Sunday, July 08, 2018

A Cold-Call Email From A Headhunter

I HATE SPAM. HATE IT. With a passion. Almost as much as I hate robocalling telemarketers. I REALLY hate them. It would be nice if the Feds would send just one little bitty teeny-tiny cruise missile into a Bangalore call center or two. I do believe that would solve the problem.

But back to email SPAM.

In among the various advertisements for incredible products (that don't exist), emails from Russian women (written by burly gentlemen who probably aren't in Russia), and offers from Nigerian princes (who probably are Nigerian but are unlikely to be royalty), I often find messages from radiological headhunters, middle-men trying to either get me to hire someone or to put me on their list for similar cattle-calls. Now, before you get upset, I will certainly acknowledge the existence of legitimate, high-level employment agencies, who provide a service to the best candidates and groups or employers. However, any agency that acquires slots to fill and people to fill them via cold calling, and unsolicited emails, is NOT an agency I want to deal with on any side of the equation.

Note: I am NOT looking for a job. I'm working 22 weeks per year, a sustainable pace, and I'm hoping to continue to do so. It is quite clear that the headhunters are fishing for anyone with a medical license and a pulse. Otherwise, why reach out to an old guy like me? I guess the fees are not age-based.

My latest bemusement stems from the following communication. The company involved will remain nameless, unless someone gives me a reason to mention it...
Subject: Re: Primary Care Providers - Can you recommend a colleague?

If you aren't interested, please unsubscribe rather than marking as junk.

Good Afternoon Dr. Dalai,

I wanted to follow up on the email I sent last week regarding primary care locums in your town. Do you have any time in your schedule to help? Experience with addiction desirable, but not required. Details below:

(My Hometown)
Mon-Fri 8:30a – 5p
No afterhours, no weekend call
20-30 patients per day
Treating substance withdrawal

Please let me know if you have any interest or know of a colleague to refer. I look forward to hearing from you!


RB - Primary Care Recruiting Specialist
Houston, we have some problems already. First, I'm NOT a Primary Care Provider! And marking these emails as junk is what most people correctly do with them. And.... TREATING SUBSTANCE WITHDRAWAL? Is addiction a job requirement? Or would the successful candidate have to participate in treating others? Inquiring minds want to know. Unfortunately for RB, I didn't. This response went out immediately:
Hey RB....THIS IS SPAM and you have been reported to the FTC and your ISP. STOP USING BOTTOM FEEDER spamming. It will NOT work.
This got the attention of someone higher up in the company food-chain:
Please allow me to apologize for any inconvenience this email may have caused you. I have performed a thorough search and found that this the only email we have ever sent to you. I am not sure specifically from where they obtained it, but your information was on a list we purchased through a major healthcare data supplier. I would posit that the message sent by RB was “Bulk” in nature rather than SPAM. We have a legitimate business offer, we didn’t send anonymously, we provided all of the necessary “Unsubscribe /Opt Out” requirements. Additionally, she did offer a referral should you know any colleagues. She did receive several positive responses and we have somebody placed already as a result of the campaign. Once again, I would like to apologize and let you know that you have been permanently removed and can expect no further communication from us

Respectfully, RM, USMC ret.

Vice President of Recruiting and Gov’t Ops.
That really made it all better. It was a legitimate business offer! Who knew!? And apparently RB lied when she said she was "following up" the earlier email that her boss RM says was never sent. I love it when someone attempts to plant false memories, don't you?

While I don't generally mess with Marines, RM's justification of the low-class approach was just too much. SPAMMING is no different to the recipient than Bulk email...the messages are NOT WANTED by the vast majority of the population. Even worse, they purchased my name from a sucker list! This was not to go without challenge, although I was still being relatively nice at that point:
Thank you. Please let me know the source of my email address so I can put a stop to this sort of thing.
The response came quickly:
That I can’t do with 100% accuracy. It would have either been Billian's HealthDATA or Definitive Healthcare. I believe the two are now merged, but when we originally obtained lists, they were two separate entities.

I was actually able to determine that it was Definitive. As mentioned, I have removed your email so that you won’t be on any bulk distribution lists. I would like to ask, though, if I should keep you in my database? I do occasionally have Locums Radiology work if you might be interested. If not, I certainly understand.
And here, I saw red. I've just made it clear that I don't want to be SPAMMED, and the gentleman keeps digging for business! I wasn't terribly nice at this point:
I would say it took incredible gall for you to even ask that question.

Please provide the name of the manager/owner of your company. I need to have a little talk with them, it seems.
I guess I hurt the Marine's feelings, which was not really what I wanted to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Here's his final communication:
Dr. Dalai,

I thought we had reached some amount of common ground after explaining my position based on one email sent to you. I aim at providing a valued service to any potential provider, hence my question relating to keeping you in the database but never sending you email. After what I thought had been worked out and we had engaged in a dialogue, it seemed normal to ask that question. There was no Impudence. I obviously now have the answer to my question. I will permanently remove any trace of you from our system and wish you all the best.

Respectfully, RM, USMC ret.
Vice President of Recruiting and Gov’t Ops.
No Impudence? Heck yes, there was Impudence! Keep me in the data base but never send me emails? Right.

I guess headhunting is a brutal business, requiring the participants to climb all over each other to get clients and job slots. That's all well and good, but DON'T use SPAMMING (or cold-calling) to fill your lists. It's low-class, it's annoying, and despite the claims otherwise, I suspect positions and candidates gathered in this manner might not be the best of the best of the best. No offense to anyone hired this way; I hope you are all happy with where you are.  But I PROMISE the headhunters: you are angering far more people than you are serving. Find a better way.

By the way, I did get in touch with Definitive Healthcare ( and requested that my information be removed from their system. They promised to do so. Unless you like to be SPAMMED, I would strongly recommend you do the same.

Until the next outrage...

No comments :