Thursday, July 19, 2007

That's nice, who are you?

The other day I was forwarded this message from an acquaintance:

"Dear Pandax -

Hi. I am very interested in the [position] at [your company] and believe I have the passion and the experience to make a significant impact from the beginning. I would really appreciate it if we could chat about [your company].


To give you a little more background, this was sent through a networking website. A connection of CV's sent it to my connection who forwarded it to me. Obviously, she saw this job posted somewhere in cyberland, searched for a connection at the company, found me, and is seeking my help to get her foot in the door.

I'm not an expert on proper business etiquette, but frankly I found her e-mail a bit too forward. I feel like she's trying to apply for the job through me. Since she doesn't know me, would it not have been appropriate to introduce herself a little and inquire as to whether or not this is something I could help her with? Maybe I'm reading into this too much but I just don't go for the way she immediately tried to "sell" herself. I don't even work with the group who's filling this position. I'm not sure I feel comfortable recommending someone I don't know to people with whom I barely say "hello" in the cafeteria.

If I were her, I would have written something less direct:

"Dear P,

I found your name through [network] and would like to chat with you about [your company]. Currently, a [position] is open that I am interested in. I believe I have the background and passion to make an impact with this product launch. I would like to learn more about [your company] and seek any advice you might have about this position.


Am I being too picky? I don't want anyone to kiss my ass, but a little friendliness would be appreciated. There's nothing here to engage me or tell me something specific about her ("passion to make an impact" just seems a bit trite). I guess I'm just not good at playing these business games. I'm sure I probably sound just as form letter as her (but I really try to personalize my e-mails). Maybe that's how I should write when I request informational interviews from network connections be direct and forget the niceties... but it's not me.

I wrote her back explaining that I'm not with that team, implied that it would be a very intense job, and said that I'd still be willing to talk with her about the company. That seems reasonable, I think... .


teahouse said...

Yeah, it did seem a little curt and too blunt. You don't even know this person!! At least she should have kissed your ass a little bit. But it sounds like you handled it well...

zerodoll said...

her inquiry totally smacked of a form letter. did she even say anything about the company you work for? it's silly to assume the person you're "connected" to knows anything about the position you're interested in.

Pandax said...

And it's not a surprise that I haven't heard back from her since I e-mailed her my reply. (Okay, maybe she's on vacation, but I doubt it.)

I think it's great that people try and help each other out, but when you run across people like this, it makes me think "why bother?"