Posted on 13 February 2006

Why Do Geeks Hate Recruiters? (Request for Comment!)

I want all the blood and guts here.

I geek with the best of them, and I love it. The CTO Breakfast discusses some things that required a little more processor power than I normally allocate, but I love every terabyte of it. The Utah Geek Dinners are smothered in geeky-goodness–enchilada style.

But when I say, “I’m a tech recruiter,” people’s hands go clammy and it’s as if I’ve introduced myself as the devil himself.

Please, comment or trackback to this post. Post anonymously if you need to (Phil), but tell me the truth about why tech recruiters have violated your trust, and how I must be different to earn and maintain it.

I really do want to know. Let’s learn something here.

I’m listening.

29 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Matthew Reinbold Says:

    I have a couple thoughts on the matter – all or none of which may be true.

    The first is from a geek managerial perspective. If you manage a team that youve painstakingly put together over the years the last thing that you want is a tech recruiter poaching your people. There are enough bloodthirsty recruiters out there that Im sure everybody has a story about being contacted out of the blue and being promised the world. For a manger this is a team building nightmare.

    The second viewpoint would be from the in-the-trenches geek. These can be some very independent people. If one of them is out of work usage of a tech recruiter is like a submission of weakness. Its admitting that they cant make it on their own. After the potentially crushing loss of a job this can be very hard to pile on.

    There is also the perception that recruiters dont really take the time to care for their clients. Theyre simply trying to match meat with a request whether its a good fit or not. Nobody wants to feel like theyre a commodity being shopped around just as nobody wants to pay for a commodity theyre looking for superstars.

    In all cases Im sure its a matter of a few bad apples skewing peoples perceptions for everyone. Its been shown that if you have a good experience with something you tell five people; if you have had a negative experience you tell ten. And almost everyone has had a negative experience.

    Anyway, a few ideas which (hopefully) lead to some greater discussion and so we can get at the core issues.

  2. wary because of experience Says:

    I can’t speak for everyone, and my experience is limited to a few interactions with recruiters. However, I’d like to give you some feedback because I appreciate this forum and the effort to establish a network for Utah’s significant techno-savvy workforce. And, I’m glad you’ve asked us to be direct, because it shows that you really do care about your business and how you interact with your audience. So, I think you deserve a peek into the mind of a true blue geek (my wife would be upset at me for acknowledging the title, but I have to admit that it fits).

    Anyways, I have had a few significant experiences with tech recruiters, and none of them were positive. I’ll gladly tell you what went wrong so you can learn from their mistakes. But, maybe it will also help you understand what you’re up against – a reputation established by others who only care about commission checks.

    1. Tech recruiters often mismatch employees to positions because they don’t fully understand what the employer is looking for or what the employee has to offer. Maybe a lot of them don’t really understand the technology. Regardless, obvious mismatching can be very frustrating for the interviewer and the person being interviewed. It makes an already uncomfortable social situation exponentially more uncomfortable because everyone knows its a waste of time.

    2. Misrepresentation of interest levels on either side is also a huge issue. I’m established in a pretty cushy tech job currently, and I recently, although reluctantly, accepted an opportunity to interview for a job that was an obvious mismatch because the recruiter misrepresented the interest level of the company in me personally. She also misrepresented my interest level back to them even after I had explained in clear detail how mismatched I was with the job they had listed. The resulting interview was truly one of the most ridiculous encounters I’ve ever had. It was a waste of time for all involved despite my efforts to salvage the experience and expand my network. It also complicated things at my current cushy job because word got out that I had interviewed elsewhere (Can’t keep a secret in Utah Valley because everyone talks too much). It definitely wasn’t an experience I’d like to repeat though.

    3. Another huge problem for me, is that I don’t like to be pushed, prodded, or externally motivated to make life-changing decisions in a hurry. I never enjoy the experience of the hard sell. In fact, my generation has learned to tune out and even resist that kind of pressure. If recruiters can take the details a little more seriously, master the art of the soft sell, and exhibit true concern about the lives of their customers, I think they will be more successful and find more joy in their career than anyone ever thought was possible.

    Unfortunately, when a lot of recruiters have pushed you through the door into a few embarrasing and even painful situations with dollar signs flashing in their eyes, you become wary of them in general.

