Stop Bad Tech Recruitment Cold with One Question

Tech recruitment made easy.

Many developers and engineers live according to one inalienable belief: they think that tech recruitment is pretty terrible. It’s often worse when big companies such as Google and Facebook come knocking. But one developer has found a way to cut to the chase quickly with recruiters.

Yegor Bugayenko’s blog post, titled “Why I Don’t Talk to Google Recruiters,” is a good look at what it’s like to be recruited by big tech companies. As he notes at one point, Amazon flew him from Ukraine to Seattle for a job interview, which made him think the firm was very interested in his specific skill-set. But after he failed to create an algorithm from scratch in four hours, he didn’t get the position.

“If she would have started her email with ‘We’re looking for an algorithm expert,'” he wrote in the blog posting, “we would never have gotten any further and would not have wasted our time. Clearly, I’m not an expert in algorithms.” (At least Amazon put him up in a really nice hotel.)

After that bad experience, Bugayenko decided to break his loop on the first recruiter pass. When recruiters reach out, he now sends this:

Thanks for your email. I’m very interested indeed. I have nothing against an interview. However, there is one condition: I have to be interviewed by the person I will be working for. By my future direct manager.

The result? Recruiters tend to drop the communication cold, though Bugayenko suggests they often return later to query him about other positions. His experience reiterates an old argument among tech pros: tech recruiting needs some TLC.

While we won’t advocate Bugayenko’s abruptness with recruiters, there are ways to elegantly navigate the process. As with any good negotiation, good faith plays an important role. Recruiters (annoying as some tech pros may find them) have positions to fill. If they fire off dozens of spammy messages, it’s because the client (or bosses, for larger companies with dedicated recruiters) have an urgent need for talent.

A new hire is also expensive. DevSkiller notes that recruiting a new hire can cost as much as $60,000, and the process may take over a month. It’s reasonable to think recruiters would want to get you speaking directly with companies quickly, even though that process has a tendency to confound:

Although his take on recruiting is perhaps a little sensational, Bugayenko still highlights a skill that tech pros should develop to better navigate the hiring process: ask what specific skills the job requires. It lets the recruiter know you’re engaged, interested and cutting through the fog at the onset of recruitment, which can help avoid wasting everyone’s time. Even during the application process (which can yield similarly pitiful results to direct recruitment), asking the right questions early is a solid move.

A recruiter knows what specific skills a hiring company wants; asking about those skills at the beginning of the process can prove a good starting point from which to launch a discussion about the role. The recruiter can likely get that info from the company, if it’s not already on-hand. If they can get you the information, you’ll know if the granular skills needed are ones you’re comfortable with; no more whiteboard fails! (Just kidding, you’ll still fail now and then.)

The desire shouldn’t be to avoid recruitment, but to get beyond the initial stages as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Bugayenko demands to meet with the hiring manager straightaway, which is probably unrealistic. But if you make it easier for the recruiter to confidently recommend you for the position and an interview, the company has a good reason to expedite the initial steps of your hiring process.

From there, it’s all up to you… even the dreaded whiteboard interview.

78 Responses to “Stop Bad Tech Recruitment Cold with One Question”

  1. Another article where it’s the responsibly of the job seeker to make life easier for the recruiter while not having to return the favor. It’s a two-way street, like it or not. Everyone is being interviewed. The candidate and The Company.

    Personally I’m so sick of recruiters that have my resume in front of them, think I’m a great fit for a role they are trying to fill but refuse to talk about that role. Instead they want to hear more about what I have to offer for a role I know nothing about and what my future plans are. It is a total waste of time for everyone involved if I have absolutely no interest in the job at the end.

    In my experience asking for a detailed job description also drops the communication cold. It’s madness.

    • You are sooo right, I get so frustrated, and they say “what’s your rate” and/or, “are you interested”. What????? You haven’t told me anything about the position. Sometimes I have to explain to them what the JD means after I get it. The way I work is, I try to figure out what the actual project is about during the initial call.

  2. Designer Dan

    I always ask for a job description. This gives me a good idea of what the client wants.

    My biggest cripe concerns the recruiter who don’t look at the resume. I am a mecyhaniical engineer with 3D CAD experience. But I get calls for an electrical engineer, or an aassembler, or a skill that is not shown in the resume.

    • LOL..Yep happens to me tooo, I think they are in call centers, and don’t even know what they are looking for. They just run a scan and find 2 or 3 words and call you. Also, I get flooded with calls from recruiters in NJ all of the time. Did they all move to NJ? What’s up with that?

      • They’re still actually in India. I checked once on the address listed in the recruiter’s signature and it was a PO box in NJ. Might be something about NJ business law that lets them spoof a number as long as its a number they actually own.

  3. Julian Cook

    Worst of all is when companies like Dice, Monster, etc. sell your resume over to recruiting spam entities who spam you with irrelevant job postings. I like in DC metro and at least a couple of times a day I get offers for “Urgebt requirement: PHP developer Fort Wayne, IN”. These pitches always comes from someone with an Indian name so based on that I’m guessing these are Indian recruiting sweatshops. If tech people are pissed at recruiters maybe Dice, and other online job boards would do well to see how they are contributing to the problem.

  4. My experience, I’m a systems engineer, is that I am dealing with someone in little more than a boiler room call center in India. They’ve been given a list of keywords (which a rarely accurate), names, and phone numbers. I have come to the point, I always say “If I have to relocate, I am only interested in positions west of the Mississippi River”, it’s nice to see that Americans aren’t the only ones that don’t know US geography.

  5. I agree, many times I ask about the job and I get continuous questions about my job goals and aspirations, the recruiter talks to me for almost 30 mins, then I have to hunt them down afterwards to find out that the company didn’t get back to them about me, which is another pain staking process of phone tag and emails.

