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Clueless Recruiters

Clueless Recruiters1955 words10 minutes to read

Inspired by Daring Fireball’s Jackass of the Week columns, I’ve decided to do something similar for clueless technical recruiters who contact me for jobs that are clearly a terrible fit.


Recruiter Schlock

Here’s one I got today from a clueless recruiter. For reference, here is my résumé.

Hi Ryan, We have an exciting opportunity with a client in the networking and telecommunications industry. Looking for an overall awesome Front-End Designer/Developer who would enjoy working for a global company that promotes a start-up environment.

I already work for a global company that promotes a start-up environment. You would already know that if you spent 12 freaking seconds to Google my name.

Location is Santa Clara, CA. Might you be interested? If so, please send a copy of your resume along with your required hourly rate. This is a 3–6 month contract.

Yes, let me leave my full-time job in Seattle, and uproot my entire family during the school year to move to Santa Clara for 3 months. Great idea!

Interested candidate must have an understanding of the practical benefits and limitations of Web technologies…


…and comprehensive knowledge of interface design principles and best practices for content organization, user-centric design, and site navigation patterns. Responsibilities

  • Develop front-end code using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Collaborate with product managers, designers, engineers, and infrastructure teams to build a quality experience for users.\
  • Create a compelling user experience using code polished to near perfection, leaving no detail unfinished.

In other words, be a typical code monkey. *yawn*


  • 7+ years of Web application and web service development.
  • Passion for developing great user interfaces, Experience in creating user-centric design.
  • Thorough understanding of user behavior and interaction design patterns

Sure I have these. But if you’re looking to fill a 3–6 month contract, you’re not actually looking for them.

  • Thorough understanding of SharePoint Master Pages, Page Layouts and CSS files
  • Experience with using the SharePoint content deployment features
  • Experience with SharePoint Designer for master page customization, style sheet modification, data view configuration
  • Experience migrating content from one SharePoint tier or site collection to another
  • Thorough knowledge of “Web 2.0” features of SharePoint: Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking (Profiles & Communities)
  • Understanding and previous experience with Blogs, tweets, RSS, CHAT and other collaboration and communication technologies as it relates to social networking and intranet integration
  • Working knowledge of SQL Server and scripting skills
  • 5+ years working with Microsoft Web development tools
  • Microsoft .net framework, ASP, .Net, and C#
  • SQL Server Reporting Services integration experience

Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft. Clearly I’m a great fit because I have all sorts of Microsoft-centric experience on my résumé.

  • Java Scripting, Visual Studio, HTML, XML, HTML & Client side scripting (Javascript, AJAX, JSON and JS libraries (jQuery, YUI, etc),DHTML, XSL, XSLT, XHTML, CAML)

Oh, you can script Java now? That must be a new thing. (See what I did there?)

  • Experience with creating content types and site columns


  • Portfolio that includes sample web-based projects (required)

Oh look, a requirement that’s required!

  • Computer Science or related degree

So… you want a designer with a CS degree? Seriously? And people wonder why I hate recruiters. (Actually, no. No they don’t.)


I’m sorry, Ryan, I didn’t mean to fuel your hatred for recruiters.

I forgive you.

The search was keyword generated.


I know it must be a nuisance for great and awesome people such as yourself, but for some who may be really in need of an opportunity to come his or her way, who I may miss without the particular tool that recruiters use…

You’re helping? Really? By not making any attempt to learn about what best fits me? What about paying attention to relationship-building more than cattle calls?

…your hatred and sarcasm are shining personality traits I have accepteed to welcome my way.

Ah, see there? You can do sarcasm too!

But for the most part, my apologies.

My mother taught me that saying sorry means you’ll never do it again.

Update #2

Finally, something honest.

Evils of recruiting… really, unfortunately I’m not smart enough to code something that will give me good results based on my 50 mile radius search of resumes (you’re in WA, how did that happen?), nor fast enough to read each and every resume out there in time to meet the client’s expectation of submittals right away.

The answer is simple: Fewer clients, less money. The key to this business is personal relationships. Just ask Jerry MacGuire.

I really do feel your pain. I honestly just don’t think that wishing death to recruiters is, well, nice.

Technical people hate technical recruiters. That much is a fact. The question is, what will you do to change the perception that technical people have of recruiters? How can you be better than the status quo?

