How Not To Recruit Me


Today, I received this gem of a recruiter ping via e-mail…

I saw your background at Carenection, some people I talk to over there are really happy, and others are keeping their head out so I thought I’d drop you a line.

I’m working with an Enterprise Hosting Company looking for a Network Engineer  to join their team. It’s 100% remote (full telecommute).

The company does managed, un-managed, co-location, and they have a cloud offering. Examples of some of their clients are: divisions of Microsoft, CBS, Kaiser, FOX, and NFL Fantasy Football.

How are things at Carenection?  Any interest in working in your PJ’s?

My dear recruiter trying to put a butt in a virtual seat and earn your commission, there’s so much wrong with this approach…

  1. Your opening paragraph is a catastrophic run-on sentence. I don’t mean to be the grammar police, and I admit to writing informally in my blog in pieces such as this. But really. Try harder. You’re trying to make a good impression on a presumably intelligent person with a particular set of skills that is hard to come by. Bad grammar is the plaid-suited, coffee-breathed salesman of the recruiting business. Don’t be that person.
  2. I don’t know you. It’s possible I’ve dealt with you before, but not that I recall. Some explanation of how you know me would be appropriate. Let me guess – LinkedIn drive-by? Search engine vomited forth my name?
  3. My company is small. We all know each other pretty well. If someone was “keeping their head out,” I’d probably know. In fact, I just polled several people I work with, and no one has heard of you. So really, your line is meant to plant a seed of doubt in my mind that folks are unhappy where I am, so gosh…maybe I should be unhappy, too. Thanks for that. I love to be manipulated by someone who is lying to me.
  4. You didn’t tell me who the company is that you represent, which is a red flag. That means I can’t do my homework on the company ahead of time, which means you’ve probably got something to hide. Note that I get hit by recruiters all the time, and 90%+ of them represent their companies in a forthright manner. Why the evasion? (Hint. There’s no right answer here.)
  5. The examples of their client list are…confusing. I know folks at some of those companies, and have actual insight into how they do their hosting. I’ve even interviewed a couple of them. What I understand from people that work there is different from what I hear from you. So that makes me wonder what the actual business engagement is between say, Microsoft, and this generic Enterprise Hosting Company you didn’t bother naming. I don’t pretend to know everything, but it all seems a bit like name-dropping. You can never really tell what’s behind the relationship when the assertions are so vague. While there might well be some sort of relationship, overall…not interesting. Oh, and I already know you lied to me earlier in your terse note, so that does make the subsequent claims dubious. Sorry about that.
  6. I work from home already, and I don’t work in my pajamas. I shower, shave, and otherwise behave hygienically every single day…including getting dressed for the office. I treat my day job with the respect it both demands and deserves. “Working in my PJ’s” is not a selling point, and shouldn’t be for anyone that’s worth hiring. Oh, BTW, things at Carenection are great. I’m making useful contributions to a growing company. I get along well with my peer group, and together we’re knocking it out of the park. Thanks for asking.

If you’d like to recruit me, the way to do it is to present an incredible opportunity of such magnitude that I’d be an idiot to not consider it. That means you name the company, name the salary range, describe the corporate culture and benefits, and offer a detailed job description…at the very least.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the scary recruiter peddling lies.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the scary recruiter peddling lies & sowing seeds of discontent.


About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.


  • Oh boy, something that I can’t wait to vent about. I put my resume up a while back on various popular sites; more to just check the waters than anything else. What I found was that very few recruiters actually read the resumes AT ALL, more than 80% of what I started getting (including phone calls) was essentially spam.

    – I put “will not relocate” on my profile. Why are you telling me about a job 2,000 miles away?
    – I put “Full-Time”. Same as above, with respect to contract gigs.
    – No, I do not want to sell life, home, and/or car insurance. Please stop telling me you’ve got an “unique, exciting entrepreneurial business opportunity”.
    – CCIE, MBA, 15+ years experience. I know this is a stretch, but I *probably* don’t want to work your graveyard-shift Tier 1 NOC position. Or your DBA or programming position. If you would have looked at my resume in passing, you would already know this.
    – In some cases, our company had hired the person that previously had that job, so I knew the exact company that was looking, who they would report to, and pay – more than the recruiter, for certain.

    • Yessir, I have most certainly run into those issues as well. Trying to suck me into a job that either I clearly am not interested in or that I’m over/under qualified for.

  • I got the exact same email today, and am actually not surprised at all that others received it as well. IT recruiters that are actually worth using are extremely difficult to find, whether searching for a new employer or employee.

  • Recruiters today are like the penny stocks of the 1980’s and 90’s. “The Sheep’s of IT Recruiting”

  • I’ve gotten recruitment emails where the job description is the one I wrote when I left. I match it perfectly :) Sometimes I wonder if they wouldn’t realize it was me until they got to money discussion and I could see how much I was really worth to them.

  • Funny Thing, I (core networking guy) have mentioned Cisco IOS and Extreme XOS in my resume and getting e-mails for “iOS” application development. Blind sheep all around.


Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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