    Now, when I get a call from a recruiter (I probably get 1 or 2 a month), I immediately implement filters to screen out the potentially bad experiences. I’m guessing that different people have different defenses, but I just avoid calling someone back who didn’t give me any details about the job in the phone message or email. I get the “We have a great opportunity” line a lot, but when there are no details attached, it’s not worth my time to call back because 9 times out of 10, it’s a total mismatch. However, when it was a good match but some of the logistical details don’t line up, I’ll at least call to let the recruiter know and thank him/her for contacting me.

    Well, hopefully this little bit of insight is useful. I wish you luck in all of your efforts, because I’d love to see all the tech people in Utah comfortable in fulfilling jobs that they love.

  3. Scaype Says:

    Nothing ticks me off than a guy that says that you are the perfect canidate for a tech support job when that wasnt what you wanted at all. You wanted to get you hands dirty from programming and networking, not telling some know-it-all with a asters in business science how to use their computer. I cant tell you enough how that ticks me off.

  4. Alen Peacock Says:

    The hard sell is a huge turnoff, and unfortunately a few recruiters appear to have honed their abilities in the seediest of used-car lots. There are things that are out of bounds: never disparage the employee’s current position (I guess it worked for Gil Amelio, but I’m guessing that’s an exception. I once had a guy tell me that I was basically wasting time, and this while I was employed as Associate Staff at MIT doing research that I was very interested in!). Don’t take “I’m not interested right now,” as a cue to keep pushing. Don’t take hints that the position isn’t a good fit lightly.

    On the other hand, recruiters are in a great position to make people feel good. Here’s a dirty little confession: I get a slight ego boost anytime a recruiter contacts me, even if it’s for a terrible position and the recruiter doesn’t know what they are talking about. The fact that they thought my skills were valuable is a compliment, and that is a positive that a good recruiter can use to set up a relationship.

    Speaking of relationships, long-term is much more valuable than short. I’m *always* interested in hearing about really interesting opportunities, no matter how comfortable I am at my current employer or how much I like my present work. The recruiter *can’t* know what might be most interesting to me, but they can, with my permission, slip me an occasional email with a listing of things they think I might be a good fit for. I may not bite this month, this year, or even in the next decade, but who knows? Maybe I will. I’m always surprised at how many recruiters drop contacts like a hot potato once they realize that we aren’t interested in any of their current empty spots. So suggestions here are 1) always ask if you can contact the person again in the future, 2) always contact again, casually, if they say yes, or if they specifically ask.

    Finally, and this may just be me personally, but my preferred method of communication is email. Most recruiters I’ve had contact with won’t divulge details in email, and implicitly insist on phone-tag. The extra inconvenience to a recruiter of composing an email shows that they are truly interested in *my* convenience and needs at least as much as their own. I’d wager that most geeks feel the same way. And the recruiter would get much quicker responses out of me if they used this medium effectively.

    One other big positive to try: do a blog and attend local geek dinners and CTO breakfasts 🙂 . It really does create a good impression, and you’re likely to meet some of the best people that way.

    Best of luck, Robert.

  5. Robert Merrill Says:

    One other big positive to try: do a blog and attend local geek dinners and CTO breakfasts 🙂 . It really does create a good impression, and youre likely to meet some of the best people that way.

    Heh, well, I admit that I do actually like the geeky things discussed at the dinners & breakfasts, too… but it is nice to simultaneously meet such excellent people.

    See you on Wednesday?

  6. Robert Merrill Says:

    …the last thing that you want is a tech recruiter poaching your people. There are enough bloodthirsty recruiters out there that Im sure everybody has a story about being contacted out of the blue and being promised the world.

    True. And, personally, I have a general policy that I want the talent that I work with to make the first move (i.e. they post their resume online, or slide their card to me at the geek dinner and say, “…this is just in case you ever need to contact me….” but I will flip the coin on you Matt, and ask you how much you want a recruiter you hire to help you build your team to only rely on people who’ve actively raised their hand and said, “I’m unhappy. I’m ready for a switch.”

    Those are the same people who may be doing that behind your back as well, 6 months down the road.

