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Dear YC companies, I responded. You could do the same.
213 points by Mc_Big_G on Apr 9, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 79 comments
This should be self explanatory, but I'm going to put it out there anyway. If you are going to spam all the freelancers in the "Freelancer" thread each month, asking for a very detailed quote, portfolio examples and an estimate, at least have the courtesy to respond.

My time is worth a lot, which is probably why you didn't respond. I don't forget which companies are rude and don't hesitate to tell others about my experience with you. I'm sure the other freelancers feel the same.


I'm not sure at what point the Valley decided that it was okay to not respond back to applicants once they were no longer interested, but it's terribly unprofessional behavior. I had an interview with a very established dotcom in San Jose, and I went through 5 interviews and talked salary with the director of the group, and then they stopped responding to my emails for some unknown reason. I emailed him directly asking for feedback, as well as the recruiters, and it was radio silence.

I applied to a bunch of companies last year, and was in the middle of the process with many of them when I decided on the company I was going to work for. I wrote them all an email notifying them, but thanking them for the opportunity to meet with them. A few startups didn't even bother responding back, but I did receive some nice emails back from some companies thanking me for letting them know, and wishing me luck at my job, and if things didn't work out, to contact them again.

I'm not saying I needed to be treated like royalty, but basic common courtesy goes a long way. As well, how you treat people that you don't need to treat well reflects on the type of company (and person) you really are.

>As well, how you treat people that you don't need to treat well reflects on the type of company (and person) you really are.

This is really an underappreciated bit of wisdom here. The true nature of a person is revealed by how they treat those that are "beneath" them (socially) or are otherwise not useful to them. Someone who is rude and demanding to waitstaff, or rude to a stranger passing by is someone who will eventually turn on you once you are no longer beneficial to them. Take these instances as warnings.

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” — Malcolm S. Forbes

Totally agree. Even worse is when a company promotes a certain set of values on their blog and elsewhere but then fails to actually be what they "preach" :|

I think you took it too far by pandering to wait staff. Their jobs are to wait. I don't think they're below me. I think they should take as much pride in their job as I do in mine, and if they don't care to even try to do well at their job, I'm going to let them know. It's one thing to be rude or obnoxious, but it's another to let them know that their service is not up to snuff.

You say it's bad to treat people "below you" badly, but I think it's even worse to believe anyone's below you, and thus, beyond scrutiny.

You are defending a position he did not take. When did he say to pander to waitstaff? All he said is don't be rude and demanding. There are ways to address deficiencies without being rude or demanding.

> You say it's bad to treat people "below you" badly, but I think it's even worse to believe anyone's below you

That's why he put it in quotes. hackinthebochs never said he thinks they are below him, just that many people do, and treat them badly. You cannot deny that there are people who think this way or that there are not some standards that society in general uses to compare people.

I've long given up on expecting a reply when I send in a resume. What amazes me is how rude some people are after you've taken the time to interview with them. Like you mentioned, some will not even dignify you with a quick reply to let you know that you didn't get the job. I think some of this behavior comes from the flawed mindset that some people have. They think "important people are too busy for things like simple courtesies, so if I neglect those, it must mean I'm too busy and therefore important".

I sent about half a dozen follow up or introduction emails emails out between April's two threads for contract work. Some were extremely detailed, offering portfolio samples, repository URLs, even contact information of former clients as references.

Not a single response, not even to say "no longer looking, but thanks!" I can't think of anything in a professional context that is more rude or disrespectful. If I spent half an hour writing a customized email and giving you 100% of the information you need and you can't spend 30 seconds to tell me you're not interested, you're just a bad person. That's all there is to it.

My experience is similar:

From time to time I partake in the HN freelancer thread. Not that I ever got any business out of it. I still think in principle it would be nice to do business with fellow HNers, that's why I keep trying it.

