We sometimes hear complaints from IT professionals who say they're getting "spammed" by recruiters and staffing agencies. They fire back angry emails demanding to be removed from mailing lists and claiming they never signed up to receive such communications. In some cases, maybe these responses are warranted, but for the most part, great recruiters aren't buying lists of email addresses and mass mailing a whole bunch of unqualified people who will never care about their job opportunity. That's inefficient and doesn't lead to results.
Recruiters are always building relationships with top candidates so they can quickly find somebody when an opportunity arises. In situations when a recruiter is trying to fill a role with hard-to-find talent, they need to get creative in searching for new professionals who will match the job description. That's when they start calling and emailing people they may not know personally, but they're still not contacting candidates randomly.
Why Are You Getting Unwanted Email from Recruiters?
If you receive an "unwanted" email from a recruiter then there's probably a reason... and your past actions may have something to do with it.
If you've ever searched for a job, then it's plausible that your name and resume are in a database somewhere -- a database that recruiters use to seek out new talent. Not only do recruiters search their own agency's database of past applicants, but many subscribe to databases of other online job boards like Monster, Indeed and CareerBuilder. When you apply to a job through any one of those websites, you are asked if your resume can be public. If you select Yes (or don't select no), then recruiters have access to your resume. If you look awesome and a fit for their job, you can expect an email.
LinkedIn and other social networks are other sites where strategic recruiters search and are the cause of your surprise recruiter emails. According to Canada's Anti-SPAM Legislation, if your email address is public, then you've provided consent to be contacted. Therefore, if you have a superb LinkedIn profile with an email address that's visible to the public, then at some point, a recruiter is going to send you an email.
How Can You Avoid Unwanted Emails from Recruiters?
Based on the sources provided above, there are three very simple ways to reduce unwanted emails from recruiters:
Read carefully when applying to any job and select the options that prevent your resume from being made publicly available or in a database. (You may also need to avoid specific job boards all together)
Keep good track of where you apply to a job and return to those sources when your job search is complete to remove your resume and/or close your account.
If you must publicize your email address, include a disclaimer clearly indicating who can and cannot email you. You could also go a step further and include this at the top of your resume that you've uploaded to a job board.
While this post is to help you prevent unwanted email, we still strongly encourage listening to and giving a recruiter a chance. Look into the person's experience and their staffing agency's track record and decide if a relationship with them could be beneficial down the road. You don't have to be interested in the current job but if your contract is going to be up or if you may be considering something in the future, it's never a terrible idea to have relationships with recruiters in your back pocket.