Why I Always Respond to Recruiters

My first interaction with a technical recruiter was during my second co-op placement (internship) at Relic Entertainment in 2007. We had individual phones and company extensions, and occasionally we would use it to call a colleague when we expected them at a meeting, or family could call in, etc. I received a call from someone I didn’t know, representing some recruitment agency.

Internally, I freaked out. How did they know my name? How did they get my extension? I really liked working at Relic, so would talking to them jeopardize that? I don’t even remember much of the content of the conversation, just those feelings. I think I explained that I was a student and still had to finish my degree. The whole thing caught me off guard.

A few years later I started using LinkedIn, which seems to be the primary platform for modern tech recruitment. It’s less of a shock to receive a message from a recruiter now; cold-calls are now cold-messages.

If you’re well into your career, and if you’ve worked for some big companies, there is a good chance that recruiters have contacted you. I’ve heard people say about how annoying it is, or that they just don’t respond, etc, but I think it’s only respectful to at least respond, even if you aren’t at all interested. They are doing their job (even though like with any profession, some aren’t good at it).

I feel very strongly about staying in Vancouver, so often I am responding to recruiters that while I appreciate the interest, I am unable to relocate. Most thank me for letting them know. Good recruitment firms take notes and don’t continue to follow up with me about relocation opportunities.

Yes, sometimes you get contacted and it seems like spam. Or it’s obviously a copy and paste, maybe even your name is wrong. Everybody makes mistakes, and unless it’s a recurring issue it’s not a big deal. I sometimes copy and paste my responses.

Good recruitment firms usually only contact you through one representative (or at least one at a time). I’ve only had a few instances where I was getting contacted by multiple reps, about the same opportunity, at the same time. I kindly responded, letting them know about it, and asked for it not to happen in the future. In one case it kept happening and I eventually had to email a few times asking them to stop contacting me altogether. But that was far from a normal interaction.

It’s nice to be sought after – I can admit that I’ve been excited when certain companies have reached out to me, even if there isn’t any chance I would actually work there. Regardless, I think responding back is the polite thing to do.

So far in my career I’ve only had one job gained through a recruiter, versus several by referral. I don’t imagine that ratio will ever change. But I still follow up with everyone who reaches out to me, because who knows where it could lead? I’ve been able to gain valuable interview experience, and keep up with what the job market is looking for. The cost is only a tiny bit of time.

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