If you are a technology professional, chances are you’ve received the emails. They usually look something like this:
Subject: [Some job that doesn’t interest me] located in [some place where I’m not willing to relocate]
Dear job seeker:
I trust you are having a pleasant day!
I came across your profile, and I believe you are a perfect fit for our exciting job opportunity! We have a position for [some position about which I couldn’t care less] located in [some place where I’m not willing to move].
If you think you are an ideal candidate for this exciting position, please call me immediately at (800) 555-1212!
(* My actual email address is suppressed for reasons I think are obvious.)
To me, these emails are no different from the email spam I receive that says I need to respond to claim $1,000,000 from a bank in Nigeria. I’ll make this clear: spam is a major pet peeve of mine, and is something I hate passionately.
I came across this link that perfectly sums up why I hate these recruitment tactics. I recently performed a Google search on “recruiting spam” — and the number of links I saw was overwhelming.
Among other things, I found a link by my friend, James Serra, who wrote this article about low-rate recruiters. I also recently saw one of his SQL Saturday presentations where he talks about enhancing your career. (It is an excellent presentation; I recommend it highly.)
In his presentation, James talks about taking risks, and he told stories about how he pulled up stakes to seek lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Personally, I am not willing to pull up my roots and relocate (having said that, you are not me), but I do understand what he means by taking risks, especially calculated ones. You need to take risks to get ahead, and you need to step out of your comfort zone. (This is outside the scope of this article, and is another topic for another time.)
However, it’s one thing for opportunity (where you’d take a risk) to present itself. It is quite another when a “get rich scheme” crosses your inbox.
I once had a bad experience with a spam recruiter. He set me up on an interview. When I asked the company with which I was interviewing, he would only say it was “an insurance company.” He did not reveal much in the way of information. I only found out where I was interviewing only hours before I was supposed to interview. It ended up being for a company where I was not interested in working. After that experience, I told myself that not only was I never going to work with that recruiter again, I also would never again accept any unsolicited recruiter requests.
A good ethical recruiter will take the time to get to know you, gauge your career interests, get an idea of where you want to go, and respect what you want to do. A spam recruiter could not care less about any of this. All they want to do is make a buck, and they are willing to exploit you to do it.
I recently responded to a recruiter in which I apologized for my harsh response. Like so many unsolicited recruiting emails, he pitched a position outside my geographic interests that did not interest me. After I responded, he wrote me back to apologize, and he was sincere in his response. I had made numerous attempts to unsubscribe from his list, to no avail (a fact that I mentioned in my email to him). He mentioned that he had looked into it, confirmed that there was an issue, and made efforts to correct it. His efforts actually swayed me. I wrote back to apologize and to say that I was willing to work with him. (Legitimate recruiters, take note; efforts like this go a long way.)
(Disclosure: I am not, I repeat, not, actively seeking new employment; I’m happy in my current position. However, I would also be remiss if I did not consider opportunities that could potentially represent a step up. See my paragraph above about taking calculated risks.)
Swimming in the candidate pool can be an interesting, exciting, and even rewarding experience. Just be aware that, within that pool, you might be swimming with sharks.
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