Complaining About Recruiters

If you’re a professional software developer there’s a good bet you’re pretty regularly emailed by recruiters trying to get you to join other software development companies. Developers are in such high demand there are whole teams of people whose job it is to try and hire us. As developers, we’re incredibly lucky.

And yet, the most common reaction I hear among developers on the public complaint service Twitter is that of dread. “Ugh. Another recruiter email, god.” “These recruiters are so lame, trying to get me to join this dumb startup.” “Way to send me an obviously generic letter.”

I’ve got to say, straight up, fuck that attitude. Our jobs are in such high demand that we’re regularly sought after by people hired to seek us out, and the general reaction is “ew stop”? I’m not sure developers realize how rare our situation is, how many non-developers search for months and months trying to find a job, when nobody’s hiring, and yet all we have to do is check our inbox once a week. Compared to nearly everyone else, we sound like spoiled brats.

Now I’m not saying there are never good reasons to complain about recruiters. Sometimes they’ll get your info wrong in careless ways (like addressing you by the wrong name, even though your email is your name), and that’s sometimes offensive. Sometimes recruiters are too aggressive. Perhaps you have legitimate concerns about how the company represented treats women, and you want to write a thoughtful, public article about why that is. But I think these sorts of complaints are vastly different from the “ugh, why do I get so many recruiter emails??”

We’re incredibly privileged as software developers, and we’re lucky to be so sought after. But when we complain about too many recruiters, we sound like snots to pretty much everyone else. Maybe we should reflect more on our lucky position, because it won’t last forever.

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