Striking back at recruiter spam

2014-06-04 by Darren Nix
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Screenshot 2014-05-30 14.40.06
We’ve decided on a new approach to handling recruiter spam.

Before I go on, let me say that we like working with high quality recruiters from time to time, including one fantastic freelance recruiter, Oli Ryan, who helped us find several of our key hires.

That being said, we get bombarded daily with spam calls and emails from recruiting companies. Most of these we just ignore, but some bad actors decide to contact every person on the engineering team including calling our mobile numbers. That’s unacceptable.

So, it’s time to strike back: if they waste our time, we’ll waste theirs.

The recruiter black hole

It’s a simple concept: when a recruiter starts to be a pain in the ass, we just tell them to call our “HR manager” at this number:

(415) 534-6560


Give it a call.  Just say you’re “John, with ABC Recruiting Solutions (Annoying By Choice)”.

A very patient individual named Derrick (a clever recording) will tell you that there are several positions for which he’s currently hiring and he’d like to cover all of them to see if you have any good candidates in the pipeline for him to review.  Without pausing, he’ll proceed to list the job requirements from five random jobs listed on in excruciating detail.  He’ll occasionally interject something like, “Sorry this is taking so long, but I just wanted to cover all of these before we get to your questions”.  Then he’ll continue on to the next job.

After 11 minutes of uninterrupted monologue, he’ll start repeating the same job descriptions over again.  And again.

Are you also a recruiter victim? Feel free to share the number.



Discuss on Hacker News.

About Darren Nix

Post-apocalyptic book junkie. Founder at 42Floors. Previously founded Leaky and Silver Financial.

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  • Upvote on Hacker News
  • Kirill Zubovsky |

    LOL. Very nice! Is it a fully AI-powered response, or just a recording? Do you have stats on how far people listen to, until they realize it’s a hoax and give up?

    I’ve been getting a lot of recruiting garbage too lately, and came up with my own solution. It’s not as elaborate, but ensures I don’t get a follow up email, without actually severely offending the recruiters, as my high-temper-induced responses used to do. Check it out ->

  • PaulTannenbaum

    Can’t wait to use this! Thank you guys.

  • tayeke

    Epic idea.

  • Andrew Martin

    Haha, this is genius!


    This is amazing!

  • ♫☆ Alex Goretoy ☭ ☁

    Thanks you so much, muah

  • Jason Mueller

    Oli is the man. And this is one of the funniest things I have ever read – laughed out loud, then drooled a bit.

  • Sharafat Ali


  • Recruiter01

    There are people already getting butthurt about this online. It’s pretty comical.

  • Carol Schultz

    This is a fantastic idea/response to all the contingent recruiter spam!

    Here’s what I’d really like to know, however…Have you ever used recruiters and, if so, has it all been contingent. I’m sure not one of those calls ever came from a recruiter who only works retained searches. Remember you get what you pay for.

  • ekielisch

    Ha! Great idea. I saw a similarly clever way to deter spammy link builders. A site would ask link builders to contact their “webmaster.” However, that link directed them to the YouTube video of “Nobody got time for that!” :)

  • Jason Stomel

    I have first hand knowledge of a recruiting agency who would dial this number just to get their “phone time” numbers up so their slave-driver boss wouldnt fire them. The irony….

  • Laura Coker

    I LOVE it! I was checking out complaints as I am in the Recruitment industry and am always looking for ways to improve. I am actually listening to the recording as I type. You must really be annoyed with recruiters. How does it end? I couldn’t stand to listen to the entire thing (sorry).