    The truly excellent talent is, generally, not looking for work right now. They’re happilly, successfully employed.

    Top recruiters are paid top wages because they find top talent.

    SO–How do I balance my need to do my job–talk to the very best people I can find–without becoming a poacher?

  7. Robert Merrill Says:

    There is also the perception that recruiters dont really take the time to care for their clients. Theyre simply trying to match meat with a request whether its a good fit or not. Nobody wants to feel like theyre a commodity being shopped around just as nobody wants to pay for a commodity theyre looking for superstars.


  8. Robert Merrill Says:

    ‘Wary’, thanks for your notes. All of those are very good comments that I am taking seriously. I hope that if I (or my team) are ever in a situation to push anyone through doors that shouldn’t be opened, you (the general, open-ended ‘you’) will tell me about it. I mean that.

    You said:

    I get the We have a great opportunity line a lot, but when there are no details attached, its not worth my time to call back because 9 times out of 10, its a total mismatch.

    I feel like I do have an advantage in one respect because I am a geek, too, and I know that you can’t match talent on keywords alone. But I have made phone calls where I hung up and wanted to slap my forehead because I obviously mismatched a person pretty poorly. Hopefully, I’ve never sent anyone on an interview like yours…

  9. Matthew Reinbold Says:

    how much (do) you want a recruiter you hire to help you build your team to only rely on people whove actively raised their hand and said, Im unhappy. Im ready for a switch.

    Those are the same people who may be doing that behind your back as well, 6 months down the road.

    More power to ’em. If they’re looking for work because they’re unhappy chances are they aren’t working out with the team and not giving 100% at work. If it isn’t working out having them leave on their own helps avoid the nashing of teeth that otherwise would come from having to let go a mediocre-to-ok fit.

    People outgrow their roles. People look to stretch their skills. While things are good and many superstars are enjoying where they are I doubt that all of those currently looking are just left-overs and also-rans (yikes, that sounds much harsher than I mean it to be).

    Of course, I don’t have the perspective that you do on what’s out there.

  10. Gerard V Says:

    I know this is coming two months after the fact, but I LOVE to add my $0.02 cents, so here I go…

    I LOVED it when a recruiter used to call me… Unbeknownest to them, I am well versed in human behavior as well as Information Technology, so it was a game to me. While I used to get at LEAST 10 inquiries a month (I’m in NYC, so that’s probably a LOW number!), I would always have 2 or 3 of them “follow up” once every three months or so… Unfortunately for them I have an eidetic memory, so I knew exactly who they were after their fourth or fifth word (they NEVER reveal their intentions until you ask them questions…)

    Anyway, I was happy with the company I was with and the job I held (IT Consultant), so they were the unfortunate recipients of my amusement! Referring to a couple of the comments that have been posted already, when they were excited to tell me that they had an EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY for me, I’d reply even more excitedly “REALLY!! What is it! I want to know EVERY detail about this position because I’m REALLY looking foward to being the CTO of a well-known corporation!”. or when they explained how I could make MUCH more than my current salary I’d reply “WOW! More than $175,000!!!! Tell me MORE! Actually, It’ll take $250,000 to convince me to take the job!”, or my personal favorite “You already know that you’re in a dead-end job already, so the only reason why I called YOU is because I knew you would be looking for an opportunity that offered growth potential!” and I’d say “Really? I thought Chief Technology Officer for my company was the highest achievement for somebody in the Technology Industry! What is the company you’re working for offering?… CEO?”

    Well, you can imagine how quickly they tried to get me off the phone, even though I was telling them the truth! I guess they were just lying! Anyway, the point is this… If you find yourself in the position that makes you say this…

    “If you manage a team that youve painstakingly put together over the years the last thing that you want is a tech recruiter poaching your people. There are enough bloodthirsty recruiters out there that Im sure everybody has a story about being contacted out of the blue and being promised the world. For a manger this is a team building nightmare.”

