3 easy ways to tell a recruiter does not have a clue

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jun 13

When I do consulting, I get contacted by a lot of recruiters looking to fill contract positions. I can usually tell when a new job posting comes out because I tend to get 2-4 phone calls or emails on the same day or the following day about the single job posting. The thing is, I can usually tell that a recruiter gets it in about 30-seconds. It’s easy.

Let’s take the latest example from an email today (as I write this). The names and locations have been deleted out to protect the innocent…

Dear  Scott

Good Afternoon!!!!

Greetings from XXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!

We have a direct Client requirement for you and the details are as follows

Job Title: Project Manager

Duration: 12+ Months

– Around 10 to 12 years of IT experience with a minimum of 4 Yrs in project management specifically in .NET web application development
– Must have 3-4 years of experience in Agile project management methodology
– Good understanding and knowledge of the onsite-offshore project execution model
– Experience in handling a team of at least 10 people in onsite and offshore model
– Strong analytical, judgment and management skills.
– Strong influencing and teamwork skills
– Excellent verbal and written communication skills
– Ability to coordinate and work effectively with the client and project teams

Experience in management of .NET based projects

This recruiter doesn’t get it. Here are the three reasons:

1. My name is Scot. Not Scott.

It’s a common mistake and I usually only care when someone is writing a check to me. But it clearly shows a lack of attention to detail, a necessary skill needed for a recruiter. If a recruiter can’t even get the name right on an initial email to me, I can pretty well guess there is no ability to advocate for me with an employer.

2. I have zero experience in Agile project management methodology. None.

Yet, the methodology says “Must have 3-4 years of experience in Agile…” This shows that the recruiter clearly did not look at the methodologies I listed in a nice column on the very first page of my resume. If I had Agile methodology experience of any sort, don’t you think I’d have that on my skill sets? Pretty dumb move if I didn’t. (I am looking for some Agile experience, by the way).

3. I have zero experience in .NET implementations. None.

In two different places, the job requirements show the need for .NET implementation experience. It’s a technical requirement and I have none of that technical experience. If I had .NET experience of any sort, don’t you think I’d have that on my skill sets? Pretty dumb move if I didn’t.

The best recruiters are local

In my experience, the best recruiters live and work in your area. They know the territory, including where on the fricken map my city is located so they don’t offer me something with a 200-mile commute. Yes, I’ve had those emails where the recruiter working thousands of miles away thinks an offer in Chicago is like a local commute for me here in Wisconsin. Local recruiters know the clients. They have tended to work with the clients long enough to understand what type of work is done on the job postings they work.

Consequently, I never answer my phone when an unrecognized number (not in my contacts) shows up on my phone in an area code that isn’t close to home. In this case, the call came from a recruiter with an Ohio area code and I didn’t answer it. The voice mail gives you your bonus way to tell a recruiting firm doesn’t get it — the voice mail was 30-seconds of hiss from an overseas connection. Makes me want to call right back after making that great impression. Not. Why would I trust that firm to represent me to an employer?

And one other small thing. Notice how much of the specifics of the email are done in bold. My name (spelled wrong). The recruiting company name. The city where the job is located (which I deleted for this post….). The “direct client” mention. The job title. The duration. YOU MIGHT AS WELL TYPE IT IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT IS JUST AS OFFENSIVE.

Consulting companies think that by cutting their recruiting costs, they will find the same people and make more money while doing it through reduced costs. The truth is, when I see this approach, I’d never consider working for the consulting company. I’m the engine that drives their revenue and profits. And they can’t hire recruiters who can even spell my name right or read my resume to understand the skills I have.

Fail. But I won’t fail with you.


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.