[conspire] Recruiters (again)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Feb 9 11:38:08 PST 2007

It must be tough being a recruiter in the technology industries, and so
I always try to be sympathetic to them, and help them out within reason.
They interact with me quite a bit, in my role as a mailing list
administrator and moderator for a number of groups -- and I make a point
of always responding to them politely and constructively, even when
they're behaving like twits and even when I'd ordinarily be tempted to
ignore them.

Some days, though, you do have to wonder.  One of the mailing lists I
host here is a private mailing list for "Current and former employees of
Linuxcare, Inc.(R), only."  Despite the posted description, I do get
attempts to post there that are completely out to lunch.  Which is, in
itself, par for the course.

Today, though, I got mail sent _directly to the mailing list_ (and thus 
held for moderation) by an in-house recruiter at a very large and famous
Linux-oriented Web firm in Mountain View whose name might sort-of rhyme
with "frugal".  Just to be clear about this, the recruiter pretty much
_had_ to use the link saying " To post a message to all the list
members, send e-mail to linuxcare-alumni at linuxmafia.com [link]" to do

And what did that message say?  It identified the nice woman from
"Frugal, Inc.", attached inline a number of job requisitions in rather
appalling HTML, and asked if it would be approriate to "post them to
your site".

I rejected the message saying that (1) No, that actually wouldn't be
appropriate for that mailing list, but thanks for asking, (2) a mailing
list is actually not a "site", and (3) it's best to send administrative
queries like "Is this appropriate for your mailing list" to the
administrator hyperlinked from the bottom of any listinfo page, and
never directly to the mailing list itself.

I'm sympathetic, but a lot of these folks seem to think that the entire 
Internet community is supposed to be working for _them_ free of charge.
If there's one trait I _do_ expect in a recruiter, it's the concept of 
getting paid for one's labour, and not doing gratis scutwork for
strangers who are refusing to acquire basic competence and aren't
seeking to join our community.  Especially when they work for firms that
are supposed to be all about technical competence in online matters.

So, what's this problem with officious idiocy over at the, um, Frugalplex?  

I actually do know _why_ they do this stuff:  They're blitzing almost
_every_ online technical forum they can find -- not just mailing lists
-- using fixed, generic text written in advance (thus the bit about
"your site"); and they're doing it because a small percentage of those
get through, and they can ignore feedback from where it doesn't, e.g.,
like mine.

In other words, they're becoming functionally indistinguishable from
spammers.  Again.

Welcome back to 1999.

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