    Then you already know that your team is NOT happy where they are right now. The day you wake up in the morning and your thinkning has changed from “I know that when those dumb IT Recruiters call they’ll just be wasting their time!” to “WHY can’t that stupid receiptionist filter out all those IT Recruiters so I don’t LOSE my staff!” then you should should really start asking yourself “Why would I think that an IT Recruiter would have even the SLIGHTEST chance to poach my staff?” If YOU think your staff is the best IT Department in the world, just imagine how many other companies who would agree! Most CTO’s or Managers realize this when it’s too late…

  11. Brent Says:

    Here are some fun things to do to mess with recruiters. I find they are victims of falling for their own BS.

    – When they call, tell them your current company is doing a huge project and you are looking for a firm, then once you get them excited, do not return any of their phone calls or voicemails.

    – If you get screwed over by one agency or they are just rude, I like to call them once you get established in a new position and have them submit resumes for a position you are the hiring manager for and work really hard to screen candidates. This is fun because I will intentionally not hire someone from that agency just to get back at the recruiter.

    – I like to also raise my rate each time they call back. This really pisses them off.

    – After a client falls in love with you after three rounds of interviews and starts talking hire, I love to raise the amount a lot, since there is nothing worse for them then to have a deal fall apart at the end. The look stupid and the client hates them. That is a fun way to ruin a client for a recruiter.

    – After you get an offer, up your rate/salary by 20% and stand firm. I love watching the used car salesmen squirm.

    – I once had a recruiter try to submit me at a company I worked at years ago. They had the nerve to talk about what an exciting opportunity it was and had not even seen it on my resume.

    – Ask them how old they are. 9 out of 10 are kids that have no clue.

    – My favorite qoute: Those that can do, those that can’t recruit!

    – Squeeze them for every dime, bonus and benefit possible.

    – Recruiters calling from India? YUCK! enough said!

    One final shout to the HEAD hunters – You are one step below fat slimmy ambulance chasing lawyers…at least they finished law school….

    Peace out


  12. Robert Merrill Says:

    Brent: Sheesh.

    I hope you never run into someone who treats you the way you treat recruiters. Recruiters do talk–and they are not afraid to blackball people who clearly have little or no professional respect or courtesy.

    I do wish you the best of luck. I will watch out for you!

  13. Brent Says:

    As an IT person, here are the three types of recruiters I have found based on my experience over the years. Keep in mind, I have made these guys a ton of money and I absolutely despise them….and I have family that works as recruiters… The internet was created to eliminate these guys and allow us to make more form our own hard work.

    1) The Proactive.

    These are the people that are genuinely interested in placing people into jobs, usually they are women. Value the candidates and go in to bat for them to get them a role. They are nice to talk to on the phone, pleasant in the interview, and committed to doing the right thing. These are the types that you want to deal with, and get back to you, keep you updated and debrief you. After placing you, they will even meet you and take you out to lunch to see how things are going.

    2) The Disillusioned.

    These are the ones that thought that being a recruiter was a touchy feely path into HR, and then realised being a recruiter was a hardcore sales job. They are the type of people who are ok at the sales role, and so stay on (many people falling into this class leave within weeks of starting when they realise it isnt a HR role).

    They are usually the ones that sound like they are in pain when they are talking to you, rushed off their feet and not enough time in the day. Getting a job with these guys is very hit and miss… sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad. Usually get back to you with the outcome.

    3) The Predator.

    These are the hard core sales career recruiters, usually guys and a two or three person shop and a short list where they are always the “preferred vendor”..god if I hear that again I will die. They want bums on seats, jobs filled, time is money and every second spent not recruiting is time they are not earning commission. When talking on the phone, they often sound like they cant wait for the call to end, and as soon as they say “bye” the call drops instantly as they release the call from their desk phone. After interviews they pump you for every last drop of info only to never circle back and then dump you.

    Whilst your resume is the current best of the bunch, they are all over you, they love you and talk to you like you are their buddy.. once someone stronger comes in, you are dropped like a hot potato, with phone calls, messages and emails ignored. They also do the rude predatory sales leads questions, trying to get leads for positions from your current employer, referees or the employer you chose instead of their job. After placing you they will never call you unless it is to pump you for info or get more candidates/friends/free referrals. They love to place you for contract work so they can sit back and watch the money roll in. These type will lie to you and say they get 10% when they get 30%. They prey on geeky guys that are gullible and lack street smarts. They will also whine like babies if someone else places you and they do not have a right to present document. They think that if they submit your resume to a company, no matter how you came in they deserve 10-20K.

