Today I found out that I’m part of a class action lawsuit against a service that I never signed up for called TalentBin. As you have likely experienced, most recruiting in the tech industry is debase, disingenuous, boilerplate garbage. But this — this is definitely a new a low.
Here’s an excerpt of the email I received this morning.
From Courthouse News, emphasis mine:
Lead plaintiff Eric Halvorson claims that the TalentBin’s website “scours the Internet and aggregates personal information about consumers from various sources.”
TalentBin then assembles the information into “candidate profiles” — which include rankings of the users’ skills based on the gathered information — and sells the profiles to their customers, who use them to evaluate the candidates for employment, Halvorson says.
He also claims that although some users are willing participants, the company’s regular practice is to create and sell the profiles “without the consumer having done anything to invite or initiate a relationship” with TalentBin. In fact, since TalentBin gathers personal information without the users’ authorization, “many of the consumers on whom defendant has compiled a candidate profile have no idea that such a profile exists or that it is being communicated to potential employers,” …
What the fuck? How disgusting.
Privacy and job hunting
I’m usually quite diligent about protecting my personal information and privacy, but I wasn’t always. (The email above was sent to an old, inactive email address.) My advice? Painstakingly guard your personal information and privacy. Be skeptical of any recruiter that attempts to undermine that. Never sign up for any of these recruiting services or companies, like Hired or CyberCoders — they are all trash. These “services” are not how you find jobs in tech, or anywhere really — at least not good ones. Finding a great job that you’ll love comes from your network, not a recruiter. If you are just starting out, then do your research on companies that you are interested in and contact them directly. If your network is small (or nil), you can build it up by going to local meet-ups and conferences.
Serendipitously, I received the following message today. This is a perfect illustration of the state of recruiting in tech.
LAMP stack opportunity with an exciting education software company
<redacted 1>reaching out to you from Jobspring Partners. I came across your resume while searching online for PHP developers near San Francisco and was eager to get in touch. You have a really impressive background in web development, and I have one role in particular for which I believe you’d be a good fit. You’d be working with teachers to develop digital resource tools for students, providing their millions of users with access to learning materials. The company is looking for someone with expertise in PHP tech, which you appear to have in abundance. We’ve place candidates there before and have heard nothing but good things since. I’d love to tell you more about this position and also open up a discussion about all the exciting things going on in the San Francisco market for developers. Are you free today or tomorrow for a quick call?
Firstly, note the two redactions. These were two different names. This person introduced themselves with one name, and signed with a completely different name. This is the beauty in life that wakes me up each morning. I do love pasta, but not copy-pasta. Secondly, if anyone has seen my “impressive background in web development” lying around, please send it back to me along with my “expertise in PHP.” LAMP stack for an iOS developer? WAT.