Friday, February 28, 2014

Recruiter Spam (and Some Labor Statistics)

There are multiple varieties of recruiter/sourcer spam, but one of my "favorite" is when the e-mail begins with "Our records indicate that you are an IT professional..." followed by a copy-pasted job description that usually is not even remotely related to what I am qualified to do. More often than not the job description is pretty skimpy and/or vague, which is even more annoying.

    Being a naturally curious type, I decided to find out how many people in this country the phrase "IT professional" applies to.

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of May 2013, there were 3,696,180 people employed in the occupations that fall under the umbrella category of Computer and Mathematical Occupations.

    Since "Actuaries; Mathematicians; Operations Research Analysts; Statisticians; Mathematical Technicians; Mathematical Science Occupations, All Other" are technically not IT professionals, let's subtract them from the above number. Let's, just in case, also exclude "Computer and Information Research Scientists".

    After the subtraction, it turns out that in the U.S., as of May 2013, there were 3,548,740 people employed in the following twelve occupational categories: Computer Systems Analysts; Information Security Analysts; Computer Programmers; Software Developers, Applications; Software Developers, Systems Software; Web Developers; Database Administrators; Network and Computer Systems Administrators; Computer Network Architects; Computer User Support Specialists; Computer Network Support Specialists; Computer Occupations, All Other.

I am not David Hansson, and I don't get offended (annoyed - yes) when I receive such e-mails, but they do make me wonder why some people/organizations don't work more efficiently and at least try to separate, say, DBA's from network support people (assuming, of course, that these recruiters work with more than just a list of harvested e-mail addresses). I admit that it is not going to be clean (some prospects will "fall through the cracks", and there will inevitably be some "noise"), but it should produce a smaller, more manageable dataset one may be able to work with even "manually" if necessary. Blasting out thousands of e-mails to all "IT professionals", all these recruiters achieve is:
  • annoy those who qualify, but are not desperately looking for a new job (and, therefore, discourage some of them from applying);
  • encourage to apply those who do not qualify, but are (desperately) looking for a job.
This results in an unnecessarily huge "haystack" where one has to find the "needle" that might not even be there.

I do understand that it's tough out there, and everybody is trying to make a living. I just doubt that this approach is productive. Meaningful feedback from professional recruiters/sourcers, including practitioners of "massive indiscriminate e-mail sourcing" (I'm really curious how it is working out for you), will be appreciated.

P.S. Here is a lovely sample I've just received:
    "My name is [redacted] and I'm an IT recruiter at [redacted]. Our records show that you are an experienced IT professional with experience in This experience is relevant to one of my current openings."
Note that there is just a space after "experience in". Not surprisingly, the job description that followed this elaborate introduction had absolutely nothing to do with what I am qualified to do.

I wrote back to the guy and asked if he thought there was anything missing in the first three sentences of his e-mail. He replied almost immediately:
    "I am extremely sorry for Typo mistake. And it’s a system generated template may there is some error. I apologies, I will check properly next time before to use it."

P.P.S. I also recommend reading "Stop the Recruiting Spam. Seriously." by Derek Zeller.

P.P.P.S. I just couldn't resist posting this one:

    Greeting for the day!
    Job Opening for our direct Client.
    Kindly confirm your interest by sending your updated resume with hourly rate expectations & a convenient time to discuss.
    Position: Warehouse General
    Location: [redacted]
    Duration: 12 month(s)

    Job Summary:
    •This is a 2nd shift position, with all training held on 1st shift. Start date will be 3/28/16, at 6:30 am.
    •The associate will be operating RF units to pick product, they will pack, have minimal computer usage.
    •They must have the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide, communicate within a team, trained to operate powered industrial truck or PIT, work well with others in a team environment. Steel toe shoes are required.
    •3:00 pm to 11:30 pm
    If interested in applying for the position please send us a latest copy of your resume in Word Doc along with the below details ASAP, we would get back to you immediately
    Full Name(First & Last Name):
    Email id:
    Work Authorization:
    Expected Rate(w2/c2c):
    Zip Code:
    Best time for Interview:
    Currently employed:
    Highest Education Details (course/university/ pass out year):

    Thanks and Regards

    Hi [redacted],
    I am really impressed with your ability to search resumes using the keyword "truck".
    Since I do "have the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide", I thought I would be _the_ perfect candidate for this job. But then I realized that I am not "trained to operate powered industrial truck" and I don't own "steel toe shoes", which, I guess, disqualifies me.
    If a job that requires _only_ "the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide" (_without_ the "powered industrial truck" and the "steel toe shoes" thing) comes up, please let me know. I would really appreciate it.
Full disclosure: there is the word "trucking" on my resume; the context, of course, is entirely different.

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