I think that technical recruiters are getting more and more unprofessional every day. Maybe it’s because a lot of people that don’t have the right skills (social, human, tech) are starting to work as recruiters, or maybe it’s just that there are so many developers out there that companies are starting to see them as tools instead of people, but it’s getting really annoying.

Comic

Concretely, I’m getting progressively bothered of being contacted by people that treat you as a row in a spreadsheet, people that won’t even care answering you once they have chosen a “victim” from another row (or dismissed you for any other reason). I suspect that’s because us, developers, are commonly seen as nerds hidden behind our glasses, avidly waiting in front of our computers for someone from HR to contact us and offer us a job to save our miserable lives.

Some weeks ago, for example, I was contacted by two recruiters, with the same exact pattern: they send you a message, agree on a call meeting, and never actually call you. You send them messages asking for an explanation and receive no response. Then, once you update your LinkedIn status to warn the people not to deal with them, they (of course) answer you, giving you some lame explanation, whatever it takes to make you delete that post that can ruin their reputation in the social network. One of them even got to the point of reporting my profile to LinkedIn so they could get rid of the message (which I was going to remove anyway).

I think we should show the same respect and follow the same social interaction rules in our internet communications that we would in a face-to-face conversation or meeting. Developers are human beings, and deserve to be treated like that. If you are a tech recruiter or plan on working as a one, please, keep that in mind.

The last example, a “recruiter” (let’s call it XXX) sends me a message the 7th of september. I answer him, get no response. Three days later I receive the exact same message again, something like this:

Hello,
Thank you for connecting at Linkedin.
To find the perfect opportunity and therefore the perfect match, we have some important questions:
Send us an updated CV + photo (IN A WORD DOCUMENT NOT PDF PLEASE)

XXX

This was my response:

HI XXX,
You sent me this message on september the 7th, I answered you and received no response. With due respect, I would like to help you with some suggestions for further contacts with iOS developers:
– If you ask them for their CV and they answer you, please send them an acknowledge message, so they know you received it.
– Don’t send them the same, pre-written message several times (with days in-between), they will come to the conclusion that they are rows in a spreadsheet (and you included them twice).
– Please don’t use capital letters to order them to send you a Word document. That’s the rough equivalent of screaming in a conversation.
– Also, understand that Word is not a standard document format, that’s what PDF is for. Specifically, don’t ask an iOS developer (who uses a Mac and probably has pages but not Microsoft Word installed) to send you a word document. PDF is the standard format.

Maybe it wasn’t really constructive, but I just needed to say that.

Edit: Today I came across one of those pre-generated email templates sent to me (again) by a technical recruiter in LinkedIn, starting with:

Hello Carlos, …

So I will add in the future another point to the response list:

– Don’t send developers an email starting with “Hello XXX”, where “XXX” is not their name, they will notice you are writing a template email and sending that to all the contacts in your spreadsheet.