Yes, I’m a Recruiter. But most of them suck. They suck so much, it’s beyond an Internet meme and I see people physically withdraw and roll their eyes as soon as I answer the standard dinner party/conference/wedding ice-breaker question.
Yes, sorry, I’m a Recruiter - but not that kind of recruiter.
Here are three types of recruiters and why they are rightfully hated:
1) Sexy Time Sourcer
I’ve noticed a trend of these young female recruiters using their modeling head-shots/suggestive pictures in emails to presumably horny, male and hetero Engineers. Now I like pretty girls as much as the next guy, but that just seems really inappropriate for a business email. And it certainly doesn’t help promote the right kind of Women in Tech! Or maybe I’m just upset because no one would want to see my old, bald face in an email! Here’s an *actual* email from a “Social Media Coordinator/Recruiting Assistant” (a wonderful combo of the two most useless job titles!) from ExpanXion:
But what if you’re just a homely technical recruiter running your own “boutique staffing firm for high growth tech companies in the bay area”? You went to Stanford! You worked at Google! Well the wonder of the web is that you can simply use anyone’s picture for your LinkedIn profile. Even a Hot Import Model… (what can I say, I’m really into cars).
2) “Specialist” Staffing Agencies
I love getting emails from these Staffing Agencies. It’s usually right after you announce your latest round of funding. These slime-balls crawl out of the woodwork and “would love to help you find top-talent!” (read: spend that money). They claim to have, “the ideal candidate for your open position”, you don’t even need to sign a contract, no obligations! You only pay if you hire our candidate. OK?! Right… And what do they specialize in? Everything.
But then they send you perfectly average Engineers who have never even heard of your startup. Or worse! They send you a candidate that’s already applied to your company! This happened to me recently, while working in-house at one of my startups. Ricardo Wanka (perfectly named by his parents) from Adecco claimed that he “carefully screens” all candidates, and makes sure they are a “perfect fit” for our company. Well, if you did actually do that Dick, you would have known this candidate applied two weeks before you “submitted” her to us. But it gets better, Wanka starts throwing his weight around (I’ll call your Manager!) and says we would still get charged his ridiculous fees, even though this candidate applied herself. It’s in the contract! (which it actually isn’t). I’ll never work with this douche-bag again, and I highly suggest your startup doesn’t either.
3) Hapless Headhunter
There seems to be a lot of new recruiters sprouting up. Even the most “well-respected recruiting firm” (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) is still staffed with a bunch of low-paid new grads or sales people to troll LinkedIn and spam you with as many Inmails as humanly possible. Why do they do it? Because it still works! As long as they manage to place a random Engineer at any random company, they get paid and they’ll keep doing it. These “Sr. Technical Recruiters” with a year of experience are cheap! Let’s get 30 of ‘em!
But it doesn’t stop there, because now you’re ignoring your LinkedIn Inbox (plus because it’s completely useless as a messaging system). Someone heard that a startup once hired a “Rockstar Developer” at a hackathon, startup weekend or Meetup. We must all do that now! Send in the Recruiters. So now when you want to go hang out with some fellow Coders and hack on some stuff together, you’re listening to a dozen duplicate pitches from “a hot new startup” looking to hire. You get a young recruiter using her womanly charm offering free coffees with anyone, because you know, she’s really interested in technology. And the coffee’s free! Not like your time is worth anything.
But the very best (and you know I’ve saved it for last) is if you put some code on GitHub or your website, shared a few designs on Dribble, or - oh, I dunno - have a profile on Working With Rails. Then you’re just asking for it! Some idiot Sr. Recruiter from a “super-charged start-up” will ask you if you’re interested in a Sr. Rails position at their wonderful Palo Alto office (aka San Jose). It’s super-charged! It’s the most innovative place for web start ups! You’ll get superior growth opportunities and a chance to learn from our awesome CTO, (see his LinkedIn attached!). Because David, even though you created the Ruby on Rails framework, you really need to come join our little shit startup to develop your coding talent.
If you’re a recruiter doing any of these things, just FUCKING STOP IT. You’re not helping anyone, certainly not yourself. I’m going to put you on blast and embarrass the shit out of you because you’re making my job one of the most hated positions in Silicon Valley. Startups should just stop using these Staffing Agencies if they want to recruit well. Most importantly, great Engineers, Developers and Designers should make a list, like Sam Soffes does with Awful Recruiters. And make the list public so these shady recruiting practices will finally stop.
I love what I do. I help my friends find awesome jobs at startups. I call myself a recruiter because that’s the simplest description. But those of you who besmirch the title, you are not my friend and I’m not going to let this shit slide.