Craziest Exchanges with Tech Recruiters

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Tech recruiters perform a valuable service that benefits both tech pros and hiring managers. But sometimes they communicate in strange and unusual ways. For example, some recruiters use corny pick-up lines to try and grab the attention of busy prospects, while others send confusing pitches that are riddled with clichés, murky job descriptions and doublespeak.

Since laughter is a great way to handle stress and frustration, we asked several tech pros to share some of the craziest interactions they’ve had with recruiters. We’ve also included a few clever responses to overworked pick-up lines.

Love at First Sight?

Does flattery work? Apparently it does, because a lot of recruiters try to sweet-talk their way into relationships with candidates. For instance, a recruiter tried this line on Stephanie Hawn, an interaction mobile designer:

  • “I’m drawn to your skillset like a moth to a light.”

What’s the best potential comeback to a query like that? Perhaps a couple of puns are in order: “I’m not interested in flitting to another entry-level role. Please don’t bug me unless it’s for a mid-level position.”

A technical specialist from Arkansas shared some of his favorite pick-up lines from recruiters.

  • “You are awesome and this position and company are awesome!”
  • “If I was to bet on a horse, and you were a horse in the race, you’d be the horse I’d bet on.”
  • “The job is an assistant CIO, but with your skills, you could have the CIO’s job in no time at all.”
  • “We are submitting five resumes, but your skills far exceed the other candidates.”

Comeback: “Phew, I feel much better about my chances now.”

Better Comeback: “I know.” (Han Solo references for the win)

Jim Lola is a Big Data and cybersecurity consultant—and for some reason, recruiters call him a unicorn. While it’s amazing how many programmers are ninjas, wizards and rock stars, is it flattering to be called a mutant? At least one recruiter thought so:

  • “My client is looking for full stack mutants, like you.”

Comeback: “Will I qualify for special benefits as a member of a protected class?”

If the recruiter replies “yes” to that, things may only get weirder from there.

Confusing Messages

Tech pros often receive confusing or mixed messages from recruiters. Take the case of Jonathan Peterson, owner of Paladin Cloudware, who wondered which end was up when he received an odd message from a recruiter:

“The recruiter was looking for a back-end developer with HTML and CSS experience,” Peterson explained via email. “But I soon realized that he was really looking for a front-end developer when I read the job description, which didn’t mention a server side language.”

Here are a few more examples of confusing communications from recruiters.

  • “The client is only willing to pay $40 to $50 per hour, but based on your skillset, I could probably get you $65, maybe more.”
  • “They are wanting to move like Speedy Gonzales on this one. So could you be available to start by next Monday?”
  • “Oh, that’s not a real opening. We post jobs to get people to apply in case we do need them at a later date.”
  • “No, the ‘location’ is where we advertised the position. That particular job is in New York.”
  • “You are probably paid quite handsomely, and might not have any real incentive to leave except for new challenges and perhaps more money. Will you have some time to chat this afternoon or evening?”
  • “No, we really don’t make any money when we send you out on a contract basis.”
  • “Frankly, they’re looking for a developer who can code in his sleep.”
  • “My client needs an engineer who can consistently achieve impossible feats on a consistent basis.”
  • “This is actually a sole contributor role but a lead in terms of senior as a SME not a manager. I was not necessarily thinking you would be interested but thought you might have an idea how much a company has to pay to get the right talent in this area. That being said, we should have some senior level openings coming up this year if you are interested.”

Are these queries sort of funny? Of course. But they’re also annoying if you’re a tech pro deluged on a regular basis by recruiter requests. If the job does seem interesting (despite the garbled language) you can always ask the recruiter for some additional clarification—but even if you’re laughing on the outside, make sure to keep your tone professional.

2 Responses to “Craziest Exchanges with Tech Recruiters”

  1. Carol Schultz

    A friend sent me this knowing I’d get a huge laugh, and it didn’t disappoint.

    After 24 years as a professional recruiter I’m shocked at the idiots out there. Here’s who/what I blame:

    1. Companies who hire 20 somethings to be “recruiters” because it’s so easy to recruit
    2. Companies who only use contingent recruiters whose job it is to sling spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks
    3. Contingent search agencies for hiring people with little to no salary and provide little to no quality training
    4. The internet. Things weren’t this bad before the Internet.
    5. I could go on….