  6. I agree with the previous posts. I have been both a technologist (programmer) and recruiter. I am disgusted with how unprepared and uninterested recruiters generally are in the conversation that is directly relevant to the work that needs to be done, and the team that needs to hire the person to help that work to get done. I have also been interviewd by Google and found their process to be sickening and repulsive in its unchecked arrogance. I always made a point of really listening to each person I interviewed, and being as precise and comprehensive as I could be about what was needed of the indiviual in the position being hired for. Daily I encountered extreme negativity and distrust from candidates because of how poorly they had been treated by other recruiters. I haven’t done any recruiting in a while because of how disgusted I became with the industry.

  7. Interesting point of view…. nevertheless, all comments I’ve read are 90% characteristics of Robert Half Technologies.
    Heaven knows where they get the list of openings all over the country!
    Very unprofessional… SAD!

    • I was a QA Manager at Amazon, and you’re basically correct. In general, you will be interviewed by the people on the team, or who work on closely-associated teams, including the hiring manager. You’ll also be interviewed by a “bar-raiser”. When I was hired, the bar-raiser was an Amazon VP.

      Sadly, much of the culture at Amazon is self-delusional. They pride themselves on a “merit” culture – but the truth is, I have never seen a place that was more political. While you still had to know your job, the truth is, if you don’t swill booze with the right people, make the right jokes, laugh at the right time, hold the correct political opinion, you’ll be left behind. It’s also a culture where back-stabbing is prevalent and acquisitions of other companies result in pollution from the management of other companies.

      I think Bezos’ idea is to do the right thing generally – but in the final analysis, it’s a moderate-energy petri dish where politics – not excellence in technology – will benefit you most. Of course, there are still technological rock stars who don’t have to deal so much with the politics, but it’s not enough to do an outstanding job. I saw one QA manager who was fired because he did an upward report (required by Amazon) that honestly said the upstream manager wasn’t doing anything. Unfortunately, the upward reports go to the next echelon up – a VP who had come over bringing the non-performing manager as her “sidekick” – so though the feedback was valid, the QA manager was fired for providing required feedback honestly instead of politically. This was a guy whose team had a perfect operational record with 50% manning!

      They say that when the axe falls at Amazon, you never even hear the whistle of the blade. I think that’s probably true. I’ve certainly known people who had no idea they were about to be chopped. I’ve also seen people downgraded on their performance reports due to the incompetence of their managers. (Face it, one part of a manager’s job is mentoring, and if you can’t be bothered to help one of your team resolve problems for which they have no experience, you’re the problem.)

      Overall, I’d rate the Amazon experience as “interesting” and “discouraging”. I’m glad I don’t work there anymore.

  8. I truly can not believe how many “Indian” recruiters I get from a job posting and they have the GALL to say..the rate is (I.E.) $29.00 / hr all inclusive aand that is a good rate, and the “proposed” job does not fit my background!!!!!!! ….IN WHAT PART OF AMERICA is that a good rate ESPECIALLY IN A HIGH COST OF LIVING STATE SUCH AS CALIFORNIA OR NY OR MASSACHUSETTS,,,,By GOD …these Indian call centers are a blight on the recruiting industry. They think you just have to have a phone ( preferably with US area code) and a list and money will fall from the sky. I will NOT EVER AND I MEAN EVER work for any major corporation that uses these shills to recruit for a position. Remember, treat people (ESPECIALLY TECHNICAL PEOPLE) well ( we are not stupid nor ignorant) and you will get good results. Treat People like they are idiots by using these fly by night , spring up like mushroom foreign call centers and you will get GARBAGE. I have know quite a few Indian recruiters who have been here for quite a while and they do treat the candidates with respect and know what the marker will bear, It is those ill informed, very low ball , don’t understand scammers that are a big problem. Best to do…don’t bother with the scammers and deal only with reputable people.

      • I am so sick of Indian recruiters!!!!!!!!! 98% of calls I get from recruiters are from offshore and these people are worse than used car salesmen. They are beyond pushy and the worst thing is you cannot understand them!!! Their accents are SO bad the conversation consists of “excuse me, can you please repeat that, I beg your pardon, etc.! I had no idea Dice, Monster and others sell our information to these offshore people but it explains a lot. I agree with Kay that this practice is a blight on the employment industry.

        • OMG!!!!! YES, YES, YES!!! The reason I ended up reading this is because I have just gotten fed up with them. And after all that, and all the additional info they want from you, you don’t even know if you’ve been submitted and rejected, or submitted at all, because you never hear from them. IT’S KILLING ME. But, you just never know which one might be the ‘right’ one.

          • Michael

            I’m convinced that many of these so-called recruiters, whether foreign or domestic, all they do is submit “candidates” through HR portals the majority of the time. I always ask for a company and a hiring manager. If they cannot at least tell me that, I’m going to find out one way or another, I want to learn sooner than later and do my due diligence vetting either the “recruiter” or the company/manager and not waste my time nor theirs.

        • Henry

          The Indian recruitment “firms” are simply boiler rooms that find legitimate job postings online and search Monster – Dice and any other medium for posting a resume online for candidates. Then these Indian firms try to become “middle men” offering you up usually as a “consultant” for a period of time to the legitimate recruitment firm or hiring company. Often ruining any opportunity you might have of becoming a candidate for a position you do qualify for.

          For instance I was hired (through one of these boiler room firms) at the rate of $55.00 an hour by a company as a consultant for 6 months, the hiring company was paying $195.00 an hour. Huge mistake. I would recommend doing your homework before responding to:

          “Hi, My name is Charlie Brown, (or Avinash Tiwari1 Prasad Kalsekar Kalsekar Sagar Sharma Srinivas — Just some of yesterday’s email)
          hope you doing good today, we are number one fastest growing staffing firm in world (bla bla bla).

          Often – I’ll receive mail from several “hope you doing good today” firms for the same position in the same city…

          For instance when they list the city, specific skills, and the industry. Google search those. You will sometimes find the real industry and/or recruiting firms.