Usually, I get about 2-3 inquiries per month from the Freelancer thread - by far most of these from people who apparently came through a search engine and aren't HN users at all. Of these, 2 are general carpet bombing mails, asking me for things that I didn't advertise and can't/won't provide ("would you like to move to Berlin and work as an entry-level tech support person?"). Sometimes, that leaves one real contact.

Here's where things start to get on my nerves: there will typically be an exchange of 3 to 4 emails back and forth. It starts with a project introduction (which is often excellently detailed), then we're moving on to references and code samples, then we're talking fees (even though I explicitly state them on my profile website), after which it's all "I'll totally do this project with you", and after that: nothing. In two cases, there were even 30+ minutes Skype conversations, all for nothing of course.

Last month I decided to do something different, be more proactive: I sent out emails to people looking for freelancers on HN. Same procedure (see above), same results. But I got something very interesting out of it: a few of them told me they received upwards of 30 applicants! Holy crap, even for the lamer job postings!

It's now clear to me why the freelancer thread doesn't work, at least for "normal" HNers like me. As a freelancer, there is so much competition, the chances of success are exceedingly slim. Companies are drowning in applicants. Of course they're going to choose either the cheapest one, or if you're lucky enough to inhabit something of a niche, the most famous one.

So why are they not responding? Why are they just breaking off communication after a short exchange? Because they don't have any reason to value our time. There are just so many of us.

I've seen the world of freelance hiring from both sides, which gave me an interesting perspective.

As a freelancer myself, I know how annoying it is when your bank account is dwindling, you need work, but people take so long to get back to you, or don't get back to you at all. It also hurts that it is still a sellers market and you know if you hold out you'll find someone willing to pay a decent rate, but you spend all your meetings talking to people who want you to work for bargain basement prices.

On the other side - at one point I was working on a hand-curated freelancer marketplace. We posted jobs on other freelance sites to recruit the first few users for our platform. I got tons of responses, usually at least 50 for each posting. Some were clearly copy pasted, some had actually taken time to write out detailed responses. I did try and reply to everyone to tell if we wanted them on board or not, but it took a lot of time (the interface makes messaging lots of people slow). Morally I should have just spent an hour or two writing one liner replies to everyone, but the bigger issue was just the thought of all these desperate people looking for work was too depressing. So I preferred not to think about it and simply not reply to the people we weren't going to bring on board.

Was it acceptable? No, of course not. But I just wanted to show how the world looks when you're faced with a resume deluge.

Reading this made me despair.

Getting contract work online should be a last resort.

I don't really need it, it's just a point of interest. But yeah, I feel bad for people who have to live on this. Especially those with decent skills, it's very hard to compete in an environment that is polluted to the brim.

It's the same with commercial freelancer sites, by the way. Tons of lame projects, many of them quite shady or illegal, with absolute rock-bottom budgets and dozens of "developers" fighting over scraps.

Experiences like this make me think our profession truly is in the toilet right now. A view weeks ago I chided a commenter on HN for saying the software employment situation is a buyer's market and thus he has trouble treating programmers with respect. I can see why that is, though.

This is what I'm doing to put food on the table until one of my business projects gets rolling.

Dipping your toe in the water and exclaiming how it's so awful isn't constructive and just unnerves other people.

> Getting contract work online should be a last resort.

I obviously totally misunderstood this initial statement of yours somehow.

For what it's worth I just wanted to share my experiences. It's absolutely possible that I'm the only person who saw these problems and everybody else is having a positively marvelous time - that's why it's called anecdotal evidence. If that's true: sorry, I didn't want to give the wrong impression.

If the water is so polluted you burnt your toe, I think it's a very good thing to warn others about it!

What's the first resort?

For example if, like in my case, you live in the middle of nowhere or with low expectations of pay (Montevideo, Uruguay).

Frequently, people in a hiring position treat prospective candidates like cattle. They forget there is a human being behind that resume or portfolio.

