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I Finally Deleted my LinkedIn Account (thomashunter.name)
71 points by renownedmedia 1492 days ago | hide | past | web | 60 comments | favorite

I'm a recruiter and I simply do not understand things like this. Sure, many of my colleagues have given us a reputation for being incompetent assholes. But many of my friends contact me the second they are looking for a new job because they know I like to help people out. Isn't pressing archive on a couple annoying emails worth meeting someone like that?

When the market isn't so good, maybe people will stop thinking of these people as annoyances (though I understand 95% of them ARE worthless annoyances) and realize that these people can be a valuable tool to help them get a job. Hell, I don't charge for a single placement I make where it is a friend being placed. If a friend says "hey do you know a recruiter/hiring manager at place x? I'd like to work there." My answer is usually "yes" and they do. Call the people in the field annoying all you want, but I imagine someday people will realize they were being a bit immature with stuff like this. It's almost as if people need to pad their ego by bragging about how many of these annoying emails they get and then start doing things like writing blogs about how theyre deleting a useful tool because of it. Makes no sense to me.

The problem is, as you say, 95% of tech recruiters are utterly incompetent, and even the good ones don't have a firm grasp of specific technologies.

I once had a conversation with a recruiter that went like this:

"I see you're very qualified for this senior back-end position I have. Do you know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript?"

"I do, but those are front-end technologies, and I'm not interested in a front-end job at this time. Thanks, anyway."

"No, this is a back-end job."

"I think you have the definition of front-end and back-end switched around."

"You know, I'm looking at your résumé again and I think maybe you're under qualified for this role. I have a junior position..."

"Goodbye." (click)


It's not just the emails. It's the constant phone calls, too. Software developers get tired of talking to "air-quote recruiters", e.g., "Are you familiar with... 'Hadoop'?"

I understand these guys aren't going to be experts, but given that most positions are found through referrals, some tech people just feel like it's not worth the hassle.

>The problem is, as you say, 95% of tech recruiters are utterly incompetent

The real problem is the barrier to entry for a recruiter is low. Companies will create a supplier portal and recruiting firms will take a req, and have Offshore "recruiters" troll dice, LinkedIn, etc and cold call on their crappy VOIP lines.

I understand your concerns, but you're basically doing exactly what I was complaining about. Deciding that because you had a bad experience, EVERY SINGLE PERSON in this field is an idiot. Hell, I've interviewed thousands of engineers over the past few years. If I decided engineers had x feature because a few engineers did something stupid that would be unfair, as is this.

Answer these please:

How can I know you aren't one of the 95% who will waste my time? Why should I even talk to you?

How can I know you won't misrepresent me?

What are the consequences of you screwing me over? (Lost time, lost opportunity, reputation damage)

How is your rate of success measured?

It's not like this is a single "oh, I met a bad recruiter once" anecdote, this is an industry wide plague.

That's an example, not the sole occurrence.

You are the one who called 95% of your colleagues worthless. I was agreeing with you.

I said 95% are bad, but the good ones are really good and can provide a ton of value. You said 95% are bad and the rest are clueless. I don't see that as agreement but maybe I misread.

I read it as "95% are bad, so its not worth the hassle in the hope that you end up with one of the good 5%".

I and most of the people I know have received all of their jobs through conferences/meetups, word of mouth/direct referrals etc and I find that much more pleasant than dealing with linkedin and phone spam. I do still maintain a LinkedIn account though.

I am now cofounder of a startup and, despite my LinkedIn profile clearly stating this, I still received messages from recruiters about jobs.

So how does one find the good ones? :)

Look at their work history, read what they are actually writing. If they are specific about the role, the company and why you fit, they are probably good. If there is a list of qualifications and no real reasoning as to why they are contacting you specifically, they probably aren't very good.

I said this in another post, but even as a recruiter, I get contacted constantly and I usually just look at the persons work history, the specifics of the offer, if they actually seem credible, (does person offering you job at Google actually work at Google?) and if they're offering something that actually makes sense for you. If those are the case, they're probably not dreadful.

> It's not just the emails. It's the constant phone calls, too.

Why do people make their email and phone number visible and then complain about unsolicitied contact? LinkedIn has privacy settings, you might as well use them. I have an account for years and only get a handful of job invites per month, if that.

Making your details private does not stop unsolicited contact; there are common tricks recruiters play to contact you anyway.

