Weird creepy things I've done as a recruiter

As a recruiter, doing creepy things to track candidates and track candidates down becomes part of the normal day to day. Here are some of mine.

Use email trackers to see if you have read emails I sent you.

There’s a bunch of mail tracking services that work .. by magic, I want to say? No - realistically, they put one pixel in an email and track if the pixel is viewed. There are also ones that can get around people who have all images blocked by default. (I don't know how they work)

If I’m sending what I consider to be an important email - a job offer. The third email about an interview to a candidate who I think is ignoring me. Emails chasing feedback to a hiring manager who seems to have fallen into a black hole. I use a mail tracker. Some recruiters use them for every single email. The reason I don’t is because they are terrible for your mental health. It’s bad enough not getting a reply. It’s SO MUCH WORSE when you know that someone read your email 46 seconds after you sent it.


Use various means to extract your email address from LinkedIn/GitHub/Twitter

Before we can obsess over you not replying to our emails, we need to email you first. To do this, we use external services to get your email from LinkedIn, a bit of API manipulation to get your email from GitHub, and good old fashion dorking to get it from Twitter.

ContactOut gives you a few credits per month to use to get email addresses and/or phone numbers

To see if your email is dorkable from GitHub:

Put your username in instead of the xxxx

You'll either get a page with a load of stuff. In this case, your email address is probably in there somewhere. Otherwise, you'll get a page that says [ ].

If your email is visible, you can set it to private in settings. :)

This may not save you, however. I can still find it by picking a repository you have committed, going to the commit url and sticking .patch at the end of the url. Depending on how you have things set up, your email address might be there. At worst, I usually find out something interesting. Twitter handles are very common.

To get an email address from Twitter, I just search old tweets hoping you tweeted it at some stage.

Using social engineering to bend you to my will

Did you know that Tuesdays are statistically the best day to post technical content to get "engagement"? Did you know that statistically, people under the age of 40 change jobs every 2-4 years? Did you know that 85% of job applications are total garbage?

I will use what I know about people in general to pitch a job or alter an interview prep email to get the result I want - your continued engagement in the process.

For example: There's a number of ways you can write a job advert, beyond the mere list of requirements to both attract the people you want and discourage the type of people you do not want. It's an entire article in itself. You can describe a workplace as "hectic and driven by deadlines" if you know the work/life balance isn't the greatest. People who are coming from that kind of environment who are looking for a bit of chill will be discouraged from applying. This removes some bulk from the process, leaving only people who are into that kind of thing. (they're out there, believe me!)

Clinically examine every call and email I've had with you.

The only people who obsess more over the minutiae of an email than a recruiter is probably a teenager in their first relationship.

"oh, Anna is through to final interview - do you think she'd take the offer?"
"hmm, on May 24th, she said she was "excited and looking forward to the next interview" ... what do you suppose that means?"

Seriously, it's mental. I've been in the middle of obsessing and have told myself I'm being a crazy person and ... kept on doing it. It's nothing to do with you. This is all on us. (Although, candidates who are very open with us about their feelings on a job - we love you.)

Using weird chrome extensions to create personality profiles

This is probably the worst/best one. There's this chrome extension called Crystal Knows. I love it.

It uses your LinkedIn profile (or any 600 words of text written by you) to create a personality profile. And it is uncanny. It has me down to a T. (Prefers: email or scheduled call Likes: team spirit Avoids: instability)

I've used it a lot for helping candidates prep for interviews when I don't know the hiring manager too well - common with large clients where there are a lot of people in on the interviews. Knowing that the person chairing the interview likes a direct, logical, answer rather than a spirited, enthusiastic one rooted in emotion, has literally been the difference between moving forward and rejection for my peeps.

I am aware though that it is suuuuper creepy.

There's probably loads more that I don't even realise are weird any more. There are more that would take too long in one blog to explain - I do plan to go into more detail on the social engineering piece at some stage.

All the creepiness is done with love. I really do want to get y'all the job you want. And me the money I want. But mostly you the job you want.