All it takes is a reply like this:

    "Hello _______, We are very appreciative that you took the time to send us your _______. Once we get a chance to review your ______, we will contact if you we feel like you are a good fit.
    Best Regards,

Even just an automated response to know it arrived to the correct place. Treat the application like TCP rather than UDP.

Haha, I love the network protocol analogies that crop up here.

Works both ways in my experience. Whenever I was hiring I always got spammed by many candidates who were obviously sending out their resumes to large numbers of jobs without even bothering to read the descriptions or application instructions.

This reminded me of the time I got a Resume from someone applying for a software-engineering job. The guy somehow thought that putting "Sandwich Artist" as part of his work experience was valuable for his application. This, on a 2-page resume which could have been easily reduced to 1-page.

I got the resume before the first phone screen... he did not do well.

That's a fair point. In that case, wouldn't an automated reply be a fair solution?

My first thought was, "Isn't this sort of like job hunting? It's unrealistic to expect a company advertising a job to respond to each and every resume, regardless of how much time the user put into it. For the same reason, I would guess the "Freelancer" threads would be the same way." But the more I think about it, the more I agree with you. The difference here is that these people personally reached out to you, rather than you just sending something to "hr-resumes@intel.com" or whatever. So yeah, makes sense to me.

Why is it unrealistic to expect a company to respond to each and every resume?

I can understand a "personalized" response to be unrealistic. But at least a simple automatic e-mail saying "Thank you for applying, regretfully the position is now filled" or anything indicating "don't wait for an answer" should be the norm. Especially with a lot of large companies indicating that an answer could take up to 2 months.


All it takes is an auto-responding filter. It is one of the shittiest feelings to send a resume to a company and get no response. I've done it many times, and I have had many no-responses. The feeling never got less shitty.

It's not. I founded a recruiting company around the idea that everyone should hear back. It was time consuming though. Before we automated some of the rejection functionality, it was many hours per week for an employee to reject applications one at a time.

I have been looking for a job in manufacturing and business operations for a few years now while finishing an MS of Industrial Engineering. If I was only allowed 1 response from the prospective employer, it would be the anonymous credentials of the man/woman who did get the job.

There is a learning opportunity for me to align my expectations and my credentials to the jobs I applied to. If I could identify that major road block, I could fix it. I could apply to fewer positions knowing what was appropriate or not. Everyone else could too and there would be less resume traffic overall.

Unfortunately, it's also a learning experience of those padding their resumes.

If all it took was to apply, there would definitely be an opportunity for a data market: I would create submissions for the sole purpose of getting the credential response. From there I could build a map of what the industry is hiring. With that I can sell resume coaching services. (Amongst other data sales.)

It's also a legal minefield. There are a lot of people who'll feel they might have been unfairly overlooked in favour of the candidate with the [arguably] inferior resume due to sexism/racism etc, when actually the arguably inferior candidate came recommended/cheap/first.

There are tons of reasons. I'm not trying to be rude but, IMO, not being able to see some of the reasons implies to me that you haven't done much interviewing/hiring.

The most likely reason is to stay "in charge" of your interviewing process. If Johnny sends in a resume and he is unqualified, what do you say? "Thanks, Johnny, but you are not a fit for our organization. Best of luck!" Form letter. Awesome - that makes someone feel better? Okay... Anyway, here's the problem: Johnny writes back and asks, "What is it that I could have done differently?" Do you respond? If you do, what do you say when he writes back yet again (and again and again)?

"Scott - this is the kind of guy you want to hire! He's persistent!" Oh really? So that's all it takes to get the job you are hiring for - persistence? Of course not.

"But you can take a guy like that and train him - he'll be great, I bet!" Will he? What's your proof? He's already shown you that he's trying to punch above his weight and that he's okay with that. He's already shown you that he's kind of a PIA. What makes you so optimistic about his ability to learn?

