Chip laments the current state of Information Technology recruiting (and recruiters), and questions the etiquette of what has become the bain of information technology jobseekers, recruiter blindly mass emailing all canidates found thru a key word search. I know that the JobGals have talked about this topic recently, and even covered part of it in the post how to turn down unwanted recruiter advances, but I’ve got a few more suggestions/tips. But first, let’s make like a good architect, and give a name to this newly found pattern.
Here’s the common pattern: recruiters either don’t have the time, or don’t want to spend the time, reviewing resumes returned via a resume search. So, instead of eyeballing the resumes and only sending out emails to those that seem to qualify, they create a template document, and blast that out to all the email addresses. The idea here is that they don’t want to do the work, so instead, they figure it is just easier to “spam” jobseekers, and anyone that is truely qualified will jump at the opportunity, and contact them. The problem with this approach is that they typically do not (or can not) filter the resumes by the job seeker’s location, salary requirements, or current role. So, if you (hypothetically) happen to be a .Net solutions architect that lives in New Jersey, and happen to work on the IBM Mainframe (back in the day), you will get emails, from these types of recruiters, about Mainframe jobs in Tulsa, OK.
So, we have the pattern down, what we don’t have is a name for the pattern. So, I started thinking, and while watching the Discovery Channel, I was reminded of the show The Deadliest Catch, which led me to fishing. Hmm, fishing for fish, fishing for resumes, sounds similar. OK, but this type of resume fishing is a little, hmm, less discriminating than the typical pattern, so we need something a little more descriptive. So, what’s a form of fishing where they just cast their nets out into the open ocean and catch all the fish, indiscriminately? Trawling! That’s it, they are resume trawling!
The problem with resume trawling is that as a job seeker, you either have a great network of friends and associates where you can find your next job (see my recent LinkedIn post), or go the route of applying to advertisements, and posting your resume on job sites, like Dice and Monster, or work with a recruiting firm like JobSyntax. Resume trawling is killing the job sites, and stifling what was once a great way to find a job (or your next gig if you are a consultant). Sidenote: Dice originally stood for “Direct Independent Contractors Exchange”, and orginially was a bulletin board that you dialed into and downloaded open consulting gigs by area code (yeah, I used them back in the day, and it was a great way to hook up directly with clients, instead of having to go thru the meat market consulting firms that are now, primarily, the resume trawling offenders). So, just like the fishing version of trawling, resume trawling has drastic negative effects on the environment.
But, most of my regular readers know that I’m not one for complaining about a problem, and not giving some possible solutions. I’ve tried to tackle (pun intended) this topic before with my Tips For Posting Resumes on Job Search Websites, which contained the tip of using a Contact Code Word. I have since refined this tip. Now, when posting a resume on a job search site, I suggest the following
- Register to the job search site with a new (unique for this site) email address. This email address should not be used for anything other than for a job search on this site.
- Put only this email address in your resume (removing all contact info, except maybe the state and or region you live in, just like my original tip).
- At the top of the resume, just after the email address, place something similar to this:
Do not try to contact me via the website. Any emails sent thru the contact form will be sent to a dummy email account that I don’t read. Instead, go to my site and contact me via my contact me page (it is listed on the main page). When you do contact me, put the Code Word in the subject field. Hopefully, you will also spend some time browsing the site, which should also help you get a better idea of my background and skills.
The idea here is to filter out the recruiters that are not taking the time to actually read your resume from the ones that are reading the resume. You don’t need to have your own website, you can put an email address in its place (but I still recommend using something other than your daily email account). The important thing is to NEVER actually read all the email that is sent to the bogus account. What was happening before I added this extra step was that I would get all these emails that didn’t have the contact keyword, and I would be tempted to read them (thinking that, hey, you never know, they just may have forgot to put the contact key word). But, after doing this for a while I realized that absolutely none of the contacts I received via the job search email account was worth my time. Think about it. The recruiter that is contacting you represents a possible employer, and if the people in that company are so over worked that your first contact with them was done with little regard to quality, odds are pretty good that they treat all the employees with the same regard. Another way to think about it, “Do you want this person representing you?”. This recruiter has obviously decided to cut some corners when trying to fill this spot, so why would you want to work with them? On the flip side, any recruiter that contact you “the correct way”, well that is a recruiting who seems to take a little pride in their work, and is probably someone that you want to add to your network.
One thing that I did notice is that the majority of resume trawling contacts I have received seem to all come from the same class of firms. In the consulting industry we call them Meat Market firms, which are basically the low end (low cost) firms that treat their employees “like a piece of meat”. A number of them have even taking the time to add some verbage to the email along the lines of “this isn’t spam, by putting your resume up on a job site you wave rights to a spam free existence” (or something like that).
This industry is just starting to show signs of recovery, and we (the information technology community) really need to band together and help our career of choice grow and thrive. If you have any additional ideas, please feel free to leave a comment (or extend this thread onto your blog, if you have one).
Oh, besides putting the basic “how to contact me” paragraph in the resume, I also put my rate/salary requirements along with the fact that I don’t want to relocate. If you have anything specific you want the recruiter to know, so they can determine if you are a good fit for the job they are looking to fill, this is the place to do it, since not all job sites display this info along with your resume.