This whole thing reminds me of the H-1B debate in a way. What we have here is a heavily bimodal system that is also poorly understood. There are amazing recruiters (I've the pleasure of knowing a few), and then there are awful recruiters. There doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground - you're either in the "awesome, great to work with" camp, or you're in the "omfg leave me alone" camp.

What you have here are people treating recruiters as a monolithic entity instead of the highly binary one that it actually is.

Knowing some good recruiters is extremely valuable. I agree that sometimes these "hurr recruiterzzz" posts seem like attention-seeking or bragging. I ignore almost all recruiter contacts on LinkedIn, and they waste 10-20 seconds of my life daily. Hardly something worth a blog post about.

Anyways, something concrete from the post that bothered me:

> "For now on, if I like a company, I’ll contact them."

And you can do this while still talking to recruiters. I contact companies occasionally just to chat, even if I'm not looking for work, simply because I find their work interesting and want to make the introduction. I also talk to recruiters, because I am not an encyclopedic source for good companies in my area.

The secret is talking to good recruiters and wasting no time with bad ones.

I guess the problem I have is that people seem entirely unable to do anything but "well all recruiters suck" nowadays, when that is very, very clearly not the case. Of course a lot of recruiters suck and are annoying, but when you translate that into "all recruiters suck, fuck them, I'm not talking to them", frankly you're hurting yourself.

In the last 3 weeks I've had a couple different CTOs ask me to meet so I can teach them a bit more about hiring. I'm not harassing these people into taking a meeting. They are emailing me because they know that I can teach them skills that would help them and their company grow. If people want to shut out a source of value like this, than that is their own choice, but it's certainly not one I agree with.

Of course a lot of recruiters suck and are annoying, but when you translate that into "all recruiters suck, fuck them, I'm not talking to them", frankly you're hurting yourself.

If and only if the benefit you receive from the good recruiters outweighs the hassle of talking to and vetting all the bad recruiters in order to find the good ones.

This isn't always the case. I get that you're frustrated by the demonization of your industry, but I suspect you don't really appreciate just how much of a useless time-suck a bad recruiter can be, and just how small the ratio of good to bad recruiters is.

If I were in a position to land an interview for any job I was interested in, how would I be hurting myself by ignoring recruiters? Indeed, if I'm not even interested in a new position, how would what you say be true? Access to a recruiter's hidden list of jobs I don't know I want yet? Is a recruiter going to convince me, know my mind better? I find that doubtful. Anytime I went looking for a job I've tried to work out who the company were and route around the recruiter.

CTO's ignoring recruiters is one thing, developers I've met do not see recruiters as a source of value, rather an occasionally necessary evil.

I don't really understand your comment. You seem to simultaneously acknowledge the problem and complain about someone else acknowledging and doing something about it.

I have very little reason to doubt that you are a good recruiter. And I think it is very respectable of you to help out friends who are looking for work and for whom you can make useful connections. But how many of those friends did you meet through LinkedIn? How many of those inquiries are coming to you through LinkedIn? Could all of them not be made just as well (if not better) through personal email?

The fact of the matter, which you readily admit, is that most recruiters on LinkedIn aren't very good. If 95% are "worthless annoyances" then why would any qualified person stick around on the platform hoping to meet the rare gem like you that might actually understand how to do the job properly?

> "then why would any qualified person stick around on the platform hoping to meet the rare gem like you"

Because there isn't really another good way to meet exclusively good recruiters. This might mean the market is ripe for disruption (i.e., a place where good engineers can meet good recruiters without all the noise).

It's the same game as online dating. 99% of the people you will meet you will not have a relationship with, but lacking a better alternative you must wade through the 99% to get to the 1%.

> "Could all of them not be made just as well (if not better) through personal email?"

LinkedIn's value is not as a communications platform. Anyone can throw up a textbox and send someone the contents of said text field. LinkedIn is known for discoverability - and that remains an unsolved problem. Not every programmer has an up to date resume, on their website, and properly SEO'ed to boot.

So the question is, without LinkedIn, how would a (good) recruiter even find your email address with which to contact you?

There are alternate ways of discovery, but each one seems to leave a large group of qualified candidates on the floor. Not everyone is on StackOverflow, not everyone is on Github, etc.

"So the question is, without LinkedIn, how would a (good) recruiter even find your email address with which to contact you?"

That's a great question. You should ask a good recruiter. Because there were surely recruiters, and good ones, plying their trade before LinkedIn.

