How to hide from recruiters

Disclosure: I worked for a recruiting agency for the past couple of years. Most recruiters use many of these sites to find you, this information is not specific to any one recruiting company or recruiter. It is just information for you to use.  

Note: If you’re looking for a job, just undo all of these things and keyword load the crap out of everything you do. Also, pretend like you don’t want a job and casually mention that you’re in tech everywhere you go. You’ll find 3 recruiters everywhere you go.

Look, we know it sucks to be contacted when you’re happy, it also sucks to be contacted if you just don’t like recruiters.  But, when you’re not happy, it’s also nice to know there are people out there who have jobs that you could be working in less than two weeks.

If you are truly getting hounded or even annoyed by recruiters calling you when you are happily employed then you need to hide yourself. You can go full dark or you can just remove the keywords that help recruiters find you. Either way, you’ve got to make it so searches don’t turn out your name and contact information.

Here are some suggestions on how to go dark online, without a ton of work, and you can still use these sites!

Facebook

Your privacy settings are the key here, especially if you link to things or have friends. Everything you do is a rabbit hole that can be followed. Only share things with your friends and only friend people you know.

Twitter

There are two options here:

  1. Lock your profile so only approved people can see it (kind of lame)
  2. Take your URL (and city if you please) off your profile information.  This information can be used to help find you.

LinkedIn

You can turn off inMails, the private messages recruiters pay to use in LinkedIn. Then, only connections can send you messages. You can also lock InMails down so much that when a recruiter bucks the rules, you can report them through the negative feedback on the message. Unlink all your domains, emails, phone number, etc. Connections and sometimes friends of connections can see your contact information.

Google Plus

Restrict visibility so that people cannot follow the trail of linked profiles, friends, and URLs to find you. http://netsecurity.about.com/od/security101/a/Google-Plus-Security-Privacy-And-Safety.htm

Github

Your email address is on your public account along with code that identifies what you do! Turn that setting off. Make sure your README and other documentation in your source code doesn’t have your email or phone number.

Email

Get a gmail account. Even if you don’t use gmail primarily. The reason is that it’s free, so you can have it without worrying about paying, but you can also use the features like their “+” email addresses. When you sign up for something online, you just add the site name or a note after the + to tell you where it came from. example+facebook@gmail.com is a good example. The email will be routed to example@gmail.com, but show in that inbox as example+facebook.  Then, the account owner can set up filters for this email address so they never see emails that come here.

Job boards: Dice, Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed

You put your info out, now you need to take it down. On many job boards, even if you thought you took the info out, you didn’t! Dice is a great example, many people think they are not in there, but they actually just set themselves as “passive”.  The only way to guarantee your info isn’t showing, is to delete it. Or, you can just take all the contact info out and re-upload your resume. Also, you should change your account email to have something like youremail+dice@gmail.com so that you can easily filter the emails you receive away from your inbox.

Your website

If your resume is here, it’s probably got a URL like “/resume” or “/cv” with a combination of your name or “my” in the title. You can either remove the page or document completely, ask search engines Google to stop looking and indexing your page through [http://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/robotstxt.shtml] and [google webmaster tools], or change the title and URL.

Put a contact form on your site, so your email account isn’t shared. Then, put a captcha on it so that your don’t get robots submitting crap through your email.

Your domain registrar

When you register your domain, you give the registrar all of your contact information. This includes your phone number, email address, and home or work address. It’s a pantheon of what recruiters need to find you. Turn on your whois guard. Some registrars charge for it, some don’t. This feature will obfuscate your information so that it isn’t available. Typically, the registrar will “pass it along” to you, whether it’s a phone call or email.  When you get the emails, set up a filter to hide them in a label and out of the inbox. Check them every once in a while though, because sometimes people actually want to buy domains!

White Pages

If you have a landline, you’re in there. You can request to be taken out of the White Pages. Now with online white pages, you should contact the printers and then contact the websites for more immediate removal. It’s a wonder we haven’t heard of particularly hungry recruiters showing up at people’s houses. Call the police if they do!

Use Google and Bing to search for yourself, your email, and your contact information. Request to have your information taken down from any websites you don’t control and remove it from the ones you do control.

Aggregators

There are plenty of services out there who are collecting and selling your information to recruiters. They are following links between social networks, collecting this info, matching it up, and then providing it as a database or plugins for browsers.  If you’re in there, there’s not much you can do other than issue a take down (not fun and pricey).

Applicant Tracking Systems

When you are contacted, ask them how they got your information. Most of the time, they have an outdated resume in their internal database, called an Applicant Tracking System. One thing I have done for the last 5 years is simply ask these people who contact me to pull me out of their database.

If you use the phrase, “Please remove me from your ATS”, it not only scares the recruiters because you know their acronym it’s possible they will either remove you or mark you as “Do not recruit”. Both of which are a win.




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