So how do we solve this problem? I mean, the actual problem, not the fact that people complain. What to do, how to make things right? I have a solution. It’s actually a very simple one: everyone complaining should stop working with recruiters altogether… without doing some research first.
Allow me to explain.
Everyone complaining about their experience working with recruiters seems to have the same reasons: the recruiter sent my CV to a company without my approval, matching me with unsuitable jobs, did not deliver good candidates, no feedback, wasted time, etc. This sounds a lot like they are dealing with a particular type of recruiters: the opportunistic type who spend most of their time mass emailing and spamming people.
Now, how do you decide which recruiters to work with? Or how do you recognise the good ones, if they approach you instead? It’s easy, you do some research.
The constant recruiter spam
OK, so “research” might not be the best word because it sounds like a lot of work, but the point is that you should make a decision based on more than just the fact they contacted you at the right time.
An important point to consider is that the main reason for the constant recruiter spam — volume based approaches where they don’t even care if they get your name right or if the message is relevant — is the hope that they reach you at the right time. So the more people respond to spam emails (that clearly show the recruiter didn’t bother to check the details before sending) just because the time is right, the more spam some recruiters will send in the future.
As a software developer, or as the HR Hiring Manager, you probably get approaches from recruiters on a daily/weekly basis. There is no way to stop that from happening, especially if you are a technology company or a software engineer. That said, you can definitely make the most of it in a way that is actually helpful for you.
While all the messages and calls might be annoying, it’s usually easy to notice a difference between the quality and relevance of approaches.
Let’s assume a recruiter reaches out via email or LinkedIn.
Have they got your name wrong or does the message seem 100% generic? This means they send a mass message or that they didn’t bother to check your profile or your job description properly. So mark them as spam and move on.
Does it seem like they did some research before approaching you? Is there relevant information regarding your current company, previous work, skills and information about a live position which sounds like a good next step in your career? Check them out and engage.
Do some research
If their approach is relevant and interesting, look them up and see if you should work with them.
• Start with a simple Google search and see what you can find about them on the first page of results.
• Have a look at their LinkedIn profile and see what information they are listing.
• See if they write a blog or if they are active on mediums where you are also active (Twitter, Quora, Slack groups, etc).
• Try to find a mutual connection, maybe on LinkedIn, and ask them if they worked with that recruiter and if yes, what was their experience.
If you look them up and only find a limited LinkedIn profile and no personal information at all, or a Twitter account with a stream of jobs listed there (and nothing else), you should probably avoid that recruiter. I might get a lot of heat for this (especially from the type of recruiters mentioned above). However, in order to understand the people they are working with, recruiters should be more involved in relevant activities and discussions in those mediums. They should be transparent and show their personality even before a direct interaction.
All of this sounds like hard work, you might say. Actually, it’s not. It only takes a few minutes. I am not suggesting you do this every time a recruiter reaches out to you, only when the approach seems to be much more relevant and better than the usual spam. That means the recruiter did their homework and reached out to you with something relevant. That means they are probably one of the good recruiters, who can actually help you.
Once again, it does not mean you should automatically accept working with them — it only means that it’s worth (and that you should) consider it.
I will go as far as to say that if everyone did this, 2 things would happen:
- good recruiters would be recommended more, and industry standards would increase
- bad recruiters will start to go out of business, and most of the complaints on this topic would disappear
If you continue working with random recruiters just because they happened to contact you at the right time, you will most likely continue to have bad experiences.
You know that saying: if you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.
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