are your friends? Do any of them want to work here? We have a great referral bonus program!

Yep, all they want from you is for you to sell out your friends.

I had heard about this, and found it pretty scuzzy in how they handled it. They don't tell you much about why they want to meet, then they drop the bomb on you in person. I guess they figure "computer people are too shy to just say no when confronted in person".

Some time passed and I got one of these nebulous requests from a recruiter. Instead of asking what it was about, I assumed it would be one of these beat-you-up-and-take-your-address-book things, and just responded with a quick update:

Uh, hi, I'm not on Facebook /or/ Linkedin, and the people I actually know in real life who wanted to work here already applied and were rejected. The rest don't want to work here.

The recruiter's response was to cancel the meeting. That pretty much proves what they were looking for!

I encourage anyone else who is confronted with this to respond in kind. You can usually get them to "show their cards" pretty quickly this way.