Tuesday, April 29, 2008

criteria for a recruiter

The most dangerous part of finding a job online is having to put your contact information out there. When I first graduated college, I posted my resume on every job website that existed. This is what the (useless) career center told me to do. The next day my inbox was flooded with so many job descriptions from companies and recruiters. To a college graduate this is the most misleading part of a job search. I thought I would have my choice of the perfect job.

Each email was an automated message sent base on the criteria that I had an email address and on certain keywords in my resume. They described competitive salaries, with great benefits, awesome work environment, and a great company. Obviously no human has ever read my resume because they would have made the immediate observation that I had just graduated. So my amazement from the emails turned to disappointment, which now has turned to annoyance.

There have been a few exceptional recruiters that have emailed me. Most recruiters follow the same tactics of trying to lure you in, which are the spamming recruiters. I would like to point out some guidelines for recruiters that would make both our lives easier.

  1. Read my resume

    It obvious to me when you haven't. When the job description has nothing to do with my previous work, experience, skills, or interests.

  2. Be Personal

    If you want to use me as a possible commission be a little more personal and address me -- not the masses. I tend to ignore the recruiters that send me and email with my name obviously copied and pasted in the Dear field. The biggest give away towards those emails is when at the end of the message ask for updated resume, desired salary, newest contact information, current employer, etc. Asking for updated information just seems really tacky to me -- especially when you have no idea what I am looking for.

  3. Describe the Job

    Tell me more than the requirements of the job. I can see they want PHP/Perl/Java/C++ experience, but what does the job entail. Will projects becoming my way willy nilly and I have to be able to organize my time? Will I be working with someone else on the same project? What is their development style (extreme|agile|pair)? A job description should describe what a typical day might be for the employee.

  4. Describe the company

    Tell me something positive about the company. Please don't copy and paste their description from the corporate profile. If I was a potential investor that might mean something, but I am potential employee. Tell me they have pick up games of basketball, allow flexible time, provide lunch, allow employees to be open about their ideas, have a turnover rate of 10 years, etc. I want to know what the employee culture is like for the company.

  5. Understand the different titles

    I have learned that an engineer, developer, programmer, and architect are totally different things. Then there are different levels from junior-senior and I-V. Understand that I might be an engineer, with experience of building a software system abstractly based off an idea someone had. More often than not I have a job description that read it was for someone who picked up PHP in 24 hours -- with no previous computer experience ever. I am a software engineer. I enjoy the challenge of creating something new and putting the puzzle together.

Two years later, after removing my resume and contact information from said job sites, I still get the same emails. My email and resume are being passed around (like wine coolers at a middle school party) to recruiter contact database everywhere. I have learned to ask to be unsubscribe from these lists.

Don't get to discouraged. There are good recruiters out there. I had one excellent recruiter ask me to fill out a questionnaire asking geeky questions of what I have done, when I started, and what I mess around with on computers plus a few logic problems. Usually that is something that you get in an interview, but thats what the recruiter should be doing interviewing you to help you find the best possible job and candidate for that job. They will either find you or you will find them.