Recently I did the Ten Signs You’re a Good Technical Recruiter. This time we look at ten mistakes technical recruiters can make so that programmers don’t respond favorably (or at all) to job postings and calls/emails. And what recruiters can do to mitigate these issues. If you have comments, please add them at the end.
1. After receiving your email/call, I respond with my resume and the information you requested, but you ignore me, even when I follow up.
Ignoring people is seldom good, but it depends. Whoever initiates contact risks getting no reply from the other person if the recipient is not interested. It’s just the way it works. But when the contacted person replies, a dialogue has been opened. It must now be completed without ignoring. Otherwise, the next time you contact them, they may not reply because you’ll just leave them hanging again.
2. We go back and forth with emails and calls and then one day you just ignore me and I never hear from you again despite repeatedly following up with you.
See #1, but if the job has fallen through or something else has happened (or even if you don’t know what’s going on), you should communicate something to me about this.
3. You send me a first email that says no more than “I have a job for you. Contact me if interested.”
That’s not going to cause interest. I can tell you’re not trying and you’re probably not going to respond to me anyway. Your peers are doing way better than this. You must try harder than that.
4. You send me emails calling me “candidate” instead of my name. Repeatedly.
You should always use my name. This impersonal approach sounds too much like headhunting, which is one the recruiting elements you should downplay.
5. You send one email to me and 20+ other candidates, and I can see their names and addresses (and they can see mine) in the address field. Repeatedly.
See #4. Spamming is bad. I do expect you to take the time to contact me personally, even if you’re pasting the same email you just sent someone else. Don’t make me think I’m just a body in a seat to you. And don’t give out my name and email address to a bunch of strangers please.
6. You send me jobs that are for skill sets/technologies that aren’t on my resume (not even close). Repeatedly.
I’m not expecting this and it’s not okay. This tells me you aren’t good at your job and I probably shouldn’t work with you when you do send me an appropriate job. It should be obvious that I’m not going to answer you. You’re spamming me.
7. You don’t know what the technologies listed on my resume are and how they relate to each other. Example: not knowing that .NET, ASP .NET, C#, and Visual Studio are all basically the same thing.
Knowing these things isn’t complicated and takes a few minutes to learn, so it really is required knowledge. Not knowing means you’re unqualified to be a technical recruiter for positions I’m seeking. You must do your homework. I might answer you if the job sounds good, but I don’t respect you.
8. You send me jobs that are between 100 and 3000 miles from my house when my online profile/resume clearly says I do not relocate.
I can’t fault you for taking a chance that I’ll change my mind, but with lots of recruiters doing this, I just don’t reply anymore. It comes off as desperate and spammy. If my resume had only a couple years experience, suggesting I’m young, single, and mobile, that’s one thing, but when I’ve got 15 or more years of experience, all in the same region, that means I’m probably in my 40s, married (wife has a job, too, and would need another), have kids, a house, and my whole life is here, the odds are just not good for you, especially if you’re talking about a 3-6 month contract. I’m not going to answer you.
The exception is Hawaii. Always send me those jobs!
9. You send me contracting jobs when I only want FTE, or vice versa, and my profile/resume says so.
This isn’t that bad and can be an innocent mistake, and you can be feeling me out to see if it’s still true. On the other hand, I’ve owned a consulting company for years (this is listed on the resume) and am only doing Corp-to-Corp (resume also says this), which means I’m all set up with 401k, insurances, health care, an accountant, website, and more. I realize you likely don’t quite understand this is important.
It’s good to acknowledge that you’re aware of my requirement but that you’re taking a chance; otherwise it seems like you aren’t paying attention and haven’t read my resume.
10. You won’t discuss even basic details, like location, technology, FTE vs. contracting, unless it’s over the phone, even after I tell you this is difficult for me (can’t talk at work, while driving, or I’m watching a loud toddler once home, etc.). And you’re so set on this that you blow me off.
Respecting the preferences of candidates is a good thing. Your peers will do it and I’ll end up talking to them instead of you. Insisting that I meet your preferences comes across as self-important and disrespectful, and why would I want to get on the phone with you when you can’t tell me such basics without me asking – or even after I do ask? You’re hard to work with and I won’t do it.
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