I just noticed another recurring behavior from the job sites and another form of ‘automated response’. In a modern world of spam, companies like Monster.com, Dice.Com and Techies.com will try to prevent spiders and crawlers from gaining access to their customer/user information for the purposes of sending unsolicited emails. Some of these companies will go to great lengths to ‘anonymize’ the actually poster’s details.
This is for their own protection as well as being a courtesy to their customers. (if other’s can ‘harvest’ their user base, then those others can use that information to do their own job-matching or similar services)
You end up sending your submissions for jobs ‘through’ the job site server. Which in turn sends it off to the employer’s email. I’ve done this more than once and on more than one occasion I have seen the result I saw today. An email comes back almost immediately announcing that some intended recipient at the target company is “on vacation” or “out of the office” or some other situation where they have turned on what amounts to an ’email answering machine’.
How is this a problem? Well, auto responders for ‘known’ traffic are no big deal at all – but one of the big rules in the spam game is volume. Specifically ‘active’ volume. If your autoresponder is not smart enough to only respond to desirable mail, you are in essence giving unsolicited folks a hi-ho go-ahead message that “my email address is alive and in use”. And of course, this goes right around the job-boards’ efforts to anonymize their users’ information.
So perhaps you post on Monster because you don’t want submissions stacking up in your personal email box or having some obsessive wanna-be employee bugging you incessently about opportunities at your company. But you fail to set up a ‘specific’ mailbox somewhere to receive the incoming job-board requests, and/or set a rule for your away messages to ‘not respond’ to the incoming job-board replies. Everytime you set yourself away, you are now sending your direct email address to every person that applies, whether qualified or not, whether desirable or not, whether some web crawler or info-harvesting bot or not, whether you want them to have that email address or not.
Gotta love conveniences and helpful features in the hands of the unwashed!