We’ve all done it. Sent off that form letter email to a dozen or more “qualified” candidates. Maybe it’s an InMail, maybe you actually found someone’s personal email address. You’ve drafted what you think is a rather clever pitch and have shot it through cyberspace hoping a fabulous candidate will see the wisdom and value in writing you back. This guy did.
Ted Goas is a Web Developer who gets roughly one email a day from technical recruiters. That’s right, every day someone is trying to get his attention about a job. Here’s a guy who knows a little something about recruiters’ email habits. Ted has pulled back the curtain on how candidates feel about our lame attempts at the new cold call. He decided to write us a letter. In an email sent to “recruiters who aren’t trying that hard”, Ted tells us where we get it wrong.
Seriously, this dude is doing us a favor. When I read this article I couldn’t help but fist pump, shout “yes!” then almost immediately hang my head in shame because I know I have sent a Type 2 email. And I’ve been called on it. In attempt to redeem myself and try to protect my fellow recruiters from themselves, I sent him an email (personally written to him, of course). Explain yourself, Ted! We have questions! We want answers! Ok not really. It was more like star struck me asking for his autograph and could he please please please let me interview him for my blog? So yeah, Ted, being the super nice and classy guy that he is, agreed to answer a few questions.
Me: You get lots of emails from technical recruiters – how many? Daily? Weekly? Out of those, how many get categorized as Type 1?
Ted: Monday - Friday, I usually get about one email a day from technical recruiters. (I have no idea how I got on so many job boards, do you?) Out of every five, I'd say that one is a Type 1 email. Another two are "Type 1.5" emails, not great efforts but not terrible… example: they read very poorly, but at least the job is relevant. And another two are Type 2 emails, ones that fail on two or more of the four points I wrote about.
Me: Do you ever get responses when you reply with a link to your letter to Type 2 emails?
Ted: Never. Ever since I published my recruiter article and began sending it to the worst offenders, I track the link I send using goo.gl or bit.ly. Not one of these links I reply with has ever been opened. However, I understand it's hard to see the actual link behind one of these shortened URLs, which might be taken as a malicious link.
Me: Does where a recruiter works (large established agency, small independent, corporate recruiter) make a difference good or bad?
Ted: Makes no difference to me. I've had success with independent recruiters as well as one from Robert Half Tech. I feel most comfortable working closely with a small number of recruiters, but I don't know many of them and realize I have to meet recruiters somehow.
Me: Recruiters make a lot of noise about so-called “passive” candidates – in other words candidates that aren’t on job boards or actively looking for work. What’s your reaction to recruiters labeling you as such and trying to get you interested in their opening? Flattered? Annoyed? Depends?
Ted: I think most of our industry can be labeled 'passive'. For Type 1 emails, I'm flattered. I always respond with my current status and explain what I'd be looking for if I ever left my job. For Type 2's, before deleting the email, I note the sender and take these companies less seriously if I encounter them again.
Me: How willing are you to pass along referrals? Most recruiters are trained to ask “who do you know” especially if you as the target candidate aren’t interested. Will you give up names and contact info? Why or why not?
Ted: I am willing, sure, but referrals typically don't work out for me for a few reasons:
Crap. We’re in trouble, recruiters. Job seekers are smarter than ever and starting to see through our bullshit. What to do? Well, we’re to do exactly what we say we do. Treat our candidates like the professionals we think they are and need them to be. Send emails that we, if we were the candidate, would care to read. And for the love of all that’s holy knock it off with the spam.
What if you’ve already sent this email?? You can always do what I did, when I got called on it by a very high level manager at a very large Seattle area company. Apologize profusely, offer to buy him a beer, and never EVER do it again.