Since November 2020 I have profiles on both LinkedIn and Xing. As full-stack developer, you receive quite a lot of attention by recruiters, some very professional, some more or less clueless.

In this post, I present some messages I received with remarks of what I liked or not. I cropped all the senders and anonymized companies and links as well, as this isn’t a post for shaming specific people or companies. Nonetheless, expect sarcasm (and a bit of hidden frustration / disappointment).

This post is intended both for entertainment, as well as suggestion for improvement: Everyone profits from better recruiting processes.

The bad

Salutation

When approaching a developer, try to write a personal message. Nothing says “I am wasting your time” more than unpersonalized messages, especially when recruiters are not even able to properly use their own mass messaging tools.

Hello {firstname}!

This was also the first message I ever received on LinkedIn. Not a great start.

The proper skill-set

You’re looking for a Java Developer? Just search for “Java” and message everyone who mentions it in their profile somewhere. It is absolutely the same technology as JavaScript, and everyone who does JS is also the perfect candidate for a Senior Java role!

Java is not JavaScript

JAVA is not JAVAScript

Every time I get these messages I ask myself:
“Does writing a Minecraft server plugin 3 years ago count as experience?” 🤔

During a pandemic: Offer remote, or at least be transparent about it

We have a pandemic. And constant lockdowns. And we work in a industry where it’s not necessary to ever be physically in an office, as communication can be done through text messages and video calls. There’s an entire global IT company without a single office, and they’re doing great.

When approaching a developer - especially one that doesn’t even live close to the company’s offices, make it clear if a position is available as remote or not. While relocation packages are a nice idea, moving during lockdowns can be quite challenging to nearly impossible - especially when people have families.

This ensures directly at the beginning if both parties are on the same page. It also shows if companies are able to quickly adapt to changes in their environment - or resist and instead prefer to endanger their employees.

Fortunately a lot of companies have realized this, and more and more positions are openly advertised as remote.

Be more than just a CV collector

Some recruiters come to you with empty hands, and ask for a CV in response. Not a great trade.

The following message was so generic, I didn’t even have to remove anything.

Please give us your data; also what is the GDPR?

I already have LinkedIn to look for jobs, I don’t need yet another platform or company where I need to update my data. Unfortunately, some people didn’t get the memo.

Be specific what you look out for

When approaching a developer and pitching the job description, be sure to be as vague as possible. Do not mention any technologies or what the company or product is doing. We absolutely love to solve these mysteries!

What is even a Cloud App

We love buzzwords

Bla bla bla

Let’s unravel this:

  • Not even a salutation (still better than {firstName} though)
  • The first paragraph is just meaningless buzzword bingo, probably written by the marketing department. After reading it multiple times, I still have no clue what the company is actually doing.
  • Not many people would describe Node as a “framework”. TypeScript is absolutely not a framework. Tech recruiters should at least have some rough idea what’s the stuff they’re dealing with. Sounds like nitpicking, but is a simple indicator if someone is specialized in IT recruiting or not.

Fun fact: The message was sent by a recruiter from a company, which on their own website write:

LinkedIn: Once a valuable tool for recruiting, the talent you want to hire just don’t use the platform as much as they did. When they log on now they are faced with a barrage of mostly irrelevant job offers and irritating messages.

Irony is dead.

Read our own job descriptions

This has been a special case of a waste of electrical energy:

  • The sender is a HR person for the company hiring.
  • The job requirements include “US citizenship” as well as “security clearance”.

To this day I still wonder why they would assume that a developer who’s living in Germany and has only ever worked for German companies would fit here 🤔

Yes, I totally have US security clearance - but never set a foot on US soil.

Make sure the position is still available

A recruiter contacted me about a React position in Munich. I was interested, we scheduled a video call in 2 days time - and not even 24 hours later I got a email that the position was no longer available.

🙄

Update your processes

(not a recruiter message, nonetheless a bit amusing)

When posting job offers online, proof-read them if they make sense, instead of just using the same template you’ve been using since the before the internet. Not much additional work, but makes a better impression on potential candidates.

Mail back your digital CV

English translation: Please send your application by electronic mail. If you want to get it back, please add postage stamps so we can return it by snail mail.

Be honest and don’t exaggerate

(not a recruiter message, nonetheless a bit amusing)

Adding some euphemism to a job description is fine, but make sure it makes sense. In this case, “reach the next step of your career” while advertising for a Visual Basic developer position (a legacy technology from the 90ies, that is also quite hated according to the yearly Stack Overflow surveys) is a bit too much.

Your next step into legacy

The good

Be transparent

This is a great example of how to do things right:

  • The company is directly named
  • Direct links to the open positions
  • Remote work is possible
  • Mentions alternative positions in case the ones offered do not fit

Some people actually know their target audience

None of the jobs were interesting or matched my profile in the end, but still a shining light in the garbage dump called “Inbox”.

Be as detailed as possible

Another great example, where I actually applied to:

Great recruiters do exist

  • While not naming the company, the industry is named and described
  • Description of the task, which is quite interesting
  • Clear list of all required and wanted technologies
  • Both remote and office possible

And in the end, I got the position! 🥳