I'm willing to state, unequivocally, that if a recruiter's top talent discovery system is LinkedIn, that recruiter is not a good recruiter.

My relatively uninformed opinion is that to be a good recruiter you have to forge relationships. And I'm pretty sure a lot of us would agree that LinkedIn is not a good platform for forming relationships.

" I don't really understand your comment. You seem to simultaneously acknowledge the problem and complain about someone else acknowledging and doing something about it."

There isn't much to understand really. While there are many bad recruiters you should just archive their email. There are some good ones. The more ways good ones have to contact you (though I would admit, contact through a community other than linkedin would generally be a signal of a "good one") the more ways you have to make a connection. With bad recruiters, simply archive their email, with good ones, just keep in touch.

The implication that the OP is "doing something about it" by deleting their linkedin account and making blog post #428934892 where people complain about recruiters because of a bad experience is a bit ridiculous. What does that accomplish? I guess I just don't really see whining about a problem as doing something about it. Seems like the flavor of the week to talk about how recruiters suck because you had a bad experience with one and that one just wants to get a rep by pretending like they're so overwhelmed with headhunter emails they just can't handle it. As many have said, bad recruiter=hit archive. good recruiter=build a relationship with. That is a much better way to "do something about it" than writing another blog post about how bad recruiters are because you didn't like one...

"What does that accomplish?"

Well, deleting the account sends a signal to LinkedIn, albeit tiny, that it isn't providing value to him. It also removes a (presumably) quality engineer from the pool of talent available to be found on LinkedIn. This eventually will force the good recruiters to look elsewhere for engineering talent.

The blog post is an attempt to amplify those two signals.

I agree that whining isn't helping much, if at all, when you think about it as whining. I'm mostly agreeing with the deletion of the account, not so much the blog post announcing it.

If you are offended by the blog post, but can see the validity in actually removing yourself from a network that isn't providing much value, then we agree on everything.

I deleted my LinkedIn account about a year ago. I still regularly work with recruiters and talk with them. The key difference is the recruiters I now work with are very good. They understand me, the jobs, the industry, everything. Having to find me on github and StackOverflow becomes a great filter.

> It's almost as if people need to pad their ego by bragging about how many of these annoying emails they get and then start doing things like writing blogs about how theyre deleting a useful tool because of it.

I agree with this impression. I feel especially inadequate when some people talk about getting 2 - 3 calls or emails a day and I feel lucky to get 3 in a month if I don't have my resume posted on Dice. That said, my own experiences with recruiters have also generally been negative. Over 95%[1] of unsolicited emails I get are inappropriate for my skills and experience, sometimes wildly so. I even get this from in-house recruiters at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, though these recruiters tend to misunderstand my systems engineering background[2].

This is coming from someone who wants to find one of the good recruiters. I see the value they provide, and I think I would benefit from it because of my geographic location and unorthodox background. Spending two years looking for another job and having to deal with the above has left me very recruiter-weary, though.

[1] Probably not a coincidence that this ratio is about the same as the number of recruiters you call "worthless annoyances".

[2] I was a classical systems engineer: http://www.incose.org/practice/fellowsconsensus.aspx

> I'm a recruiter and I simply do not understand things like this. Sure, many of my colleagues have given us a reputation for being incompetent assholes. But many of my friends contact me the second they are looking for a new job because they know I like to help people out. Isn't pressing archive on a couple annoying emails worth meeting someone like that?

I'm sure that a fellow like yourself, who seems quite considerate of others' time, can appreciate that it depends how easy it is to tell you apart from the less exemplary members of your profession. There might be some fantastic recruiters out there but if it takes five minutes to see whether someone's serious and people have to pay that cost for every interaction - are they really going to do it?

It's not like someone's just paying the cost once or twice to talk to you, they're paying the cost with every bit of spam they go through to find you.

I know that's something I have extreme reluctance to do. I get hundreds of emails every weekend, most work-related. If the field is heavily slanted towards abusive personalities, then almost every time I invest in that activity, rather than dealing with one of the pressing issues, it feels like I've wasted my time. Very discouraging when the returns are purely hypothetical, (never met a recruiter who made me feel like he was taking me seriously.)

People have either totally forgotten that SV is highly cyclic, or else are 22 and were children during the last bust. The market will crash again, as SV does every decade or so.

It may surprise you, but there are developers outside SV.

