When I call Steve Levy, I know it’s going to be a good conversation. After the years we’ve spent recruiting, if we didn’t have stories – well, we wouldn’t be recruiters. Our industry talks to so many people so many times a day that we experience the best and worst of human behavior. The good, bad and terribly ugly of people’s lives.

The other day, we got on the topic of the crazy emails we’ve wanted to write over the years to both recruiters who think they broke the Davinci code and candidates who just don’t get it. After lamenting about the topic for at least an hour, laughing until my stomach hurt, we figured out a plan. We’d work together to write a series of these snarky e-mails. The kind you write in a fit of fury and then quickly realize you can never send? The ones that end up in trash cans instead of inboxes?

We hope you enjoy the snark, we sure did. #truestory

Dear Recruiter: Why Don’t You…

Dear Recruiter,

Please treat me like a person. Is that a lot to ask? You say that you want to help me. Do you? Really? Because here’s the thing. You, sir, are not original. I know. I see all of your e-mails mixed with every competitor you have across the country. The weekly calls you make to my mobile, office and home daily is liken being chased after by a bill collector.

Here’s the deal. I’m too busy working. I propose you do the same by flipping the script and stop with the automation.  

Dear Recruiter,

I saw the last 15 emails you sent. I unsubscribed but somehow, I can’t avoid you so here I am – spending more time writing. To you, not my candidates. Yes, I am a recruiter, not a JavaScript developer.  I realize that particular word, Java, is on my LinkedIn profile so I can see the mistake your algorithm made here.  

You see, it is on there because that is what I am looking to fill, too. So, let’s make a deal, okay? I won’t write you another sarcastic email or find your boss’ email and forward this pathetic, lazy, excuse of communication. Mmmkay?

Dear Recruiter,

Apologies in advance but you’ve forced me to check the Obituary sections of 17 local area newspapers to see if you had died. Since there was no sign of your name anywhere, including on your Facebook and Twitter pages (yes, I admit it – I’ve been stalking you for signs of life; what’s good for the goose is just as good for the gander.) Your Instagram pics show that you’ve apparently been eating and drinking, I’m confident that you’re still alive. Considering this, please let me know if I’m still in the running because frankly, I’m dying to work with you.

Hope you see what I did there.

Dear Candidate: Hello? It’s Me.

remorse you've got mailDear Candidate,

I have sent multiple emails and left several messages after you applied to our role.  Normally when a person does this, the intention is to actually want the job you applied for. That’s how this whole thing works you see. You apply, I call you, we chat, you interview and we come to an inevitable conclusion that we are either right for each other or it’s a “not you it’s me” situation.  Most of the time it’s you, though, really. Believe me, it’s you. However by not getting back to me we cannot start this process so I can, after multiple calls, emails, and interviews either not get back to you or tell you that you are not the candidate we are moving forward via a form email. I really need you to get back to me so we can start this whole truncated process moving forward.

Thanks, I guess.

Dear Candidate,

First of all, let me thank you for taking the time to send me your resume from my spam like email spread from two weeks ago.  I was excited as your profile and background seem entirely suitable for the software position I am trying to fill right now. It was a pure thing of beauty to see what you have been doing and you floored me with your answers to my silly and basic questions that IT gave me. Unfortunately, you totally blew the interview because we are, in fact, looking for a JAVA developer, not a JavaScript developer. Frankly, you never should have actually made it as far as you did in the interview. For that, I  as you totally blew it.  I mean the manager actually yelled at me for wasting his time like you did with me.  I certainly hope you die soon.


Let it out. Go ahead write a “should probably throw this away” e-mail in the comments section. We would love to see what you would like to say.  

This post was co-written by contributors Steve Levy and Derek Zeller. 

By Derek Zeller

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry, and he currently is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage Talent. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing within the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliancy. He has experience with both third party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland, Oregon area. Follow Derek on Twitter @Derdiver or connect with him on LinkedIn.