The other week I got one of those calls I’m sure a lot of you get as well.

Yeah, you guessed it: it was a headhunter. The call went something like this:

– Hi, I’m [woman] calling from [magic beans headhunter agency], and I wonder if you have some time for a few questions?
– Sure.
– Well, we have this client who needs a “Web Developer”. Going by the tone in her voice, I could just see her making air quotes as she said it.
Are you a “Web Developer”?
– Eh, yes…
– Ok, goodie! Our client wants a “Web Developer” for some very interesting projects. Do you know the .NET framework? Heavy air quotes.
– Yeah, but mostly I shy away from it like the plague. Overall, I prefer other environments.
– Oh… Oh… Well, ok then, then maybe this specific opening is not best targeted at you.
– No, maybe not. Thanks for your call.

Not to blow my own horn (or any other dubious love-yourself act), but I would like to humbly claim that I’m fairly well-known in the Swedish web development community. I was listed as #19 amongst Sweden’s Best Developers as the highest ranked Interface Developer, I fairly regularly feature in the computer press, I organize Geek Meet with hundreds of attendees etc.

What the hell has happened to headhunters? Once upon a time, they cared about making sure they found just the right person for the job, both to satisfy their employer as well as for the pride of doing a good effort.

Have they no self-respect in their profession anymore, or are they just so desperate that they will call anyone? I mean, for the love of some headhunter god, please, please do your background research first, before you call. That way, you don’t waste your time as well as mine.

And don’t get me wrong: I like recruiters who are professional, and enjoy constantly discussing opportunities – building bridges is a sound career move for anyone. But headhunters who don’t even make the effort of searching Google with my name first, please leave me be.


Disclaimer: working with the .NET framework nowadays isn’t necessarily as bad as before, although it still has a number of annoyances. If you get to work with good web developers who understand these, though, you can still produce pretty decent results.


  • Lea Verou says:

    I was listed as #19 amongst Sweden’s Best Developers as the highest ranked Interface Developer

    Off topic: Quotes like this make me so sad about the fact that I live in Greece…

    There is absolutely NO WAY that a greek magazine would publish such a list. Firstly, nobody would be interested, and secondly who would be able to pick who is in the list and who isn't? We have very few developers here and even fewer that actually know what they're doing. They'd probably just end up adding the developers they personally know, regardless of skill level.

  • Morgan Cheng says:

    Haha, I thought this kind of headhunters only exist in China. It turns out that this is a international phenomena.

  • Since I'm a stealth coder I don't get in touch with headhunters very often. I see this situation very funny, though. ^^

  • I often get the feeling that headhunters in our area of work don't really know enough about what we actually do. They just group us together with "it consultants" and "computer engineers" and suggest that we all are somewhat interchangable.

    Just a week after we had started Oktavilla I was called up by a quite persistant headhunter. I asked him if he was aware of the fact that I was one of the core partners of a new company and that I had quit another job to be a part of this. He was – and he still thought I would be really interested in just dropping all that to grab the job he was offering. That felt both flattering and insulting – but the strangest thing was that his job offer didn't match my profile or the recent work I had done at all.

  • My response is short "$180,000 a year, in gold and free flights to Canada." and when they tell me that's not very realistic, I say "Forget the money, I'll take whatever you got but my office must be 13C and I fly only first class."

  • I'm in the group "Top eight milion unknown web develoeprs" and am pretty surprised I've got such a call or email a couple of times now. I haven't advertised as much as I shouls have at all – does this mean that this LinkedIn thin finally is working? πŸ˜›

  • I got another phone call by a headhunter last week. She was looking for a Frontend Developer with strong experience in Java programming and some experience in techniques like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I told her that she's really looking for a Backend Developer. πŸ˜‰

  • RobertDM says:

    I can't take headhunters seriously anymore since I saw the episode of "absolutely fabulous" where the stupid office assistent said she was quiting her job because she was "headshrunk" instead of headhunted, now when I hear the word headhunter I can't help but think about that scene (and I still laugh) πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for your comments!


    Well, such lists are very relative… It comes down to exposure, who knows who (i.e. actually knows about certain developers) etc. Nevertheless, I was happy to be featured in it. πŸ™‚


    Oh no, it's global.


    That's no guarantee… πŸ™‚


    Exactly, my experience is just the same!


    I'd rather take the money then the air plane chair. πŸ™‚


    Ha ha, I like your self-labeling! And yes, the LinkedIn curse has come true!


    Yeah, its very bad if you need to guide them…


    Actually, the cast in Absolutely Fabolous would probably make great headhunters! πŸ™‚

  • Helen says:

    As an ASP.NET developer I appreciate the disclaimer at the end. πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I'm sure you are fantastic! πŸ™‚

  • he he hehe those head hunters are people that you love to hate. im based in Sydney and my biggest mistake was giving my contact details to recruitment companies.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Job Search Guy,

    I can imagine. πŸ™‚

  • Johan says:

    I'm interested in reading a post where you list the ASP.NET annoyances πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Maybe one day, but it would be too much of just complaining, I think.

    If you're interested, there are some things in these posts: How to generate valid XHTML with .NET and Port ASP.NET features to Ruby on Rails.

  • Lilibeth says:

    Oh and I thought I was the only one who hated .NET programming…

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