People, Person, Blonde, Female, Woman

Tech Recruiters Ruin Everything.

By Anissa Drici Pierson

Hello world! My name is Anissa and I’m one of those infamous tech recruiters who ruin everything. I’ve been stalking engineers on insert social_media_platform_du_jour circa 2011. And I’ll admit when I started my career I knew zero, zilch, zippo about technology.

Software development is different from IT? ALOHOMORA! Won’t unlock my computer?

There have been some painful learning moments over the years, but I’ve come to make sense of it and learned that you don’t need to be an expert in everything. The trick is knowing just enough to be dangerous.

Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?

The struggle is real. On both sides! The majority of “technical” recruiters don’t possess any tangible technical skill, or even the formal educational fundamentals in the fields they recruit for — so, bear with us: there’s almost always going to be a communication gap. It’s a two way street; both sides need to do their part to get what they need from the other person.

Software Engineer: “In my next job, I would love to continue to code in Java, but I dislike functional languages and anything too front end focused.”

Terrible Tech Recruiter: “Great! This opportunity is perfect for you, we need a JavaScript expert to modernize our UI.”

Software Engineer: “Are you trolling me right now?”

Software Engineer: “I build the infrastructure to automate the migration of all our data to AWS.”

Terrible Tech Recruiter: “Sorry, we need someone that has worked in the cloud.”

Software Engineer: “Are you for cirrus?”

Software Engineers…take a deep breath.

I’m not buying your buzzword soup…

On the flip side, engineers seem to have been conditioned to spoon feed recruiters the buzzwords.

One of my proudest moments as a young tech recruiter was working on this role where one of the requirements was to have substantial experience with big data. The engineer with whom I was speaking was being condescending; he kept trying to assure me that I should just go ahead and have him interview with the manager because “he had a lot of experience with SQL.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, did you say SQL? That’s interesting because I thought SQL was a relational database? How much data did you say you were working with? Terabytes? I don’t see any non-relational databases on your resume, any Hadoop, MongoDB, NoSQL? Nothing. That’s what I thought, don’t lie to me.”

::Drops headset::

Tech Recruiter OUT.

In Conclusion

Before I step down from my soapbox, here’s my parting advice.

Recruiters, do your research.

Do a little extra homework on the front end to understand the people to whom you’re reaching out.

Say you’re looking at someone’s profile, and you see they started a local agile meetup. Instead of using your blanket pitch about the “company’s culture,” tell them about the team’s philosophy on scaling agile — even send them some content about how your company is doing it. Be creative, be yourself, be a human.

Engineers, we’re on the same side.

We can be great allies and resources for you not only in the job market, but also through the interview process. It’s important to be patient and transparent about your skill set. Generally speaking, we want you to be successful in the interview process, so we ask for patience.


Tech Recruiters Ruin Everything. was originally published in AppianLIFE on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Published on Feb 14, 2018

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