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Recruiters, the good and the bad

11 min read

It started like any other time, an invitation on a social network. Normally it would be LinkedIn, but this time, it was Viadeo. A contact request from someone I’ve never heard of, from a company I’ve never done business with. I clicked on the profile and had a look. A standard image of a young gentleman, a quick text presenting his company, and a tag clearly indicating that he is a recruiter. Oh well, why not. I accepted, and went back to work.

15 minutes later, my email client popped up an info bubble, new message on Viadeo. I went to have a look. The recruiter that had contacted me had just really contacted me.

“Hi James Langbridge, I hope this email finds you well.”

It does, thanks, but the “Langbridge” part is a little too much. Just “James” is fine.

“I saw your profile on <insert job board here>, and wanted to talk about an opening I have.”

No you didn’t, I’ve never been on that particular job site before, and besides, if I had been on a board, you would have found my contact details there, and you wouldn’t have had to go through Viadeo to contact me. This is a case of bad Friday afternoon copy/paste. Oh, and while we are on the subject, if you really are serious about recruiting people, get a Premium account, and don’t just randomly ask people to connect just to send a message.

“My client is looking for a lead Java developer for an exciting new project.”

Before sending me anything, take the time to have a look at my CV. We are developers, we know how this works, we created the database search routines that you use to find us. You went through a database, looking for CVs talking about Java, and you found mine. Well done, except you should have looked a little closer. The last time I did anything Java related was over 10 years ago, and it was only for 6 months. A few years ago I did work for a company that did a lot of Java development, but they needed someone to work on the hardware, not on the Java development. Any student fresh out of school is probably a better Java developer than I am, and am nothing close to being a “lead developer” in Java. C maybe, assembly why not, but not Java.

“This would be a three month contract in <insert name of town on the other side of the country>”.

Thanks, but no. I’m a father of two, and while that isn’t written on my CV, and you have no way of easily finding that out except through a two hour session Googling anything there is to know about me, if you really want to know more about me, give me a call. It does make things so much easier.

I ignored the rest of his message (but I did see something about “if you have any friends who might be interested, let me know”), and sent a quick message. Hi. I am not the person you are looking for, not even close. Hope you find the ideal candidate. Kind regards, James” and left it at that. I also removed him from my Viadeo contacts, because I’ve never done business with him, I probably won’t, and to be honest, I didn’t like the initial contact. 20 minutes later, he sent me another invitation, which I ignored.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, I don’t even know how much this happens. I’ll have to set up some statistics for 2016 to see what exactly happens.

Recruiters, please, take a little more time to get to know the person in-front of you (or on the other side of the screen). I’m not the first person to write this, and in fact, compared to some of the posts I’ve seen on the subject, I’ve been relatively lucky. I have had some excellent contacts, and one of them (who did indeed recruit me for a company), is now a close friend. The company he worked for has always been very good in dealing with people, and often ask a question you don’t get asked very often. I can see what you can do, but what do you want to do? If you take the time to get to know me, and what I’ve done, then you stand a much better chance. In fact, the friend in question asked me if I knew anyone who would be a good fit for a job, and I put him in contact with someone who ended up being the ideal candidate. The gentleman I met on Viadeo gave me no reason to want to put him in relation with friends.

I know this is a touch market, I’ve been contacted by three or four companies in the same week trying to set me up for the same job offer, but there are people who do it better than others, and that counts. You might not be representing the end client as far as we are concerned, but you are representing a recruiting company, and developers have the habit of talking to each-other. This is O so true of French SSIIs; engineering companies that have a rather bad reputation when it comes to recruitment. Again, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly. And when 20 of us are in the same room, from 5 or 6 different companies, we talk, and we talk a lot. We don’t exclude any details.

Not all recruiters are bad. As I’ve said, I know some very good ones (or at least ones that I consider to be good). I’m still in contact with a few of them years later, and they keep on calling to know how I’m doing, to see if there is anything that they could help me with, and anything that I could help them with. And they are the ones who read online resumes, and take note of the details.

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