Dear Recruiter

I was at my desk, caught up in the flow of work. Really feeling I was moving forward with the problem. Getting close to some innovative solutions. Motivated and focused.

And then the phone rang.

It was you. You told me about this wonderful opportunity. A job very similar to mine at a fantastic company. One that had an amazing culture. An incredible product. Something I could be passionate about. Something that would make my life more meaningful.

But would it?

The job is very similar to the one I'm doing at a company I'm happy with. I think the product I'm working on has potential. Why should I take a risk?

It's a great salary, you say. Is it? I'm paid just above industry average, so it can't be that much higher.

It's a shorter commute, you say. Yes, it is. But not by much. Is that really a reason to change jobs?

It's a great, great company, you say. Well, perhaps it is and perhaps it isn't. How do I know? More importantly, how do I know you know?

If you are a contingency recruiter, you are likely one of many scoping around for candidates to fill a role. My skills match your search criteria. Hence the call. You're number crunching.

You have no real relationship with this client. You don't know they are great. You don't have a passionate belief in what they are doing. Or a deep understanding of their culture and work practices. You are just trying to make the sale. Hit a target. Using me.

Your hustle is making me feel wanted. The headhunting approach supposedly flattering me into taking it seriously. I'm in demand. Wanted and desirable.

But all you offer is a bit more money and a slightly shorter commute? With an evidence-free promise of better working conditions.

Why should I take the risk? Why should I change company? I need a serious answer.

Give me a real reason. Something that will make me listen. Not a little more money. A shorter train ride. Or meaningless platitudes about great culture and people. But something meaningful.

And if you don't know what that meaningful thing is, you shouldn't have called me. How could you know? Well, that's your job, not mine. Work it out. That's what would have made you a great recruiter who'd have got me listening.

All you've done is break my flow. I've now lost track of my thinking. Have to rework through these ideas that were on the edge of my consciousness. You're just an irritant that I don't want bothering me again.

So, please, unless you can give me a good "why", don't call back.

Yours faithfully

The workforce

PS. I know this isn't entirely your fault. You've been set an assignment by the hiring manager to find somebody exactly (and I mean exactly) like the person he needs to replace. You aren't allowed to go outside the margins. You need to crunch the numbers.

And I fit. Not only that, I'm passive. If you find me and nobody else does, there are so, so many jobs you have I could fit. I'll be worth a good bonus. A round of applause from your colleagues. Perhaps a holiday in Ibiza.

But if I'm worth all that, then I'm really worth you working out my why!