          In sales speak, these Indian, or other third world countries “spray and pray”, dump your resume on the word if you mistakenly sign up with them.

  9. When did IT recruiting become about volume and not about the actual jobs? I get e-mails from recruiters for jobs that I’m not even remotely qualified for – many times when the mandatory skills aren’t even on my resume. Rather than a focused, intelligent search, a lot of these staffing companies just shotgun things out to the world and hope to reel something in. It’s not doing a service to the candidates or the companies that are hiring. IT recruiting needs a reboot.

  10. This is among the first questions I ask as well, which tends to separate the men from the boys real fast. Who is it with, the company, my hiring manager (or *managers*, which is also at least a yellow flag in my mind), and sometimes even the team. I’m not interested to be wasting my time on anything less than that up front. And the few (out of literally hundreds of pretenders, I can count them on one hand) that have come back with any sort of challenge, I just respond with, “look, I will find out one way or another.”

  11. Relentless

    Agree with all in this post. What a mess. In my case, I’ve been in many different IT tec roles over the last 20 years. Makes it hard to respond to jobs where they want 1 skill for 5 – 10 years. Even if I have that skill I don’t get call backs as my resume tends look like a jack of all trades, master of none. Where as mastering all these roles, means I’m a good IT guy who brings experience and can learn the new stuff, usually the role the hiring company has trouble filling and thats my forte. So! I need a recruiter who takes the time to get to know the hiring company, sees they could use a guy like me and gets me an interview. How the hell do I find that recruiter? They are about volume and quick sales. Not about finding the “right match” for the “right” job, that good recruiters ought to be. I am so disappointed. Is is too late to become an auto mechanic or a baker. Less pay, but less stress. Does anybody know a “good” recruiter? (send that and I’ll bake you a nice cake)

    • relentless too

      I agree with your comments. my favorites are the ones that ask for a number of years skill that wasn’t even invented. I share a similar fustration. I have a number of years in IT. I have done everything that was asked of me including learning new technologies.

    • Yes, that is try for me. I always try to sell that to them, they always try to put years on stuff. They should do their jobs and sell that point to the hiring managers. Once a veteran, and a contractor, you get to acquire lots of skills – that is a good thing. And, on top of it, I take classes to learn new stuff and find its the same old stuff, just packaged differently. My thought was my being a jack of all trades was my ‘niche’. But, it’s not just the recruiters who think this way, the hiring managers are like that also, they should be glad to get someone like us.

  12. Looks like most posters here have had the same experiences. Emails, calls from Indian recruiters who have not read your resume, have no clue what your skills are and are only interested in your hourly rate. And even worse, all of these companies who want contract workers but are not willing to assist with relocation expenses. They want you to put out thousands in order to get to the location and find temporary living arrangements all at your own expense. Times are rough!!

  13. So glad to see others posting what I have been experiencing. One email after another from Indian recruiters. Some days are multiple emails for the same job.

    They are collecting names / resumes. I am so frustrated with it. I have gotten to the point of not answering my phone if it’s a number I don’t recognize. And they don’t leave a message. But it puts me at risk of missing a “good” call, although I’m sure they would leave a message.

    I’ve had a few that were shocked I wouldn’t move forward on what they are offering. “You don’t want to take this in Sioux Falls, SD”. I feel like saying… #1 are you in the USA right now or India ? #2 Have you ever been to Sioux Falls #3 Have you ever been there in the winter ?? — I have been and I’m not interested.

    • Cynthia

      Hello Vanessa, I’m responding to your offer for “placement assistance” as per your post. I’m recently back on the market.

      I’m an Instructional Designer with Tech Writing experience (largely in the tech industry or on tech teams) and develop training content: eLearning, micro-learning, job aids, presentations, workbooks, etc., for onboarding new end-users to software or a platform or for communicating software/platform release updates to seasoned end-users.

      For years, I have been overwhelmed by Indian recruiters’ calls and emails, some using American first names AND surnames now as I’ve observed. Also — this is an educated guess — they are most likely using Google Voice, or a like platform, to appear that they are in my area or in the US. (I look up every recruiter who contacts me on LinkedIn to learn who they are before responding, if at all.)

      I have had identical experiences to others who have posted in response to this article and would appreciate working with a legit recruiter. Would be happy to receive an email from you to discuss further in response to your kind offer.

      Thank you!


  14. I am…a recruiter (unemployed). And I feel your pain. There are too many “sweatshop” and lazy recruiters. Resumes are run through programs that hit on key words, and sometimes no one bothers to verify results by actually reading the resume. I have been contacted by recruiters for anything from HVAC mechanic to Procurement Management jobs, because I have recruited for these positions. As a corporate recruiter, I grilled hiring managers on their expectations, and tried to gain as clear a picture of the job as possible before talking with candidates, and fine tuned the approach as the search progressed. What good does it do anyone to keep people in the dark on details? It’s like they just fling a bunch of crap to see what will stick. As I continue my job search, I am working as an independent recruiter…if anyone here is looking for placement assistance, feel free to reach out.

    • Lidia

      I receive calls from indian staffing agencies every day… A couple of months ago I submitted my resume to one of them… and in 2 weeks the same indian recruiter sent me the same job to which I have already applied. I was shocked and called him …I told him that I will report on his company to US congress and to BBB and requested to speak with his supervisor. He did not provide supervisor’s contact info, but…next day he arranged a face-to-face interview with a hiring manager. I could not believe that..I thought this staffing company is a scam, but it turned out to be influencial. I had a wonderful interview with the hiring manager, as a result- he put me on the top of the candidates list, but my requested rate (locked with the staffing agency) was not in the client’s budget… Indian guy called me again and requested to significantly reduce my rate requirement if I want to get the job. I refused to do so, and job went to someone else, most likely from India…I wasted my time and energy…still continue looking for a good position in my field… receive calls and emails from India every day…

  15. It seems an ever-increasing number of recruiters are Indian and they don’t seem to be trying to hire anyone – rather, they seem to be working to eliminate applicants so H-1B candidates can be hired.