The point is that there are lots of reasons that employers don't continue the dialog, but this is a major one. No company wants to pay someone $25,000-$100,000 a year to reply to the Johnnys of the world ad infinitum. And as for companies getting interns to reply, that's just ridiculous IMO. What CEO wants interns to be in charge of replying to job applicants? That's awful. At BEST you can train them not to *#$& up a form letter.

> The most likely reason is to stay "in charge" of your interviewing process. If Johnny sends in a resume and he is unqualified, what do you say?

When I'm hiring, I respond to each and every resume. 99% of them get a canned "Thanks for applying. Unfortunately, it's not a match, but we wish you the best of luck."

Is that so hard?

My personal answer? No. It's not.

You're programmers. Write a macro. Then tap the key.

> No company wants to pay someone $25,000-$100,000 a year to reply to the Johnnys of the world ad infinitum.

First, this is ludicrous; even if you're sending thousands or tens of thousands of these letters, you can have a process that doesn't cost but a penny or two more than REVIEWING the email in the first place does.

Second, any company that can't design good processes that work well and cheaply isn't a place where I want to work.

> Is that so hard?

Yes, actually. To say that it isn't implies that either (a) you aren't doing much hiring, or (b) that the number of applicants you get is very small. For an admin position, we might get 150 applications. Of those, less than 50% will have met the stated job requirements/pre-reqs. Even if I were to automate it, how much time have I spent automating it? Maintaining it? And for each person, there's certainly a few seconds/minutes of "Let me make sure I get the name right..." And that's just one position. It is hard to do what you're saying, unless (a) you aren't doing much hiring, or (b) that the number of applicants you get are very small.

So in other words you're saying that your time is so incredibly valuable that you should be made exempt from the generally acceptable standards of behavior?

(I've spent 20+ years in the tech biz. I've probably hired a few hundred people myself. I've never been "too busy" to live up to the bare minimum professional standards of behavior. To me this smells less like being too busy - and more like being too arrogant.)

Time to hire a recruiter. His/Her job would be to be a point of contact, responding to candidates and filtering them, even with the help of talenbuddy or the likes.

Did you miss this line from the parent's post?

    But at least a simple automatic e-mail saying "Thank you for applying, regretfully the position is now filled" or anything indicating "don't wait for an answer" should be the norm. 
Your argument is that its better to be rude and not even send out an auto-reply because of the possibility that they will reply and want more information. But who cares? If the auto-respond email says "We'll get back to you if we are interested" then the conversation is over for the time being. It is then not rude to ignore any subsequent emails from the job applicant.

Let me frame this another way. Sometimes I find that Gmail doesn't always deliver my mail. It's rare, but it happens. A simple auto-reply can give people the peace of mind that they are at least being considered.

> Johnny writes back and asks, "What is it that I could have done differently?" Do you respond?

You respond back and say "Unfortunately, due to the high number of responses we received, we're unable to go into detail as to why we moved forward with some applicants and not others. We wish you the best in the future." Further responses go straight to the trash (unless they stand out enough to be placed on the never-hire-these-people-ever list).

I'm not trying to be rude but, IMO, not being able to see some of the reasons implies to me that you haven't done much interviewing/hiring.

I don't think you are rude and you are right I haven't done a lot of hiring but I have done numerous interviews along the years and applied dozens of times. As a matter of fact I am currently applying right now.

I understand your point about the personalized response saying explicitely "you are not fit for our organization" or even more "you lack this and that". It could be opening a door to a "negociation" and lead to a lot of lost time. And when you have dozens or hundreds or applicants it really is not possible.

But this kind of response goes a long way from a simple "the position has been filled" when it has been filled, even if it is a month afterwards. This helps the candidate to understand that the company is not interested in his application anymore.

In my opinion it shows a lot from the company and does not cost "that" much of time it the process is automated (and I think it should be for the majority of cases).

