Stupid Recruiter Tricks

I get spam from recruiters every week–usually on LinkedIn, sometimes through regular email. I always find it amusing when they try to conceal who the employer is. Who would want to get into business with someone who hides who they are working for? The thing is, they usually give you so much information that it’s pretty easy to find out which company is hiring. Here’s a snippet of a recent message:

“My client is scaling their development team and would like to discuss you joining this fast growing gaming company that is focused on becoming the world’s largest social casino on web-based and mobile platforms.”

Let’s say you find this opportunity interesting. If you want this gig, you need to find out who the employer is and contact them directly. You can negotiate a much better salary when you aren’t going through a recruiter that gets a $25,000 commission for simply searching for the term “mobile” on LinkedIn.

The email had various clues I could use to find the source–such as the investors, location, etc. Instead of playing detective, I pasted the whole thing into Google. I ended up coming up with a nearly identical Craigslist post (by a recruiter, no less!) that reveals the man behind the curtain. So hey, if you want to enter the exciting world of virtual slot machines, just contact these guys.

If you are an experienced developer with a solid resume you should think twice about working for a company that uses shady external recruiters. There are several reasons why they are hiring this way.

The Company Sucks

A company that has to use external recruiters is probably a terrible place to work. This is why they aren’t filling the positions with recommendations from employees. None of them would wish a position at the company on their worst enemies. Perhaps they are just warming a seat until they can find a better opportunity.

They Are Clueless

One of the top skills for a startup CEO is the ability to recruit. The CEO should know the skill sets needed, have the ability to recognize talent in these critical areas, and know where to find these people. Especially if a company is early stage, the CEO or someone internal to the company should be reaching out to recruit key positions. If a company is relying on external recruiters (who really just Google search buzzwords and email resumes hoping to land a commission) to fill critical positions, they are doomed. This is pretty common since the skills necessary for a CEO to raise a round are detrimental to being able to identify talent.

They Have Too Much Money

Even smart people can become dumb when they raise too much money too fast. The classic Richard Pryor film “Brewster’s Millions” is the business model most heavily funded startups are using. If you raise a ton of money, you can’t just keep it. You have to spend it all. Part of this includes calling up a recruiter and ordering a dozen programmers like you would so many pizzas during crunch time. Do you want to be one of those pizzas?

Not All Recruiters Are Bad

These rules usually don’t apply to internal recruiters. In theory, internal recruiters work closely with the teams that need people to figure out what the requirements are. Plus, they don’t hide who they are working for.

One thought on “Stupid Recruiter Tricks

  1. The #1 reason an external recruiter keeps the company confidential is so that candidates do not go behind their back to apply directly. The external recruiter found you (how he/she did doesn’t matter), they want the opportunity to represent you. Would you rather just drop your resume into a dark hole or allow someone who has a relationship with the hiring manager to represent you and hopefully, even if you don’t get the job at least get honest feedback that EEOC or some other silly regulation (that external recruiters are not held to) keeps you from finding out why you didn’t get the job?

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