    Three years is a bit long for a “temporary” visa, but the fact that they are routinely renewed, and that after the second expiration H-1B holders often apply for citizenship, the “temporary” visa goes from 3 years to 8 years (or forever). In addition the 65,000 “quota” of H-1B visas is routinely exceeded by nearly 200,000. In fact, for the past 12 years, the average number of H-1Bs issued exceeded 260,000 on average.

    I am hopeful that President Trump and Attorney Jeff Sessions land on the H-1B program with both feet.

    • Hello from the future,

      Trump and gang didn’t do anything, aside from disadvantage Chinese applicants with targeted policies because (shock face) trump and sessions are both geriatrics stuck in the 1960s. They did nothing about the green card petition hole, nothing to fix unverifiable education and in the end only made the rejections have slightly different criteria. About the only thing they did accomplish was to deny paperwork that hadn’t been completely filled out or had errors from being approved. Go team, right?

      Now on to the meat, your numbers are wildly inaccurate:

      – The current quota is 100K annually, 65,000 of which are available to those holding foreign or domestic undergraduate degrees.
      – The highest ever same year approval was less than 194,000 for 2017, including visa renewals.
      – The cap was dropped to the current level of 100K total in 2004 and hasn’t moved since (that includes the entirety of the last presidency, to nip that discussion).
      – There has been a linear increase year over year since it collapsed in 2008 to 2017. 120K to 194K annually
      – There are currently slightly more than 500k H1-b holders living and working in the US (all time high)
      – Green card petitions make H1-b visas renewable indefinitely, always have been.
      – Companies must sponsor an H1-b holder for a greencard.
      – Sponsorship is how companies like IBM hold their employees hostage (IBM has a minimum pay grade you must reach before you’re eligible).
      – The large outsourcing firms rarely make good on their promise to sponsor, as this would enable the employee to earn more money and potentially leave the company.
      – This is a concept known as “Captive Workforce” and is patently unethical.
      – The vast majority of green card conversions come through the family application criteria, which is far less congested and does not require employer sponsorship.
      – Green cards in progress account for the majority of visa renewals beyond 2 extensions.
      – There is no proviso stating that it’s “renewable for 8 years.” There is a 6 year renewal cap (2 extensions), after which non-green card holders must be out of the US for a calendar year to reset the cap.


      – Educational institutions, government research firms and non-profits qualify for cap exempt visas
      – Cap exempt visas have no quota
      – Cap exempt visas have no renewal limit.
      – Educational institutions have been those primarily impacted by the ineffectual “h1-b” reform under our current administration.

      This is one of those situations where I agree with your opinion, but can’t align with you to take any action as it just happens to be one of two times a day the broken clock is right. You might want to at least remember that one of Amazon’s principles is “leaders are right, a lot.” You should do some research before posting numbers that are simple to discredit, the USCIS and DOL publish all this information for easy consumption. Not doing so and writing posts like this weakens the rest of our efforts to reform this loophole.

      You are perfectly within your rights to hate something with every fiber of your being. That said, you are also ethically and intellectually obligated to understand said thing in its entirety before doing so.

      • I’ll cite just one source to prove you wrong: – page 5

        Number of approved H-1B visas for 2017: 365,682

        Now we know that by USCIS’ own numbers you’re wildly off base, I’ll only point out that the renewal is for 3 years – and that at expiration of the renewal, it’s not unusual for the H-1B to apply for citizenship and that determination can take up to 2 years during which (at least under Obozo) they could continue to work.
        That’s and initial 3 years plus renewal of 3 years plus 2 years for a citizenship determination = 8 years (to forever).

        What is patently unethical is that foreign workers exploit a NON-immigration program for immigration purposes… and that companies are allowed to import outsourcing.

        One thing that Trump has done (which is far too little in my estimation) is to require renewals go back to square one for documentation. Personally, I’d hoped he would slash the H-1B quota – or at least require its strict enforcement.

  16. Tech in PDX

    It not just tech professionals who face this problem of bad recruiters, I only have an associate degree. As a tech make good money and do not see going thousands in debit for a BSEE is prudent. I am get up to 15 calls in one-day form Indian call centers or submission mills. They keep on sending me opportunities I am not qualified for like requiring a BSEE or Masters degree, or in the wrong graphical location.
    Some US recruiters are just as bad like out of state recruiters offering to apply for a HVAC job that clearly requires a Low voltage license in my state.

  17. Lawrence Weinzimer

    If you’re mot being recruited directly by the firm, the deal with IS recruiters is approach with some caution, or in some cases, avoidance. Some firms split commissions; some see applicants as too hungry and so on. In other words: Watch their moves – many are predatory for the wrong reasons.

  18. Scott Lee

    Many of these abuses will drop by an order of magnitude when the H1B program is overhauled. These “recruiters” are there to justify paying an H1B with a fake resume and little real experience 1/2 (or less) what a person with a real degree and real experience would be paid; process is, do a search, “prove” a US citizen is not available, bring on the H1B.

    • Fast forward a year and some change:

      Surprise, the president did nothing to overhaul the H1-B program, he just targeted Chinese H1-Bs and students because he’s a senile old man who still thinks the red army will show up any minute now. Infosys took a hit, but remained mostly unscathed, and still topped the charts while filling every vacancy. It actually helped Tech Mahindra and Tata grow their approval presence and ratings, 42% in Mahindra’s case.

      About the only thing positive he contributed was denying a few more fake degree holders than average. Much ado about nothing.

  19. What I’ve heard is that most of these people don’t have a recruiting contract with the companies. They just get lists of open positions from company websites, and figure they can cash in on a finders’ fee.