I think you're overestimating what applicants are expecting here. Obviously a form rejection opens up a lot of problems, but a form acknowledgement doesn't share those issues. Something as simple as "Thank you for your resume, we will review it and contact you if it appears that we may have a position suitable for you." Stress on the "will review" so that it's clear the applicant hasn't been considered yet, favorably or otherwise.

In particular, I consider this worthwhile for resumes submitted at various career fairs. The process employed there frequently comes down to handing over a paper resume and being told "Thank you for your resume, we'll digitize it and put it into our system." This is far from reassuring, particularly after the first few times you get clear proof that your resume was never digitized at all. A form note simply acknowledging the submission provides your applicants with confidence that their resume is truly in your possession and a better feeling than applying to a black hole.

I think more companies could do with having an intern or assistant to help handle these kinds of things. No, you don't want your $1K/hour CEO manually replying to 150 emails, but having someone who represents the company simply acknowledge your existence goes a long way towards good will.

It's the same with client relationships: we may be neck-deep in server fires at the moment, and know there's no way we'll be able to fix something today, let alone before the end of the week, but simply having someone reply "Yes, we'll handle this, and I'll take care of following up with the development team for you and get back with you shortly" goes a long, long way to putting a client at ease.

No, you don't want your $1K/hour CEO manually replying to 150 emails

Isn't it a fundamental startup-culture tenet that the CEO should be a "whatever needs to be done" actor within the company?

Yes, in so far as he needs to be that actor -to keep the creatives from having to context switch.-

To borrow Spolsky's yacht analogy, the captain has 40 people running around below deck to ensure that the engine keeps running, the beds get made, and the meals show up on time. You don't want your customers (your developers and your designers) to have to think about anything besides where they want to go and what to have for lunch.

But it'd be a pretty inefficient boat captain who tried to rebuild the engine and cook a 5-star meal at the same time.

I don't think rebuilding the engine and 5-star cookery are apt analogies for replying to emails spurred by the company's own inquiries.

> Isn't it a fundamental startup-culture tenet that the CEO should be a "whatever needs to be done" actor within the company?

I think you're taking this too far.

your statement is true if they have nothing else to do.

However, if the company needs money and the choice is between your CEO fundraising or answering emails then I'd rather have my CEO fundraising.

There are only so many hours in a day and you can't expect your CEO to do all tasks that no one else wants to do.

> I think more companies could do with having an intern

Is this allowed in the US? In several European countries, legislation on interns is very strict: they need to have a specific project to work on, that is not part of the day-to-day functions of the host company. This is to stop companies depressing the wage market by using unprotected interns instead of salaried workers.

So you can take an intern to design and launch a new recruitment process, or other "project" work, but not just to offload recurring tasks.

You can't substitute a cheaper intern for a full time employee in the US for the same reasons you state. It's even questionable to have interns working on anything that adds to the bottom line of your business.

I think some people are confusing people who "apply" for jobs vs. startups actually going after a freelancer to help them. If someone applies for a job it would certainly be good business practice to give a personalized or automated response acknowledging receipt of a resume or portfolio. If a startup specifically reaches out to a freelancer, by spamming all the freelancers as OP puts it, then the startups better respond to the people who respond to them!

I don't feel like people are confusing anything. The issue is being generalized from a specific problem. In either case, it is rude not to respond.

I agree in both cases it is rude not to respond. But in one case the potential employer is the one who reached out first. For example, when I got out of college I brushed off the fact that an employer didn't respond to my resume at all. That didn't make me angry. What did make me confused was someone who specifically reached out to me to try to hire me through email and a phone call and then fell off the face of the earth when I followed up via email with a resume and more details. Sure that person might have been busy and had more important hires to make than a post-grad, but it was still rude and I probably won't forget it.

Yup. I had a similar experience in college when I applied for an internship at Facebook, got back an enthusiastic-sounding response asking me for my availability for a phone screen, and then the recruiter dropped off the face of the earth and never responded to me again.

