Right now there’s a front-page article on HN titled “Why I Hate Tech Recruiters” relating one person’s disdain of an offhanded recruiter email. The comments replied with their own horror stories and distaste for the profession.
Offhanded spam-campaigny emails are no fun but I don’t think it’s good reason to scorn all recruiters. I love recruiters. Really. Any sincere effort from one I take as a kind of compliment. A compliment, no less, from a field that takes a serving of hostility and non-replies as their mid-day meal. The best recruiters brighten my day and the least I could do is be pleasant in return.
I get a “real” inquiry maybe about once a week (being from the mere hills of New Hampshire and notable for only one niche I find even this amount surprising) but I try to always take the time and give a reply. If the recruiter hasn’t shown much effort I copy and paste something suggesting that a more sincere letter would yield more sincere replies. If I don’t have the time, I can always delete the errant email.
Being a good recruiter seems to involve the act of solving a problem that cannot be generalized well, and when we come across good recruiters we should do our part to reward them somehow, even if we aren’t interested in the position. If the recruiter has shown some effort then I feel obliged, time permitting, to give them something in return.
The replies I give are always a very roundabout way of declining but it gives me an opportunity to (hopefully) brighten the day of what I imagine is a difficult job that often involves a good deal of hostility and silence from the people they contact. I’d like to think recruiters have feelings, and if they spend the time to craft a sincere request then I will delightedly spend the time to craft at least a partially amusing reply.
How would you like it, after all, if you spend a day crafting thirty good recruiting emails only to be met with an empty (or hostile!) inbox the next morning?
Below are a couple of examples of the things I say in return. Names have been removed for the sake of privacy.
I apologize for the late reply. I have been working day and night (and dawn and dusk) as uncountable tasks approach my inbox (and life) in recent times.
While Microsoft is a fine company and I do enjoy my use of the Windows 8 release preview, I cannot accept any offers to apply because Redmond, Washington is very far from New Hampshire and I am the sort to walk to work.
I would perhaps urge you to suggest to the good Microsofters of Redmond to get out of their buildings and attempt to push them closer to New Hampshire but I do not think it is technically feasible, and besides they probably would not agree to do it, as backs would ache in even the best conditions, and New Hampshire is very far.
Perhaps someday I will choose to leave this small town but this year is not the year and so I must decline any offers for the time being.
Please take my kind regards, and the hope that the weather turns to more reasonable temperatures for the both of us,
Thank you for extending to me this invitation.
Unfortunately for perhaps both of us I live in New Hampshire and intend to remain in New Hampshire for the (metaphorically) foreseeable future. That is not a derision of Wisconsin, which I am sure is wonderful and produces many grand (or Epic) things and people. But while Wisconsin makes many fine and attractive things such as (say) cheeses (Sartori Bellavitano anyone?), trucks are always willing to relocate said cheeses to New Hampshire.
Trucks are less willing or able to move my house to Wisconsin, and even if they were, the Historical Society might raise an objection or two. Moving my friends would be even more difficult, as several of them object to being carried around and placed in other states.
Alas while there may come a time to lead myself from this Maple-syrup laden location, as Syrio says, “Not today.”
I hope your candidate search goes well,
Thank you for your invitation.
However I am comfortably employed (and living) in New Hampshire and do not intend to consider moving in the near future, regardless of that fact that your company and potential jobs may well be very interesting.
Or as our girlfriends of yore might have said, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Your site is beautiful, by the way.
Hope for the best,
Anyway I’m sure not everyone is as easily flattered as I am by a simple piece of mail. But if we have a problem with the recruiting profession then we should do our part to reward the good ones, shouldn’t we?