Let me be blunt: When you email me to tell me all about how you have positions and could I just call you to find out more details… ya, that just pisses me off.
I am a busy individual. I have a really good job. If you want to have any hope of luring me away from that really good job, you have to be (or offer) better. And I’m not talking about money here. I’m talking about better understanding, better service, and better opportunity. You have to understand that in our industry (software) there are more positions out there than there is talent; you have to understand that I have no interest in talking to you about the same boring job every other recruiter is pitching; you have to understand that YOU are trying to use me to make money and therefore have to provide ACTUAL VALUE to me.
Let’s take a recent example… I got an email from a recruiter telling me that his company had available positions in Infrastructure, Software Development, Integration, Engineering, and Information Assurance, and if I would like I could call him for the details… DELETED. That’s right, straight to the trash can with that email. Why? Because everyone has positions in Infrastructure, Software Development, Integration, Engineering, and Information Assurance available. Oh, and also because I’m not going to waste time talking to you about a generic job posting.
So how about a better example… Well, one recruiter piqued my interest with the generic sounding descriptions, so I emailed back and I share with you what I wrote:
Dear XYZ, I am very intrigued by the positions you listed. I would love to hear more about the specific position you have in mind for me. Could you email me some details and I will let you know if I am interested? I’m very busy right now, so email is the best way for us to communicate, if you don’t mind.
The answer I got back was:
Dear Glenn, you can reach me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I’d really like to talk to you about this opportunity.
Okay, for starters, spell my friggin name correctly. You misspell my name, automatic trash bin for you. Secondly, I’m not going to call you until I am convinced you can provide me value. You’ve already failed to understand that people are busy and it doesn’t look good for our relationship. Finally, actually take the time to READ the email I sent you. The fact that I sent you one at all, considering how many recruiter emails I see during the course of the day is amazing. You should hang on my every word. Seriously. I would estimate that I pretty much delete outright 95% of the emails I get from recruiters, and the other 5% gets deleted after one email exchange. That’s pretty sad. You can do better.
So how, as a recruiter, does one actually do better? I’ve wrote you a list. (Now consider this… I am willing to spend 30 minutes more writing a list about how to do better than I am willing to spend responding to your lame emails.)
1). Actually read my resume and have the technical ability to understand it.
2). Stop trying to appeal to the morons.
A lot of recruiters just go by keywords and the mass mailing approach to getting clients. Maybe this works for some, but it will never work with me nor anyone whom considers themselves my peers. Believe me, I can find a crappy, middle of the road job by myself, I don’t need you. What I need you for is to find me that one job that is way over and above what I can find myself. All your offering me is, to quote Hamlet, “Words, words, words.” I want the dream job, not the boring average job. Which leads me to my next point…
3). A job that is described in keywords is not a job in which I am interested.
Jobs descriptions are marketing tools. If you want to sound like Budweiser and says “We taste just like everyone else!” then bully for you, but I am still not drinking it. Why would I when I can consume an experience like Heavy Seas Loose Cannon or Boulder Vanilla Porter. Spice it up and really try to sell it… without using the same damn terms everyone else is using. Be creative… I know, TV has killed all creative instinct in you, but surely you must remember something from being a child. Try it out.
4). Take the time to be right.
Grammar and spelling mistake = Deleted. No exceptions. If you cannot be bothered to wordsmith simple emails, I cannot be bothered to read them, and I’m certainly not going to trust you to be accurate when representing me to a customer.
If I tell you in an email that I am really busy, try listening to me and working with me through email. Stop trying to get me on the phone. And worse yet, do not send me your form to fill out. I’m not applying to a job at Burger King.
6). DO NOT copy and paste a job description.
Google may be the best thing you ever found for finding leads, but it’s also your enemy when it comes to job descriptions. I am willing to bet that I can find the company hiring directly and circumvent you (not that I ever had) just by using Google and the cut and paste you just did of the job description. Yes, it might take a little longer to recreate the job description and worse yet you might have to actually understand technology to do this, but it shows me that you are actually trying.
Now, I know many of you recruiters have reasons why you do what you do and I really want to believe it’s not just because you are lazy. So let me try and answer some of your concerns. (I’ll add to this if you email me some constructive feedback.)
I need to reach as many people as I can – Go watch the first 10 minutes of Jerry McGuire. Now, watch it again and this time try listening.
The only way I have to understand you is your keywords – That’s great. Use keywords to find me, by all means, but then take the ten extra minute to actually read what you found. Bonus points if you actually look at any other part of my blog while you are there. Actually take the time to try to UNDERSTAND me.
I don’t have time to read through all the resumes I see – Make the time. Quality not quantity, if you think different than I salute your mediocrity.
Staying on top of Technology is hard – Yes, yes it is. Yet, some of us manage to do it just fine. Twitter can be your best friend here.
Company X wants its job listed as Y – So what? Eventually sure, share that with me… but for initial contact, sell it.
I can’t afford to spend all my time on you – Then I cannot afford to spend time on you. Remember, you only make money by me changing jobs, which is a ridiculously hard thing to get people to do.
Quality is nice, but Quantity pays the bills – But quality builds reputations. Take for example where I live… there is nothing but chain restaurants here with a few notable exceptions and I have never been known to espouse the amazing food I just had at a chain restaurant. With a few notable exceptions. Even then, it’s the quality I’m espousing… not the quantity. If you want to be the kind of recruiter that people tell their friends to go to, then quality is a must.
When it gets right down to it, I just want a recruiter whom I not only trust, but that I know I can return to if I need to. Someone who understands my SPECIFIC needs and desires in the workplace and doesn’t just want to represent me because of the money, but because he or she is actually helping me succeed. In twenty plus years I have only met two recruiters who meet those goals. And I keep in touch with both of them.