Jun 142015
 

As a professional programmer, I’ve interacted with technical recruiters for over fifteen years and have noticed that the good ones share certain traits.  Here are things I like in a recruiter, in no particular order:

1. You send me an email with the following info in the very first one:
  1. A job description
  2. A fairly specific location (i.e., at least the city)
  3. Whether it’s contracting (and how long if so) or FTE

Without the first, I don’t know if the job is appealing, and the more detailed you are, the better.  Similarly, knowing location is an absolute must because I’m not accepting jobs halfway across the country or with a two-hour commute.  I’ve also worked as a consultant, employee, and on contract-to-hire, but sometimes I’m only interested in one of these; being up front about this tells me whether we need to talk.

2. You answer all of the questions I send to you.

In response to your email, I’ve asked questions because the answers matter, so responding to all of them tells me you respect me and take me seriously. And you aren’t making me asking something twice.  Yes, I will notice if you didn’t tell me something I asked.

Female Office Worker3. You tell me whether there’s a tech interview and what type (oral, written, computer) up front, and you’re right.

No one likes surprises and, to be honest, the written and computer exams lean toward being unfair. And uncommon.  I actually don’t do them anymore unless the job sounds like a dream, so this is part of the interview experience I expect to know about up front. Being forthcoming shows me you understand these are stressful and you’d like me to do well by preparing me.

4. The job is on target regarding technologies I do.

This tells me you’ve read my resume and thought about whether contacting me makes sense, and that you’re not wasting my time with inappropriate jobs. Or fishing.

5. The job is on target regarding location (albeit there’s some leeway you can’t know about).

This tells me you’ve noticed where I live, where I’ve worked before, and the preferences I’ve listed. Not understanding my area’s traffic (because you live far away) is not a deal breaker, but you’ve made it possible for me to understand the commute.

6. The job is on target regarding contracting, consulting. or FTE

This again tells me you’re paying attention, and telling me up front means I don’t have to ask.

recruiter-button-300x3007. If we get on the phone, you keep it short

Recognizing that I’m very busy – and fielding calls and emails from 20-30 recruiters a day – tells me you’re respectful of my time and efficient and professional about yours. You’ll be great to work with.

8. You always respond and/or call back, even when knowing it won’t work out.

Sadly, not replying is part of the modern world, but once we’ve established a dialogue, we both need to continue it until your client says they aren’t interested, or I say that.  Kudos for telling me the verdict instead of just ignoring me – that means I’m unlikely to talk to you again.

9. You give me your direct phone number (instead of the main recruiting company one).

This is minor, but I appreciate getting you directly instead of always going through the receptionist or a directory. Or worst of all, always having to leave a message and hope you’ll call back when I can take the call.

10. If you must see me before sending me on an interview, you are fine with Skype.

Some recruiting firms have a policy that they must meet me before sending me on an interview. Depending on traffic, this can take 60-90 minutes (instead of under 20), and considering that I may not even get an interview, if you’re willing to do this via Skype, big points for you.

Bonus #1. Your first voice mail says everything in #1 and is clear, short, and has your name and number at the start.

One of my pet peeves is when I have to wait until the end of a long voice mail for someone’s name and number, which they then say so fast that I have to listen to the whole thing over again to get all of it. Starting with your name and number is golden. Thank you!

Bonus #2. You’re okay with doing things (email vs. phone) in a way that works best for me.

Being okay with my preferred way to communicate shows flexibility and respect.

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