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Wham! Bam! Thank You Spam

By February 25, 20166 Comments

I received an interesting email this week. Although we work hard on “getting out there”, like a cold beer when your mouth feels like Ghandi’s jandal, it’s always refreshing to receive an enquiry from an as-yet-unheard-of new client. Especially when it’s a referral from a “business acquaintance”. Lacking the good sense of your usual blogger, here’s the unedited email;

“Hi Sean,

I have been recommended your details by a business acquaintance as someone who has a good network in the space that we are currently recruiting in and was hoping you could help us.

We are currently expanding and looking for an internal recruiter.
Could you provide your terms of business for my reference please.

Thanks in advance,

Henry Thompson
HR Director – Sharp Integration”

At first glance, a fantastic lead. There’s a name. A website. An email address. It sure beats the screwed up Sambuca-smelling business cards I find in my shoes after a hard night of “networking”.

But…who else smells a rodent? And I’m not talking ferrets. The name is too obvious. The website too WordPress. The job adds too copied and pasted from here. And why my terms of business? Thinking this could be bloggable, and covering my own arse like those on Facebook sharing Bill Gates’ million dollar giveaway pics, I replied asking for more information. Obviously, my terms of business weren’t attached, and obviously, I received no reply.

I’m still undecided if this is fraud, spam, or Mr Thompson has just decided to bung an ad on Seek instead. I’d be interested to hear if any other readers have received something similar?

The email interests me for two reasons. Firstly, after five years recruiting internal recruiters in New Zealand, my parents, colleagues in my shared office space, and even some clients, still don’t know what I do to earn a crust. My parents, being of the generation and culture where “work” involves eating coal and punching strike-breakers in the face are excused. The rest…well, I’m clearly not articulating myself very well. To this day my esteemed business partner Jon still receives enquiries asking “Do you recruit internal recruiters as well? Hmmm…news to me”. Henry Thompson and the team at Sharp, it would seem, have got their research spot on.

Secondly, if this is all just a charade to get my four digit pin and mother’s maiden name, just look and marvel at the leg work. It’d actually be easier getting a real job. And that’s saying something. My Dad was right; working is hard.

The global email fraud industry is worth an estimated US$1.2B, so someone, somewhere is falling for this. And that doesn’t include all the “appointment setting” and “lead generation” spam emails that block our collective inboxes like electronic turds in a portaloo.

Incidentally, on the subject of “lead generation” emails, I use these to release my inner child and helpfully redirect the spammer Business Development Manager to the real decision makers…


Sorry JK. (Not sorry).

As a dyed in the wool recruiter, my concern is that the recruitment industry will follow the same trajectory. Close your eyes and just imagine for a moment….a dystopia of bland-tied, identikit “recruiters”, crammed into white-walled, suspended-ceilinged offices. Their biggest hope of a placement dependent on a barely-personalised email sent out to as many hiring managers as possible. A world where this behaviour isn’t stomped out for being intrusive, unprofessional, and unwanted. A world where in fact bonuses and promotions are based on the highest number of these “floats”.

Now breathe, relax, and open your eyes. I’m being sensationalist of course. It’ll never happen…

Enjoy your Friday everyone.


Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Pete Osborne says:

    Hi Sean,

    I received exactly the same email and hit the delete button at what must have been close to the speed of light. Not that you aren’t far more capable than I and deserving of such an approach…

    FWIW my mum also doesn’t know what I do, so I just tell her tall tales that at least keep it amusing.


  • Jess says:

    Jon, the inner hunter in me bought me (thanks google) to find “Sharp Integration” are actually recruiting for an IT Manager and a network engineer (cant attach my screenshot here to show you).

    An idea: go back to “Henry Thompson” and see if he has sourced suitable candidates and if they can send YOU the position description!

  • Rob says:

    Thanks Sean, I’ll be definitely be taking up your spam redirection tip from here on. Good old Uncle John will surely sort it for me, in between sh1tting rainbows and being the lead singer in our rock star economy.

    What is it with Mums? Mine keeps asking me why I don’t become an accountant… I’m like, “pleased to meet you my name is Rob.” 🙂

  • Kara Smith says:

    I literally just received the same email!