“Urgent Requirement”: My Resume’s Week on Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, and Simply Hired

Generic Sample Resume

THE PREMISE

Recently I read a Bay Area recruiter saying that recruiting for developers down there was “like a knife fight.” I decided to chum the waters and put my resume online with four major hiring websites simply to see how hot the tech hiring scene was up here in Seattle.

Given, I am not fluent in some of the new hot technologies, but I’ve got some keywords I knew would get searched for. I’ve also spoken at a major conference, have spent the last year and a half organizing a volunteer group that teaches kids to code, and was booked the next week to speak to the local JavaScript developer meetup. I was pretty confident I’d get some bites.

THE PLAN

I put up resumes on CareerBuilder, Dice, Monster, and Simply Hired. Each had its own email address so I could track where mail came from. The phone # on the resumes went directly to voice mail.

Let’s review the sites in order of mail volume.

CAREERBUILDER

If you want to get a lot of really useless contacts, put your resume on CareerBuilder. As a tech professional, you’ll be contacted about selling insurance, financial services, oil changes, and even door-to-door sales for Comcast. You’ll get contacted by firms that want to talk to you about your future in owning a franchise. You’ll get signed up for job listing newsletters you never subscribed to. You’ll also get multiple contacts from criminals trying to get you to receive stolen property for them as a “shipping agent.”

Not all the contacts via CareerBuilder were unsuitable. I got plenty of tech from Enterprise Solutions. All of them were out-of-state contracts, and I’d periodically get contacted by multiple recruiters from this firm about the same role within the space of a couple hours. They’re not just fighting other firms to fill the job, they’re fighting each other internally. But when I looked at the “Leadership Team” page on their site and saw that it was empty, I understood that the sloppiness and disorganization I got from their email contacts was just pervasive throughout their company.

About 7% of the emails were worth following up on, but it’s worth noting that contacts only slowed by half once I took my resume off the site. Even though my resume is no longer in CareerBuilder’s database, it will be traded and sold by third parties for months to come.

And if you want to filter out all the crap contacts from boiler rooms in India, just throw out any mail with “Urgent Requirement” in it. Five wastes of time came in with that exact phrase and three more contained both words.

MONSTER

The first two emails via Monster were to sell Farmer’s Insurance and Aflac. The second two were from firms recruiting for 6-month contracts at Microsoft, not noticing that I was already employed there as a salaried employee.

The volume was about 60% as much as CareerBuilder, but there were fewer sales positions and no recruiting by obvious criminals. There was only one really interesting contact. And like CareerBuilder, I got nearly as many contacts in the two weeks after taking my resume out of their search engine as I did during the week when it was live.

DICE

The most tech oriented of the bunch, Dice.com had a low volume with only 20% as many contacts as CareerBuilder, but all contacts were with reputable local agencies with relatively appropriate roles. And when I removed my resume from Dice, the contacts stopped.

SIMPLY HIRED

Nothing via Simply Hired. Not a single email. Not a single call identifying they found me via that site. Although they’re a good aggregator of job listings, nothing came of posting a resume there.

WHAT WAS BAD ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE?

The bulk of the contacts were by out-of-state recruiters with out-of-state contracts. I’m sure there’s a gypsy-like subset of developers who relish the chance to pack up their lives and move to upstate New York for a three-month contract in the dead of winter. I’m not one of them.

Many had “must have” skills in the job descriptions they sent that I didn’t have. The number of recruiters who looked for one or two keywords and then left it up to me to filter myself out of their search was ridiculous.

The other part was the recruiters who played coy. “I’d love to talk to you about your career goals and be a resource to you.” I bet you would. So would forty other recruiters who contacted me this week. Why should I talk to you?

WHAT MADE THIS FUN?

The voicemail the calls went to was powered by Google Voice. In case you didn’t know, Google Voice transcripts are terrible. Some of my favorite transcription errors:

P H P domestic affairs. I just want to go out and I said, zeteg tightly.

I’m looking for a confident put patients to Texas to Smith

Hi Greg, this is thought of giving you a call from Kraft, Ralph… Once again, this is carl from crap ross.

You can reach out to the ball at support confines…

Hi Greg, this is gladly put my C P stuff that he’s going to do the card in the job

So if you are a badabing and looking out for a new job.

Thanks, and it’s like you’d be hey.

My favorite contact was from a recruiter who discovered me via Monster, but contacted me via LinkedIn. I headline my LinkedIn summary with a quote from Taken: “What I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.” It’s part of a longer monologue and this recruiter used another part of that monologue in the subject of her contact mail. That is no mere coincidence. That is a recruiter who just proved they are paying attention.

Another recruiter through Dice sent me a job description from Nordstrom with my favorite skill requirement so far.

Your response to learning another [programming] language is: “It’s just syntax”

Conclusions

The contact volume was a lot lower than when I last chummed the water in 2012. Does this mean the tech industry has started cooling? I think it’s that my particular skill set of PHP and straight JavaScript has started cooling. Developers have to keep up their skills and work with the newer hotness in their spare time if they don’t get to on the job.

For that reason I’m expanding into newer skills by working on a MEAN stack web site for a group I volunteer with (and using Node School to help get up to speed) and taking an invitation at work to engage in some training that will add C# .Net to my skill set.

As far as the job sites go, if you’re unemployed and desperately searching, every avenue is an avenue you must pursue… including Monster and CareerBuilder. If you’re a professional who is looking for an interesting new opportunity, posting your resume there is a complete waste of time.

Dice is worth the time, but you can’t rely on it alone. And while searching Simply Hired may be good for finding published job openings, posting your resume there is a waste of time.

Have you had similar experiences, different? Please post your comments below.

6 Replies to ““Urgent Requirement”: My Resume’s Week on Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, and Simply Hired”

  1. Greg, you badabing, you.

    Thanks for sharing your experience! As a recruiter, it’s always interesting to gain insight into the way other staffing agencies target online resumes. One thing: ā€œIā€™d love to talk to you about your career goals and be a resource to you.ā€ I am constantly trying to learn how to share that information with a candidate without coming across as coy. Some recruiters truly want to help!

    • Anyone who has put themselves out there as looking has literally dozens of recruiters asking for calls, some of them hinting at the fact that they *might* have a role you’d be good for, but providing no details about the role. If you’re unemployed, you have all day to schedule calls. If you’re working, and have a family, and maybe some extracurriculars, the space in which to schedule calls is really tight. You have to try to read between the lines to determine if it’s a pre-submission screen or if it’s simply someone trying to build their contact list.

      You know who my favorite recruiters are? Of the ones I can name, all but one has been someone I met at a tech meetup. If you’re having the “get to know you” conversation at NewTech Eastside (for instance) or SeattleJS, you’re hitting me when I have time and inclination to talk, when I’m not under pressure to make this one count because it’s taking time away from something else. And that’s something you do, Grace, so I think you’re on the right track. It still doesn’t help you get access to all the devs who don’t go to these events, but the network of devs you build through that helps you reach out to those others.

      • Greg, I love your response. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts back with me. I agree with you completely. Positioning is important! You rock. This blog rocks. Keep it up, brother.

  2. So true. So true. I advise someone to look and ask around for reputable agencies, especially if you want to work contract. Also, the larger the agency, the more overhead they have which means less money to the contractor. This can be a negative, but also can be positive if the agency has benefits and a solid payroll service which is important to some people. GREAT article and perspective from someone looking for work. Thanks for posting!

  3. This made me laugh and also feel sad, but hey it got my attention so nice job! That said, I’m curious to know if you have tried your experiment using either LinkedIn Premium features or indeed.com?

    Tiff

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