How not to recruit Jeremy Zawodny, or anyone else for that matter

Jeremy Zawodny, Yahoo geek and blogger received an email from a recruiter inviting him to apply for jobs to work for their company.  The email had the exact opposite effect.

Where should I begin with this?

  1. You “sourced” my resume? Is that lame recruiter speak for “I was punching buzzwords into Google when I ran across your resume…”?
  2. You were impressed enough with my resume (found on my own web site) to send email (with an obvious typo in it, no less), yet you felt it necessary to warn me that cut and paste might be necessary to find your web site? How insulting!
  3. Your jobs site sucks. I looked. Have you even tried it yourself?
  4. Why do I have to do all the work? You’ve read my resume and contacted me. Yet I’m supposed to start from scratch, search your listings, create a profile, and then contact you. Are you kidding? You interrupted my day in an attempt to get me to switch jobs. You’ve certainly wasted no time trying to put me to work!
  5. I never expressed an interest in Company X.

Recruiters you are doing yourself and the whole industry a disservice if you continue to act in the way highlighted by Jeremy.  Please follow Jeremy’s advice:-

Here’s a helpful hint to all Big Company recruiters out there. Before you contact someone, try putting yourself in their shoes first. Do your tactics even make sense?

22 thoughts on “How not to recruit Jeremy Zawodny, or anyone else for that matter

  1. Almost unbelievable that a recruiter would go to the trouble of contacting a potential candidate directly, then ask them to visit a web site and start filling in forms! (once they have found a suitable job!). Is this for real? Maybe it is just a spam mail – I get heaps of them, although I never recognise the company names.

    Recruiters aside, there are many big companies who direct job seekers to their automated recruitment site. This might work for recruiting semi or unskilled people, but do they really think they are going to get the best professional people by asking them to jump through hoops?

    It indicates arrogance (they must think they have a very strong “employer brand”).

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  3. In the comments on Jeremy’s blog a couple of people question if it is for real or just spam sent out to 1,000’s of emaill addresses, either way it is a great example of what not to do!

  4. Michael, I’d just like to clarify what you feel is not the thing to do. Is it;

    (a) email the guy who’s CV you have found on the web, or
    (b) send a really ordinary email and direct the guy to a recruitment web site?

    or both?

  5. Kevin option b.

    I think most people would be flattered being invited to work for another organisation if they are approached in the right way. Initial contact really needs to be personal and transparent, my 2 cents worth, sort of “Hi, found your CV have you ever thought about working for us?” or ” Hi, found your CV and wondered if you were looking for another role or are happy working for ABC Company”.

    As you said sending an oridinary email directing soemone to your web site is really bad.

  6. Thanks. That is my opinion also.

    Jeremy indicates that the recruiter was representing a “Big” company. While I’m not trying to let the recruiter off the hook, surely he must report to a recruitment manager or HR manager who dictates what methods they use to find people. In which case this reflects very badly on the company. I wish he’d tell us who it was – probably concerned about getting sued!

  7. Many large companies actually outsource and automate the sourcing process – there ae companies that grab e-mal lists and send out these ridiculous e-mails with no contact info directing people to the site.

    It probably wasn’t even a real recruiter who sent the e-mail, or it was a name attached with a system.

  8. Interesting. Obviously a spam email sent to a cast of thousands.

    HOWEVER, we do get very good cooperation from candidates who we direct recruit when asking them to register on our website and fill in forms.

    Chances are, that if you can’t get this level of commitment, then the candidate won’t do much in the way of trying to get hired – no research, no preparation, no cooperation on most anything.

    We know what a candidate’s day is like, since we worked in the industry. We also know what it takes to get a candidate hired by our clients. No cooperation on small things means the deal will fall through in the end. It isn’t arrogance, it is about partnership. Filling in some form isn’t nearly as hard as what will be expected later.

    Carl Chapman
    Managing Parnter
    CEC Search, LLC – Executive Restaurant Recruiters
    CEC Search, LLC – Executive Restaurant Jobs
    Visit CEC Search discussion forum!
    Blog – Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter

  9. Carl, agree that if you do get commitment from a candidate then you might get down the road. I guess the issue here is if you are approaching passive candidates in this manner you have a real opportunity to turn them off. The issue become more profound when you happen to approach a recognised leader in their field, as Jeremy is.

  10. Michael, I suppose that if email were your first contact with a passive candidate it might be a big trun off. As a matter of fact, I know that it is, since I have been approached that way myself. However, not being a recognized leader in the field for which I was contacted, I just put it down as a lame spammail.

    Bet dollars to donuts, if a great recruiter got ahold of Jeremy, recruited him, got him excited about a company and an opportunity, not only would he fill out forms, but he would write a sample application and bulid a network to run it on, if that is what the recruiter said it would take to get the job….. that HE wanted.

  11. Carl, I’m sure you can get some people to complete a web based application form, but in the scenario you have described here, what’s the point?

    I guess it depends upon the nature of the market and the level of position/candidate in question, but if you want a successful middle to senior level professional person to move from a ‘Tier1’ company to a competitor, it can take a lot of persuasion even to get them to talk to your client.

    First approach is often “can I catch up with you for an informal chat over a coffee” – and you go to them!

    Once the candidate has agreed to talk to your client, the selling process continues – i.e you and your client “sell” the job to the candidate, obviously you have to make sure they are going to be a good fit for the client’s organisation along the way, but the shoe is often very much ‘on the other foot’ – i.e the candidate has pretty much all the power.

    I know one specialist recruitment firm here in Australia who will sometimes get their client to sign a confidentiality agreement before the candidate’s name is released. You’re hardly then going to turn around to the candidate and say ‘oh, bye the way, can you please register and apply for the job on this web site’.

  12. I know how Jeremy feels, unfortunately the vast majority of recruiters are employed as sales people. Most of them do not come from recruiting backgrounds and it shows. A candidate that is already employed and doing well and is approached out of the blue will not respond to some one they do not know. Unfortunately we now have an army of recruiters who believe that all you do is trawl the Net and eventually you will find someone you can place and you will earn 25% of that $100K salary. The Internet is a powerful communications tool and aggregator of information. Some people will use it to advantage themselves at the expense of others.

  13. Interesting. Put yourself in the recruiters shoes. If this is a small company, chances are that they have a few important key positions. Now, in a large firm the recrutier may be recruting on 70 positions are once. It woudl be impossible to “get a cup of coffee” with every possibel candidate. Getting their infomration in the system for each person is unrealistic as well. This is a great example of self overvaluating employee…

  14. Jack to a point I agree with you, but I think that if recruiters are not careful with how they use email as a form of initial contract with candidates the value of the tool will decrease to that of spam. For example I am now regularly receiving emails, “here is a job for you” from recruiters not sure where they got my email address from but they tend to be very untargeted and 99% of the time get deleted without any major thought.

  15. Michael,

    I get those emails too. If you read them you will see they are real spam, probably automatically generated rather than an individual message from a genuine recruiter. If you followed up on them I think you will find they are some sort of scam.

    There are different types of recruiter out there and generally speaking they are a product of their employers. To many of (but not all) of the larger recruitment firms, it is simply a numbers game. The recruiters are driven by KPIs and have to make n cold calls per week, visit n clients, interview n candidates and send out n CVs. This is the worst type of “recruitment” operation and rarely delivers any real service or value to the client. It is very common with large publicly listed recruitment firms who are driven by accountants and analysts rather than people who really know what good recruitment service is.

    Fortunately there are other smaller, boutique recruitment firms who develop close relationships with clients and candidates and can work on far fewer concurrent requirements because they have a much lower referral to placement ratio (they provide a genuine value service).

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