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Managing Emails from Recruiters

I have a GitHub profile, so I’m doomed to receive emails from tech recruiters until the end of time.

Until recently, I just archived emails that didn’t interest me. An unfortunate proportion of the recruiters take this as an invitation to email me again (and again) to ask if I’ve seen the first. This is a bad strategy on their part.

I’ve taken to sending a short, generic template email explicitly declining their invitations:

Hello––thanks for reaching out!

I’m not looking for new job opportunities at this time, but I’ve read and labeled your email so I can find it if my priorities change.

Best of luck in your search,

“Read and labeled?” Sometimes it really is useful to have these emails categorized:

As you might’ve noticed, I include a line in white text at the end of my template: labelRecruiting.

This is the crux of my trick: Gmail filters are evaluated for outgoing mail. I set up a filter on label:sent labelRecruiting that applies the label Recruiting.

Image of the Gmail query panel: label:sent captures all sent mail, and labelRecruiting searches email text for that token.

It takes two clicks to fill the template response. When an inbound email is especially good or especially off-base, I add a short note to that effect before sending. The filter notices the lazily-hidden keyword and applies my label.

As much as it chafes to dignify plainly spammy recruiters with a response, replying does usually prevent pushy follow-ups. The underlying mechanism — using a hidden string to trigger filter behavior — should be useful whenever you need to bulk reply-and-categorize. Let me know if you think of something clever!