The Recruiting Nightmare: Sounding the Wake-Up Call

As I’ve been documenting in my repeated rants the last few weeks, recruiting is a nightmare for many reasons, from the craziness of resume spam to the general hate recruiters get.  To be in recruiting these days is to face great challenges and irrational situations that border on the surreal.  To overcome them . . .

Well, I discussed what we can do to ease the problems recruiters face.  I detailed how we can improve our job searching despite the problems.  I speculated on ways we geeks can change recruiting or at least do some things to help.  It’s my hope all this advice pays off for everyone.

Look, the system is terribly broken, it’s not working, and in a few cases it seems to be working backwards.  We’re gonna have to do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t affect us, our friends, and the recruiters we know.  No one is going to save us, so we have to save each other.

It’s just not enough, in the end.

The problem isn’t going away I’m afraid.  We can raise some individual islands of sanity, but the mess of crazy hiring rules and the challenges recruiters face still surrounds us and affects our friends and family and the world.

At some point we’re all going to have to wake up from the nightmare.

How we’re going to do that I don’t know, frankly (though Roddenberry knows I’ll be speculating on it here).  I’m not sure how we’re going to fix a very broken system beyond a few minor starting points.  I am very sure that like any nightmare, you need to wake people up and that’s where we start.

Let people know the system is broken, that recruiting is challenging, that hiring really doesn’t work.  Wake them up to the fact that things really, objectively, are lousy.

Let people know the solutions I’ve shared and that you found, so they hear about ways to fix things, at least in the small.  Wake them up to the fact they can solve at least some things.

Let people know we bloody well we’ve got to fix this.   Wake them up to the fact that they’ve got to wake others up.

It’s a start.  We’ve also got to fix a fractured world economy.  But we might as well do something.

Out of the various people we shake some sense into, people we help, we may find ways to make things better.  We may build alliances.  We may awaken that one person who can get things moving to unriddle the mess of recruiting and hiring these days.

Hell, that one person might be you and you just didn’t realize it yet . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

The Recruiting Nightmare #9 – Spamming Speed!

OK all your hard work as a recruiter, all that effort, all that time . . . and then you find a lot of potential recruits are getting spammed by bodyshop agencies or less-than considerate recruiters.  So of course your responses can get lost in the mail, and you’re competing with these bozos.

It’s gotten ridiculous and it’s getting more ridiculous over time.

I get spam in my inbox for things I haven’t done for years – like programming and engineering.

I get spam from people for geographic areas I told them I’m not interested in.

Lately I get spam on jobs that are so unrelated to what I do, I think someone twigged onto one keyword in my resume.

I’m not alone. A lot of my friends get strange things, and if you did a wide-ranging job search, chances are your resume ended up a lot of databases.  A lot of databases poorly matching you to jobs.

Recruiters have to compete with this.  They can be made to look bad.  They can get real requests lost among the BS.  They have to just plain go up against the spammers.

It’s almost a joke in a way, because of the way people dump resumes left and right.  Now they’re getting spammed as well.

It’s not the worst thing recruiters face, but it’s annoying.


  • Make an effort to get “spam recruiters” to back off.  It’ll clear your inbox.
  • Learn to recognize recruiters you trust.


  • Helping recruiters find people via networking is a good way to dodge spam-recruiting snatching people.
  • Also help recruiters craft good response letters so they don’t get written off.
  • Try not to use less ethical agencies where you work.


  • I’d like to see a list out there of spammy recruiting companies that people could pass around.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

The Recruiting Nightmare #8 – No One Knows What They Want

New technology has changed things, the market is fast, but one fact that has worn on recruiters for awhile and gotten worse for nearly a decade is the fact that a lot of clients don’t know what the hell they want.

Look, this isn’t disrespecting people that do hiring.  A lot of them think they know what they want, thy did research, they planned and budgeted carefully.  Of course they’re hideously wrong, but they try.

I first became aware of this trend in 2006, when a recruiter told me how his client was looking for ten years of Java experience.  If you’re any kind of IT person you’re laughing.  If you’re not, let me put it simply: at that time anyone with ten years of Java experience had helped design it.

This trend of ridiculous “asks” didn’t abate really.  Technology, economics, demographics, and everything else have changed things so rapidly that it’s hard for people to get an idea of what skills they need in employees.  it’s hard to know what they need in the future.

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