Too Many Secrets

One of the great things about the Internet is how easy it has become to post and find job listings.

One of the horrible things about the Internet is that once you put your resume on one of these sites you can never ever truly get yourself removed.  Take it off one site, you’ll find it on another.  Get it off all the sites, you’ll discover that many placement companies have already saved a copy of your resume and contact information.

The only way to really be safe is, each time you start hunting for a job create a new email address (there are dozens of free email companies) and when you are done, abandon that address.  And get a throw-away phone.

Anyway, I’ve never done that, and in fact I’ve always used an address on a domain I own (this one) and I use it for everything.  So, despite having a job and not being on the market, I get emails, probably a dozen a week, about positions I might be interested in.  The one thing all of these emails have in common is that they lack details.  What’s even worse is that even if I were to respond and talk to them about the job, details would still be missing until I actually walk in the door for the interview.

What details?  Simple stuff, like the name of the company.

See, if I get an email that says “.NET Developer position, 6 month contract, may go perm” I’m not really interested.  I have a job, not a contract, and that just doesn’t make me want to consider jumping ship.  If it said, for instance, “.NET Developer position for Amazon.com, 6 month contract, may go perm” I might want to go to that interview anyway, because, you know, working at Amazon might be awesome.  Even if it isn’t something as awesome as Amazon, a company name means I can look them up and see if it’s something I want to be involved in.  “.NET Developer” for a technology company, I’m intrigued.  “.NET Developer” for Joe’s Country Plumbing and Septic Tank Repair… not so much.  Sure, hiding the name might help get applicants for the latter, but it is also going to lead to disappointment for most.  Better to be honest and actually talk to people who want to work for the smaller company.

Once upon a time, I got an email about a programming job.  The details I got were that it was “a small company” and the position was for a “.NET Developer” and required experience with “data warehouses”.  I went around and around with the recruiter trying to get more details, but she never gave any and so when I finally agreed to interview it was more out of exhaustion than excitement.  I walk in the door and discover, oh by the way, the company is Hi-Rez Studios.  Um, what?  If the recruiter had lead with that piece of information, I’d have been chomping at the bit and probably brought in samples of my work and been a lot more prepared.  Instead, everything I’d gotten lead me to believe it was going to be another endless stuff dull job like the one I was leaving, and I walked into the interview cold and shocked, dumbfounded and stuttering.  I did manage to get a second interview, but damn, a little warning next time would be nice.

Another bad part is often a recruiter won’t tell you the name of the company until after they’ve submitted your resume.  Problem is, many companies, when dealing with recruiters who get paid a commission for placement, have rules about excluding double submissions.  So you might actually have the most awesome job listing in the world ready to submit me for, but if a competing recruiter has already submitted me then all you are going to do is get me excluded.  Sure, you asked me where I’ve been submitted to try and avoid this, but your competitors use the same tactics so I don’t know where I’ve been submitted.  And no, I’m not going to use just one recruiter when looking for work.  Why should I limit myself just because you want to keep secrets?

And you know what?  Stop putting things like “solid company” and “great work environment” in your email because it’s in EVERY email.  You cheapen the meaning by using them for every company, especially when it’s marketing and not necessarily true.  Of course they all say that.  No company is ever going to say, “Tell them we are a large unwieldy mass of middle managers who micromanage with lots of unpaid overtime.”  Not gonna happen.

Is a little openness and honesty too much too ask?

One comment

  1. carocat says:

    Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I haven’t put an updated version of my CV on the internet since 2006 and I’m still getting emails. Sure, it helped me find a job in 2008, but it’s now four years later and you don’t really think I’m still on the same level as I was then? Why would I be interested in a fairly entry level job when I’ve now got the necessary experience?!

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