An open letter to recruiters

Dear recruiters,

Before I say anything I have to admit, I have met some very good recruiters in my professional life, people as passionate about their jobs as devs themselves. If you are reading this you know who you are mostly because you enjoy your work and you feel like you’re helping both the employee and the employer to bond in a relationship that works for both of them. I’m well aware I’m not a recruiter myself nor I intend to tell any of you how to do your work, but considering the state things are today I thought it was worth to voice my ideas and hope somebody will listen to them and hopefully find them useful or in the worse case scenario they’d serve as catharsis for all the complains I’ve had on my head for a while about the recruitment industry.
Now, let’s take a step back for a second, there is nothing more exciting that when you’re looking for a job and you get a reply back from that ad in the company you liked. You do your homework to prepare for the interview, what they do, how they do it, although if it’s that company that you really want, you’ll know all of that already. Now let’s look at it on the other side shall we? You are the recruiter looking to hire the best talent the market has and if you are recruiting in IT, it’s a tough game out there, everybody wants IT people these days, sometimes infrastructure, dev ops, .NET devs (yep, that’s me!) and the list goes on and on. However, pretty much like sending my CV to that company I really wanted to work for or visiting the in laws for the first time, you usually get one shot and here is where my tone might begin to sound like a rant. If I get an email offering me a job in a field I’ve never worked on or expressed any interest in a several years long career, chances is I will think you never read my CV or cared about how good (or awful) I can be on that role, this speaks poorly for you because you are not caring about giving me a role that will work for my career or giving your client a candidate that is what they’re looking for, you just want to give it a shot and see if you get the commission.
As a general rule of thumb most developers in active technology hubs (such as Manchester) tend to receive somewhere in the 10+ emails from recruiters a week. Now I understand that there is a lot of competition for recruiters out there and to be fair, chances are if you are reading this you probably do this anyways, but here are the things I’d suggest you consider before you email a candidate.

Read my profile

Obvious right? It takes about 5 minutes to read a normal sized CV or at least skim through it and it can give you a revealing idea about the candidate. Take me, I did PHP programming about 5 years ago (2011) but I’ve done .NET a lot longer than that and I don’t mention PHP anywhere else on my CV. That should be a hint that I’m not looking for PHP jobs (I’m putting this in bold because I’m dead sure I’ll get a PHP job in my inbox from somebody who “read” the article).

Don’t send several jobs in one mail

Consider a guy emailing you saying they want to apply for a position of junior, mid level developer, senior developer or chief architect depending on what you have available. That raises a lot of flags does it? Well it’s the same way when it gets sent back. I particularly hate the database dump emails that start “I have the following roles available….” shows a lazy approach, please don’t do that, makes you look awful.

If I reply, please do reply back

This is a very old pet hate. When I was looking for a job about a year ago I got several people interested, however when I said that I was working on a Tier 2 Visa a lot of companies do not sponsor visas (it’s getting more common now but still happens a lot). If I took the time to write to you and explain my situation, take 2 minutes to write, Sorry but our client does not sponsor visas, I’ll let you know if that changes, even if we all know that’s probably a lie, but makes us feel like we had closure to the mail.

Don’t just find candidates, find The Candidate

I know this sounds like textbook cliche but I’d be delighted to see the stats (feel free to share and prove me wrong) on how many answers you get on those generic emails sent to 20 or 30 candidates without reading their CV. I trust of a day where we’ll have systems smart enough to choose those good candidates for a job, but right up until then, do a bit of manual filtering and just send it to the real prospects.

Make it personal

This is probably more on the above point, but I’m a lot more inclined to reply an email that is clearly directed to me and you can do that by saying I read this in your blog or I saw your Stack Overflow profile or simple as How’s work in . If I see that you took a tiny bit of time to know about me, I will definitely reply and tell you what I think of the role even if I’m not looking, it’s only polite after all.

Finally

These may all sound a bit vague but they are definitely my pet hates. It’s very difficult to not sound like a ranting old man right now (maybe because that’s what I’m doing) but I think these are the main issues that are giving recruiters the bad name they have. I’ve met some really great ones, so why settle being the spam message sender when you can actually send a quality job to a quality candidate. Think about it.