  20. Mukaila Raheem

    There is nothing special about recruiting firms because most of them talking to you do not know the knowledge contents of CISA , CISM or CISSP. When an advert is put out or an invitation is extended what you see are junks of unrelated experiences listed as prerequisite. The issues are what position do you want to fill,what qualification or certification do you want , what are the minimum job contents. But what you see are junks that are not related..if I still have to meet the real manager who can judge my fitness for his job what exactly has the recruiter done.I am unemployed, I have 3 good and recognized certifications but I don’t respond any longer to invitation. It is better to be a trader at Harry Hines than to be tormented by those who cannot passed the knowledge sets that I have.

  21. Larry Smith

    I suspect the the Indian recruiters who inappropriately spam listings and seekers, are possibly only interested in proving the opening cannot be filled by Americans, so they can place an H1-B candidate.

  22. My biggest complaint is where the company is looking for a specific profile of worker regardless if they are actually the right person for the job. For example, I’ve been told by recruiters that I did an amazing job at the hands on activity they did during their hiring process, but then turned me down because I didn’t have a BA. I then find out later that they’d rather hire the person with the BA in an unrelated area. It’s really sad that so many job recruiters would rather have someone on the team who sounds good on paper than someone who is ACTUALLY the right person for the job. They hire less qualified people just so they can say “All our employees have a bachelor’s degree”.

    The reason that I don’t have a BA in a computer related field is because even though I’m good at it, I can’t stand math; nearly every, if not all BA programs want you to learn advanced math, even if you’re a graphic designer or you want to be a computer repair technician. It’s nuts! Those fields have NO need for learning advanced mathematics and yet I see so many schools unable to realize that many jobs that require the use of computer have nothing to do with hard math. Why would I need to know discrete math and statistics when I’m the person testing the software, or the person whom the repair team goes to when they can’t figure things out?

    I do ask questions as to what the job actually entails and I try to get all my information straight before I get too far into the recruitment process, but a lot of the time, I just get answers that are clearly aimed at sidestepping the real information. It at least shows that I actually care if I’m going to be a good match or not.

  23. Janet Jenkins

    Just contacted by an Indian recruiter this morning.Didn’t leave a voicemail but his phone number showed up so called him back. He said “Hello.” Gee, are you a company? Someone called me from your number. “Oh it probably was for the XYZ position. What is your rate requirements?” Gee, can you please tell me about the job first, where is it, who for, duration, what is THEIR RATE RANGE? Answer: “They don’t have a rate range. What is yours so I can know if I’m going to submit you.” ….CIICK. Take Off, bro! You are so unprofessional!

  24. Tim Woods

    Sounds like Google missed a bullet – big time.

    If I had a pretentious jerk like this apply for a job and whine about it, I wouldn’t hire him either. I would probably let it go, but since he blogged about it, I am not sure if I would sue him for defamation of character OR should I just blacklist him from software engineering entirely.

    Yeah, you’re right — I’d do all of the above. We don’t need another overpriced coder tainting the well thinking that he’s special, because, well — he’s not.

  25. williedee

    I think the approach is naïve. I always ask: Where is the previous employee fro this position…did they get promoted or did they leave of their own accord? Explain the interview process from start to finish. Finally, compensation and benefits are what? If the recruiter cannot answer its a nonstarter.

  26. Once you post to your Resusume to the common jobboards Like CareerBuilder, monster, indeed. You will be slammed with so much junk mail and phony unrelated jobs that your inbox will blow up if you don’t filter or delete the crap out. They also sell your Resume to other Tech recruiters that will always send you emails that are unrelated. One day after posting a revised Resume back to CareerBuilder the night before, I had about 30 calls from the Indian Tech Recruiter that Julian from above spoke of. They were all competing against each other to win out on the very same job that they found matched my skills-set. These calls lasted all day long, and they were all from different recruiters and agencies. They would all lead me on about the job and not say where it was, but I figured it out. However I knew that the company wouldn’t hire me because I have not specifically worked in that exact role before. So I had one recruiter submit me after I spoke to the head of the agency and asked him detailed questions of the process, rate, and their success rate in placing qualified people. The others I blew off and even told one guy that the position was closed already. He was furious and said he would call back! Never did! LOL! Anyway these recruiters are determined to place you whether you qualify or not. If you are still interested in the position. Just thoroughly assess that company and the legitimacy, before you say :Yes: Also if they persist and have multiple agents repeatedly call you or give you a hard time then ask for the Head of the Company and start your questioning from there. You do have a choice to hang up but you at least want to get what company it is and apply online to that company, then hang up.

  27. Michael W Powell

    Most of the time these kinds of head hunter placement agencies are just going to submit you on the “client” company’s web site, anyway. The few rare recruiters that really do have a true alignment with the client may disclose who it really is early on, the process, etc, or may not. In any event I want to assess value add, what are they doing for me getting me in front of decision makers, helping to close the deal, apart from my being present and accounted for. Any that can’t answer this, I show the door.

  28. William

    #1 rule to follow:


    If you avoid all Indian recruiters, your success rate improves dramatically. Indian recruiters should be recruiting indians to work in India, not Americans to work in America.

    Why would you go to an auto mechanic if you need a dentist? Auto mechanics speak a different language, lead a totally different lifestyle, come from a completely different mindset, socio-economic background, and work in a completely different environment and culture.


    • Steve Sybesma

      Damned straight my friend!!! You will never go hungry doing that!!! I never did!!!
      You others may struggle if you take their crap paying jobs though. Never lower yourself to doing that. Do things you will never regret, like working with American citizen recruiters.

      • YAAAY, I agree. But sometimes that may take longer. My fear is that I will run out of cash before I find something. Then I have the problem trying to find a ‘fill in’ until a real job comes. Have to search for 2 types of jobs. And, some American companies have Indians on staff, can they be trusted?

