I think recruiters have a somewhat hard job and I try to reward the good ones with nice letters: http://simonsarris.com/blog/626-why-i-love-recruiters
In general, if we want recruiters to get better, we should probably think up more ways to reward the ones that do their job well. I'm not sure if there's a materially good way to do that, a way that would convince the median recruiter to improve, but it's an interesting thing to brainstorm.
If you're a good employee, the kind of person they would like to hire more of, it will carry a lot of weight if you are interested in helping with hiring. Offer to go to meetups or do other local things to get your company more visibility. And help craft job descriptions and phone screen guidelines.
Then you can just be honest about how recruiters can help with the process and how they can get in the way. A bad outside recruiter who spams the local community can destroy your reputation in the community, whereas a good recruiter can identify good prospects while also engaging with your current team to understand their feedback and understand how to sell the company to people.
While there are certainly some terrible in recruiting, there are also some wonderful people. And lots of mediocre people who will default to bad habits because of their metrics-oriented incentives but can be coached to do really good work if they have help.
I don't mind being contacted via LinkedIn, email, Twitter, etc, but cold-calling me is a strict no-no. I've got this written in bold text on top of my LinkedIn profile but yet some still insist.
When I was publishing my resume on job sites, which I haven't done in a couple years, I was getting tons of contacts, but 90%+ were spammy recruiters who obviously just read and misunderstood a couple keywords. I assume my lack of contacts is a function of my location (Dallas) and variegated EE/SysE/SE career path.
Its kinda frustrating, though, to come on sites like this and hear about how hard it is to find good developers when it seems like anyone who isn't already in one of the primary or secondary hotspots doesn't exist. Amazon is the only company that consistently reaches out to me, and they finally pitched something that isn't site reliability/security.
 Its really funny when I get power engineering pitches because they have a version that is from my pure-EE days.
 See here: http://www.incose.org/
I always give at least a response to a CTO (As a consultant, this is one way I gain repeat clients)... but I have a template that I spit back at spam recruiters to quickly weed them out.
We built Mighty Spring (https://www.mightyspring.com) to help developers overcome these recruiter-related problems.
Our goal is to provide the positive services offered by recruiters (market awareness, matched job opportunities, passive job search) through a web app that you manage on your own time (avoiding the cold calls and spammy emails).
We do this through a layer of anonymity for you, the candidate, so that you can engage with the market as much or as little as you like.
We're in private beta, but will expedite invites to the HN crowd. Email is in my profile if you have any questions.
On the other hand, I've had some really bad experiences, especially from the employer's perspective. Loads of totally unsuitable candidates, lies about their experience (like the one with "10 years of Rails experience")… I think that you probably need to build up a relationship with a good recruiter, and I'm not convinced there are many of them.
As a matter of fact, I am about to change jobs because of a recruiter that contacted my on LinkedIn. So in my case, it's been really good :-)
I've written more on being contacted by recruiteres on LinkedIn here: http://henrikwarne.com/2013/08/21/linkedin-good-or-bad/
For instance, your currently location matters a lot. Ever since I moved to NYC (from Geneva, Switzerland) I get contacted by recruiters way more often.
I get a couple of emails a week from other funds or banks asking me to go to lunch to talk about "other opportunities", but rarely do I get cold calls from recruiters.
It could be my location (Toronto Canada)
Anyone know how these recruiters are getting peoples phone numbers?
Anyone know of a good recruiter in the Toronto area?
Two years later, I get an email from a headhunter who found my original resume. It led to my current job, which I enjoy a whole lot more. One thing to keep in mind is that the salary negotiation goes through the headhunter, and it certainly seems like they get additional money the lower of a salary you accept. So never accept the first offer.
That being said, its not in the recruiter's best interest to try to maximize your salary. The difference between you earning 90k and 100k results in a trivial commission difference to the actual recruiter. His interest is aligned with placing you as quickly as possible and moving on to another position. Its very similar to how your real estate agent isn't really motivated to get you an extra 5k on your 300k home.
Are you sure about that? AFAIK, they get a percentage (20%? maybe more?) of your starting (yearly) salary. So your interests (get a high salary) are aligned with their.
I assume they also have a clause in the contract that they get paid only if the candidate stays at the job for a certain period of time. At least that's what I would demand as an employer.
The most annoying thing. I haven't been looking for a job for over a 15 months.
I have even had recruiters call my place of work asking to talk to me (which i was most seriously pissed at seeing as i have never given out the office number (come to think of it I dont actually know what it is).
Check out Gild.com, Sourcing.io, 3Sourcing, Entelo, etc.
There's no way for you to remove yourself or opt out of their databases.
I'm a developer in North-West England, predominantly C#.
It's annoying because its usually a double-purpose e-mail - we want to hire you to do some contract work OR if you'd liked to hire us to do some contracting work, we'd do that too!
Too many companies trying to scrape together resources to abuse for contract work without any intent on quality it seems.
You never know when you'll need them, so I wouldn't completely remove your contact info.
At least I hope that is the only reason.