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I receive a lot of job offers during the week on my business social media channels, although I've stated that I am not looking, but remain open to offers. I don't have anything against these offers, but I find almost 90% of them worthless. They are either nothing better than I currently have or sometimes even worse (the problem of head-hunters not reading the profile).

In an effort to get better offers or at least to minimize bad ones, I would like to write a sort of a list that would act as a filter, i.e. the criteria for someone to even send me a job offer. For example:

  1. I am not ready to travel
  2. Home office offers only
  3. ...

Would this be inappropriate? If not, how could I write them down in a way that doesn't sound arrogant or potentially eliminate everybody (even the offers that match the criteria)?

I am situated in Germany, but I think the question is appropriate for every country.

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    By "inappropriate" are you asking if it's likely to annoy your current employer?
    – BSMP
    Mar 24 at 8:56

4 Answers 4

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This answer is not intended to oppose imtaar's answer. I agree that it can be appropriate to do so; but this answer questions whether it's going to actually help you achieve your goal.

What makes you expect that the headhunters who send you clearly incompatible offers or who don't read your profile are going to both read and respect your filters? This is really what it boils down to. Don't get me wrong, I've toyed with a similar idea in the past; but it just doesn't add up when you think about it.

It is the nature of the beast that since we (the employees) are not the ones paying the headhunters, that the headhunters aren't incentivized to please us (other than superficial pleasantries and luring tactics).

A headhunter's goal is to hunt heads, i.e. finding warm bodies for the vacancies that these paying customers (i.e. companies) want to fill. A good fit is better than a bad fit, because the longevity of a recruitment is generally reflects well on the recruitment effort. But when push comes to shove, a bad fit is better than no fit at all.

I don't mean to demonize headhunters. Some of them genuinely care about the people too. So let's put them on a spectrum. On the one end of the spectrum, they want everybody to be happy and comfortable (let's call this end A); one the other end they're just looking for warm bodies to sign a contract so that they get their recruitment bonus (let's call this end B). As this is a spectrum, headhunters will find themselves somewhere inbetween A and B.

Group A generally wouldn't send you an incompatible offer, except by mistake. These worthless offers are being sent by group B, who don't care about you one iota, they just need you to sign a contract.

You could write your filters, which will always boil down to "please respect this thing that I ask" since that is the actual goal.

Group B won't really care about that. If they've already "lost" your business, then they're still better off shooting their wad anyway because they have nothing to lose.
And that's assuming they read your profile to begin with, which most of them (from personal experience) don't. Over the years, I can just see the email template with placeholders that draw from my profile (name of previous employer, name of city, name of tech stack), proving they just generated some halfway customized message to make me feel like they know my profile.

Group A will read your profile. They may end up realizing that you're not looking for their offer which originally seemed compatible to them. This is exactly what you want to achieve.
However, group A also may end up making inferences about your character (e.g. being guarded or boasting high standards), which may negatively impact any offers that you would've actually been interested in.

Think of it this way: a dating profile inherently entails listing what you're looking for, which can include what you're not looking for. However, there is a turning point here where such an itemized list turns into a list of demands, which can be considered egregious and reflect back on how you are presenting yourself.
If you don't care about that, and you just really want to use any chance you have to filter out anything you're not interested in; then by all means post your filters.

I'm not a pretty woman (by which I mean I'm male), but I'll put good money to bet that virtually all pretty women get all manner of matches and requests from the kind of people who aren't trying to look for a personal match, but who are simply looking for a pretty woman, regardless of what they put in their profile.

If you are the headhunter's equivalent of a pretty woman; then your filters aren't going to stop the offers you actually intend to stop, yet they might negatively impact the offers that would've been extended to you in good conscience.

Personally, this leads me to conclude that any filter is counterproductive, unless you don't quite care how people perceive your filters. Based on your question, I infer that you do care about how this reflects on you; so my advice is to rethink your approach here.

