Recruiters: Pay Close Attention

There seems to be a growing arrogance in IT recruiters these days. They contact you at work or during business hours on the attitude that you need them more than they need you. Which is funny because, when I get the call, I notice that I already have a job.

But it goes beyond that. In 2010, I was laid off from BigHugeCo, the discreetly aliased Fortune 500 company where I worked for 10 years. For about six months, I was able to live off desktop support contracts and severance pay. Then I signed on with Medishack, and just my LinkedIn profile (which you can’t see from here, so don’t look) indicated a change in my focus. I now listed my specialties as C# and SQL development.

Understandably, I got phone calls asking if I wanted to do desktop support for about a year after I took that job. But then something strange happened. I got a call from the receptionist saying my “friend” Ben wanted to talk to me. This was about six months into the new job. Ben finally got through, scolded me for not putting my cell phone on my LinkedIn profile, and insisted I needed to interview with his client located a mere ten minutes from my house. I’d have loved to look at that job, but 1.) I had just started this new job and wasn’t ready to abandon it, and 2.) why would I trust someone who had to lie their way to my direct extension? I told Ben thanks but no thanks. He left me with a warning about missed opportunities. Well, that wouldn’t be the first time.

Ben’s company called again, and I finally shot the firm an email telling them that getting me fired was not going to make me amenable to interviewing with their client. Thankfully, I’m blacklisted with them.

With my new job, it gets even more interesting. I’m the first direct hire with BigTinyTechCorp (again, an alias) in about five years. During the interview process, I noticed an uptick in recruiter calls. A few became specific about where I would interview: An e-commerce company in the northern suburbs. The job description sounded exactly like…

My new job. I even got a call after I turned in my notice about this very company. Sigh. All that tells me is the contracting firm did not do their homework regarding the company, never mind me as a potential prospect.

But it gets more interesting, my friends. All my job board profiles (which have been turned off for over a year) say “Not willing to relocate.” I keep getting emails about an immediate need for a 6 month contract-to-hire development job in Columbus/Chicago/Dallas/Seattle/Vladivostok. During my unemployment, a recruiter also scolded me for going to night school as it interfered with my ability to do the job he wanted me to interview for (which was outside my skill set). Another suggested I should take a pay cut because “it’s a really good company.” (Hint: A really good company is going to pay me more to leave.)

So recruiters, if you’re reading this, listen up. You need us more than we need you. You need a commission. We need a paycheck, which, by the way, is much easier in 2014 to find than it was in 2010. I found my current job because my employer’s HR department did their homework. I found my last job because I networked. My first manager at Medishack was a coworker at BigHugeCo, which I also found because someone recommended me to take over their job. And don’t tell me it’s a great opportunity if it’s a Java development job, and I’ve been writing C# for several years now. When I say “No relocation,” your job prospect had goddamn well better say “Cincinnati” or show up on Google maps as within 30 minutes of my Zip Code.

Do your homework. Stop alienating prospects. You’ll make more money, and your prospects will be happier.