GitHub's Kyle Neath has had it up to here with recruiters and their shenanigans:
Here’s the thing: recruiters do not give a fuck about doing good in the world. They do not care about making people happy. They do not care about building a good company. They do not care about treating email addresses as human beings. They only care about their percentage.
My name is Kyle Neath and I am a designer at GitHub. This takes about 30 seconds to find out. Yet about ¾ of the emails and calls I receive offer someone named Keith, Knyle, Kenneth, or Keneath a Rails / node.js job. The only node.js I’ve written is a Hubot script to put clown noses on someone’s face. I’m not alone with these experiences — it’s common practice for tech recruiters to not give .00005 fucks about their leads.
This is a pretty accurate description of the situation. Last week I was cold-called at least three times by recruiters, including calls from two different people from the same agency, two days in a row. And every single one started roughly the same way:
Hi, can I speak to David? Hi, David, this is $NAME from $AGENCY. I came across your resumé and I was really impressed. I wanted to talk to you about a couple of|several positions we have available…
Let's stop right there. In my career I've been cold-contacted by dozens of recruiters. Exactly three have been worth talking to, and every one of those was contacting me not about "a number of" positions or "several" openings, but about a specific job at one specific company. The bad kind of recruiter makes money by placing as many warm bodies in as many jobs as possible. To care about either the candidates or companies involved would be inefficient.
Another thing the good recruiters had in common: every one of them made their initial contact via email, not over the phone. That's not to say recruiter emails are always good — many of the contacts Kyle Neath is complaining about were over email — but that a good recruiter is respectful of your time. They're also frequently diligent enough to make sure they're emailing the right person, just as if it were any other kind of serious business contact.
I have no hope that the bad recruiters will stop calling. Clearly having a bunch of fast-talking people interrupt me and other developers while they eat dinner three days in a row makes somebody money. I'm posting this as a rule of thumb for other developers to follow, to know which recruiters are worth talking to, just in case that information comes in handy some day.