    These are the recruiters to avoid… they are terrible to deal with, have no interest in the candidates, and live for payday.

    Just my .02. As I said, I have family who is recruiters and I know it is a tough job, I just honestly think it is one of those things that will go away, like the beta VCR.


  14. Brent Says:


    If I had a dime for everytime a recruiter told me I was “blacklisted” I would be very rich. I realize they do talk but good people will always find good jobs with or without a recruiter. I find they muddy the waters and cut into my take. As linked in gets more popular, recruiters will go away I am willing to bet.

    I’ll keep my eyes out for you too! 😉

    Best of luck,

  15. Robert Merrill Says:


    The internet was created to eliminate these guys and allow us to make more form our own hard work

    [snark]Of course, we all know the Internet was invented so Al Gore could help solve Global Warming.[/snark]

    And, I honestly hope the recruiters you (rightfully) don’t like will “go away”. I also hope that telemarketers will drop dead and that door-to-door sales people get eaten by my four-year-old’s kitty-cat.

    If the people who have treated you the way you describe here will leave my industry, I will have a lot more success helping people enhance their lives and careers, and helping companies to grow and prosper.

    If you sent me your resume right now, I would look at it, because that’s what I do. I try not to prejudge. It’s tough, though, seeing that, if I introduced myself to you at a dinner or other event and said, “I am a recruiter” you would instantly shut me down and decide my fate then and there.

    …even if I know exactly the person you want to know for your next career move.

    …maybe I would even share that information freely because I like helping people.

    I do hope LinkedIN gets more popular. (Honestly, I hope other tools come and absolutely dazzle us all to the point where LinkedIn gets crushed under the weight of their own unwillingness to share MY information with me (which I gave them))

    But ‘Recruiting’ per-se, will never go away until every person becomes equally able to make themselves known to each company who is looking for them.

    …and for companies to successfully manage the incredible information overload that would create.

    …and for every company to equally get the attention of every talented person qualified for the positions they’re hiring for–and clear, good details about the job that are understandable across culture and background barriers.

    …and for people (you) to successfully manage the incredible information overload that would create.

    …and for people to stop blatantly lying on their resumes.

    …and for an honest, trusted, free, web2.0, third-party clearinghouse of real knowledge about people (a way to ping references, a way to check salaries, a way to validate education, etc). [NOTE: Business idea here!]

    Still, after all of that, one thing remains the same. Recruiters make hiring EASIER than it would be without them. The laws of economics dictate that.

    Make the salary for recruiters go away, and they will too.

  16. Bill Says:

    Robert- thanks for taking the time to “defend” us from our allies. As a technical recruiter, with little to no industry experience (those who can’t… recruit) I often find myself in a position that makes for a hostile environment. I think that all too often, a candidate will get burned somewhere in the process, and have negative feelings toward the whole experience.

    I must admit that I am responsible for sending the initial ambiguous emails, but that is because I am profile recruiting. I dont do JIT recruiting for the most part. Sometimes it takes upwards of 1-2 YEARS to find somebody a role they can excel in. So for all those people who dont reply to the voicemails and emails, I ask you why? Whats wrong with having 1, 2, or 3 firms searching for good jobs for you? Just set the level of involvement and interaction, and if the recruiter violates, send them packing!

    As for Brent- you sound like a real class act I would love to have the pleasure of pulling a job from you. Or finding you a role that you liked, only to pull the rate down 20%. What goes around comes around!!!

  17. Robert Merrill Says:

    @Bill — I like your comments here. It brings up that different recruiters operate differently, which many people don’t appreciate or consider. I agree that people get soured on the whole process, and usually blame it on the recruiter–easy scapegoat 🙂

    “If my recruiter woulda just _____, I woulda had that job in a heartbeat….”

    Well, in my experience, it’s the candidate and the client in the interview that either makes it or breaks it. And the ones that whine usually broke it themselves.

  18. Harley Pig Says:

    > But I have made phone calls where I hung up and wanted
    > to slap my forehead because I obviously mismatched a
    > person pretty poorly.

