Headhunters: don't spam people if you want to seem credible (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing, Science, and Nature.

Sat, 24 Sep 2011

Headhunters: don't spam people if you want to seem credible

I suspect all technical people -- at least those with a web presence -- get headhunter spam. You know, email saying you're perfect for a job opportunity at "a large Fortune 500 company" requiring ten years' experience with technologies you've never used.

Mostly I just delete it. But this one sent me a followup -- I hadn't responded the first time, so surely I hadn't seen it and here it was again, please respond since I was perfect for it. Maybe I was just in a pissy mood that night. But look, I'm a programmer, not a DBA -- I had to look it up to verify that I knew what DBA stood for. I've never used Oracle. A "Production DBA with extensive Oracle experience" job is right out, and there's certainly nothing in my resume that would suggest that's my line of work.

So I sent a brief reply, asking,

Why do you keep sending this? Why exactly do you think I'm a DBA or an Oracle expert? Have you looked at my resume? Do you think spamming people with jobs completely unrelated to their field will get many responses or help your credibility?

I didn't expect a reply. But I got one:

I must say my credibility is most important and it's unfortunate that recruiters are thought of as less than in these regards. And, I know it is well deserved by many of them.
In fact, Linux and SQL experience is more important than Oracle in this situation and I got your email address through the Peninsula Linux Users Group site which is old info and doesn't give any information about its members' skill or experience. I only used a few addresses to experiment with to see if their info has any value. Sorry you were one of the test cases but I don't think this is spamming and apologize for any inconvenience it caused you.

[name removed], PhD

A courteous reply. But it stunned me. Harvesting names from old pages on a LUG website, then sending a rather specific job description out to all the names harvested, regardless of their skillset -- how could that possibly not be considered spam? isn't that practically the definition of spam? And how could a recruiter expect to seem credible after sending this sort of non-targeted mass solicitation?

To technical recruiters/headhunters: if you're looking for good technical candidates, it does not help your case to spam people with jobs that show you haven't read or understood their resume. All it does is get you a reputation as a spammer. Then if you do, some day, have a job that's relevant, you'll already have lost all credibility.

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[ 20:30 Sep 24, 2011    More tech | permalink to this entry | comments ]
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