“EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY”: Advice to recruiters everywhere

I get a lot of email from recruiters. Mostly because I hate recruiters and the fact they are a necessary evil, but also because they usually contact me by doing scummy, impolite/disrespectful things, like calling me at my workplace on my company phone, or emailing me when I’ve clearly stated not to.

Given the volume of mail I receive is not looking to wane any time soon, I’ve decided to start handing out unsolicited advice to any recruiters ignoring my previous (polite) requests.

You have been warned.

Hi Tim,

I came across your profile on LinkedIn and wanted to discuss a Senior Developer / Leader role I am recruiting for.

The client industry is education and is the largest provider of online distant education. They are looking for a Senior/Team Leader PHP Developer with strong Linux and ideally Drupal knowledge.
You will be leading the development of our next generation of desktop, mobile, social, and email-based online solutions.

Reporting to the Head of E-commerce, you will be working closely with our creative team of graphic designers, user experience architects and analysts to develop a state-of-the-art online student acquisition initiative.
The key deliverables/outcomes for the role is the following:

–       Leading a transition from a Microsoft.NET based environment to an open source environment, specifically Drupal on LAMP.
–       Delivering a Drupal site with approximately 500-1000 products (various types ofeducation courses), on around 20 themes, running on desktop and mobile.
–       Building and leading a highly scalable off-shore team.
The client is based in North Sydney and are looking to pay around the 120k mark.

Would you be interested in this position?
If you are not interested but know someone who would be ideal for this position then please forward on my details and should I place your referred candidate then I will give you $250 worth of vouchers (Terms Apply).

I will look forward to hearing from you.

Many Thanks

First up, this is not a personal email. I get literally dozens of these emails a week. Consider yourself more a sweepstake “winner”. Except that instead of a half-baked and probably flavourless meringue, you get my vitriol mixed in with unsolicited advice. Once again, not personal. I’m just honestly sick of being contact when I’ve explicitly told LinkedIn I’m not interested. Ever.

So, a couple of things:

1) I have my “contact if…” settings on LinkedIn set to everything but “send me a job”. I’m not sure why you don’t see this, but I suppose proper etiquette would suggest that you would check. If one didn’t realise that this setting existed, I think that one should probably play with LinkedIn a little more before using it as a significant workplace tool.

2) As this email is more than likely a blanket mail-merge/LinkedIn spam clusterfuck, I can probably ignore any semblance of sincerity or professionalism. Noone came across my profile. Well, I probably did a little after I finished writing it, but other than that, noone is manually reading this. I once had “Code Monkey” on my LinkedIn resume for 18 months and STILL got job offers. Any company willing to hire some dipshit who doesn’t take their own job seriously doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously themselves.

And now, the job:
1) “Largest provider of online distant education”? They aren’t in Sydney. If they are, they aren’t the largest provider of anything. Except probably bullshit. At least half a dozen international Universities do this (and better), not to mention the FREE SERVICES that are kicking around right now that are growing at mind-boggling rates with FREE CONTENT that doesn’t run on some rubbish platform. Speaking of which;

2) Drupal. I don’t really use it. Actually, most people don’t really use it. It’s kind of like WordPress. A handful of people are “good” at it. A significant number of people can tinker around and “get it to work”. Everyone else just copies and pastes bits and pieces of code until the damn thing stops reporting errors. If this site is the “largest provider of [whatever]”, they don’t need someone who ‘might’ know Drupal, they’re going to want the half a dozen people who know how the platform works so they don’t fuck up someone’s life with a shitty web service. Not to mention the volume of work that they think they can rollout.

3) You can’t be eCommerce and eLearning. Pick one or stop fucking over your userbase.

4) I don’t know what the hell “highly scalable off-shore team” means, but it certainly sounds like a whole bunch of industry wank for “cheapest chumps around”. Highly scalable? My database is highly scalable. My web site is highly scalable. My team is… people. We don’t scale. The point of the word is not just to indicate growth, but to indicate the flexibility of operating at any size. In this case, it sounds like the “highly scalable team” would have to also be happy with lining up for a dole cheque if the “team” can’t hit their presumably unreachable deadline.

Now that I’ve spent this time being a complete dickhead, here’s some advice so you don’t start Mondays with arseholes like me (and maybe actually get useful candidates):

1) Don’t use the mass-mailer. If you do, and LinkedIn is sending garbage to people like me, complain to LinkedIn. They make their money from you, not me. You will have the added bonus of being able to filter out shitty candidates, or people who ARE NOT candidates (i.e. me)

2) Don’t pretend to be contacting me directly if you aren’t. Specifically, don’t pretend to be /writing/ to me if you aren’t. I can tell that shit was copy/pasted from Word. Speaking from a programmer’s perspective, they want to be taken seriously. They also have a rainman-esque ability to notice things you probably ignore. Shitty, insincere emails is a double-whammy.

The job:
1) If you’re going to piss all over people’s bullshit-radars, at least give some indication as to who the company is. Noone cares about “largest manufacturer of devon” unless they can say “largest manufacturer of devon in Europe“. Also, the fact that this claim could be made with an apparent disregard for the market is a slap in the face to all the contributors to the free services currently out there. Poor (or lazy) research is not winning you candidates.

2) If a brief came in to me from some manager at LargestEducatorOnline that read “find me someone to code the largest Drupal site ever, but only give them 120k, plus highly scalable web 2.0 buzzword pancakes”, I would probably stop for a second. Mostly to laugh, but also to check why they think a senior manager running a massive “highly scalable offshore team” deserves only 120k. This screams all types of “I don’t know what the fuck I want”. Noone wants an unexpected surprise from their workplace, especially if it’s “yeah your ‘team’ is actually the array of bendy straws we have in the kitchen. Welcome aboard”. Find out what they want. Tell your candidates exactly that. Holy hot damn – results!

3, 4) I don’t care what type of world we live in. You can’t successfully merge eCommerce and eLearning. The best platforms for learning are currently FREE, and are built on the foundation that “knowledge is free”. Contributors love the idea of teaching, and students love the idea of learning. Trying to screw people out of a few bucks for the (dis)pleasure of a shitty online learning platform is not the way to make friends. My point here is pretty much the same as the above. Learn what your client wants and pass on as many un-wanked details as possible.

Basically, no, I’m not interested in this position. You’ve breached my trust from the outset using LinkedIn’s cruddy mass-mail tool (thus ignoring my messaging requests), not to mention the job description from the company you’re representing is terrible, either because the brief was heinously poor (their fault), or horribly misrepresented (your fault). Everything about this job screams ‘ridiculous’ at best, and ‘scam’ at worst.

Best regards and apologies,
neill