    We all make mistakes. I actually had a recruiter call me back and apologize for the foul up. Took the entire blame for it, even though I could tell that at least some of it was the hiring manager’s fault.

    With that single 2 minute phone call that recruiter single handedly repaired a lot of damage.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, when something like that happens, own up to it.

  19. Dennis Gorelik Says:

    I want to confirm this very important tip:
    When contact with a programmer — discuss most critical details in email. That saves time, keeps conversation history, and eliminates candidates who are not proficient in using email.
    It’s ok to talk with candidate on the phone to make sure that he sounds sane, but that should be final check.

  20. Huckabee Says:

    Why can’t you just understand that this is the way that people are hired these days. The business of hiring people helps everyone out and recruiters facilitate the flow of talent and money.

    You suggest killing the messengers of today’s market economy. The middlemen exist for a reason. Live with it.

  21. DBR Says:

    I was in IT (Tier 3 support, consulting and after the 911/bubble crash, I scraped by as a firmware tester at HP – ouch) for 10 years before going into recruiting.

    I was in it all through the madness of the 90s when I literally has 2-3 messages per night on my answering machine and could seriously hammer recruiters on their rates (on contract jobs). Yes, it was tiring to have people call you about “wonderful opportunities” and waste your time only to tell you it paid half of what you were currently making.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but frankly, I hate IT. The main reason I hate IT is that the vast majority of people in the business have no understanding of the business principles that drive their industry (present company excepted, I am sure). Consultants can be the exception, but most do not understand basic ideas such as business case and ROI, etc.

    Recruiting, as a profession, exists because in many industries, it is very difficult to find the right person to fill a role in a reasonable amount of time. You may think that Monster and Hot Jobs has solved this problem, but it has actually made it worse – it has degraded the signal to noise ratio and the best recruiters use job boards very little.

    My focus is in the semiconductor market where I recruit primarily MS-PHD level Electrical Engineers. There are always startups that need good people and are willing to pay to find them – they pay because these people are not on Monster – they are working at IBM and AMD and Nvidia and Analog Devices and Freescale.

    EEs on the average are much slower to jump around as the profession is very critical of job hoppers. anything less than 2-3 years in a job is looked at as a potential red flag.

    The other thing that is different is that you need to have at least a 90% match in skills and acomplishments. You can’t just send in a resume and say “uh, this guy made like…chips and stuff…isnt that what you want?” Sometimes even a 90% match is not enough to make it happen.

    My IT background and interest in hardware and electronics and knowledge of that industry (I have talked to people who designed the Commodore 64 and Atari and Apple 8bit computers) goes a long way towards establishing credibility. Simply stated, you cannot fake your way through the EE world (especially in my niche).

    Here is the part you may not like. Recruiting is getting harder, and recruiters are more in demand. There is a labor shortage and its going to get much, much, much worse over the next decade. There are not a lot of barriers to get into this field and a lot of people are going to be coming in looking for the big bucks (not unlike the MCSE mills of the 90s).

    Fees are also going up – I currently get 25%, but someone I work with gets 30% (construction/architecture) and I know some people ask for 40 and get 35 (sales). Companies pay it because not having the right people at the right time could cost thousands, possibly millions more in lost opportunity.

  22. Crystal Says:

    I see many negative comments, which basically stem from individuals who are working with no integrity and no pride in what they are doing.

    I am the Recruiting Manager for a small company in Pittsburgh. Reading some of these comments make me sick! I am in this business to make a good match for both the client and for the consultant. I don’t know if anyone has thought of this yet, but a recruiter would not mismatch a candidate on purpose for these reasons:

    1. It damages relationships with both the client and candidate casuing.

    2. Loss of credibility with the candidate (your candidate would loose confidence in your ability to screen and match them properly in a position they are qualified for)

    3. Loss of credibility with the company. The company is not going to look at your candidates in the future.

    Mistakes happen every once in a while, but in my experience they are seldom if the recruiter and the hiring manager work together and screen the candidate properly, making sure this person is being truthful about all of their skills and abilities.

    I see recruiting as a service to the client and to the candidate. I spend hours upon hours reviewing resumes, conducting phone interviews, and often times assisting candidates in reformatting their resume so the person reading it can easily see how qualified they are.

