Suggestions For All Recruiters

Although I am not looking for a new job, I have my resume posted on a number of sites. Monster, Career Builder, the other usual suspects. I haven't actually updated it in several years, but I keep it posted due to inertia as much as anything. I also like getting regular emails from recruiters. I don't typically respond, but I like knowing what the job market is like out there.

Alas, most of the emails I receive are really poorly targeted. The jobs are not remotely near where I live. Often they are hundreds or thousands of miles away, and not in exotic locales where a normal person might reasonably be tempted to relocate. Even if they are local, the recruiter clearly either did not read or did not understand my resume. My background is in UNIX and open systems. So, no, I disagree with your assessment that I would be an excellent fit for your Sharepoint Developer position. I have over 17 years of experience on my resume, so no, I also do not think I would be a good fit for your entry level help desk position. In Iowa. For $12/hr. On a W-2 basis with no benefits.

Sometimes I'll receive an email where the recruiter states that they know I'm not a good match for the position but would like me to forward it to anyone in my network who might be interested. That is perfectly fine with me, and sometimes I even do forward those emails if a good fit comes to mind. Those are not the recruiters I am addressing today.

For the less competent but more numerous recruiters out there, here are a few simple suggestions to help you not look like jackasses. Or at least not as much.

1) If you do not understand the req you are trying to fill, use your Phone A Friend lifeline and have them explain it to you. Do not randomly email everyone who generally works in technology that you found in your LinkedIn search. I'm looking at you, company that emailed me regarding a forward deployed expert satellite communications technical support engineering role, whose job description I did not even understand.

2) If the job is far away, explain to me in your email WHY you think I would be interested. Or at least that you are aware that it is hundreds or thousands of miles away from me. If you are emailing me for a 4 month contract position in North Carolina (email I received today which inspired this rant), recognize that $40/hr is not going to cut it. More like $100/hr and you need to cover my temporary housing and other commute expenses.

3) As a recruiter, your job is almost entirely about communication. It's understanding what your client is looking for and then determining if a prospective candidate is a good match, both technically and culturally. This means that ideally English should be your first language (obviously I am speaking about technical recruiters in the US). I appreciate that we have no control over what our first language is, but if you are not a native English speaker then you need to spend the extra time to learn it well. If you write me an email in broken pidgin English and leave out half the articles and prepositions, giving me the impression that you were high on drugs when you wrote it, I will not take you seriously. And your client is fucked because anyone who does respond is either desperate or stupid, so that will be super for the hiring manager to phone screen. Your recruitment emails should not make me wonder if you are part of a Nigerian 419 scam.

4) If you found my resume on some site online and it clearly has not been updated in years, I do not mind unsolicited email but realize that I am probably not going to reply. It is not necessary to email me every day for weeks and leave me voicemail messages asking me to please contact you to let you know if I'm not interested. The part where I did not respond was the clue there. You are coming off as desperate and creepy and stalkerish. There are other fish in the sea. Email one of them.

5) This one is pretty specific, but John Galt is not a good name for a staffing firm. I see where you were going, but I think you misunderstood the book. I would be leery of hiring people from a company named for a man whose stated mission was to, "stop the motor of the world." On the other hand, when Moxi started under the stealth name of Rearden Steel in 1999, I thought that was cool. Moral of the story: reading comprehension is not only for the SATs; it's also helpful in life.

Of course not all recruiters suck. Sometimes I do get really interesting and relevant job descriptions which can even almost tempt me. Recently I was contacted by a recruiter in San Francisco for a position out there. But he realized it was not local to me, let me know the client had no problem paying my relocation expenses, the job sounded very interesting and was a perfect fit for my skill set, and the salary was more than I make now. I chose not to pursue it since I'm happy where I am, but I like hearing about those kind of opportunities and knowing that they are out there if my circumstances change. Which is why I keep my resume posted. Plus the inertia thing.