Recruiting Cold Calls

I think there's some recruiters making the rounds of Microsoft Bloggers. Gretchen and Zoe, as well as Heather have talked a fair amount about how a blog can help your career, and just last week I think I saw a bit of that.

I got cold called by a recruiter on my office phone. I didn't think much of it, but then I read that Eric Lippert got called for the exact same opportunity (Eric changed the names to protect the innocent in his story, but it's clearly the same place.) For me the conversation went a little differently though:

Recruiter: (Description of company that exactly matches the description Eric related) is looking to hire Engineers, including some leads. Is that something you'd be interested in?

Me: What kinds of Engineers are we talking about?

Her: Software Engineers.

Me: Yeah, see I don't really write code (this is a slight mistruth, more on that later.)

Her: Really, when did you stop?

Me: I never did.

Her: So then what do you do?

Me: Test work.

Her (with great disappointment in her voice): Oh...  Do you konw anyone that might be interested in this? It's a great opportunity.


There are a couple things I'd like to note at this point, although some of these are just wild speculation.

1.) Saying I don't really write code was a mistruth. I actually write code most days. But the kind of code I write and the kind of code developers write are very different. I don't like writing code all the time, I like testing - and using the code I write as a tool to be more efficient and effective in my testing. I'll write more about this in a post in the very near future, but during my recruiting conversation I figured the safe path was to avoid that whole issue entirely and say I don't write code, since I don't write the kind of code she was looking for.

2.) While it was flattering to get called by a recruiter. That flatterly quickly faded as I realized there had been absolutely no background work to see if I was actually anywhere close to a fit for the position. It's not like it takes much, pop my name into google and it's clear very quickly that my field is not Software Development.

3.) I understand that cold calling people just plain sucks. It can't be fun. And searching for names of people to call has got to be tough. But I'm thinking that mining the list of Microsoft Bloggers might not be your best bet (if in fact, that's what was happening.) All the Microsoft Bloggers I know are really passionate about Microsoft and love it here. That's the main reason we blog - we want to share our passion and experience with the rest of the world. Microsoft has, shall we say, a bad reputation in the industry. People think we're all cogs in a big machine of evil here. I whole-heartedly disagree with this and a big part of this blog is outreach trying to dispell that opinion.

4.) I'm not a recruiter, but it seems to me like it would be easier and less emotionally draining to do a very small amount of research into people before calling them. For example, a google search on me will tell you very quickly that I'm not a good fit for these developer positions. That would have taken less time and been easier for all parties then calling me. If any recruiters disagree with that sentiment I'm really curious to hear your thoughts.

All that said, I think it's great that the economy is picking back up - it's wonderful news. And I eagerly await the day I get called about a test position. Not because I'm itching to leave, but because the other big part of this blog is trying to get the industry to respect testing more and treat it more seriously. The first step in that process is taking the role seriously enough to find and pay for good talent.


Comments (2)
  1. gretchen says:

    Chris – Totally agree with you on the research part. There’s no excuse for a recruiter not doing some research before making a cold call. Zoe got a cold call from a recruiter a few weeks back. The recruiter who called her works for another Seattle based company and hadn’t bothered to research her at all. He never heard of our blog and didn’t even know what exactly she did in MS Recruiting. (Hope she doesn’t mind my telling that story – but it’s a good story. Even recruiters are victims of bad cold calls.)

    All that said, if I were a recruiter for any other company, I would have exhausted the MS blogger list a long time ago. You are right in that MS Bloggers are some of the least likely people to entertain leaving the company (well, maybe but maybe not), but more importantly, MS Bloggers are great "connectors" within the company. As a recruiter, I’d want to use this list to build my network. Great people know other great people.

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