Form Letter for Responding to Job Recruiters in the Software Industry

Hipster Cheetah on interacting with job recruiters

The Challenge

Having worked in the software industry for many years now, I get lots of job spam from recruiters. Sometimes it is relevant to the sort of work I do, but sadly many times it is not. The reasons range from recruiters not understanding technology (confusing Javascript and Java is a fair mistake if you've never worked with either), to having quotas to fill, to getting pressure by employers to fill positions. Be that as it may, taking out your frustration on a recruiter is not necessarily the most productive thing either. Since I got tired of typing replies by hand, I instead created a form letter that I can paste as a response to recruiters.

The Form Letter

This is what I send to recruiters:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Yes, this is a form letter. Smiling Please do not take this as a slight--I had to write it due to hearing from multiple recruiters a day, and I simply do not have the time to reply to everyone individually.

CURRENT JOB STATUS: At this time, I am NOT on the job market. Should you wish to forward the occasional job posting my way via email, that is okay.

For future reference (and my own sanity), I must ask that you kindly refrain from any of the following:

- Calling me on the phone unsolicited.

- Calling me on the phone unsolicited multiple times in a single day.

- Emailing me the same job posting multiple times in a single day.

- Sending me LinkedIn connection requests if we have never spoken before.

- Sending me job descriptions for technologies I do not use. (Hint: Javascript != Java)

Each of these things has happened before in substantial quantities so regrettably, I have no choice but to block repeat offenders--it is necessary to both maximize my sanity and minimize my bar tab. If in doubt as to if something is appropriate, feel free to ask via email.

If you have a question about my interest in a specific technology or employer, just ask. No need to forward a job description, a simple 1 or 2 line email is quicker.

If you have any questions not covered above, free free to ask.

All the best,

-- Doug

Recruiter Responses to This Form Letter

Without exception, every recruiter who has responded to my form letter has had a positive reaction. Some recruiters thanked me for being direct and to the point, others simply said "Excellent form letter!". Either way, using the form letter saves me time, and being able to paste it ensures that each recruiter receives a timely and professional response.

Feel free to re-use this letter as you see fit. Come up with interesting modifications to it? Please, share them in the comments below!

Closing Thoughts

If you're an engineer who is bombarded by unsolicited emails from recruiters, the temptation is there to lash out at them. Believe me, I know. But remember that it may make you feel better in the short-term, you are potentially burning bridges in the long run. You never know when you might need to work with a recruiter to get employed at your dream company, or when you might find yourself on the same team with that person at some point down the road.

If you read this far, you should follow me on Twitter.

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