    BRENT, About rates:
    I am not sure who you have dealt with in the past, but in the first conversation, when I am describing the job to a person I ask for their preference of payment and ask them for a rate (hourly or salary) that they would take the job on for. This is called a bid. Any contracter in any field whether it is Service, Construction, Technical, Consulting, it does not matter, bids a job up front. It is unprofessional to change the rate. The only exception is if the job changes. No one is cheating you, you set your rate up front. The company pays us, so we are not taking anything from you. Why? because then they spend less time searching for candidates. We not only search we clear you though backround checks, call your references, and get you directly to the person you need to be talking to to get the job.

    If you can do this then great! I am sure you like spending hours online researching companies all over the country/world that are not even sure you exist. By the way they still accept resumes from individuals so if you can do better go ahead. Just do not generalize us into a few categories that you find amusing becasue we are working very hard to fill a nitch that if it were not neccessary it would have a ready been eliminated.


  23. Kyle Says:

    Everyone’s comments are accurate if they are based on experience. You’ll see my view on the subject in the note below to the .NET User Group President.

    I feel I have made some progress shifting the paradigm of how tech recruiters are viewed, but not nearly enough. What has helped my personal image is volunteering at tech events and supporting our tech community growth efforts of the leadership. What I found is the change will be a journey and not a sprint. It starts by building your personal brand and duplicating your efforts. Bad apples will continue to rot, but you must make efforts to keep them out of your own basket.

    My latest humble efforts to cross the bridge on behalf of my recruiting brethren:

    Scott, your email spurned a thought today and I’d love to hear your feedback. This subject goes back to our conversation of agencies having their place in the circle of technology employment and event sponsorship. I’d like to up the ante in hopes of building a stronger community where we ALL live.

    There has long been a great divide between technologist and recruiters; mainly because recruiters fail to invest time to learn what makes certain technology sexy. Secondly, they typically don’t know or know to ask what type of impact a project will have on their client’s business and the role visibility a technologist will play. (My opinion only). Therefore, most are disinterested in what WE typically have to say beyond the dollar. If you both feel this is accurate, I would suggest that a challenge be made to agencies/recruiters in effort for them to gain more credibility leading to increased two-way communications.

    Instead of standing in front of the .NET group pleading for resumes for open job orders, ask us to stand and deliver what you want to hear. “How cool our projects are? or “What career advantage you stand to gain by joining us?. Stuff the tech community really wants to know. I’m sure your list can go on and on.

    We must become better sales people. But, we can only do this by first being a better steward to our community and asking for help. So I’ll be the first. Will you help me do a better job? I think those that accept the challenge will clearly distance themselves in the tech community from the ones that decline.

    Again, your thoughts appreciated.

  24. JG Says:

    the problem is: there are many recruiters that are clueless.. I am a recruiter for technology sales people.. and I have been on the corporate side as well.. it is amazing how many recruiters have absolutly no idea what they are doing.. they push paper and expect to make a ton of money. There are good recruiters out there..ones that care about the client AND the candidate.I recently placed a guy at a company that was bought shortly thereafter and called the candidate to make sure he was OK.. he knew about the buy before I did and was very cool with it..the unfortunate thing for amanager of a recruit side company is.. recruiters have 2 lists, a client and a recruiting source..peole are bombarded with recruiter calls which makes fleshing out the good ones from the bad ones difficult.. we get lumped together as YOU GUYS.. I am NOT one of YOU GUYS..and I knwo a few recruiters that are ethical and quality like is all the used car saleemena that get into the recruiting business that makes comments like these a reality

  25. Anil Kasibhatla Says:

    I am so glad to finally get a run down from the tech crowd. I always assumed that there were things in the recruiting landscape that needed to be changed and changed for the good. I have been recruiting for the last 9 years in the DC corridor and unlike most recruiters do have a technical background. Not to say I can sit a crunch a million lines of code today but most certainly understand the suttle albiet core nuances that make or brake an SOA Architect from a high end Programmer. I request you review my post on the same topic at, and also at
    BTW we are in the process of launching an on demand objective technical validation tool for the recruiting community at large by end of q1 08. So stay tuned. It will address the inherent gaps in the candidate validation, and help candidates better target the right jobs, and help the recruiters better understand the technical prowess/depth of expertise that a given candidate brings to the table.

