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I encounter a common pattern of interaction with recruiters - a condensed version:

R: Our client is seeking a developer with experience in tech X in BTown. Can we schedule a phone call?

Me: I no longer focus on tech X. For the last N years, I have gathered extensive working knowledge with tech Y & Z and am only interested in positions where I can work with at least one of Y or Z. Further, I do not consider relocation in the foreseeable future and am only interested in positions in ATown or remote positions (>80%)

R: That's a pity. However, we do have other positions in our portfolio and we are constantly getting new requests, possibly matching your profile. Can you send us your CV and lets schedule a phone call to get to know each other.

Me: No thank you, but once you do have a specific position matching my preferences, feel free to send me the details.

In most cases, there is no response, or a very short one, sometimes trying to persuade me to schedule the phone call anyway.

I am not keen on leaving my current position which I like and feel comfortable in, but should the tech stack and location fit well and I can negotiate a nice raise, I might take a look at the opening.

Am I misunderstanding what a recruiter/agency can do for me, or am I correctly refusing to cooperate further without a specific position info? Do I have anything to gain by actually scheduling the phone call and sending over a CV? Especially sending over a CV feels like I am expected to do a part of the recruiters' job for them with no expected returns.

How should this be handled differently in other countries compared to Germany?

  • A typical conversation between an agent and a potential client. If you ever received a call from real estate agent, you would be wondering if they were all trained by the same person. – scaaahu Apr 20 '18 at 8:45
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    Possible duplicate of Should I go through recruitment company or apply directly? – gnat Apr 20 '18 at 9:26
  • @gnat - not a dupe IMHO - I am not applying to anything nor am I even searching for a new position. The question is about the added value of providing recruiting companies with more data while remaining a passive candidate. – kostja Apr 20 '18 at 9:31
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    How would they know f they have a position that matches you unless they have your CV – Neuromancer Apr 20 '18 at 12:55
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    Because they are mostly writing me through business networks like LinkedIn where I have listed my working experience and the technologies. Since they also have my name, a web search would also reveal several relevant profiles, like Github or this one here. – kostja Apr 20 '18 at 13:01
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Ok this might sound like I'm quite disdainful of recruiters, but they work in a very competitive, results-led industry, and based on my dealings with them over the past 15+ years in software development I would offer this advice:

Unless you are actively seeking a new role (or perhaps somewhat open to opportunities), ignore contact from recruiters unless you see a role advertised that you are specifically interested in. Otherwise they will sap your time and energy talking about positions you just don't care about.

Oftentimes, recruiters don't always have real jobs available and are just fishing for new leads: you'll see this when they contact you about roles that aren't relevant to you, then start asking about your colleagues and if you can "recommend someone who might be suitable". Or worse still they're trying to find out who deals with recruitment at your current company so they can try and sell their services to your organisation. Never give out your bosses contact details or you open them up to sales calls they aren't going to appreciate.

Don't get me wrong, in my local area there are a very few recruiters I know personally and will take calls from them because I know they won't bother me unless it's something interesting, but the vast majority of recruiters are just desperate to either fill interview slots so they look good to their client, or trying to get new clients by getting contact details for hiring managers via existing employees.

  • Sounds consistent with what I had assumed. Unfortunately :) Thanks, Will – kostja Apr 20 '18 at 11:29
  • "Otherwise they will sap your time and energy talking about positions you just don't care about" Only if (for some reason) you talk to them. All you do is say "Fine, I'll email a cv. Bye." Certainly, all the negatives that Will explains are of course true. (Of course, naturally, if some fool recruiter starts asking you for other contacts, etc, just ignore them. If you're not able to say the two-letter word "No" in a simple business conversation, it's hard to operate in the world of business.) – Fattie Apr 20 '18 at 13:17
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Do I have anything to gain by actually scheduling the phone call and sending over a CV?

Quite simply - the answer is "yes".

It could potentially at some point lead to a great opportunity.

All recruiters are "a bit of a pain" and "a shambles". (If you are new to the business, this is explained well in the answer @WillAppleby .)

But so what? Every now and then it leads to a great result.

Do you have anything to lose? Almost nothing:

  1. The phone call is fun and interesting and you learn what's up in the industry. Keep it brief.

  2. You should have a hot cv on hand at all times. Just click the button and send it to them. (If you don't have a hot cv on hand, you should - so it's good "motivation" to keep that organized.)

Especially sending over a CV feels like I am expected to do a part of the recruiters' job for them with no expected returns.

As my mental heath team would tell me, that's just "in your head".

Obligations are a total illusion.

Just treat recruiters like you treat McDonalds.

So,

"What is there to gain or lose by 'cooperating' with a recruiting agency as a developer?"

You're not "cooperating" with anyone. It's part of being a professional that folks constantly ask for your cv, just click it over.

(It goes without saying, some recruiters are so useless / flakey you wouldn't even bother sending your cv. But that's true of any issue in business. If it's a well-known and respectable recruiter, of course send your cv and spend 5 minutes on the phone with them.)

Enjoy!

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    not sure what the downvotes are about, another valid point of view IMO. Thanks Fattie – kostja Apr 20 '18 at 12:44
  • cheers, good luck either way! :) – Fattie Apr 20 '18 at 13:14
  • It's a valid perspective, and as a self-employed contractor, if I am between engagements then I will actively pursue discussions with recruiters in the hope it leads to something. – Will Appleby Apr 20 '18 at 13:42
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    "Recruiters are like McDonalds. You're the customer, and they work for you." No, you are the product, and recruiters work for the company paying them to fill open positions. Any benefit to the recruit is a side effect. – Charles E. Grant Apr 20 '18 at 20:18
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    The call might take time; objecting to sending a CV is just kinda neurotic. Near zero work for possible reward. – mxyzplk Apr 21 '18 at 4:13

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