Hacker News Re-Imagined

Automatically detecting and replying to recruiter spam

  • 115 points
  • 1 day ago

  • @jlund-molfese
  • Created a post

Automatically detecting and replying to recruiter spam

@thrwyoilarticle 17 hours

Replying to @jlund-molfese 🎙

Having put up with being filtered by shoddy Applicant Tracking Systems, workers are now implementing their own Recruiter Tracking Systems - how poetic!


@Tempest1981 21 hours

One recruiter was pestering me, and I was ignoring his emails... then he sent this which made me laugh:

  > I can do this all day - it's quite literally my job :)
  > Really though, we are highly interested in your background ...
  > Chat soon?


@ryanmercer 18 hours

I clear international freight through customs, my job title is "Customs Trade Coordinator" at least once a week I'll get recruiter email or a LinkedIn message for mechanical engineering jobs.

In the past few months I've also had emails along the lines of " I just came across your profile and was very impressed with your background and what a solid fit you appear to be for this role. " for:

- Enterprise Architecture

- Operations Manager

- Director of Continuous Improvement

- CI Engineer

- Continuous Improvement Engineer

And several others that I can't readily find in my gmail trash.



@lapsis_beeftech 20 hours

I advise my users to never reply to spam, doing so proves the address is valid and messages read which will encourage the spammers to send even more crap. I tried content filtering to deal with spam in the past but do not at all these days because false positives are not acceptable to me. If my mail server accepts a message it always gets delivered to a mailbox and never to /dev/null.

The only effective way I have found of dealing with spam is to add the mail servers they use to relay their trash to an IP blacklist and reject future messages from those servers. That means some legitimate mail will bounce, but that is acceptable because those senders are notified of the delivery issue and can try to send again using a less shady service provider.


@ruuda 23 hours

There's a much simpler way to identify recruiter spam: put this in your profile: “Please include the word ‘banana’ in your message.”


@crawsome 16 hours

More often than not, real recruiters with real jobs bother me. I'm OK with this.

The people who don't read my resume / tell me I'm a perfect fit for your entry level helpdesk role, I report and block.


@nitred 20 hours

I have a question for devs in Germany/Europe. Is it a violation of Datenschutz/GDPR if the recruiter sends a first email with a link to a video/website that tracks whether I clicked on it or not and then they send me a follow up email because they know I clicked on the link from the first email?


@deeblering4 13 hours

And the moral of the story is… don’t try to negotiate salary before the interview.


@ThePhysicist 19 hours

Honestly, be grateful you receive so much recruiter "spam", sometimes great things can come from it. It's quite a HN thing to complain about receiving too many offers for jobs that are basically in the 99.9 % quantile of the highest paying jobs in the world.


@Snetry 19 hours

> If you would like to use my API endpoint, send me an email.

Is this a pun? This might be a pun


@DeathArrow 22 hours

Using Naive Bayes for text classification problems such as spam detection is fine for teaching purposes but:

-it doesn't understand context

-if the spammer uses related words, good luck catching those

-false positives can be quite high

As a recruiter receiving such a wonderful automated reply from you, I would ask you why didn't you use a more suited technique to the problem such as transformer-based attention network, or at least deep learning neural network.


@circlingthesun 20 hours

I have an emoji prefixed to my name on LinkedIn so whenever someone starts an email with: "Hi Rickert", I know it's an automated message.


@arxanas 23 hours

Update on this: since October 4, I've received an additional 17 emails, of which 5 generated useful discussion, and 2 out of those 5 had legitimately interesting opportunities.

Also, despite having set up SPF and DKIM, LinkedIn continues to reject my reply emails.


@mvc 20 hours

I don't understand the attitute that most software engineers seem to have with recruiters.

My early years as a software developer were in locations where opportunities were not like they are in your big tech centers. In those years, recruiters would get you a foot in the door and you were grateful for any opportunities that came. Even in big tech centers, until you build your own network, recruiters will likely be an important source of opportunities.

It's ugly to see senior engineers' sneering attitute towards recruiters in front of their junior colleagues (at lunch or whatever). I'm not sure what they're trying to signal when they do that but to me it signals insecurity.

Be kind to your recruiters. You never know what the future holds.


@Hakashiro 18 hours

Hello, I read your blog post on detecting recruiter spam and we're impressed with your technical skills and would like to invite you to a 6-round interview graduate internship as a content writer

:) :) :) :)


@eatbitseveryday 23 hours

Seems like overkill? Toying with recruiters or improving productivity by avoiding seeing the spam in the first place? I don’t get many so it doesn’t bother me…


@whoisjuan 23 hours

In LinkedIn I have my first name as my first name + middle initial.

I always know when is a mass message or a real personalized message based on whether or not they include that initial.

Works surprisingly well for me but sadly for LinkedIn that’s a case of an implementation detail totally destroying their value proposition for recruiters.


@guessmyname 23 hours

I used to do something similar a couple of years ago, but ultimately, the bot replies became so short it made no sense to pay AWS to run the code.

The last version of the code, which I kept running for over 6+ months, continued replying with things like “Thanks <Recruiter’s Name>. I’m interested.” —or— “Thanks <Recruiter’s Name>. I’m not interested, but I appreciate the invitation.” After comparing the success rate of my interviews with the length of my initial replies, I realized that short messages resulted in better leads.

I dare to say that it never matters if the recruiter is targeting you specifically or bombarding a long list of potential employees. They only need to know if you are interested or not, so writing long emails to accept or decline their invitations is usually a waste of time, for you and for them. If you are interested, say so, and they will quickly set up a pre-screening call to tell you more about the company, the role, the team, compensation package, or whatever you want to know.

If you are not interested, most recruiters will appreciate a simple “not interested. thanks.” and move on.


@andrewstuart 1 day

Deleted as too negative.


@evancoop 16 hours

Consider the following: The majority of professionals in ANY field are mediocre at best, given the distribution of talent. Most developers aren't 10x folks. Most professional athletes aren't superstars. Most recruiters aren't insightful, matchmaking geniuses. In most cases, the market seems to work.

In the case of developers, truly elite talent is not compensated anywhere near 10x (or 100x) the standard-issue rate (unless they become founders). Thus, there is a massive incentive to cast a wide net, and hope to land a big fish for whom circumstances have misaligned.

For prospective employees, the best jobs are typically those one obtains through a network rather than a recruiter anyway - leading to a reluctance to engage, thus requiring a wider net.

Bottom-line, a few elite recruiters can and do behave differently. A few elite developers can and do earn more, and for the rest of us mere mortals, this paradigm is probably the equilibrium. Curious if automating responses to automated emails would lead to ever larger/wider outreach?


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