  26. Brian Says:

    Brent sounds like the kind of guy that likes to waste people’s time – including his own. Hope your ‘power trip’ helps you. My guess is it will only help you ruin connections you WILL need and/or want over time. Tech guys, like anyone, hate to be lied to, over sold, not called back, etc. Treat them with the respect they deserve and you will be a successful recruiter in many ways – large network, placements, and money will follow.

  27. Joe Says:

    I have NEVER, NEVER got a job through any recruiter. For the most part the jobs in the job
    boards are fake, scams. I have wasted time interviewing for jobs that never existed.
    Speaking to recruiters who never bothered to even read my resume, and were oblivious. Some
    barely spoke English. Uneducated, incoherent, unable to give any information about the
    “job”. Harassing or just downright nasty, rude scum. These people are milking people and
    ripping them off, with stables of workers who are losing half thier salaries to these con
    artists. I have had recruiters Try all sorts of dirty tricks. They have stolen info,
    manipulated resumes, sold my info to other con artists and identity thieves. I am
    constantly bombarded by spammers and other con artists. Wasting my time with incesant
    calls. These people are dishonest, unethical scum. Second-rate car salemen. Since I am
    usually in a position to hire, and train. the first thing I do is get rid of these people.
    They should be legislated out of existence. I have heard much the same from other principals and HR people too. We all share the same feelings. The company gets ripped off
    and the worker gets ripped off. When you don’t fit into their sick view of the world they
    turn nasty on you. Vindictive. These people are pond scum and give the good ones a bad
    name. Worse they keep qualified people from getting through.

  28. Eric Beauford Says:

    Wow, great read and fun too! I was in the staffing business for 10 years and must say that I had a great reputation, both on the client and candidate side because I provided equal focus on both sides needs and wants, and would not waste their time. I left the business in 03 due to the types of comments listed here. Becasue of “a lot” not a “few” of bad apples in the industry, it created a hugh obstacle and stigma to overcome. Brent, based on your comments, I believe you would like a couple of my blogs at, and Anil I sent you an email, but based on the solution you mentioned, you may be interested in what we are launching here at Cachinko. I believe everyone in this thread would really appreciate what we have built, both the “hunter” and the “hunted”….


  29. BH Says:

    I was an IT recruiter for many years. Prior to that, I worked in the IT industry (pre and post internet). So, I do see both sides of the argument.

    As a recruiter, one thing I would like to stress to candidates is that we are here to help you — we want you to find the right job.

    If we put the wrong candidate with the wrong client (or some combination thereof) — we risk losing the client. If the candidate who we have placed quits, we have to refund our fee. If we send poor candidates to a client…again, we risk losing the client.

    One thing that makes IT professionals good at what they do is their focus and attention to detail. On the other hand, sometimes they lack in their ability to see the big picture.

    The reality of today’s marketplace is that we (i.e. recruiting firms, clients and candidates) have access to job boards like Monster with over 10 million resumes, Dice has around 6 million. IT consultants are really a dime a dozen and very easy to find — I can go to Monster and Dice and choose from tens of thousands of programmers, admins, etc.

    Plus, many of the more common skills — e.g. Java programmers — are also beginning to be outsourced completely offshore for a fraction of the cost….and the trend is not reversing.

    So, from my standpoint as a recruiter — I get frustrated when candidates do not see working with a recruiter as a partnership. Or, they are deluded into thinking that that can command whatever salary or pay rate they want.

    And, as far as compensation for recruiters…pre-internet….IT recruiters typically made comfortable six figure salaries. With IT skills becoming much more commodotized and with the advent of resumes becoming available on job boards — your average IT recruiter makes around $50K a year (that’s salary and commission)….much lower than most of the IT candidates they place. On top of that, recruiting in this space is incredibly competitive…..not to mention that recruiters only get paid a tiny fraction (typically 3%) of the fee that the recruiting firm charges (these days 13% to 18% of your first year salary).

    It’s a competitive market, and it’s just getting more competitive.

    Anyway, my point in all this…let’s be nice……keep in mind that you need us as much as we need you.

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