Excuse Me, but Your Automated Email Is Showing

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A lot of good guidence is provided in “Making First Contact” without it turning into a laundry list of things NOT to do. However, one “don’t” is so rampant that it warrants its own post: don’t automate your emails. (Especially don’t auto-send emails to every developer within the same company.)

Automated emails are pretty easy to spot: there is nothing personal in them except a name change in the greeting, and they are generally written in an overly chatty manner (probably to make up for there being aboslutely nothing pertaining to the recipient in its contents). This comes across as acutely disingenuous and typically elicits a quick delete.

I recently received two such emails back-to-back:

what the diff?

Now perhaps this company’s need for filling its Cloud IT and Research seats with “talent IT professionals [sic]” is so urgent that this recruiter does not have time to write a personalized email to each developer he or she contacts, but I would wager that the fruit of said emails would be more replies and fewer blog posts. Not only was I bothered at work, I was bothered at work twice by virtually the same soulless email. The only impressions made by these emails are that

  • there are empty seats for this company that urgently need filling and
  • this recruiter is extremely lazy.

This reflects poorly on both the company and the recruiter which provides neither with any gain. A recruiter for any company should strive for a few things:

  1. Find fitting candidates for open roles
  2. Present the desirable qualities of the hiring company
  3. Appear informed of the role and the candidate so that (1) and (2) seem earnest.

An automated email accomplishes none of these goals and wastes the time of all three parties (while only appearing to save the time of a single party).

Pamela Overman

Pamela Overman / @pwnela

Developer at Big Nerd Ranch.
Deep abiding appreciation of well-written emails.