And outside SV, were the ventures aren't so highly speculative, the market hasn't been cyclic.

In fact, in my now 25+ year career in tech, the market for developers where I live has never crashed.

Don't worry about it. Just as you're quietly making placements while a small minority of top developers brag about the uselessness of recruiters, plenty of developers on here and elsewhere are quietly working with recruiters to find positions. Just a few weeks ago I recommended an acquaintance to a recruiter and now that acquaintance is a CTO in a nearly ideal situation for both him and his new employer, and I thought the recruiter easily translated the employer needs to my acquaintance's skill set despite not being a standout in any way. Sure, if my friend was Zed Shaw, this recruiter wouldn't have been able to handle him, but there are recruiters who can. It's no different than the need for multiple skill/experience tiers of people who do the same job on paper in any profession.

I think that along will come a recruiter on HN that shows that recruiting is good business in the way patio11 changed the way a lot of people here think about sales, which is another thing developers OBVIOUSLY never have to stoop down to touch, until they do.

You know... As someone who works in a very hard nice of IT to find talent (Linux systems engineering at an electronic trading firm), I think recruiters aren't always necessary. Once you've been in the industry long enough, you can just reach out to friends and former coworkers. It is similar to using a recruiter, but they tend to cut all of the BS. Granted, I've worked with 1-2 great recruiters, but I've also talked / emailed back and forth with hundreds of marginally competent or fully incompetent ones. Using professional recruiters is necessary at times, but when it isn't it is much less of a pain.

Completely agree they aren't always necessary. If you don't need someone immediately you should absolutely hire a referral through friends. I usually get hired when an organization needs to scale up a bit more quickly than that.

Keyword: Friend. Most recruiters don't do the effort to make developers feel that they're cared for and in good hands. Hell, lots of times they don't even read the CV, all they care is that you have the right buzzword there.

I believe the author was more annoyed by bad recruiter emails ("dinky little HTML and CSS job positions from recruiters who don’t understand any of the technology requirements") than recruiter emails in general. Unfortunately, there's no way to easily differentiate when reading an email subject header.

ryguytilidie, I'd like to have a good recruiter experience. Could you contact me? Email's in my profile. Thanks.

This seems like a silly post designed purely to preach to the "recruiters? Ha!" choir.

There's literally zero downside to having a LinkedIn account. The emails are too annoying? Auto-archive them and send them to a 'Recruiting Spam' folder which you browse every few weeks (or never).

Privacy concerns? Another company having a bunch of data on you including where you're from, where you went to school, and where you've worked?

Disclaimer: I have a LinkedIn account, but I'm likely deleting it soon.

All information you've explicitly disclosed to them yourself.

If you'd complained about how much stuff companies like this infer about you then you'd have more of a case about privacy. e.g I've never given Facebook my phone number but I'm almost certain that FB already knows what it is since my friends have it in their address books. Address books which they've (perhaps unwittingly) handed over to countless companies. Even then, me leaving such services doesn't stop them from knowing things about me.

Prior to using LinkedIn I, like many others, kept my resume on a publicly accessible website. For me this means there is zero downside to moving all that information to LinkedIn, and only upsides - While I haven't accepted any jobs that came my way via LinkedIn, I've learned about some interesting new companies I never would have been exposed to otherwise, and I now get some more useful metrics on who viewed my resume.

I would see friend requests from people you don't like on linked in as a downside. You don't want them to know you don't like them, yet you don't want to be 'linked' with them on linked in.

I owe my livelihood to both LinkedIn and my personal blog. Without either, I wouldn't have the great job I have at the moment; 100% remote work.

I think deleting your LinkedIn account is a net loss, what's the downside of _having_ a LinkedIn account?

Well, remote job isn't exclusively connected to linkedin and personally i think that remote jobs are going to become more and more common with time. Linkedin is, mostly, useful for headhunters and people who want to sell themselves (which is totally legal, but it's personal choice). I've deleted my linkedin account and doing just fine with one important addition -> don't have to pump my ego on profile and live all that shit related to virtual narcissism. So, if you ask me, it's much better in mental sense.

I don't know what you mean by 'better in a mental sense'. I have my LinkedIn account and log in at best every 2 months. I don't even realize when I have internal linkedin notifications. People contact me by email, not by linkedin.

Do you have any tips about finding remote work on LinkedIn?

I wish more recruiters actually used LinkedIn.

