Tech Recruiting is Broken

tl;dr it is all about the relationship. Be a human.

by niekverlaan (pixabay)

Every day I get emails like this:

Hi Ryan,
My name is ______, I’m a recruiter at _______. I came across your profile and was very impressed with your experience. I currently have a Software Developer role available with one of our clients in City Name, State that I think you’d be a great fit for. If interested in speaking with me about this opportunity, please let me know your availability so we can have a conversation.

It isn’t anything new, the message never changes. Same thing every time. Why is this the standard way of trying to contact tech talent? May I quote the lolcatz and say “UR Doin it RONG.”

Here are my issues with this approach:

  1. This email tells me literally nothing. You’re wasting my time.
  2. Everyone is impressed with my experience. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve worn a lot of hats. I’ve done a lot of things. Just a fact. I’m not going to feel “special” that you happen to be able to read.
  3. “Software Developer” is not helpful. There are several hundred different things this means. If I was interested, it will be in a very narrow subset of this enormously broad category. You have to be specific. As specific as you can be.
  4. “One of our clients” isn’t helpful either. The assumption I see in this email is that I may be so hard up for a new gig that I am interested in literally anything that someone sends me. That isn’t how it works.
  5. I can appreciate that you would like to score a quick win and rake in the cash from talent in a feeding frenzy for the amazing position that you’ve given me NO DETAILS for. Not likely to happen in this market with this type of position.
  6. This tells me how little you know about the people you’re emailing, which doesn’t bode well for my ongoing relationship with you should a deal move forward. When I see this huge lack of any research or care on your part, I translate that to what I have to deal with later to get anyone in your office to help me with paycheck, insurance, and other issues. I will not do business with you. All the other recruiting agencies in town are offering the same positions, and I’d rather work with someone who knows what they’re doing and at least pretends to care about me.
  7. My availability? Never. Not until you decide to be a human with a personality. I can write code to spam everyone in the US with the same drivel in less time than it takes you to wordsmith your mail merge. No joke.

Every once in a while I do receive an email from a recruiter who pays attention. They speak directly to me and give me enough info to respond to their request, they have a sense of humor and make their message engaging and interesting. That I will read and respond to. I remember them and contact them first when I am looking. It is all about the relationship.

Recruiters, I want to work with you. Well, not right now, but on the occasion that I am looking for a new gig, I do. However, I need to know you give a crap about your work, and your clients, on BOTH sides of the table. I’ll help you score a good chunk of change if you just grow a personality for goodness sake. Then, we’ll both get what we want in a deal that we can both be happy with long term. Deal?