I agreed to a job offer from a company, and by the Friday before I was to start, I hadn't heard from them on where exactly I was supposed to show up on Monday morning. I emailed them about it, and they replied, "Oh, oops, we neglected to inform you that we restructured our existing staff and don't need you any more."

Yes, this. As a group, it's a bad practice that will result in reluctance to respond on the part of the best freelancers.

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that if you contact me first and I write you back, you should write back again even if you don't want me anymore. If I contacted you first, it will still be nice to hear back but I will not lose my sleep over it.

I agree this is pretty clear. Why is it so difficult?

> I don't forget which companies are rude and don't hesitate to tell others about my experience with you

Well, do tell others. Where are the names?

You are seeing this with an employee mindset. As a freelancer, you are a one man business. Thus, you get treated as such. Businesses don't usually have the common courtesy you described. Let me ask you a question? Have you ever stopped ignoring a sales person? Even after they gave you their time in order to try and close the sale? Did you say "Hmm, I should be courteous and let them know how much I appreciate it"? No, you did not. Because you know that's part of their job. Getting rejected. Getting ignored. Part of being a freelancer is being rejected, and being ignored. No one owes you anything. This is business. Rather than making a fool out of yourself publicly (and reducing any potential client you might have had here), why don't you decide to polish up your sales skills? Maybe improve your marketing?

I've never ignored a sales person that I initiated contact with, which I believe is the topic of this discussion. If it gets to the point that you're not interested, you tell them as such. It's corteous, and if you want to look at it in the self-serving point of view, you stop the repeat phone calls and emails because you just fell off the face of the earth after asking for information.

Asking for a detailed quote (where the one time effort taken to create the quote is significant compared to the value of the contract) probably isn't reasonable.

If you ask 500 freelancers to spend a day making a quote for a months work, you just cost many times your contract value.

A suggestion:

A better way is to describe the contract, and provide a brief 'pre-qualification questionnaire' where a candidate proves that it is worth both your time proceeding.

After that, you invite bids from the top say 6 applicants, and work with them to get the best bid possible.

As a freelancer, you can put a great deal of time into carefully considering the needs of a new/prospective client, developing a preliminary plan for the project and preparing a carefully considered estimate. This is typically done gratis. It is in one's best interest to spend this prospecting time on the highest likelihood/value prospective clients. Behavior like the spam-and-ignore on behalf of some of these companies reflects poorly on the group and will make the best freelancers reluctant to participate.

As an aside for freelancers, I recommend following Brennan Dunn's work:

http://brennandunn.com/ http://brennandunn.com/category/podcast/ http://doubleyourfreelancingrate.com/ http://doubleyourfreelancingrate.com/build-a-consultancy http://doubleyourfreelancingrate.com/the-blueprint

He does _so_ much for the freelancer community.

As a freelancer I understand where you're coming from. On the other hand, we're a business. How many times have we gone into a store, and are "just looking"? Went to a lot, test drove a car, and said we needed to leave and "think about it"? Called prospective businesses for pricing and never followed up with them?

Part of doing business is servicing those who may not be paying customers. You must have that time margin built in. Is it rude for potential customers to not follow up, even to let us know nothing's happening? Maybe. I'd never call a lot back to let them know I was just prospecting, either.

If your freelance practice can't bear to lose time like this, you need to rethink your pricing or your chosen profession.

You're thinking about time spent designing/coding as a commodity, which it isn't. A storefront selling widgets exists explicitly to handle a never-ending stream of potential customers, but the investment per customer is very low.

When someone calls and asks for days or weeks of my time to put a quote together (pre-sale & often without pay). And then, if the quote moves forward to billable work, there's an expectation that I'll immediately block off months of my time to hold up my end of the bargain.

I think the relationship is quite different than someone merely "selling something", and should be treated as such.

