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I don't get all the recruiter hate. You're the pretty girl/handsome guy at the dance, for now. The unsolicited attention will fade with age. Enjoy it while it lasts.

I'm sure this isn't universal (though I don't think I'm the only one), but my experience with recruiters has been a series of cold emails for jobs that aren't even close to my areas of expertise in areas nowhere near where I'm located. They usually incorporate some form of "if this isn't a good opportunity for you, can you please forward it to someone else" with no attempt to actually get to know me or what I'm looking for. That type of stuff is borderline spam, regardless of market demand.

The forward it to someone else is probably what comes off as most offensive if you haven't developed any rapport with the recruiter. I get tons of referrals now from past candidates, but I almost never ask for referrals. I'd rather be the one not asking for them, which differentiates me from most other firms out there.

If they didn't ask you to forward, would you freely respond with what you in fact are looking for, or would the recruiter specifically have to ask that? I usually phrase my intros by saying if the opportunity I presented isn't something you are interested in, I'd like to learn about what types of things would interest you so I can let you know about only those opportunities if they happen to come across my desk. Response varies, even with that added line.

When I get a cold email, especially if the email doesn't show any particular knowledge about who I am or what I do, I almost always want to know how the person emailing me came across my email and decided to email me. It's fine if I get an email about an opportunity isn't a fit for me, but I would like to know who or what gave the impression that it was so I can correct it.

The forward request is a little grating, but I used to reply to recruiters asking how they came across me, regardless of whether they included that line. Virtually none of them replied back. Lately, I've just been junking any recruiter email without replying back if it's clear they don't know anything, or they know the bare minimum, about me.

If a recruiter emailed me, opened the email up with an explanation of how they came across me and why they thought I'd be interested, I'd be much more inclined to respond with more information about what I'm looking for even if the offer in their initial email is not even close or if they asked me to forward the email to someone else.

This is good to hear. I usually provide some context, like if you have experience with a certain framework or in a specific niche perhaps - whatever caught my eye. Sounds like that info is useful in cases where it was a false positive. Thanks for the insight, and glad it validates my thought process.

Well it's "attention" I guess, but is it the right kind?

A better analogy might the pretty girl walking home from high school, of the rather hick-ish / paleosuburban sort -- when the older dropout pulls up in his muscle car and asks "Hey babe, wanna party?"

I get about the same feeling when talking to recruiters, most of the time.

People call you to offer you a well paying job. You probably get these once a week or 2. Most people (as in humans) would kill for that attention. But us developers complain that each well paying opportunity isn't the exact one that we're looking for.

I get your point, but... they're offering a 'well paying job' to someone who already has a 'well paying job'. And they know it.

Go in to a McDonald's and start asking the staff if they want to come work at Taco Bell or Burger King. Interrupt them at home during their time off a few times. "Hey, come work for another company doing essentially the same stuff for essentially the same money - maybe 3% more!" I doubt you'll get many takers.

They offer what they imagine (based on keyword filtering, idle speculation, nose scratching, drooling, and other advanced heuristics) maybe-might-sorta be a lukewarm mutual fit between two parties who most likely wouldn't be talking to each other.

Which they then package with over-the-top smarminess and intellectual dishonesty. And for this, they add a 30-40 percent premium to your acquisition cost for any potential employer (and concomittant disincentive to hire you, or respectively, increased incentive to relentlessly grill you, check you over for ticks and fleas, etc to make sure you're worth the overhead, if they do choose to bite).

They aren't offering me a job. It's a complete mismatch with my skill set, and the company would flush me in 5 seconds if I actually tried to get the job.

The problem is when the unsolicited attention becomes a distraction. When you have engineers that can have their work process interrupted by something as trivial as workplace banter, an overzealous recruiter that calls incessantly, spams your email with job listings (for "anyone you might know looking for a new opportunity"), and in general doesn't know when to stop is something most developers would rather do without.

I've worked with a few good recruiters, but even over a 5-month job search and talking to every major recruiting firm in town, I got zero actual job offers (and only one real promising lead that fizzled out on the company's side). There's a LOT of inefficiency in the system.

These tactics are driven by recruiting managers running a bullpen and stressing it's a numbers game. They'd encourage you to make 200 calls a day until someone bites. I'd rather make 20 targeted approaches (via email almost exclusively these days) than interrupt people that are working by phone unnecessarily.

Contingency recruiting and the incentives inherent in that model, again, is at the heart of the problem.

There's a world of difference between being approached by recruiters who have been retained to find talented people, and being hounded by recruiters who are trying to place their allotted candidates where ever they can.

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