I receive a lot of email from recruiters because I keep refreshing my resume on a monthly basis. Whether I am looking for a contract position or nothing at all, it never hurts to have exposure and having people contacting you.
However, I have noticed, over the past several years, that the level of penmanship that recruiters are using, and their laziness when it comes to relying on keyword searches of a resume, is more akin to a deep sea trawling expedition rather than a concerted attempt to win you over so that they can be allowed them to represent you to potential employers.
I’ve compiled a few warning signs for other people to be aware of when approached by a recruiter, here they are.
No professional business correspondence, via printed letter, memo, email, or SMS text message should ever use “txting” shorthand. Ever! I do not want to be represented to another business by someone who uses this communication method.
Not now or ever do I want to be represented by someone who opens their email with “pls”.
This is a wonderful snippet from a recruiter that arrived in my inbox recently that illustrates the point perfectly.
“Pls call me at XXX-XXX XXX to discuss further on this position .”
2. Poor use of grammar.
We are no longer in the 6th grade, if you do not write well, you have no business composing business correspondence, especially if you are representing someone else.
We all make mistakes, we all let typos through, we all use poorly worded sentences. I’m not expecting perfect proof reading, if I was, this blog would not exist. 😉 One or two mistakes are forgivable, but when you open with “pls” and end with “discuss further on this position” you need to be taken out behind the woodshed and taught the proper use of English and grammar.
3. An inability to read.
About 99% of the recruiters out there are keyword searching lazy hacks who are rolling the dice as fast as possible in the hope that one roll will come up with the winning numbers.
I recurrently receive emails from these keyword searchers who send utterly inappropriate jobs based on the fact that I have C++ or PHP listed on my resume. Yes, I am very strong in those area, but frequently a lazy recruiter will dredge up C++ on the keyword search and not look any further than that.
Every day I receive recruitment emails that are seeking 1 or 2 years of experience in PHP or ASP.NET when just 20 seconds browsing my resume will show that I am a senior executive with extensive managerial experience, add to that I am also a very senior software engineer with 32 years of software development experience shipping millions of dollars of physical and digital products.
Again, the recruiters are playing the numbers game, hoping to hit a target by using a scatter-shot approach.
4. Offering a “golden opportunity.”
Few jobs are actual golden opportunities. Employee number five at Google or Amazon.com. Gold opportunity. Mid-level PHP developer at a financial institution 1,500 miles away for below market pay. Not a golden opportunity.
Should a recruiter mention anywhere in the email that the position is a “golden opportunity” I can say with certainty that it isn’t and your next best move is to delete the email immediately.
5. Multiple exclamation points!!!!1!!*
No matter how good the job is, no matter how much money they are offering, the use of anything more than one exclamation point in the entire email is absolutely verboten.
* That’s not a typo.
6. Not selling me on the job.
Most recruitment emails list what the company expects from us, but it is a rare email or job posting that will list what you can expect from the company. If there is any sales technique at all, it is usually a boiler plate list of bullet points mentioning the mundane aspects of the job you would expect to get at any company. 401k, “great health benefits” (usually an outright lie, Microsoft has great health benefits, pretty much everyone else sucks), and sundry other details about the company that is completely interchangeable with any other company’s list of benefits.
Where’s the sizzle? Where’s the benefits to me as a potential new employee? What do I get out of it? At least mention how much I am going to get paid!
7. You, or someone you know.
Writing in an email (usually bulk sent to hundreds of recipients) with the message “you, or someone you know” is a huge faux pas. I know recruiters are trying to roll those dice again, I know they are trying to cast their net wide, but why would I refer anyone I know, and probably like, to someone whom I have just been spammed by, and not only that, but I do not even feel like the recruiter actually took an interest in me. I was just a stepping stone to their next contact.
Do you think wooing a potential new hire with this line is going to get you noticed? At least get me a job before you start asking for access to my address book.
It is tantamount to approaching a girl at the bar and saying “I noticed you sitting over there, drinking all alone, and thought you, or some other cute girl you know, may be interested in finding out more about dating a friend that I have, here’s a one page summary detailing what I want you to provide in the future relationship. There are great benefits to dating this person such as he breathes, eats and wears clothes. Also, you will need to quit your current job and move 1,500 miles to be allowed to date him for six months. This will be an at-will agreement where he will be free to replace you with someone else whenever he chooses.”
If a recruiter contacts you and has even one of those seven warning signs I have written about, I suggest you trash the email immediately.
If a recruiter cannot take the time and care to at least verify your resume matches the job requirements, to check their grammar and punctuation and to sell you on the benefits of the job, do you really think they are going to take the time to represent you in the best light they can? For them, it’s just a numbers game, and that is all you are to a recruiter, a number with a dollar sign in front.
Good luck on your job hunt.