Software engineering recruitment: you’re doing it all wrong

I have been a software engineer for 3 years now. You could tell me I am pretty cocky to write an article about IT recruitment with so few years of experience. And you would be right.

However, as an engineer based in San Francisco, I usually receive 2–3 emails a week from recruiters. And I can tell they are pretty bad. The last one I received is below and pushed me to write this article. Also, a friend of mine, who is an IT recruiter, asked me for advice, few weeks ago. She also mentioned software engineers are really picky and annoying to deal with.

I simply told her some of her fellows just suck. And, unfortunately, they also spam us a lot. More than wanted.

Hi Adrien,
Greetings !!!
This is **Some name** from **Some company name with either the word hire or staff in it**. I was reviewing your resume.
One of our direct has new job opening. Please let me know interest ASAP.
Title: Senior Ruby Software Engineer
Location: Atlanta, GA
Duration: 6–12 months/CTH/FTH(Perm)
Qualifications (Required):
• Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related field or equivalent work experience
• 5–15 years development experience in Ruby/Rails
• 3+ years in managing software applications including web based
• 3+ years’ experience working in large scale high performance web environments
• Strong leadership qualities with a proven track record

Qualifications (Required) — sic. Good luck to find a candidate matching your expectations, buddy. Here are my thoughts, so far:

  1. I will not list the grammatical mistakes, especially as a non-native English speaker (but cooooome oooon).
  2. I was reviewing your resume. You should take another look, dude. I was graduated in 9/2014. I do not think I can claim to be a senior engineer.
  3. RoR was released in 2005. I am interested in knowing who can have up to 15 years of experience in this field.
  4. If have a 15-year Rails expertise, I am quite sure I have an equivalent experience in managing software applications including web based.
  5. Strong leadership qualities with a proven track record. What the hell does that mean? Are you a cop?!

Enough for this guy. But here is another example. This one texted me. Yeah you read it correctly, he texted me.

First, I think texting is not going to make the process faster. Also, due to the format, you cannot provide me any actual relevant detail. You just sent me another boring offer.

Moreover, you begin your message with apologises. So, it means you know you are doing something completely stupid but you do it anyway. Clever.

Basically, your text sounds like an urgence. It seems you need a guy in a hurry, like in a couple of hours. I should get back to you actually, because I am really interested in knowing which “amazing company” would seek a developer in such a rush. What a great human management if you need someone so quickly.

Anyway. Further to my friend’s email, here are the suggestions I sent her, based on my experience. Feel free to discuss their relevance in the comments.

  • Do not call or text me. Please email me. Please please please. Except if I am unemployed, I do work. What means I am most probably either coding, shipping some app, tackling an architecture puzzle or attending a meeting. Calling me will instantly disturb me from my current task, and consequently, I am not willing to have a “quick chat” with you. Actually, I will be likely prone to shorten the conversation.
  • Avoid any “generic” verbosity. Telling me you are looking for another front-end developer who has at least 2+ years in JS and a strong HTML command does not help me at all. I just feel you do not know what you are talking about. Give me some examples of edges cases or advanced concepts I should know for this position instead. Or an exhaustive list of libraries I should master (from your stack, obviously). Also, add a few edge cases of these libs I must be able to solve. I can immediately know if I am a great fit for this job and what your expectations are.
  • Provide me relevant details about the company. Work with your team/client to gather more details such as the tools they use, if they published any open source library, the latest conference/hackathon/tech event their employees attended to etc. I can have a better big picture of the job you are offering. Also, honestly, it is definitely appealing.

To end this other post about IT recruitment, here is a cool story. The best contact I have ever had with a recruiter was the following: she did not start talking about her job vacancy. No, she did not.

She simply asked me how I was doing and what I was up to for my 3-day weekend. That’s all. She talked about job opportunities in her 4th or 5th email. Well, I can tell it was really clever. I was feeling more important with this simple move than receiving another pasted message on LinkedIn. Also, she did not forward me a job description but ask me what I was looking for. It was absolutely smart.

By the way, software engineers are complete jerks. Sorry for that, lovely recruiters.