I moved from NY almost two years ago, and I still get calls/emails for NY based positions. A quick glance at my LinkedIn profile will clearly show that I do not live in NY anymore.

There is no magic behind LinkedIn. You are discoverable based on the amount of information you enter. Do not list skills or job descriptions (w/ buzzwords) and your hit rate will go down. Forget what LinkedIn suggests, your profile does not need to be 100% completed.

I've never treated LinkedIn as anything but the modern corollary to a Rolodex. I happily deleted my Facebook account a couple years ago, but, at least once a month (if not more often) make good use of linked-in to track down the email address of a past coworker and/or see what they are up to these days.

I'm not on LinkedIn because of the recruiting. Most of the recruiting messages I've received have been either friendly (I tell them "No thanks, let's talk in a year or so") or so ham-handed and over the top that I've passed the howlers around.

(The only time in 35 years that I found a job through a recruiter, it was a train wreck. I doubt the recruiters on LinkedIn are much different).

I'm on LinkedIn because it's fun to find and talk to prior cow-orkers without involving the privacy catastrophe that is Facebook.

I don't have a LinkedIn account because I don't think that any social network's management can be trusted over the mid to long term on matters relating to privacy, etc. LinkedIn is better than others so far, but the incentives do not align.

Yet I still get a not insignificant amount of spam connection requests.

Then don't give LinkedIn any information that you wouldn't want becoming public? The tool is just as useful with just your résumé transcribed into their system as it is with that plus a bunch of your secrets.

The "I tried to call you" e-mail brings me to my tangential pet peeve: why can't more recruiters do more of their business by e-mail?

Seriously, if you want to chat with me on a matter that I'm going to need discretion in (like, say, leaving the company that owns the cubicles) we're going to have to arrange a time in advance.

That's a lot of effort to find out that my skills are a poor match for the position, or (as happens a lot) that I've already been talking to your client.

Funny. I simply put "I'm not interested in recruiters or open positions at this time. I will mark them as spam." at the top of my profile. The spam connection request have stopped completely.

I used to have this in my 'how to contact me" spot in the profile, but LinkedIn failed to surface that section correctly in the public profile. Half of this is their fault.

I have a similar blurb in my profile, although I don't go as far as saying "I'll mark them as spam". But I have a very explicit section, labeled "NOTE TO RECRUITERS I am NOT interested in ..." in there.

With that, I do still get a few recruiter contacts every now and then, but it's just a trickle.

You will find you still get LinkedIn invites from recruiters. And LinkedIn will send you a "reminder" email about the invitation every couple of weeks. Still don't understand why LinkedIn feels it needs to be so slimy.

My presence on LinkedIn got me my last two jobs, and LinkedIn wasn't a thing when I started my first. This last job was through one of these cold-emails through a recruiter. As it has been said by other commenters, it's really what you make of it. I treat LinkedIn as a professional version of Facebook that I actually take care to prune, which really just makes it a glorified Rolodex.

It's also worth noting that you don't even have to be notified of all these bothersome emails, let alone reply to them, and can clearly indicate whether or not you wish to be contacted about work (granted, that can be ignored, but the good ones won't).

In an ideal world when it comes time to look for a new role you'd browse all the companies with positions open. It's frustrating though, that many, many companies don't advertise the positions because the effort of sorting through thousands of replies is too much, so they outsource that by going through a recruiter.

The recruiters though are typically inexperienced due to high churn rate, so it's almost random luck that you'd get a good fit for a job interview, particularly if they lie to both you and the employer before the interview to make it seem like there's a fit.

It's definitely inefficient, what's the solution here?

Networking. Funny enough, LinkedIn is a pretty decent tool for that. I got my current job by contacting a friend here and I would not know I have a contact here without having found that via LI.

It's a self-updating rolodex for me.

I deleted my LinkedIn account and I still get emails from them. LinkedIn, I beg of you, please leave me alone.

I honestly don't get spammed by these recruiters. What's the difference between my account and all these other people who are getting "spammed"?

We probably throw way too many acronyms in there that don't need to be mentioned (e.g. HTML and CSS).

We have a stupid amount in common, sent you an email with a question about something. I promise I'm not a recruiter.

+1 sir. Good devs need no stinking LinkedIn.

Good recruitments happen through good contacts anyway.

Curious: what sites are alternatives to LinkedIn? Who is LinkedIn's competition?

There's xing.com (formerly OpenBC), which is very popular in Germany.

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