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    You've hit the spot here, @Flater. The way you described group A and your conclusion is exactly the reason why I have doubts about doing this. I was wondering if somebody had an idea for an alternative, but currently I don't see any.
    – civan
    Mar 24 at 12:34
  • yes - and today, it's not even going off the "pretty picture" as much as automation and keyword searches, and, further, off something in their database they captured once in the past regardless of whether it's on your profile now
    – Mike M
    Mar 25 at 12:32
  • One trick I have seen is to prefix your profile name with an emoji. Group B are probably using automated tools, and tools will just see the emoji as a character and include it in the message. Group A have a human, who will omit the emoji. Thus as a proxy to filter out things from Group B one can filter out things starting with an emoji. Mar 25 at 14:56
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    @Flater This was already a great answer, and the pretty lady comparison is an excellent way to bring it home. (I have but one regret: the upvote after mine will be number 69)
    – zedmelon
    Mar 26 at 13:47
  • + 1 I have written such a filter for LinkedIn, and keep getting offer after offer which ignores everything on my list...
    – fgysin
    Mar 30 at 11:53
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It is NOT inappropriate to write employment filters on your social media channels.

Instead of naming it as Filters, you can write "Please consider my following job preferences".

Write all the filters in a nice, polite language e.g. instead of writing "I am not ready to travel", you can write "Sorry, but it doesn't suit me to travel".

When the language is humble, it will not "sound arrogant or potentially eliminate everybody".

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  • Polite statements like "Sorry, but ..." have a place in a dialog, where you're being polite to a specific person. But on social media, you're not addressing a specific person, so there is nobody to be polite to. Humble? This sort of misplaced politeness communicates a lack of confidence to me.
    – MSalters
    Mar 25 at 10:46
  • that's also very culture-dependent.
    – njzk2
    Mar 26 at 11:20
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I was wondering if somebody had an idea for an alternative, but currently I don't see any.

You might want to conduct the M&M test. So the urban legend goes, in order to ensure contractors have properly read their briefing through and followed the instructions properly, musicians would insert a buried request that they serve a bowl of M&Ms with a specific colour (EG blue) removed.

If they failed that task then it signaled they hadn't properly read the contract (avoiding potential disasters).

the problem of head-hunters not reading the profile

Set up a dedicated email account to handle incoming huntheading queries. Replace the visible email if you have to.

Then, specify a basic requirement somewhere on your profiles that says they must include a specific codeword in the subject header when contacting you regarding work (for example, one company used the codeword 'Ninja').

Then, set up a filter that automatically trashes any emails that do not contain the specified codeword. You can periodically change the codeword from time to time, and thus the filter, to ensure any queries are up-to-date.

If they demonstrate they can read the codeword (and simultaneously shows they're most likely human and not a bot), then you can discuss appropriate job offers with them.

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    It was Van Halen who required no brown M&Ms snopes.com/fact-check/brown-out
    – mattumotu
    Mar 25 at 10:06
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    Many good employers may view it as unprofessional for someone to ask them to add a codeword in their message to that person, and they could thus refrain from reaching out to you if you add such a requirement. Not to mention that many good recruiters will just quickly scan over your profile, so unless that requirement is very prominent, it could very well be missed. And if it is very prominent, then that's going to come across as a lot more unprofessional, given that its prominence implies you think that (instead of anything about you) is one of the most important part of your online profile.
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 25 at 13:15
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    @NotThatGuy the whole point is make it not-prominent so you can filter people who didn't actually read your profile. Recruiters who didn't read your profile is exactly who you want to direct directly to spam.
    – Erik
    Mar 25 at 18:13
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Consider this, if your filters work you may not see that plumb of a job offer that might require you to travel (to that Caribbean island where you could surf year round), or the pay scale was slightly low but included a home and personal car etc.

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  • This doesn't really answer the question
    – Erik
    Mar 25 at 17:43
  • @Erik It does if you interpret “inappropriate” as “unhelpful”, and I guess that interpretation is as reasonable as any other. Mar 26 at 7:21

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