Michael Bastos Online Writings and Resume


Why Technology Recruiters Fail

If you’ve been a software engineer for a while you’ll know that recruiters are the Nigerian Prince of the technology ecosystem. Most of them send out these massively canned emails through either my GMail account or LinkedIn and in most cases won’t tell me what the job really entails or who the potential employer is.

This complex but self defeating formula seems to have been copied by all of them because in most cases they only include anything personal at the top (like my name) and then ask me for to send them a Resume. This is perplexing when it comes from LinkedIn notifications because they had to have seen my work history and resume when they saw my profile in the first place.

Not mentioning the company that they are representing to me is a major marking flaw since at my current stage in life that is about the only factor that would cause me to want to read an offer in the first place. Who the company is and what they are all about (aka what they do) is the most important thing to seeing if it would be a good fit with what I do and what I’m good at.

The worst part is when they ask me to refer someone who I feel might be a good fit for the position, it’s kind of like the person that asked you out then asking if you could put in a good word for them to your friend, it just reeks of bad motivations.

Almost all of these emails mention one or two technologies that are included but offer no more technical information than if I were reading a job description which when written by non technical people offers next to nothing about what the job will actually involve.

Since most of the job offers I’ve seen are for inside the US and in California I really haven’t ran into a situation where a job is offered outside of my area but I’ve heard some horror stories about this.

It’s important to understand the reason for all of this, what you have here are two different worlds running into each other and that causes the frustration from the side of the developers and I can imagine what it must do on the side of the recruiters.

You have one group that is highly technical and that gets paid really well, software engineers don’t really have to worry about being out of work most of the time and their choice of options is between their current employment and a better one.

On the other hand you have recruiters which unless they work for Google or Facebook directly probably get paid on commission so they are trying to fill as many people through as many jobs as possible.

When it comes right down to it most technical recruits are not at all technical, they are trying to hire for jobs they really don’t understand and can’t really make the necessary evaluations required to both efficiently target and accurately entice developers.

So what should those recruiters do to stop spamming engineers and start forcing us to pay attention? Well first stop doing everything you are currently doing, start thinking like an engineer and don’t assume that just because you’ve successfully recruited some people in the thousands you mass email that the process is somehow working.

Try to understand the technologies you are recruiting for, if at all possible try to specialize in just a few that are prevalent in your area so that it’s easier for you to reach out. Don’t send email or LinkedIn spam, be personal, hell ask me how my family is doing and whether or not they would consider a move in the next few months if the price is right.

The main point is to understand the major differences between the two groups, developers aren’t very good at explaining what they do to someone who is non technical so the more you try to enter their world the easier it will be to convince them that the opportunity they are being given is or is not the right one. And if we tell you that we are okay where we are at, don’t try to ask us to refer someone else unless you already know us personally.