What’s it like to be recruited?

by barce on June 8, 2011

First off, I’m very grateful to my parents for getting me a computer when I was 8. I am not sure where I’d be if it wasn’t for that.

I got inspiration from this HN article and did the same. My #s are way higher.


As an experiment, I submitted my resume to Dice, Monster and CareerBuilder seeking a Ruby on Rails application developer position.

The result:

day calls voicemails emails
Monday 46 22 39
Tuesday 58 13 42
Wednesday 23 11 34
Totals 136 46 115

I turned off Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder at 11 am on Tuesday and I’m still getting calls & emails.

Recruiters were submitting resumes to one particular job twice without my permission. This happened 4 times and is definitely unethical behavior. It hurts candidates because you can’t interview at these places anymore.

The question I’ve asked is: How much are you willing to offer?

Most of the jobs are in the 80k – 100k range.

This means that if you got to a startup with no recruiter and are making 120k, the recruiter’s company is making 20k – 40k on the sale of you.

The better recruiters have connections to companies mentioned in Techcrunch and these are at the 130k range and up.

The best rates are at Fortune 500 companies, where 200k is market. Heck, you can get an HTML5 / CSS3 position at one and get that rate.

Another question: How long has this job been advertised?

Sure demand is high, but a great job will never be on the market long. If it’s been there awhile or has been re-branded with a different buzzword, beware.

The technology:

I totally agree with folks who say that Facebook has made us closer, but recruiting technologies and its industry have made hiring managers and candidates farther apart. Someone or a group of people need to create a technology to disrupt this industry of selling people.


Recruiters are people who are trying to solve a pattern matching problem with crappy tools, but the better those tools get, the more in jeopardy their jobs are.

How I feel? I feel objectified. It’s hard to swallow the image of a bunch of douchebags submitting your resume for jobs you never applied for.

I guess this is what it’s like to be extremely attractive woman who has just become single. Some of the recruiters are total players and won’t leave you alone when moving on would be more efficient and a better bet. Others are really, really bad, and you can tell they are reading lines from a script.

The recruiters I go with work like this:

1. They tell me *their* story. Why are they in recruiting? What do they want out of life?

2. They really listen. This means asking questions like, “How is Javascript different from AJAX?” Or deciding that what is on paper doesn’t match what they are hearing, and that you’re underselling yourself.

3. They get you lunch for your time. This is totally optional, but very nice.

4. They wrap up the meeting by telling you something about you that you might’ve not known about. E.G. one recruiter told me that I saw myself as more than just my job and that I like to protect people.

5. They are very efficient without seeming so.

What to do instead:

If finding a job is a pattern matching problem, and you are a coder, then code that regex that brings you the job of your dreams.

You’re looking at 20k – 40k more / year if you can just cut out the middle.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Webster June 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm


Fantastic article! The data is overwhelming. It’s great to learn your perspective, and one that is most likely shared by many Engineers. Thanks for writing this!


Mike Skrewler June 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

All too true. I was on the job market about a year ago after being out of work (voluntarily) for about 6 months. Mind you before that I had worked at big name software and hardware companies for 10 years prior. (HP, Sun, Oracle)

I’ll share one anectdote. My email box was full of emails from recruiters and I was getting several calls a day. 90% of the time these recruiters did not know a -thing- about the job they were trying to recruit me for.

For example, I did a phone screen and then an inperson interview with a recruiter. At the time I didn’t realize that he was the recruiter and not the actual hiring manager. The position was for operations/sys admin stuff. He actually criticized my resume because I did not list that I had “Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint experience” and that I showed up to the interview without a jacket/tie.

The other case might not have been the recruiters fault. The position was for a systems engineering position at Cisco. Recruiters did a phone screen and then I did a phone screen with someone over at Cisco, they were very knowledgable and told me what to expect. I got an in person interview and everything went great.
I got hired, signed some NDAs, went in for some orientation and to get my photo made for a badge, filled out health insurance, and even received my badge and health insurance in the mail. My start date was next Monday.. then the Friday before they pushed it back another week. This continued for over a month when I realized something wasn’t right and started my job search again.

A whole *month* wasted thinking I had gotten a job that I didn’t. I don’t know exactly what happened there.

mac June 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

totally agree. Every word of it you have written is a fact and i am also frustrated dealing with these middle layer who arent technical and try to push your resume to each and every company just to make that extra cut.

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