Dear Recruiters: Sorry I’m not sorry

I get it. Job-hunting sucks and we should all be grateful for any attention we get from anyone looking to wave a paycheck in front of us, until we are actually bringing in a steady income and can then start looking for the job we really want, instead of the job we had to take.

And you deal with a lot of recruiters, particularly third-party recruiters, when you’re chasing around a job. These placement agencies / headhunters / whatever perjorative you prefer range from the very good (almost like a Hollywood entertainment agency with a lot of personal attention) to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad organizations, which consist of little more than LinkedIn data farmers running endless keyword queries and then sending out mass emails to the results, solicitng resumes to blindly submit to whatever req just landed on their desk.

Group #2 — I’m talking to you.


First, if you can’t pronounce the name of the city or state where the position is located, my confidence in you just nose-dived.

Second, if you’re asking me a question, and then rushing onto the next question before I’m done with the first sentence in my answer, it’s clear you have no interest in me as a person, and I’m just a collection of would-be multiple choice responses to you.

Third, if you’re recruiting for a particular industry, take the time to learn something about it. You ask about Process X (because that’s in the req the hiring manager sent you). I don’t have Process X, but I do have Process Y, which was derived from the same theoretical background, so making the jump between them won’t be difficult, and I know this because in my Process Y training, we went over X and Y, and the similarities and differences, and how they overlap. 
If you don’t recognize Process Y, to the point where I’m not sure you have even the slightest clue what Process X or Y are supposed to accomplish, how can I expect you to properly ‘tell my story’ to the hiring manager?

Fourth, if my LinkedIn profile says I’m not looking to relocate, or says that I’m looking for opportunities in a specific geographical area, or my application to you says I’m staying put because I already threw out the boxes from my last 8 moves, do not lead off with “this role is 1400 miles from your current city; is that OK?”

Fifth, and I cannot stress this enough: READ THE G**D*** RESUME. If you simply do a keyword search for MySQL, because you need an SQL developer, and my resume pops up because I was a PM on a project that we built on MySQL, do not send me a solicitation asking me to write code for you. It tells me you didn’t give enough of a crap to bother to read the resume, you just took the list of hits that came back on your query for “all resumes with ‘MySQL’ on them” and never bothered to actually read my resume to see that the last time I wrote code isn’t even on the resume (1986, in case you’re wondering; it was in AtariLOGO).


Job hunting is painful enough. You have to be humble enough to ask for the help in finding the job, while simultaneously being self-assured enough in your ability to crush it once you land the job.

It is time-consuming, wading through endless listings that sort-of, kind-of look like what you do, but there’s the inevitable “must have ___” that you’re missing.

There’s always the headaches of trying to accurately represent the intangibles that come from a lifetime of collected experiences that are not all grouped into the same corner of the skills inventories you’re subjected to.

And now you’re bombarded with thoughtless, harried, and outright lazy recruiters who have reduced you to a set of multiple choice responses on a database query, instead of partnering with you to accurately represent who you are and what you can bring to a new employer.

Recruiters, sorry that I’m not sorry that so many of you are just bad at what you do. It sucks that we’re stuck dealing with you as the required middlemen in the job market. Maybe if you spent more time caring about the people you’re purporting to represent, we wouldn’t hate the way you do your job.

Try it sometime. You might be surprised.


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