  29. I’m haunted by Indian recruiters when I answer my phone I can’t understand more than half of them. They are disrupting my job search with stupid calls and hundreds of emails! No thanks deeksha, vishnu, aditya, manjushree I don’t live in that state and that’s not even my skill set. The Industry culture has been destroyed by them.

  30. Its not only indian recruiters. Teksystems, robert half, Recruit mgt consultants, etc the list goes on and on.


    • Steve Sybesma

      Well, just 99.9% of them. If TekSystems, Robert Half or any other American company staffed by American recruiters calls me, I’m always polite to them though chances of me taking their jobs is not very good anymore since they are usually kinda low paying. But I will definitely give them the time of day vs. an Indian recruiter who I will essentially tell to bug off. American recruiters deserve that respect.

  31. Judy Loo

    I have long wondered if this army of incompetent Indian recruiters really works for the known Indian companies which abuse the H1B programs. Perhaps they are just gathering data so people can create better phony resumes and purposely sending out inappropriate “quota” emails to unqualified people on purpose to justify an H1B. This awful practice seems to have been going on since 2012.

  32. Here’s something I just became aware of: In January of this year, the Department of Homeland “Security” approved a new final rule granting H-1B visa holders a 60-day extension in the event that they lose their job. It used to be that if an H-1B was fired or laid off, they were immediately “out of status” and supposed to leave the country. In practice, they were given a 10-day grace period to arrange transportation. Now the DHS has approved a change allowing them to hang around for two months and look for another job!

    Keep in mind that the ONLY reason they’re supposed to be here is to fill a job for which no American is qualified and willing. If that particular job goes away, so should the H-1B. They should NOT be hanging around competing in the US job market. Worse, the requirement that a prospective employer show that there were no American workers available to fill the position isn’t clear in this case.

    I’ve been getting lists of H-1Bs who are “on the bench” from these Indian recruiters – apparently H-1Bs for whom there are NO JOBS competing against Americans in America.

    Another change is that H-1Bs are now seen as SIX YEAR visas, and the time to change status at the end (APPLY FOR FOREVER STATUS) has been further extended! H-1B is no longer about jobs with no applicants being filled by foreigners. It’s a full-on program to import outsourcing.

    Apparently this was one of the parting shots to the American work force from Obozo (may he rot in hell forever).

  33. Anne Raymon

    I recently was back on the market for a UX-UI design position, and was ASTOUNDED at the number of Indian recruiters out there circling Monster resumes like chum, multiple folks emailing me about the exact same position. Do those hiring companies actually contract with a half dozen different recruiting firms? Not only that, the emails are apparently copy and paste and just list the same “requirements/duties” while not saying ANYTHING about what the company does, what industry vertical it’s in, or anything else that would help a job seeker understand the nature of the actual job in the actual company. A checklist of 20 requirements that is basically anything any UX-UI designer might have in their resume is worthless on both sides. Not to mention, apparently any job with UX or UI in it has now been captured by IT recruiters. God save us all.

    Why would a UX DESIGNER be expected to know Javascript? Why would a visual designer be expected to know server technology? The hiring company doesn’t have a clue about what these jobs are or the needed skills and the spammy recruiters copying and pasting poorly crafted job descriptions just reinforce the cycle. Thank god I am at the end of my paid worklife because if this is what folks in the prime of their careers have to deal with going forward, I feel sorry for them.

    • Michael

      It’s been this way for the past number of YEARS, literally. This is nothing new what you have discovered for yourself. It’s pretty terrible. This is the first questions I ask: who is the company (i.e. what do they do, what are they about), who is the hiring manager, and so on. If they cannot, or frequently WILL not answer at least those two questions out of the gate, then I vet them and move on. Never mind just having an aversion for being any sort of Indian-serf in MY OWN COUNTRY.

      They say the “unemployment” numbers are “low”. But I truly think, based on the evidence, that this is due to 1) LONG TERM unemployed dropping off the roles, and 2) the economy having CONTRACTED over the past 8-10 years, at least, to name a couple sensible reasons off the top of my head. The economists say that you need at least 2% to tread water, and we really didn’t see that at all the last 8-10 years.

      To answer your technical question, because UX “design” involves asynchronously calling back to this, that, or the other API sources, quite frequently, in order to report metrics, receive tables of data back, etc. Your “design” needs to be responsive in the face of that user experience.

      I made the decision to start being my own entrepreneur, still very much a software engineer, software architect, leadership minded individual, but a BUSINESS-man, through and through. Cut out the middle man, put him out of business if I can.

  34. H1B fake resumes

    We have many MANUAL QA testers @ my company working on an H1-B visa. According to immigration services, an H1-B visa reserved for specialized skilled workers, such as professional developers and architects. Does Manual QA tester qualify for such category? How can we report fake H1-B visas to the immigration?

  35. Heather Minty

    I would love a way that Dice or monster or career builder can ban IT Indian recruiters. I am called endlessly all day. Often these jobs are in some location I have no interest in working at. They endlessly harass. I will get 10 or 15 calls just to ask for my skype id. As a candidate I have no way of knowing who is legit. I have been asked for copies of my green card and drivers license which of course I don’t send. This is a legitimate abuse that the trumptards could get behind. Given the number of qualified candidates in this country the old excuse that there aren’t enough qualified candidates here is ridiculous. I love IT, this is my profession but there are so many abuses in hiring.

    I feel sorry for anyone who worked for Amazon. I was reading some of the comments. Its all true.Amazon treats people very badly.

