At the beginning of October I went undercover. Not particularly deep, but not kiddie pool depth either. I became a software engineer with an interesting name, an excellent education, and all the right skills.

And, to no surprise of anyone, the recruiters came a’callin’.

Immediately I was beset by hundreds of emails daily, emails with “catch” lines such as “Java Developer — Dayton Ohio — Act Now” or “Urgent Need: Devops Engineers” or simply full job titles, requisition number and all. All emails were too long and too generic, many of them misspelled my fictional first name — which is about as simple as it comes. (Think “John Smith”.) Many of them assumed a colloquial connection, starting with warm language that ensured me that my best interests were being sought after by the recruiter and wishes for my overall well being.

All in all — the emails were dry, inauthentic, and riddled with inaccuracies.

And this led me to realize:

Recruiters are infuriating. For the most part, they don’t pay attention to your background, they don’t understand your skill set, and they disregard your preferences. At the top of my resume I stated that I’m only interested in full time opportunities in Portland. Portland, Oregon.

Of which: Sunnyvale California, San Francisco, Dayton, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Wichita and many more are not.

Furthermore my alter ego is a Javascript developer, fully focused on front-end web development. Not a Java developer, not a Test Engineer, not a DevOps provisioner — a web developer only. Out of the hundreds of emails I receive, less than 10% were even close to the skill set I set forth for consideration.

Which ultimately led me to this conclusion: Recruiters need to be better.

Not a by a little but by a large margin. And ultimately, this is only going to happen, if you actually give a shit about what you’re doing, and the people you’re working with.

So: How do you give a shit?

(I don’t have all the answers — but I know what’s working for me. I’ll be talking about “slowing down” in a later post.)

But the truth here is that your attention to detail can’t be faked, your “hope you’re doing well” can’t be en masse, and it you truly need to leave your KPI’s at the door. Blasted email templates, partial keyword matches, and fake courtesy are getting you nowhere.

Furthermore, for every misaligned email — you lose a potential contact, a potential referral, and quite possibly a lost friend.

So please get it together folks, it’s embarrassing, and it’s giving all fellow recruiters a bad reputation.