Dear Recruiter A: Please Stop Sucking

I love to play professional matchmaker, especially for my former students. If you have glanced to the right on this blog, you’ll see that I have three .rss feeds of public relations or new media jobs.   And I suppose that I am lucky in that I get contacted by recruiters with some frequency.  Many of these contacts, however, are downright irritating.

I am happy at my job and find it fulfilling, but sometimes by networking, you can help people – people that you might need to have a relationship with one day to help you.  I have written a couple of times about the candidate side of the recruiting process at Fleishman-Hillard and The Bivings Group, but this one is a real burr under my saddle.

Sloppy, careless recruiting.  And it happens A LOT.

Today, I got the latest in a series of poorly formatted, clumsy recruiting and networking attempts.  Not the first one. I have edited out the agency name, but it is one of the big ones.  Let’s call this one “Recruiter A”:

XXX Chicago is seeking a VP Crisis..would you know anyone?  Have you ever int’d with XXX.

Where to start?  If you want to take the time to offer your company up as a great place to work and spend time with me so I can help you, you might want to avoid abbreviations – and use punctuation.  Maybe I am just being cranky, but I am not sure what “int’d” is.  And again, it might just be me, but abbreviating in an email tells me a) you spend way to much time recruiting on Twitter or b) you are WAY busy – too busy to spell out words.  Or spend time to do quality recruiting/representing your company.

Here’s a great example of a recruiting email I got a couple of weeks ago.  Let’s call this one “Recruiter B.”

Hi Mark,

My name is XXX and I am the US Recruitment Manager for XXX.  I was doing some research and came across your profile on LinkedIn and wanted to reach out in regards to a senior level digital media strategist position we have open for our XXX Digital Media Group.  You can read more about us at XXX.  We are looking for someone to join our D.C. office that has strong experience with creating digital and social media campaigns for clients in the public affairs, issues, advocacy and crisis space.  You can actually read about the position at XXX.

I think your backround [Mark’s note: typo forgiven] working with the XXX along with your experience XX and XX would make you a great candidate for the position and I would love the opportunity to speak with you further.  Thanks for your time Mark and I look forward to hearing from you.


Recruiter B’s email above makes me want to contact them or help match them to someone I know.  Nice email = nice results.  Recruiter A,  I emailed back simply because I know the person who runs the DC office.  And got a one line response back after I sent a couple of ideas.  #Fail.

I am flattered when someone takes the time to reach out to me for a job.  Even more so when they do their homework and read my blog.  It’s a nice touch.  I worked in the private sector for 15 years on the agency side and know a bunch of people, so I am happy to help – I love that matchmaking.  But my time is as valuable as you make it;  if I am one of 100+ emails you send out in one day, it shows. I will know it and other candidates will too. I am likely not interested, but if you find a decent candidate and turn them off with your approach, it’s your loss.

Slow and steady wins the race, Recruiter A.

Am I the only one who this has happened to?  By all means, please comment and share your stories.




  1. I don’t get as many of these calls as you do, Mark. But I get them. The majority are very pleasant phone calls. For some reason, the emails are usually lazy and sloppy – like the first one you cited. I find this irritating. At least take the time to write some template copy that you can edit and use for contacting different people. What’s worse is that this lazy sloppy recruiter is expecting us to help them earn their commission. Right. When someone phones or emails and is professional and intelligent, I am happy to help, because I enjoy being a matchmaker too.

  2. Mark Story Says: July 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Good points. Thanks for commenting, Donna!

  3. Aimee Saldivar Says: July 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Where should I start about recruiters? First and foremost, abbreviating in an email to a communications sensei for a high-level position is highly UNACCEPTABLE! Since I have been job searching for the last 6 months I have found that recruiters have lost their sense of professionalism and have now become rude since it is now an employers market. I am sure they get a billion resumes for the positions they need to fill each day but they still represent the business they are hiring for and can leave a bad taste in job seekers’ mouths. I have to say that not only are their emails sloppy but their telephone communication are poor. I won’t mention the company that I was hoping to obtain a position with but it is a very large global consulting company. I spoke to the contract recruiter for about 45 minutes on the phone and realized at one point that she was not listening to me while she pre-screening me. I had to get her attention by asking her if she was still there. I felt very confident that I answered the questions very well and didn’t hesitate with any of my answers. I have followed up with this recruiter twice since she mentioned that she was highly impressed with me and was going to pass me along to the senior recruiter to set up an in-person interview. It has been about a month now and the last email that sent her about following up was answered with “I have sent your information to the rest of the team already. Thanks!”, WOW! There was not one darn thing mentioning that I sucked or a timeframe. Therefore, I took another offer from another company and gave up on them. For the type of company and boutique consulting they offer, they have crappy recruiters with substandard communication skills both on and off the phone. Another thing recruiters need to do is know what benefits their company offers like vacation time! Ridiculous!

  4. Great post. I was frustrated when a recruiter contacted me for a job, could not answer basic questions about experience level, scheduled an interview with me on a Saturday and then never had the courtesy to follow up after that, despite two emails from me about a week later. He showed interest during the interview and I took several hours to prepare and update my resume. Is that type of behavior normal? Not impressed…

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