Recruitment agents... an example

Further to my previous post on recruitment agencies I felt I had to post details of an exchange I had with an agent today because it is a great example of the attitude most recruitment agents have.

I got an email at 12:15pm from an agent, let’s call him Paul because that is his name, with the subject “C#/ Developer – Central London”. This was the third such email received today. I’m not going to post the entire message, just the key bits that annoyed me.

First of all, please accept my apologies if you have received this email in error or are not currently looking for a role.

If you ever find yourself starting an email with a sentence similar to this one, stop and think about what you’re doing. If you feel the need to apologise for an email before you’ve sent it you probably shouldn’t be sending it in it’s current form.

I have just received a very exciting vacancy at a global company for a C#/ Developer – Permanent role – that I wanted to make you aware of.

Yeah, they’re all exciting, and most of them are at some global company or other. Either that or they’re a startup with great prospects and a “relaxed and friendly atmosphere”.

If you are a .Net Developer with 2+ years of experience this is a great opportunity for you…

If you don’t know whether I’m a .Net developer with 2+ years of experience, why are you sending me an email about a job that requires it?

This vacancy is live now – so please get in touch.

I try to avoid touching live things – they tend to hurt!! Also, if you had sent me an email about a job that wasn’t actually available I really don’t know what my reaction would be. I’d probably laugh a lot.

I don’t really know why, but this particular email hit some of my buttons. I deviated slightly from my standard reply asking to be removed from their database, and including such gems as…

Did you even read my CV? No, you didn’t. How do I know this? Because I don’t have anywhere near 2 years experience with C#, and absolutely no experience with It’s pathetic, it really is.

My profile on Jobsite has been marked as non-searchable for nearly 3 months which means you’re using a very old database or their site is broken. I’m going to assume it’s you, because… well, just because.

Tell me who [your client is] so I can contact them and recommend they use another recruitment agency. You know, the type that does some research rather than spamming the lake hoping to find a fish.

Have a spamtastic day.

Ok, so none of it was comic genius, but I think the point was well made and I could only hope that Paul would get it. About 15 minutes after sending that I got a reply, which I am going to quote in full…

Your information has been removed from our database. I can only say that hopefully my email has reached someone who it is appropriate for and is looking and has the right skills. Hopefully an appropriate email will reach you sometime and you will see the benefits of the system.

System? You’re calling spamming people a system? I mean, seriously, if your “system” had better searching abilities against CVs, such as “I need people with 2+ years of .Net experience” it might work better. If I had to guess I would say my CV matched this guy’s search because it mentions C#, ASP and .Net. It’s worth noting that there is no mention of ASP.Net on my CV.

As for hoping that an appropriate email will reach me sometime I accept that on occasion when I have been looking for a new job the occasional ideal position does arrive. However, when you consider the percentages I had to wade through a lot of crap to notice them.

The “benefits of the system” are all in favour of the agencies. Like other spammers they get to do minimal work and unfortunately chances are good that their email will hit a small number of people for whom it is relevant. Does that mean we should all put up with it?

Can anything justify the use of poorly maintained databases? In my opinion sites like Jobsite should require that any company taking data from their database periodically updates that data to ensure that it’s current. I would expect that to put a stop to the vast majority of the recruitment spam I get because every agency database would sync with the sites where I’m registered – meaning they would know I’m not looking for work.

I’ve had two further similar emails while I’ve been writing this post.