I think the analogies you make to other types of sales aren't terribly strong. Walking through a brick and mortar store without buying anything takes effectively no time from the business - they can handle many customers in parallel. By contrast, calling prospective business or test driving a car does involve at least acknowledging the seller. You might not tell them you've bought a different car, but you also don't hear the proposed price and hang up the phone without a word, which is a closer analogy to getting an offer and replying with nothing, not even a form letter.

Relationships with potential contractors, or anyone, really require the same two things: respect and communication. Replying--even a short message--in this case would satisfy this; you respect them enough to recognize their effort on your behalf, and communicate that this (for the time being) will be the end of your interest.

I started doing a litmus test with a 1-3 liner where I give them points for professionalism/courteousness. The ones that pass are amazing people to get to know, not just work with. Though I might be generalizing too much, I found it separates the ones with sincerity.

It's not just YC, it's founders all over.

This is why I used to ask some upfront payment for price estimation. Not much but enough to find if someone is serious and targeting me or if it's just a mass email to hundreds of people. In latter case I stood zero chance against students who would quote $100 for virtually anything.

Just to clarify a detail: There are like ~500 official YC backed startups, but many also independent companies read the freelance/hiring thread. You are complaining that many of the YC-startups didn't answer or there were generic companies?

I think it's apparent from the post that it's about companies responding to posts in a news.yc thread. It's not a VC thing.

Anyone interested in putting something together so that we can start aggregating the worst violators? I know I'd use that list not just to filter out the time-wasters but also to apply pain-pricing.

May I humbly suggest my site http://www.oncontracting.com I'm still testing it in Seattle but would happily work on adding new content from elsewhere.

This is the single most frustrating thing I experience when I freelance from time to time. It is also the reason I don't use that thread.

I am often willing to give decent sized discounts for people who communicate well. I'll take the cut in pay for someone who is courteous and responds in a somewhat quickly manner. I should NOT be more excited and engaged about your project than you are. It has gotten to the point lately I will turn down sizable jobs because of their lack of communication. It isn't worth the hassle.

There's no excuse for ANY company to totally fail to respond to applicants in the present day. There are so many automated HR and recruitment platforms out there now, it's poor on the part of non-responding companies and illustrates what kind of people are running the ship. This, 'we're a startup and too busy to eat' crap is nothing short of a lame excuse.


Actually, asking for my portfolio is one of the most annoying things. The link to my portfolio was in my "Freelancer" post and you could take the domain from my email address and paste that in a browser address bar if you want to know who I am.

Also, the request said " It'd be great if in your reply, you could tell me experience / portfolio sites directly relevant to our requirements and setup". That requires thoughtfulness and time.

In both cases, it would depend on the nature of your work and the kind of client. If your work varies, you may want to highlight some areas of your portfolio to be more appropriate for a specific pitch. Similarly, a quote is rarely as simple as "you want a website/design/some sysadmin work, that'll be $price". You need to evaluate the task in order to give a sensible idea of your costs.

for realz. blog + portfolio + about page should take like 2 seconds to send

If you "take like 2 seconds" to prepare and send a detailed quote and estimate, I'm never hiring you.

He mentioned (pasting links to) blog/portfolio/about page, not detailed quote and estimate.

Exactly. That omission costs him the job.


Word of advice for responding to OPs: read the post before telling OP they're doing it wrong.

OP: "asking for a very detailed quote, portfolio examples and an estimate..."

You: "when you send a resume out and don't get a reply"

These are not the same. A response to an RFP is not a "cold resume". It's not an application. It's custom, one off, strategic work at the requester's request, and deserves at least an acknowledgement.

I'm not sure you read the OP? He's talking about companies contacting HIM to ask his rates and then not responding once he offers it? Hence the use of the term 'spam'?

People who are too busy to handle the hiring process should NOT post job ads. Period. That's what OP is talking about -- disrespect. If you place an ad, with very detailed requirements, and are not prepared to handle the process of application intake and processing, then you are wasting everyone's time and showing blatant disrespect to candidates.

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