An Open Letter to the Recruiters of the World From Job Seekers Everywhere

I just blogged this article on JobMob:

An Open Letter to the Recruiters of the World From Job Seekers Everywhere -

I'm curious to hear what you all think, and what other suggestions you might have to help solve this problem.



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Sending that letter is the last thing I would do. When you boil that thing down - here is what the candidate gets from it:

"Dear Hopeful,

This letter is to confirm your application is now squarely lodged in the deepest part of an anonymous/numbers game system. In order for you to feel better about your chances - please keep sending your resume to us frequently.......but chances are you never will hear from a live person within our firm."

What is this world coming to.........?

How about CALLING THE GUY(Gal) and letting them know their resume HAS been seen and why or why not they will be considered? IS that too much to ask?

Come on people!
First of all I am not sure how many resumes I look at each day but I can assure you it is a low percentage of the ones I am interested in. The ones I am not interested I do not want to initiate any contact because they have a belief that since I am a recruiter I can automatically find them a job. If you don't hear back, assume you are not qualified and move on.

Case in point, here is the work history from a resume I just received from a candidate applying for a Payload Systems Engineer position for the DoD industry. What are the chances this candidate has a degree and security clearance?

Work History
1. 2003 to 2006– Jody Maroni’s HMS Host as a Cashier
At Sky Harbor Airport.
2. 2006 to 2007– Swiss port Fuelling at
Sky Harbor International Airport, fuelling aircrafts.
3. 2007 to 2008– Security for Akal
Around the airport and hotels around Phoenix area.
4. 2008 to present– Fry’s Food and Drug Store as a Cashier

As for the candidates I do engage with, I have an ATS (archiac? Yes) that I use and candidates do not get removed until I have given them feedback. Sometimes I never get feedback but that is due to the company, not me and I let them know that. As for sending something to every candidate that rolls across my desk? No thanks.
Jerry- as a recruiter just pointed out on the blog post, US recruiters must acknowledge resume reception by law. All the more reason to be as clear and honest as possible in order to make the best impression.

That aside, I'm really trying to break down the disconnect and lower job seekers' frustration while giving recruiters a better name.

As my letter implies, calling the guy/gal only makes sense under certain conditions. Recruiters are part of a business after all and shouldn't spend time on activities that have little possible return. Time is money. Of course, job seekers shouldn't be ignored either, that's not fair. Hence the frank, honest auto-responder.

Jason- thanks for joining in. Do you think that a low % are interesting because people send resumes even when clearly unqualified, yet hoping for a break? Is it possible that the ad is trying to cast too wide a net?
I guess we're just talking about different things Jacob. I am not posting jobs so there is no machine out there, churning 24/7 in an effort to drag resumes into my ATS.

There is also not any law (please correct me if I've missed it) requiring receipt of a resume to be acknowledged. I just spoke with an HR Director friend to make sure I wasn't missing anything here.

I do appreciate what you are shooting for here Jacob. I think we should all do our best to improve both the customer and the candidate experience. We're just in different recruiting worlds obviously.
Personally, I use an automated reply system and the feedback I have received has been largely positive. I have been a third-party recruiter for over 18 years and have managed a retained firm for the last 5 years. Executives are comforted in knowing they have not sent their resume into the abyss; that someone actually received it.

The other benefit of sending a letter vs. calling is time management. Otherwise I have to explain why they are not qualified or do not fit into my business domain. In this case, the letter (even if it is perceived as rejection) is a classic case of something is better then nothing.
I agree with you here Charles. They do need to hear something. With my marketplace I am rarely receiving resumes I have not personally asked for. It would be difficult to call 20 or 40 people each day just to let them know you got it and will be in touch - if you have resumes streaming in. I just don't.

What I was taking issue with as I now review the letter again it this:

"Due to the number of resumes we receive and the changing nature of our clients’ needs, it can take a surprisingly long time for your resume to appear among the best matches for a position"

If I were a candidate - this letter would be more of a confirmation that indeed my resume DID just go into a black hole. The above does nothing to make me feel better about my chances - rather it solidifies the idea that I am merely one of God-knows-how-many other resumes in a bottomless pit. There is absolutely NO reason to tell your candidate this information. Telling them "it can take a surprisingly long time...." is not a positive affirmation for them.

Let's tell them something GOOD - whether automated in nature or not - but confirming they are now in the numbers game somewhere in your system is a ridiculous message.

As for me when I first get a job I will post it as it is easy and provides good exposure for the job. Issue is that it provides exposure to everyone, not just qualified candidates as you mention casting to wide of a net. I am not sure why candidates who are not even close to being qualified apply. Maybe in hopes of getting a break or just getting their resume out there and it is in this case I do not send an individual response to everyone as there are to many to respond to. Sometimes I will put in my post, only qualified candidates will be contacted which in my opinion is the same as an automated e-mail reply. The reason I do not do an automated response is that I use one e-mail account for everything and can not have that automated reply going to everyone I get an e-mail from.

I can appreciate your frustrations and know that I do my best to provide feedback to candidates I am working with but do not have the time or resources to reply to every resume that comes across my desk.
Charles- good for you, your clients and your candidates. Thanks for the extra insight.

Jerry- if a recruiter is using such a database, it's important to say so as part of the honesty you show to job seekers. The auto-response is trying to lower expectations, not sweet talk them into hoping for a response that will never come. But I do agree that whatever truthful good news a recruiter can give would be a welcome addition to the email.

Jason- candidates apply to jobs they don't qualify for out of desperation, or because they have a glimmer of hope that it will somehow impress you (because they're desperate) or because of indiscriminate resume blasting done by them or for them.

I think it's good to stress that only qualified candidates will be contacted, but it doesn't replace an auto-response in the eyes of job seekers. After all, they usually think they're perfect for the job - thus qualified.

I understand your technical problem with the auto-responder, fair enough. Have you thought of creating a separate account, a kind of dedicated resume dropbox? You could put the auto-response on that. A separate account could also protect you from spam and viruses/worms.

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