A Note to Recruiters from a Developer cover image

A Note to Recruiters from a Developer

Oliver Sarfas • January 20, 2020

career rant

Recruiters - the Marmite of the Tech Industry

"Hi there name, I'm X from company and I've got some great opportunities for you! How about we jump on a call and talk?"

If you work in Tech, IT, or pretty much any "office-based" industry you've come across recruiters. They're great for finding you a new role, helping companies source the best candidates for their vacancies and reduce the headaches for both job-seekers and hiring companies.

There are some brilliant recruitment companies that I've worked with before, both as an employer and a candidate.

However, Recruiters do have a "bad name" in our industry. Partly down to some old-school methods they use, amongst a few other things.

Barriers for Candidates

Note: I'll be using terms from PHP / Laravel here in examples, but you can swap the terminology for anything in your industry

You upload your CV to a job site. Within hours your phone will be going mad with emails from recruiters. One catches your eye:

Hi there {name},

I see you uploaded your CV to {GetANewJob.com}, and find that your skills are a perfect match for a job I'm currently looking to fill.

Here's a brief run down of what the client is looking for and have to offer;


- Senior Developer with at least 3 years commercial experience
- Expert knowledge of Laravel framework
- Willing to help and assist in the growth of Juniors
- Experience with Google APIs and other integrations
- Experience with AWS, Jenkins, and Git
- Exposure or working knowledge of Zend 2

*What the client is offering*

- Competitive salary
- Modern open-plan offices
- Potential for Remote Working
- Free on-site parking and subsidised café
- Flexible working hours
- PlayStation and sofa to kick back and relax
- Friday beers 🍻, We work hard and play harder!

⭐ Great! I meet all those requirements. Best get applying right?? No. Although the requirements are a match, and some of the "Offerings" are great - there's a few red flags that I'd want clearing up before applying here;

Warning Signs

❓ Who are they? - No client name. I don't know who I'm applying for. I might be applying for a previous employer! This has genuinely happened before to me, lest to say it was embarrassing for everyone involved

💰 Competitive Salary - Competitive where? Jobs in Silicon Valley are in excess of £200,000 p/a. Is that what I'm expecting here?

🏡 Potential for remote working - Too vague. Be honest with candidates. Just say "3 days remote a week", or "work from home twice a month". Don't make me assume the terms.

🕹 PlayStation/Games Consoles - Nobody cares. Genuinely, nobody cares. Stop telling us that you have a PS3 in reception.

🍻 Work hard, play harder! -(From my experience) This is a term for "We work long hours and then if you don't socialise with us we'll judge you"

So we contact the recruiter;

Hi {name},

Thanks for sending over this post. Looks very promising. Before moving forward can you clear up a few things for me?

- Salary, what is the range on offer here?
- Who is the client, I'd like to look into them and their company before committing to an application
- Remote working. What's the policy on this? Is the role remote-first, or can I work from home "sometimes"


99% of the time, the recruiter will answer with this. I'm not exaggerating when I say 99% here...

Hi Oliver, I can't discuss the client name until you've confirmed an application I'm afraid. The salary is flexible, what are you looking for? Remote working is available after a 6 month settling in / probation period. When's best to call you to discuss this?

At this point - I'm going to close the conversation and never speak to this person again 😅 Why you ask?

Exceptional Traits

As mentioned previously, I've got close working relationships with a couple of incredible recruiters that I will go to for any job needs. Be it for myself or my company CleverEgg.

I work exclusively with these people, and there's a few reasons for that;

🗣 Open and honest about clients

I don't have to ask for the client name. They give them upfront. They're confident that the service they offer is enough for me to not bypass and go direct

✔ Read and understood my CV / the job description

Way too often I get approached for jobs that are completely out of my comfort zone. Yes, I've used C# before, but that was 7 years ago and I put in my CV I hated it. I am not a Senior C# Developer.

🤝 They're personal

I'm not "just a candidate". They know me, not just my skills. Take the time to get to know your candidate.

Recruiters - what do you think?

Honestly, I love working with recruiters. When they do their job right. If they talk to candidates, and are upfront - i'll work with them.

If you're a recruiter that still spams inboxes blindly with jobs, hoping something sticks - you're not helping anyone.

What's your experience with recruiters? Are you a recruiter and have some thoughts on this post? Let me know on Twitter @sarfascodes

Questions? Want to talk? Here are all my social channels