  36. A friend of mine recently suggested that a lot of these Indian “recruiters” are actually half-wits sitting in New Delhi with a cell phone and an internet connection looking for job postings on company sites. What you’re getting is them representing themselves as recruiters for the companies that list the jobs. They seem to think they’ll get some sort of reward for matching a worker with a job listed on the site. Maybe they do… but I tend to think not. This is why when you speak with one they have no information about the position beyond what was posted and can’t even contact the company to get more information and why you never hear anything back.
    I know it sounds nuts. Why would anyone do that? But when you have 1.3 BILLION people, is it really that hard to think that one in 100,000 might see “big rupees” in this sort of “recruiting”? That would be 13,000 “recruiters”! And if even 1% of them get a single referral fee and tell their friends, it’s probably enough to get the NEXT group of 13,000 to give it a try!

    • I would “suggest” this really is the case. So are many of the so-called “recruiters” in the “industry” today: “remote”, sitting behind a desk, probably in a cube farm, or their “apartment”, somewhere, whether on- or off-shore. It really is an economic invasion of sorts. What I find amazing is how they can do that “remotely” but yet expect developers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, etc, such as myself, be “on site” with the clients. Hey, if I am expected to be on site, I expect the recruiter to be on site as well. Quite possibly with our legal counsel to back us up. Either that or I work remotely same as you.

  37. I think that many of the recruiters have no idea who the company is to begin with. They aren’t representing anyone but themselves to the “client”. They have no connection with the “company” they claim to represent whatsoever; no more or less than the next Joe, Jane, Tom, Dick, or Harry, submitting through the job portals. At best they may have a line to the HR department; that’s about it. Sorry, been there done that, have several T-shirts. It’s a non-starter for me these days.

  38. Steve Sybesma of Brighton, CO


    First of all, bad recruiting EQUALS foreigners calling/emailing about jobs 99.9% of the time.

    Let’s get that out of the way. This is what we’re really talking about. You and I both know that.

    Second, nobody is going to let you skip to speaking to the hiring manager without going through THEM first, because recruiting companies are under an agreement with their client to handle all of their pre-hire screening (they are being PAID to do that). You can be seen as trying to cut the recruiter out of the equation by the very person you want to talk to. Bad way to get started. You don’t want to be seen bucking the process.

    The answer is that if you run into ANY foreign recruiter, you do something like I do.

    You inform them you will never work with them under any circumstances and hang up the phone. You email them you will never work with them under any circumstances and demand their entire company stop contacting you, FOREVER.

    Don’t worry, those fly-by-night companies multiply like cockroaches and are here one day and gone the next. You’ll NEVER run out of them, though I wish I could!!! I’ve been doing this for over 10 years faithfully and have developed a standard reply to these people.

    NOW, there are still enough domestic recruiters left (fortunately) that you don’t have to be forced to grovel and lick the bottom of some sub-minimum wage foreigner’s shoe who works in a recruiting sweatshop for some pimp who takes advantage of his poor countrymen.

    I never have and I never will. My house is paid off ten years AFTER I started doing that, with the highest paying jobs I have ever had.

    So, needless to say I never went hungry. Neither will you.

    American (citizen) recruiters are the only ones I will ever work with. I like the idea I’m trying to protect their jobs. If there’s anything to Karma, it comes around to bless you when you do that.

    • Michael

      Sorry to agree to disagree, but you’ve been doing what for ten years? I have been in the industry 25+ years and have seen it do nothing but decline and degrade in the face of increased H1B alphanumeric soup roles. Thank you DHS, et al, for the sellling out of my career path. Recruiters don’t serve me (or you), they are there to take their cut, and force you to nothing. So, sorry if I cannot agree with you. Now, if they want to partner with me, I’d be glad to grant them a marketing partnership.

  39. Steve Sybesma

    Yeah, well…you’re saying I’m wrong about Indian recruiters. I’m not at all. I don’t know what other dispute you have with me. I’m not disputing you about the H-1B problem. That is ALSO a very huge problem. Maybe we’re talking past each other? We agree perfectly if you take a closer look.

    Programmers and developers have been screwed out of hundreds of thousands of jobs by H-1Bs…I’m not a programmer or developer, but I work in IT on the end user desk side and admin side. I do see a lot of programmers and application developers coming in and stealing American jobs. I don’t like it at all.

    So in actuality you’re disagreeing with me about something I’m not certain of, but I wholeheartedly agree with you about H-1Bs.

    Recruiters are not the cause the H-1B problem. It’s the sellout Democrats and Republicans in Congress that are doing that…both of them equally guilty of doing the bidding of big business.
    Though it is true that some recruiters set up situations where they pretend to look for American workers and use an excuse of not being able to find anyone (who wants to work for dirt wages) in order to hire H-1Bs and a lot of H-1Bs are here on expired visas, it is still being pushed entirely by big business. The recruiters aren’t the ones going out and having H-1Bs apply for the visa for a non-existent job. It’s the business that submits the request for a certain number of visas and then hires the recruiting agency and tells them they have to hire foreigners and pretend they can’t find any Americans to fill the job.

    So, we’re in agreement brother. I wasn’t talking about what you were, but I do agree with you.

    My entire point is when an Indian recruiter calls you, you instruct them you don’t work with foreign recruiters, tell them not to call again, and hang up. That’s the proper way to handle them.

    When you get contacted by an American recruiter, you have to play by the rules. Vast majority of them are legitimate and do hire American workers (in my experience, doing the type of work I do I never see H-1Bs in my line of work — YET).

    If they start taking work of the kind I do, I’m going to get a lot nastier than I am now and I don’t blame you for feeling that way.

    • You are right, not all of it is just them. They do it because they can, the companies want them. They seem to act like they are more intelligent than we are. In America, they keep pushing education, but you can’t get a job with just education. These companies, will take them and train them on what they want then to know, but won’t do it for Americans. I always hate when they ask about your race, nationality, etc. not sure how I want to answer that, not sure if I should answer. In the past, you rarely got those questions, now, every position you apply for asks your race, gender, etc. and the Indian recruiters, always as if you are citizen, aside from asking if you need sponsorship. Scary to me. Like you, I have ignored emails, calls, but sometimes I do for it.

