Baiting recruiters is possibly the only one of the dotcom era geek sports that still operates today.

A recruiter or headhunter will operate on a percentage or other commission-based pay scale, and as such, can be coerced by you, the unemployed geek. Obviously this works best if there are very few available applicants for the vacancy they are trying to fill.

This is a particularly good way to get free lunches out of companies you've never worked for, and free tours of all sorts of interesting places. Large companies like HP and IBM are particularly good for this. Some of the toys they give you can be quite funky- I once got a complete set of natural slate place mats for interviewing with an industrial systems company near Bristol.

If you can get signed on to the books of more than one employment agency at the same time, things get even more fun. Then, if you're really smart, you can play the agencies off against each other. You'll need to make sure that they have different-looking CV or resumes from each other. That way, you can actually be competing with yourself at interview! That has to increase your chances of getting away with some interview swag.

The best skills for manipulating recruiters like this are rare ones- I tend to capitalize on my assembly language experience, since nobody learns that these days. You could try military systems, artistic abilities, or monkey juggling. Being a member of a minority helps, too- many large organizations are under pressure from pressure groups to 'fix' a discrimination problem. Sometimes this can accelerate your career progress!

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