How not to do IT Recruitment

I received an email from a recruiter recently. It has been a while. Back in the days when I badly needed a job, emails from recruitment agencies were mostly of the “sorry, but…” variety. Then when I had a job, they started asking me if I wanted another one.

I have been permanently employed for over five years now, and the emails offering me jobs had, I thought, stopped. Until a couple of days ago, when I received the following email:

Hi Christopher,

My client is one of the world’s leading providers of IT solutions and services to retail banks and retailers. They have a footprint in over 100 countries.

The Security Analyst will be involved in the design, definition, build and support of key management and all other security aspects related to our card production and transaction processing services.

They will be required to analyse requirements, define appropriate solutions, document and manage/oversee operational procedures (including key ceremonies).

Key Responsibilities

It then went on to describe the required skills for the role, which I won’t bore you with. None of which I have ever had on my CV. None. Ever!

The email ended with:

If you are not interested or this has no relevance to your current work requirements then please accept my apologies and let us know what your current situation is so I can update our database accordingly.

Many thanks in advance for your time.

I was astonished! Not only had this idiot offered me a job that required skills I do not possess, he knew it! And he did it anyway! Obviously this email was created by merging the job specification with names from their database. He was either too lazy to actually select people who might be even remotely suitable, and instead just spammed everyone he could. Or alternatively he was too stupid to figure out that my details as held on their database were completely different from those required for this role. I am not sure which is the scarier thought.

Now some of you may get emails like this all the time. I don’t. So as soon as I had a few spare moments, I replied as follows:

Dear ******

The fact that you have sent this email to someone completely unsuitable for the role tells me that you are simply spamming as many people as possible in the hope someone may be interested.
What you have done, instead, is given me the impression that [company] is an unprofessional and desperate group who actually pay no attention to matching demands with available skills.

I hope you get lucky because I will not be recommending you to anyone.


I know that, because all of the above is fact, it is not libellous, and I am sorely tempted to name the person and his company. If anyone wants to know who that person or company is, I will happily provide details.

Maybe it’s just me but I loathe and detest spam. And that email was as unsolicited and unwanted as any offering me Viagra, porn or penis enlargement treatments. If the recruitment industry is populated by people whose only required skills are copy, paste, merge, send, then I do not want to be associated with them.

It is my hope that some of you feel the same. If you do, I hope you respond in similar fashion if and when you receive similarly ridiculous job offers from stupid, lazy people. Let’s see if we can raise the standards of professionalism back to where it ought to be.

About aterny

Agile enthusiast and evangelist, DSDM practitioner, trainer and coach. Specialist in Agile project and programme management, governance and organisational transformation
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1 Response to How not to do IT Recruitment

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