  40. I get so many calls mostly from Indian Recruiters (I would say 99%). Here is how I deal with those calls now. I pick up the phone. If the person on the other end has an Indian Accent then I immediately hang up. I love the ones that are looking for a position that is 12 hours driving time one way into work. The only people that I will work with now are american recruiters. I had an indian recruiter blowing up my phone texting me with questions. I finally had to put the cabash on that and had him pull my resume. After about 20-30 calls i went with my first rule and that is when you hear the accent hang up. You will not get the job that they are presenting and they are playing a numbers game. So sick and tired of this. Although i’m not sure who is worse an Indian Recruiter or Robert Half?

  41. Chauncee

    People ! It’s all about H1b visas. Corporations use recruiter sometimes unwittingly to conduct these half-hearted candidate searches for positions that have a laundry list of qualifications or for positions that just happen to be out of state with no relocation assistance. Their hope is that you will DISQUALIFY yourself by saying you cant move accross the country for a job at your expense, or a list of programming languages with 5 years experience each, sometimes they throw the sudden shift requirement or impossible scheduling requirement like you will have to be able to conference call with India at 4AM every day. Anything that can be used as a deal breaker. They are trying to provide a basis for filing an LCA (Labor Conditions Application) Whats an LCA? An LCA is a letter stating that the labor conditions of the market are such that we could not find a qualified candidate and we will need to begin the application for a cheap H1b visa candidate. This is happening everywhere. Its happening folks.

  42. Janet Jenkins

    Let’s face it people, since the recession there has been NO RECOVERY and as many have said up above, those former jobs will never come back. The IT industry has changed, even within other corporations like banks, financials, tech companies. They did without and now with their “workarounds” they’ve found other ways to make do —not sure how but they did. Job pay has really taken a dive. Can’t find anything close to what I made before. They also find ways to reject your resume no matter how stellar it is…I think they must be hiring all H1Bs. Or they want 20-year-olds with 30 years of experiece, hahahahahahaaa.

  43. They’re still actually in India. I checked once on the address listed in the recruiter’s signature and it was a PO box in NJ. Might be something about NJ business law that lets them spoof a number as long as its a number they actually own.

  44. FlukeLSX

    ALL recruiting agencies need to be regulated by Federal Law. That includes pay rates.

    These companies are destroying pay rates in the U.S.

    I had one of them contact me once, saying, “Helpdesk position” I asked, “How much are they paying?” He responded, “$13/hour.”

    I literally told him, why the EF would I work for $13/hour when I can work for Burger King for $16?!

    The difference is, You don’t need to go to school to flip a burger. I have done their job for 6 years, they can’t do mine.

  45. Michael

    Is that what they told you the difference is. Did you tell them to get EF-ed, for that reason you should be making at least 23 USD per hour, not sub-fast-food wages? How EF-ing stupid do they think we are?

  46. WORD!!! I have an engineering degree and an MBA I’ve been a technical writer for 30 years because I love it. So a few days ago, one of those nimrods sent me a job req for a forklift operator. I honestly didn’t know what to do with that – it so caught me by surprise.

    Then, just today, and woman from another recruiting firm “dressed up” as a High-Class U.S. recruiting firm – the whole thing was fake – told me in an email that she would be my liaison to her website and she wanted to know what I wanted to do so she could send me the right job reqs. I thought, oh balls, why not. Well, I emailed her back and said I don’t want anything to do with DOD, military, clearances, etc. Bottom line, I don’t want people poking around in my s*it. I have nothing against folks who work in those fields, it’s just not my thing. SO within 10 minutes she sent me a job req requiring TOP SECRET CLEARENCE. Then, 2 minutes after that, she sent me a job req that after taking you to 5 “apply here” sites, you find out the req is gone. I checked, and it was posted 6 days.

    Now the final complaint (I know, this is getting TLDR). The latest Indian trend is to call your cell, you don’t answer it, so they call immediately again. Again you don’t answer. So, they frikking text, then send an email. I swear this is all within 3 minutes.

    Ok, if you made it this far, thank you so much. It felt good to get it out 🙂

  47. Leonid Yevseyev

    You know what will stop all of this insanity and waste of everybody’s time? DO NOT TALK TO THEM! I used to answer their calls and emails. After a while, having spent serious hours on the mangled communication (I can not understand what they are all talking about) – I decided to ignore them completely. I do not answer their calls, or stop communication when I realize (and it’s very easy – if you do not understand the caller – that’s your Indian recruiter), I do not answer their emails. When everybody will stop communicating with them – the whole idea of this idiotic recruiting practice will fail and cease to exist. I am still employed on different development projects – that NEVER came from these recruiters, they NEVER produced even ONE project/job for me! STOP TALKING TO THEM! I DON’T.

  48. C Reuter

    Hi, I read these article to learn. Large employers are very concerned about providing a “good candidate experience”. I manage a technical recruiting firm; my staff is American. Many other staffing firms offshore to Indian based recruiters. These recruiters are measured by how many attempts (metric is 4 phone call attempts) they make to reach a potential candidate because their firm is in a race to submit a candidate quickly (staffing firms are primarily judged on how quickly we respond to job requisitions these days). Many recruiters IMO don’t truly recruit, instead they source candidates – which is why they know little about the role, company, experience/skills sought, and whether you are interested/skilled, etc. A true recruiting effort takes time, and most employers prioritize speed to respond to their hiring managers. If you want employers to change and not to use India-based recruiters, call or write the CHRO (Chief Human Resource Officer), head of Procurement and the head of brand marketing at the employer that had the job requirement and share your experience. Most staffing firms services are procured by Procurement. Procurement is sensitive to cost whereas HR is sensitive to providing a good candidate experience. Employer brand management does not want this type of conversation to tarnish the brand. I share this knowledge because many candidates have also expressed this sentiment to me directly too.