Let me start off by saying that I’m not a Recruiter. I’m a Recruitment Marketer; I assist Recruitment Agencies with their social media management, sourcing, recruitment advertising and personal branding.

A while ago I started up Outlook and BOOM, hundreds of CVs landed in my inbox. This was a daily occurrence for several weeks before it quietened down, only to start up again a few months later. This has been happening on and off for the last five years. Two weeks ago, this started happening again, only this time it’s not quieting down.

You see, there is a list of 400 plus recruiter and HR professionals’ email addresses doing the rounds on social media and messaging platforms with the headline ‘Try your luck’. One of the recruiters got in touch with me recently to inform me that she’d found a website where our details (and those of hundreds of others in the recruitment industry) are publicly hosted. Since then, yet another website with this private information has cropped up.

The links

Besides the fact that this is a huge violation of the POPI Act, the person who published this list has not advised the job seekers on how to properly set up their CVs, how to politely approach recruiters/employers, how to conduct a job search or correctly draft a cover email. As a result, job seekers are sending bulk emails to the people on the list without any context, just a CV attached. The first impressions of these candidates are, therefore, not good and I don’t think that a busy recruiter will have the time to review each CV they receive in this manner to figure out what the job seeker is looking for or if their field even matches the industry they recruit for.

I don’t have it in my heart to simply delete these CVs, so from the very first CV I received I have been responding personally to each one, giving individual advice on their CV and how they can job search. This of course got in the way of my day-to-day work, but I couldn’t not help these job seekers, so I decided to put together a generic advice piece which I then added as an email signature. I now just click on reply, choose the ‘job seekers signature’ and press send. It has saved me so much time and is hopefully helping these job seekers.

So many job seekers have responded to me to say thank you and that they’ll follow the advice I’ve offered. Some even messaged me a couple of weeks later to say they finally have an interview after years of struggling. Others have thanked me for the help as they feel they finally have a bit of hope when they were very close to deep depression.

A few days ago, I emailed every single person on that list to tell them why they’re receiving these CVs and shared the links with them including an example of my signature in the hopes that they can do the same to help job seekers. These are the results from that email:

Out of 443 recipients, 42% of the emails bounced back. I received 24 auto-responses, 11 kind responses and, believe it or not, 2 rude responses. The rude ones didn’t seem to have read my email properly; again making a case for taking time to give emails relevant attention.

In closing, we need to remember that job seekers are human beings with hopes and feelings and as irritating and time consuming as these emails are, we need to be empathetic and help where we can. Two seconds of my time could change someone else’s life. The same goes for giving feedback to candidates and responding to the CVs that don’t quite fit the job profile.

Here is a link to my job seekers email signature with instructions on how to set up an email signature.