Tech Recruiting Companies Make Recruitment Painful for Software Engineers

In a common environment, the recruiting process for software engineers has proven to be a nasty one.

We ran a survey of technical people in our community and the most common words used to describe recruiters were the following: “aggressive”, “slimy”, and the most important one, “dishonest”.

Casey Garland, Parsed founder, CEO, and one of the surveyed software engineers, described his own experience to me: horror stories piled in with details of these recruiters and their shady approaches to trying to bring him in.

In one scenario, the recruiter was unwilling to provide basic information about the job opportunity, and when Casey asked basic job details, the recruiter did not comply.

This exchange went nowhere.

The encounter highlights another word that our engineers in the survey repeated: vagueness. In the general recruitment survey, the software engineers sounded far from happy.

A common agitation they all shared was about how vague their callers were. Company names were left out, as well as salaries and other important information.

The recruiters had a cold way about them, and even at times sounded out of touch with those they were reaching out to. Another red flag for the engineers in the survey was that the recruiters would call someone for a job that was not aligned with their expertise or experience because of what seemed like a match from a simple glance.

If a recruiter is targeting technical people and requiring a high placement fee from their customers, the recruiter should be able to do more than keyword match…and know the difference between java and javascript.

Persistence is also a factor, and not in a good way either. An aggressive approach was frequent, one engineer even noting about being called multiple times in a single hour by the same company.

This overall negative atmosphere that has been created by an appalling recruiting experience has soured stomachs.

When asked in the survey what the engineers would want changed, in regards to recruiting, was in general a more personable exchange and honesty.

Not something off of a script or in other words automated, but similar to two of the same people sitting down to lunch and discussing an exciting partnership or brave new opportunity for the recruited.

One of the engineers stated that they would have jumped to the opportunity if the recruiter had been this way: approachable and open on the details of the job offer.

In contrast, there are also of course positive experiences in recruiting.

Casey went on to say that in his better examples, recruiters were open and honest. He even went on to develop positive relationships with a couple of them. It shows how there doesn’t have to be a slimy or shady style in their approach in order to be successful in recruiting someone.

Another engineer spoke of how they appreciate the idea of positive relationships with recruiters, and how having a “network” can help land a gig if needed.

So the more open and positive, the better.

These optimal examples are inspiring to what is needed for software engineers to not only land jobs but find the perfect fit for their skill set, and even take the first few steps to an exciting and comfortable career.

This is where we come in.

The Parsed Approach to Recruitment

We at Parsed strive to be the positive example.

Our approach to recruiting is to act as a bridge between the candidate (software engineer) and the client (the company).

With a three step process dubbed The Parsed 3 Step Vetting Process, we aim to better understand a candidate’s technical capabilities and cultural fit for an organization. Learn more about Parsed Recruitment Services at

This process was built by software engineers for software engineers. The goal is to place the right candidates with the right companies, while also being able to wash out all the nonsense.

It keeps the exchange professional and at the same time personable, while simultaneously opening the candidate up like a book to examine all the finer and little details required.

We are already a development company, so we understand the technical requirements for our customers’ open position and can properly vet the candidate to ensure they are technically capable.

A common complaint that has been heard from customers when dealing with other recruiters is that the people they place into these jobs are not the right fit, and the quality of the outcome is rather lacking. Our process is able to rectify that.

The Detailed Steps of the Parsed 3 Step Vetting Process

The three steps in question go as follows: the soft skills screen, the coding challenge, and a technical interview conducted by a senior engineer.

The soft skill screen looks to identify that a candidate’s soft skills and approach to work to determine how they would fit in various company cultures. Is the person approachable? Is there any personality conflict?

A big thing is defining the candidate’s experiences beyond a resume, and getting a basic idea on what this person can do.

The coding challenge consists of coding brain-teasers.

A candidate is given five days to complete the challenges from anywhere with a computer, and this can help define the person’s level of competence, while also weeding out those that don’t even attempt to complete it in the first place.

This step works really well with us because of our own collective experience throughout the community; we can interpret a candidate’s skill set based on their results.

Our Senior Engineering team reviews the coding tests to understand how the candidates approach a problem, in contrast with other recruiters that will just bluntly pass or fail the candidate.

The third step is a key moment in the process, a more in depth interview with a senior engineer.

In this step, the candidate will discuss their experiences and effectively prove if they are a fit to what they’ve applied for. If this step is passed, then the candidate will be submitted to the client.

This process works for us not only because of our own technical backgrounds as stated before, but because of the flexibility it allows for us, the candidates, and the companies reaching out.

For the clients, it assures them that we are sending a qualified person for the job they are seeking, and they don’t have to spend their time sorting through unfit candidates passed from non-technical recruitment companies.

For the candidate, it offers multiple opportunities.

If they pass, but aren’t specifically what the client is looking for, they are not just dropped, but instead they are placed on our backlog until we receive another job matching their skill set. The same happens if this candidate does in fact pass, but not in the way expected.

If this certain candidate had applied for one job but seemed to be a more appropriate fit for another given how they tested on a technical level, we give them another job offer.

The Parsed 3 Step Vetting Process only needs to be passed one time.

Afterwards, the candidate will become “Parsed Approved”. This allows them the opportunities listed above, as well as additional jobs in the future. However, only 10% of those that test become Parsed Approved, and for multiple reasons.

What it Takes to Become Parsed Approved

A telltale sign that someone is not a match of the criteria is not doing what they said they were going to do. For example, not showing up to the interviews or meetings in a timely matter, or at all. Also, some will even blatantly disregard the challenges put forth.

That’s a reason why the coding challenge is actually a point where many are weeded out of the process: because candidates just simply won’t do it in the five days they’re provided. Competency is, of course, very important as well so it is assured that a client is able to receive the best work possible, so out and out failing the coding challenge can be the end all be all.

More significant examples of what makes a candidate Parsed Approved is depending on the client and the situation.

Clients will be looking for someone in particular to do something specific based on the end product they desire.

A person applying for the skill sets required may not be able to make those requirements, or even in some rare cases the skills needed could change with a decision made later on by clients, leaving the candidate unfit for that position unfortunately.

A numeric example could be that twenty people apply for the spot. Ten successfully make it past the first step, five the coding challenge, and then after the technical interview, three remain to be sent to the jobs that fit them.

So simply put, the job and the person’s ambition are key to making the perfect match, and assuring a good result in the end of the exchange.

In Conclusion

We at Parsed push to be a positive contrast to most recruiting experiences because of The Parsed 3 Step Vetting Process, that identifies the best fit candidate for the job given to them by their clients. The process flows from the criteria given to the company, followed by vetting candidates until its the right fit.

For the candidates that are chosen, finding a good routine and environment for the processes that follow is also important for finding comfort in the new placement.

Inspired by the positive and unfortunately negative stories of aggressive, slimy, and above all dishonest recruiters borderline harassing software engineers, in some cases on a daily basis, we set up something more proper, created by software engineers for software engineers in pursuit of a more clean and memorable bridging process.

In conclusion, as Casey said in the general survey, “they need to learn that java and javascript are not the same thing at all”.

About Us

Parsed is a mobile development company that specializes in React and React Native. We build mobile applications, augment in-house teams with React expertise, and we help companies to staff great React developers. We are a team of passionate developers, project managers, and designers that help companies to release apps on both iOS and Android.

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