Recruiter 101

Judging from the deluge of emails and calls I and my friends get for jobs I think it should be obvious I/we would not be interested in and the fact it often takes multiple exchanges just to get enough info to figure this out, I'm creating this page of tips to help recruiters be more efficient. Note this is not intended to be rude or based on personal bias. This is compiled from the rants I hear from fellow developers (and even a few recruiters) in meetings and happy hours that I happen to agree with.

In case you are curious my current personal record is 13 calls in 1 hour on 9/8/11 16:30-17:30 a few days after I updated my profile on 1 of the job sites.


Profit conscious and "green" companies, not to mention self motivated employees, understand the benefits of having people work from home. Those positions tend to fill quickly so if you have a job that is a telecommuting position you should lead with that. Just to be clear, telecommuting is working from home not a satellite office or travelling to an office on a regular basis. Note I have met a few people that prefer to work in an office but most are willing to work for less if they can work from home.
If the job is on-site see the next few tips.

Most people cannot move

Over 90% of the jobs I get (and others say they get similar) contacted about are for out of town jobs. Unless the person you are contacting has expressed a wish to move or their resume shows them moving around, odds are they are not interested in moving or cannot move. The possible exception might be if they have been off work for many months and are about to go bankrupt but as a rule you are wasting your time contacting them even if it is a "top of the range" paying job.


People either like to travel or (like me) they cannot. Again if any travel is involved you want to get that in up front. Probably a good idea to add it to your search criteria too. That is why the boards ask.

Put it in the subject

Like I said above, people are being buried in emails and calls from recruiters not to mention other sources so get the high points in the subject of the email or in the voice mail. First where is it? Town name or if the town is big enough to have multiple zip codes use that. Next, term as in 6mths for a 6 month contract or C2H for contract to hire or direct. Lastly the job title. This should infer the dominate skills required and skill level while keeping the overall length under 60 characters if possible in emails so that all the relevant info is visible without opening the email. In short you want someone to feel like this job is or is not a match from the subject. Even if it is not a match this conveys an air of professionalism that will get your email read first when it is a match.

Be sure to include in the email body the skills and years of experience in those skills they are looking for.

Extra points for quoting a pay range.

Also if you leave a voice message be sure and follow up with details in an email.

Match me up

Again a little time up front will save you a lot of wasted time. Take me for instance. I've been getting paid for programming since 83 and have been primarily writing Java code since 97, yet many of the jobs, even the in town jobs, I get contacted for are entry level, for skills I have not used in years or just do not pay near what I am making. For example there is no point in contacting me about a job doing primarily PHP programming, system administration, QA, drafting ect. unless they are paying the equivalent of the high end of the scale for a Java programmer. In short do more than email everyone that has a key word in their resume. Not only will this help keep you from being added to email and phone filters but cut down on time wasted on replying to people that will never make it past a first interview.

I should probably note here that if you do send out a mass email you should filter by name to avoid sending someone multiple copies of an email. These days people often have multiple email addresses that funnel to one account. With people getting so many scams and spams these days it has become almost habit to mark multiple copies of the same email as spam.

This is not selling time shares

This might be the thing I hear complained about most.
There is really no point in trying to talk someone into a job they are not interested in or is a step down from their current job, try to manipulate them into putting you before their current job or any other sort of hard sell techniques. As a rule good programmers are busy people. Unless the person is really desperate for a job, probably not the kind of person you want representing your agency, they will most likely mark your number to go directly to voice mail as soon as they hang up.
Trying to pump people for manager and co-worker contact info falls in this area as well.


Everyone seems to have their own slant on this one. Most seem to have some sort of criteria for accepting link requests. Personally although I have been advised against it by several people, I have no issue with accepting friend / link requests on LinkedIn from anyone that is at least 1 of the following: Note I generally assume if you are sending me an invite to join LinkedIn there is no point responding to tell you I am already on there. Instead I route the email to trash which the email system makes the destination for future emails from that address. See above about email load. Update: I looked at some of these recently and discovered half of them were fake / scam emails. Just another reason to delete them automaticly.