Recruiters from hell

How not to recruit for IT professionals

It's nice to know you are working in a sector that is booming (Drupal ftw!). You receive job offers and the first few times you think "Yay, people appreciate what I'm doing." or "I'm special! The world needs me!". 

I remember how flattered I felt by the first mails I got from recruiters. It didn't take long before that all changed. I started to dislike these kind of emails and this feeling only got worse.

Where did it go wrong?

I might be horribly wrong but the main reason is that it doesn't feel like recruiters put in a lot of effort.

A few examples to illustrate this:

I receive LinkedIn invites from people on a daily basis. After a few minutes of analyzing their job title, I usually realize they work in recruitment. They sure keep getting better at hiding it. From the moment I accept their invite they start spamming me with positions that are mostly irrelevant (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻.

A little while ago a position was open at a Belgian firm. I received the offer from three different recruiters all with the same PDF attached. The mails all had some basic sentences without added value. Quantity over quality... This will probably have to do something with how recruiters are paid when they find the right candidate for the job.

I received numerous e-mails that addressed me as Herald or Steven. This is quite confusing! Please: if you don't take the time to communicate the value of an open position to a possible candidate, at least get his or her name right.

Crossing the line

Every year volunteers organize DrupalCamp Ghent, this takes a lot of effort and time. It really sickens me to read that some firms cross the line to reach potential talent. I'm not sure how they did it but to a lot of people it might feel like the organizers just sold the personal information of the attendees. This is of course not the case:

Did these recruiters do anything illegal? I don't think so. Did they cross a line? Yup! Did this recruitment strategy work? Hell no!

If I think about it, there are three "victims" here: the crew of DrupalCamp, the company these recruiters are recruiting for and myself (being one of the attendees) because I feel like sh*t about my privacy being violated and I got one more cr*ppy mail I had to mark as spam.

How to become a recruiter everyone loves

Recruiters are important in today’s economic environment and marketplace. Their job is an essential one, I don't question that.

If, for some reason, I would become a recruiter for IT professionals this is how I would try to differentiate:

1. Find ways to add extra value to your services, do not just forward positions to your large network. It will only annoy people. 

2. Introduce yourself and tell people what you do, what you like, how you can help them. Ask the right questions to see if they are (un)happy.

3. Don't forward .NET jobs to Java developers or vice versa. It doesn't take long to know what people are into. In my case you would find out pretty fast that I'm into Drupal and Open source software (src: my LinkedIn profile). If you don't know all these terms then don't feel embarrassed but do something about it. Spend time figuring this stuff out because it is important!

4. Go to events where the profiles you are looking for would probably go to and talk to people about their jobs and what they are looking for. 

5. Keep a personal database of high potentials you have met in person with their specific information, don't use this database to spam these people on a regular basis or sell their data to other firms. Follow up with them, ask how they are and stay in touch on a personal level.

6. The last point is applicable to every person and job out there: make sure you love what you do and the way you do it, this will help tremendously.

If you agree or disagree feel free to contact me or share your experiences with me. If you are a recruiter: surprise me with your original approach and who knows we might even become friends.


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