Experience with recruiters and job finding


I see an old thread on recruiters but wanted to bring the subject back up in a different light.

What has been shocking for me is:

  • there are so many… so. many. so many companies and calls and emails that i mostly stopped answering calls from unknown numbers. 10-20 calls a day. this goes in some kind of cycle unbeknownst to me. had i know, i would have used a separate email and phone number.
  • a non-trivial segment seem unqualified to find anyone work. i have a hard time understanding the business model.
  • what is happening? the industry somehow supports such a huge 3rd party sector.

long story short, i did get my current contract through a recruiter. this was literally 1 contract out of 600 implicit or explicit rejections

Now the post takes a turn.

if i add to that number my own applications, it feels like a 1000 rejections.

I’m assuming not everyone has such a hard time.

what do you make of the recruiting industry? how do you/did you find work? how do these recruiters find all these jobs?

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When I was first starting out, I used recruiters to get freelance work to build my portfolio. I had a few good recruiters and the rest were awful. The best jobs I found though were through friends who worked at agencies or brands. I don’t recommend startups unless you just graduated from college. Applying to hundreds of job is a waste of time. Cut down your applications to companies you really want to work for.


I’m interested in this as well. I can grab a recruiter that I know to jump in and give us thoughts from that side if that’s helpful.

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I’ve worked with recruiters for years, including some that I really liked. Here’s the best advice I can give.

Signs of a good recruiter. Fundamentally, the more time they spend on you, the more likely they’ll be good to work with.

  • They get in touch personally and have obviously already your resume etc. A big thing for me is whether they use my nickname when they get in touch.

  • You met in person, typically at an event. They’re usually chatty, friendly and stick around until the very end. Be sure to share your card, get the recruiter’s and follow up. Sm

  • They specialize in design (UX is too narrow support many specialists)

  • They contacted you via InMail. This costs $$, they see you as valuable enough to talk to.

  • Recruiters to ignore: Most of that job spam is from bots scanning your profile for keywords and dispensing contacts. These are trying to put as many people in chairs as possible, which is a big risk in terms of finding a good fit between you and the job.

To get the most out of a recruiter, you need to help them out as much as possible. They want easy candidates to work with and sell.

  • Reply ASAP, while you’re still on their mind. Hopefully, they’re also on the same task as when they reached out.
  • Having your materials ready and polished to go when they need them.
  • Make sure your resume and profile have a clear link to your portfolio. Some recruiters won’t look further if you don’t have a portfolio.
  1. Use burnermail.io or a similar product. It’s cheap, they’ve adopted some of my more sensible feature requests into the product and they’re a small independent bunch from Europe. It’s also great for testing services that you don’t want to spam you or potentially sell your email. Give recruiters this email address :slight_smile:

  2. Most can’t help you because if one analyzes their LinkedIn profiles they’ve been unable to help themselves. Imagine a recruiter with 4 jobs in the last 1-2 year telling a contractor they’ve moved around too much. “Contractor”, being the key word there.

  3. Good recruiting is not cheap. We are getting some heat for the percentage the better recruiter we use charges and I doubt we’ll fill 3 seats at his companies take. Actually, I know we won’t. Instead, we’re being pushed to use our internal recruiter (s) that it appears our department is not the only ones struggling with. I had to show them the break down of a UX case study and tell them what to look for in candidates.

I have a rejection/interview list from 2018 and while it’s nowhere close to your 1K or even 100, I can tell you it’s not easy. At my current job, I’m largely responsible for the UX interviewing process, including working with the recruiters directly and there are more bad recruiters than good ones but after contracting for 12 years I already knew this.

I think it really depends on the market and where one is at. Where are you located BTW?


@stevejoseph ooff

I’m in chicago, but I’m also looking on the west coast, texas, georgia, and florida.

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