And no, I wasn’t being sarcastic by saying you’re awesome and great and that your shining traits include hatred and sarcasm. They were genuine. As genuine as your displeasure with recruiters. Truly. No, like, really. This whole correspondence is actually funny. Disagreement is healthy and hopefully there is no super personal offense on your part because there is none on my part- though you tried to slice me with your sharp words or make me cower with your ‘wittiness’. (Again, I reserve the right to disagree.)

No personal offense on my part. Just — be better than the other people in your industry. Prove to me that I’m wrong about technical recruiters.

Have a nice day. I hope this left you smiling on some level. A grin. A smirk. Anything resembling a smile. I am smiling as I type this. Wait, can we be facebook, linked in friends? (That was a joke. Or not.)

Yes, this was fun. Let’s do it again sometime, eh?

Update #3: Response from their co-worker

Ryan is just one of those “I’m better and smarter than everyone else” types and spends way too much time replying to recruiters just for the sake of being snide.

Nope. Just you.

For every one of you little sarcastic haters out there, we have a dozen people who thank us cheerfully for the service we offer them.

Good. :)

We do more in depth recruiting, but [recruiter] was only using a tool that starts things out by helping to get the word out quickly.

I don’t think your tool does a very good job, then.

Rarely do we get a reply as neurotic and pathetic as yours but it does happen on occasion.

Neurotic and pathetic? Shoot. I was going for sarcastic first, then educational.

Usually we post these type of replies on our blog (of course we remove your name and other telling info), and share it for the enjoyment of others.

Awesome! I want to be Internet-famous.

Also as a warning to people on the market as how not to reply to an email as IT and Software is a small world in many ways. I’ve had some real whammies, people who say they hate Indians, etc, usually good for a laugh because of the absurdity (which is what I did when I read your replies).

I do the same thing, as a warning to technical people about how bad technical recruiters tend to be. And apparently it’s absurd that I want a recruiter to take a few minutes to ensure that I’m a likely fit before they contact me. Oh wait — it’s the tool’s fault. My bad.

Sorry that the weather in Seattle has you so depressed that you spend so much time out of your days trying to make others feel bad.

I didn’t want you to feel bad as much as I wanted to raise the awareness of how bad the recruiting experience is for “better and smarter than everyone else” people. Like me.

Here in California the days are bright and we’re all nice people.

I grew up in California, and you, sir, are a liar.

[recruiter] did you too much of a courtesy by apologizing to you.

Most definitely.

You don’t know the life of a recruiter, just as we are not engineers and therefore couldn’t know the life of a hack such as yourself. To tell us the best way of doing our job is like me telling you how to be a code monkey. No we don’t Google each of the hundreds of people we talk to per day, and neither can we read each single line of each resume.

And that’s exactly the problem. Precisely. To the T. You’ve nailed it. Unfortunately, it sounds like you think your lack of research is a good thing.

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t bother contacting someone like yourself again.

Oh, good.

No way we could get you hired anywhere. LOL.

I think of it as a win-win.

A miracle that you have a job at all with that attitude but I’m happy for you that you’re employed with a market like this. Have fun in your little world where you are the king of the world and everyone is here to listen to you try to be witty.

I will. Thanks. :)

Update #4

My very gallant co-worker and mentor took offense on my part. Please spare him?

Oh, that’s perfectly fine. It simply goes to show how completely disconnected technical people and technical recruiters are. I’m not really angry and hateful — I’m just tired of all of the spam (emails from recruiters who don’t bother to do any homework before contacting me).

You’re right, I don’t know what it’s like to be a technical recruiter. I won’t pretend to. But what I DO know is that the actions that are commonplace in the recruiting industry are loathed by people in mine. I would love for someone to change my perception — prove to me that there’s a recruiting firm worth talking to, who cares about placing me somewhere that’s a good fit for me, rather than simply trying to get paid for an open req.

The first step in providing this level of customer service is taking a few minutes to learn about the person you’re about to contact. Whatever perceptions I currently have about recruiters, [co-worker] simply reinforced them. He can deflect blame for his industry’s approach all he wants, but until he’s willing to help bridge the gap between technical people and technical recruiters, I really couldn’t care less what he thinks of me.

Anyway, you’ve turned out to be quite cool. Have a nice day. :)

Update #5

*sigh* I think it would be too much to ask for you not to reply to [co-worker] anymore? I did the same but he probably would, still. At least it looks like your email is happier now- with smiley face. I’m glad we did that for you. :)

Talk to you soon… (and I apologize in advance if you get a ‘spam’ from us again, it’s um, unavoidable, which we do try to avoid, honestly.)

No, I’m done. Take care. :)

Ryan Parman

is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.