Information technology is a good place to be lately. If you’ve got skills and a decent resume, there’s a good chance recruiters are giving you a call. I’ve been getting a lot of these sorts of calls and e-mails in the last year, and I’ve noticed certain phrases that keep cropping up. Recruiters, I’m having a bit of fun with you here – don’t take it personally. 😉
10. I wanted to reach out to you. Yes, obviously. We can all assume you didn’t “reach out” to me against your better judgement or under duress. I mean, maybe. There could have been someone standing there behind your chair, pistol pointed at the meatiest part of your skull, finger quivering on the hair trigger, breathing out threats against your life if you didn’t give me an electronic hug in the form of a LinkedIn message. But generally speaking, I think we can all see that the message itself is evidence of your desire.
9. They pay for all certs. Oh, I’m sure they do. Absolutely. On the surface, this sounds so good, doesn’t it? But paying for all certs in all but the rarest of circumstances comes with a catch. Or two. We pay for the cert…if you pass the test. We pay for the cert…but it’s self-study on your own time using outdated courseware handed down from the six other engineers you work with. We pay for the cert…but you have to sign a contract to stay with us for X months or else we take the cost of the cert out of your last paycheck. We pay for the cert…but there’s no equipment for you to practice with.
8. Forward me a copy of your resume. This one drives me a little bonkers, because my LinkedIn profile is more or less my resume. Certainly it has most of the key information – after all, that’s how these people find me. I put skills, former employers, titles, responsibilities, and more out there, but even so, they all seem to want my resume in Word format. I guess because requiring a candidate’s resume in Word format is supposed to inspire confidence that the organization is a forward-thinking and exciting place to work? Yeah, that must be it. And hey, who isn’t giving out mad love to MS Word, anyway? I kid, I kid. Or do I?!?
7. Do you know anyone? Yes. I know many people, in that strange way that social media connects us all. Yeah, we know each other, but we don’t *know* each other, right? We tweet back and forth, we read each other’s blogs, every once in a while we might connect in meatspace at some conference or other. Of course, they’re hoping that I know someone who wants to move to Misery City, Alaska to work a 3 month contract building a video surveillance network for an Eskimo school district out of duct tape, CAT3, betamax players, and 10 meg ethernet hubs donated by a forest-dwelling bear who didn’t want them for his cave anymore. So yeah, I know people, but no, I don’t know anyone who wants that gig. Maybe call the bear, though.
6. I came across your profile. Right up there with, “I wanted to reach out to you.” Ah, so you didn’t select my name at random? Say, out of a hat? Or because someone dared you? You actually searched, got a hit on my profile which I’ve carefully seeded with acronyms, abbreviations, vendor names, and equipment, and saw me? I *am* surprised. Who knew this whole SEO thing mattered?
5. I would like to discuss with you. Yeah, but 99/100 times, I would not like to discuss with you. Why? Your grammar and punctuation is atrocious, you’re evasive about compensation, you don’t actually know anything about the position you’re recruiting for and therefore won’t be able to answer my questions, you want to voice chat when I’m all about e-mail (at least for starters), you’re a third party, and/or you’ve given me no incentive whatsoever to talk to you. Have we spoken before? Do you represent a company I’ve heard of? Does your message indicate you’ve read my simple contact instructions in my profile? No? Hmm…
4. I’m not trying to recruit you directly. No? Then why are you “reaching out”? If you want to see if I “know anyone”, then include the referral fee right up front. Why be coy? You want to get at the hundreds of people in my network, to leverage my connections, right? Cool, I get it – makes good sense. However, that comes with a price that makes it worth my while to troll my database, ping my peeps, and see what I can come up with for you. Or let’s put it another way – if you want me to help you do your job, I need a piece of the pie.
3. Stay in touch. Uh, sure. You can stay in touch if you like. I mean, it’s not like I hide away with secreted, private profiles where it’s obvious that all I want is to be left alone. I mean, I’m out there. That’s a choice I made. So, yeah. Ping me. All I ask is you do it manually. The personal touch goes a long way to making me care. Don’t put me on your “Super Tech Recruiter Top Tips” waste of bandwidth e-mail spam list newsletter that clutters my inbox. I won’t read it. I will unsubscribe, and if you ignore my unsubscribe request, I will rain down unholy packet terror upon your marketing e-mail server with such unrelenting fury that its power supply will explode in a giant fireball that will suck your data center into a singularity, warping the fabric of space-time. Okay, you caught me, just kidding – I only ever caused a black hole that one time, and the galactic courts ruled it as justifiable retribution. So, I mean yeah – stay in touch. 😉
2. Very senior. About half the time, this is followed by “CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE preferred.” Uh…so do you need someone who’s been architecting data centers for 10 years, or someone who can build a router from a template and troubleshoot it if it breaks? It’s always fun to read the job description of this someone who’s supposed to be “very senior”. Sometimes, they really are. I look at the job description and think to myself that I wish I even KNEW someone like that, let alone could BE someone like that. Wow. Candidate will build an international carrier-grade network using technology that hasn’t been invented yet, shoots laser beams from his eyes at 100Gbps, AND loves his Mom? Awesome. But most of the time, I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.
1. Opportunity. It’s rarely a job or a position. Seems like it’s always an “opportunity.” I find this a curious choice of term, because “opportunity” seems implicitly hopeful and positive, but in reality can mean whatever you want it to mean. For instance, I like to hike in the mountains; sometimes my hiking takes me into moderately dangerous situations. So, hiking could be an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and fantastic scenery…or…an opportunity to plunge into a rocky abyss and fall to a horrible death. Jobs are the same – if you’ve had more than one, you know exactly what I mean.
Now, all my snarky sarcasm aside, recruiters have a tough gig. I get that. They have to cast a wide net in order to land some fish. That’s how they get paid. If I was out of work, I would turn to my network of recruiters to let them know I was on the board. So if you’re a recruiter and you’re reading this, I’m talking about all those other recruiters – not you. You’re not like the others. 😉