Archetypes of IT recruiters

This is the eight post in my attempt to start a blogging habit.

B7DsaihCYAAlN2PRecruiters and headhunters have always had to find inventive ways to poach talent. As demand for experts in the IT sector increases, it is getting more and more difficult to get the open positions filled.

Since the demand for engineers is increases, it also increases the demand for recruiters to try to fill these positions. Recruitment is a profession unlike another, it takes years of experience, deep knowledge of the human psychology, and requires the understanding of the field as well.  Unfortunately it’s not only the best qualified professionals, who fill up the recruiter positions…

I’ll try to collect a few of the archetypes, I’ve recognized in the past years, and classified, since I’ve started looking for opportunities.

Mass mailers

The bottom of the foodchain, the lowest of the low. These bottom feeders go brainless keyword hunting on databases, forums, and most recently they started favoring source repositories, like github, or sourceforge.

They are very simple to recognize, as most of their mail is so poorly written, sometimes they don’t even try to personalize the poorly worded mass mails, and use a greeting like “Dear Sir/Madam, …”

They are also easy to deal with. Against all I stand for, I don’t even answer their mail, so they think my address is no longer in use.

One could also avoid them, by disguising your Internet footprint, changing the e-mail address in your signature, just the same way you’d deal with other spammers.


These are usually one step higher on the ladder. These do a more thorough research, they actually use your CV to approach you through the phone.

They can simply be recognized, by not disclosing the company they work for, but either do no screening, or offer to do it through the phone. Another dead giveaway, is getting the written job description from them, which can usually be translated to the company they are actually working for.

They are almost always looking for replaceable positions, such as developers on any level, sometimes, but rarely team-leads.

They are usually outsourced company recruiters, and sometimes they are disguised internally by companies to staff them up.

It’s quite easy to see through to the company itself. As there are only a few of these behemoths on the market, one can very quickly decide, if  he wants to work there or not. I don’t, so, I usually pass these opportunities.

Internal recruiters

Things are warming up with them. They do some research, sometimes pass the CV through the actual experts as well. They come prepared, and call you to organize the internal interview straight away.

They don’t give you riddles, they play with open cards, you can know the position, the environment in advance. They can offer various positions, but can be really off the mark.

The only drawback, is that they usually offer a one-off opportunity. Once you decide to turn them down, or they decide to turn you down for a given position, they will not likely give you another chance.

The best way for you to get another chance at that company is to wait for them to leave for another job, and talk to their successors.

Real recruiters

There are a few, that actually exist. Sometimes they find you through research , sometimes through networking. They arrange for a thorough one-on-one discussion, to see your experience and ambitions. They have a reputation to maintain, so they won’t pass you through to their Customer all willy-nilly, if they don’t think you fit.

The simplest way to recognize them, is that they ask more about you, than about your experience, they are, or at least convincingly seem to be interested about you.

They are more likely to land you in a job fit for you, than anyone else. And I’m not talking about dream jobs, as one always aims higher than they’re destined to.

Their downside is, that they might take a while to find a position, you can actually apply to.

Coming up

In a later article I’ll collect a few of my encounters with the recruiter archetypes.

2 thoughts on “Archetypes of IT recruiters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.