Should Your Job Title Really Be “Phisher”?

If you are one of those recruiters that uses a keyword search resume bot in conjunction with a mass email to every result that gets returned, you are NOT a recruiter, you are not a sourcer, you are not a Talent Acquisition Specialist. You are a phisher, also colloquially known as a SPAMMER.

There was a firestorm this week on one of my online moderated discussion lists (technology focused). We have a free job posting page, where any recruiter or hiring manager can post their job description, contact info, and application information. What started the whole “discussion” was this message:

Job Description: Hi, I Hope you are doing well. This is with reference to your resume posted on job Portal. I came across your profile and want to let you know about an opportunity we have that I think you might be interested in. We have a following contract opening with our client. Please go through the job description that has been attached below, and if available and interested, please send me your Resume in word format ASAP. (Also, do not forget to send the details that have been asked in the end). Note:- Please ignore this email if you are already working with , Inc.,  Our client or our Recruiters.

Now, keep in mind that the recruiter in question provided his full contact information (name, email address, employer). This message was regarding a job with a client as a Business Development Manager. It went on to describe the position in some detail.  But it never discussed the client in question, and at the end (“…do not forget to send the details that have asked in the end…”) the “phishing expedition” began.

**Need to know the following details to expedite the process*****

  • What is your current location? :
  • Are you currently on a project, If Yes-Why you are looking for new project?
  • Define your job position you are looking for more clearly:
  • Are you willing to be flexible to work in technology or areas that you are not familiar with?
  • Have you had any current interview experience lately: If yes, please let me know Client name, interview date, Feedback or expected Feedback?
  • Are you Willing to Relocate?:
  • Availability (earliest date you can start)? :
  • Your Work Authorization?:
  • Current Salary and Expected Salary?:
  • What is the best number you can be reached at? :
  • Give me your employer details:
  • Two References Details (Must) with Name of the person, Company name, Phone

As if that isn’t bad enough, on the Sourcer Guild Yahoo Group, I consistently see the same person posting a similar message whenever a true Sourcing  job announcement comes across:

“I have used virtual folks equipped with Monster, CB, and DICE licenses who can do this and internet searching for $6.25/hr. They will provide you with up to 150 resumes/week for 1-15 openings, and offer a free trial… However, some companies may prefer to spend 5-8x as much to get almost as much work done by a person onsite- which is their right.”

With practices such as this, it’s no wonder that sourcing as a profession is not well understood, or why so many recruiters don’t know HOW to source effectively. As a very visible recruiter in the community (for over a year and a half I had a career advice column on the Seattle Times NWJobs section, and my job seeker-focused blog gets a few thousand hits a week), I get the same questions from job seekers over and over. “Is this legitimate? How do I deal with these sorts of mails?”  I understand that there are tens of thousands of unemployed professionals out there, and I am happy to provide a resource for them. But when it comes to my own profession, I’ve got to tell you these are just the sorts of practices that A) give recruiters a bad name B) contribute the the still high unemployment rate in HR and Recruiting across the US.

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What gets me especially steamed? The “virtual folks” for $6.25/hour. Let’s think about this: the DOL tells me that “the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.” So the obvious conclusion I’m reaching is that these “virtual folks” are an off-shored, resume farming operation. It reminds me of puppy mills. Far be it from me to stifle a global economy, but if recruiters support this sort of resume generation and justify phishing as a valid “sourcing” model, then all we are doing is shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot when it comes to career development and industry respect.

If you cannot  be bothered to read the resumes your bot sorts before sending out an email, go into the email marketing business and leave sourcing to those of us that want to be RECRUITERS.

About the Author

Kristen Fife is a senior technical recruiter in the greater Seattle area. She has been in recruiting since 2004, starting as contract Researcher for the Microsoft Strategic Recruiting Group before moving into full lifecycle agency recruiting for Volt Technical Services. Her move into corporate recruiting started with both sourcing and full lifecycle contract roles at Microsoft (including MSFT Research, Legal, and various product groups). In addition to Microsoft, Kristen worked for 3 years for RealNetworks/GameHouse as the Senior Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Specialist; at the University of Washington/Harborview Medical Centers as a Sourcer, as well as smaller companies such as Varolii (now part of Nuance Communications), Covestic, and bSquare. Currently she is an RPO Senior Technical Recruiter, she sits on the Leadership Team for Sourcing7, and is a regular presenter, trainer, panelist, and speaker in the Seattle area for recruiting forums and job seekers. She has been a regular contributor to the Seattle Times, including an employment topic column, regular blog, and the NWJobs Hire Wire newsletter for the local recruiting industry. Her blog for job seekers receives several thousand hits a week. She has been quoted in several publications including ABCNews, AOL, the Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VOG6BL3D5Y2NURULAL77PU46FA Kristen

    So earlier this week I received one of these phishing mails for a “Sales Support Specialist” (as a candidate). I wrote back to the recruiter, and here was her response: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience. I sent out a mass email to try and
    reach as many candidates as possible. My system just looks for key words
    to qualify you and sends it out. Of course not everyone will be a match, but as a fellow recruiter you know that sometimes that happens.”
    Actually, no I don’t. Because I *READ RESUMES*.

  • beckyeleven

    I wonder if they actually use the resumes themselves in some way (like identity theft) and also the company names that are found on resumes….