Recruiters and Responses

Recruiters are the salespeople of jobs. As such, you would expect them to tell you about all the cool features of the job they want to sell you. But for some reason, they don’t.

This will not be an elaborate blog post, I will mainly use it to share the templates I use to weed out the good messages from the bad ones.

Why I am writing this

I am a Senior DevOps Engineer with Anaconda. Anaconda is well known in the Open Source, Python and Data Science fields and I am a senior engineer, therefore (at least that’s what I think are the main reasons) I have between 3 and 25 recruiters contact me every week.

If I spent 15 minutes talking to every one of them on the phone, that would be a lot of time wasted - after all, most jobs that recruiters send you messages for are a poor fit.

So I mostly ignored those messages. But then, a while ago, I read a blog post by Alex Chesser about why you should never ignore a recruiter. I took the advice and started thinking about how I want to tackle this.

Alex shared the template he is using with the hint that we should all use and customize it. So I did that and the results were really good.


I sent the initial template to about 50 or 60 recruiters since I started using it. The results are very interesting and I’ll share my take away with every one of them.

Some recruiters shared the data I asked for. These are the ones you want to continue talking to if you are looking for something or the data looks good. Right now, I’m very happy working for Anaconda, so most of this data is just pure data for me: It tells me what the average salary for an Engineer in my position and with my experience is: Somwhere between 75.000 € and 90.000 € is a usual range with the odd 100.000 € number being quoted. This applies mostly to German companies only looking in Germany or maybe starting to look around Europe.

It does not include any international or global companies so far, so I can’t share anything about them. You can expect them to be higher, for global companies about double of the numbers I mentioned above is the bottom of the range - at least after all I know from both personal experience and what others are writing about publicly. Gergely Orosz wrote a great article about The Trimodal Nature of Software Engineering Salaries in the Netherlands and Europe, this will shed some light on why the search radius is important. I highly recommend reading that article if you don’t know it yet!

Some recruiters decided to behave like a defiant five year old. One, when I sent my initial template, responded with

Did you read my initial message? It contains answers to most of your questions

Yes. Most. That’s why I sent the template.

Another one said

We do not talk about salary before we’ve had personal contact with you. We think of that as dubious practice.

I disagree. The dubious practice is you trying to sell me something without wanting to tell me about the features.

Some others were ambivalent and asked for a phone call. In that case, I send them another template I have ready to tell them why I want all the information I’m asking for before I take more time out of my day, especially for synchronous communication.

My templates

Those templates are licensed under CC0 1.0. Do with them whatever you want.

When a recruiter initially contacts me, I scan over the message (and a possibly linked job description) to see if it has all the information. So far, this has been the case for only one of all the messages I received. If the message does not contain all the information, I send them this response:

Thanks so much for reaching out.

I’m always interested in hearing about what new and exciting opportunities are out there. As a Site Reliability/DevOps Engineer I‘m sure you can imagine that I get a very high volume of recruiters reaching out on LinkedIn.

It is a wonderful position of privilege to be in and I’m thankful for it.

It does however mean that I dont have the time to hop on a call with everyone who reaches out. A lot of the time, incoming messages represent a very poor fit indeed.

I would love to continue the conversation, but before I do, I’d like to level set around the level of seniority that you’re looking for. Can you send along the company name, a job description and, total compensation details for the role you’re reaching out in reference to?

While I very much appreciate the fact that exceptionally talented and engaged recruiters reach out consistently, sorting serious and high quality opportunities from spam would be a full time job without an autoresponder.

In the absence of detailed information regarding the nature of the opportunity in question, I will be unavailable for discussion and will not reply to further messages. Thanks again for reaching out!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best, Maurice

P.S. if you reached out to me in German or prefer German: German and English are both fine for me, please use whichever you are more comfortable with.

If I only get some blah blah back, I have two templates for that: A friendly one and a more direct one.

The friendly one goes as follows:

Thanks for getting back to me!

Unfortunately your message did not contain information regarding all the points I outlined above.

Until I receive the missing information, I will not be available for further discussion as I can not assess if this would be time spent well.

With the volume of messages I get, filtering out the offers where the basic criteria match is vital for my schedule.

Best regards Maurice

The more direct one is the following:

As you approached me asking for some of my time, I outlined the conditions under which I am willing to give you the time you asked for.

If you cannot or do not want to meet those conditions while representing a company you want me to work for, I get the impression that the company is not interested in what my requirements and needs are.

I am happy to let you know if working for you (or the company you are recruiting for) is on the table for me based on the requirements I have for a company. To do so, I need the information I asked about in my earlier message.

Best regards Maurice

And finally, I have one small template that is a polite “Thank you, but I’ll pass”.

Thank you for providing me with the details I asked for.

Considering all the information I have available now, I’ll have to let you know that I’m not interested.

Best of luck filling the position and have a great day!