Recruitment. Broken industry.

Dodgy Dave
How I imagine working in recruitment

Introduction

Looking back over my LinkedIn, I have had the following gripes about recruiters and recruitment. As a contractor, I do the interview round two or three times a year, so this stuff is becoming second nature.

Recruitment gripes

  • Diction. I’ve had calls from English people who either mumble incoherently, have incoherent regional accents or are Indian with the same. Really guys, listen to Radio 4 and copy their accent.
  • Please don’t call me from a speakerphone in a room full of echos. Also, your phone system may well be crackly, out of date junk. Please get a modern system where I can hear what you’re saying.
  • I’m not Gordon.
  • If you call and I don’t pick up, LEAVE a succinct, clear message.
  • Have caller ID so if you fail at leaving a message, I can call you back.
    If you do leave me a message, leave words. I really don’t want five minutes of your office background noise and you flirting with a co-worker.
  • If I contact you via LinkedIn or even by phone, PLEASE RESPOND. I’m trying to make money for you.
  • If you call me and the line drops, CALL ME BACK. Don’t just wander off and make out with a fellow recruiter.
  • LinkedIn, I *hate* being stalked by anonymous recruiters. Why do you allow this? Why are recruiters afraid to reveal themselves?
  • Recruiters, and job sites too. Why do you send me Java, Scala or Go jobs? I don’t do that. You’re wasting your time.
  • Please write literate adverts. I’m not a “principle” developer. Writing advertisement littered with spelling or grammar errors is doing you no favours.
  • Please make sure that the salary mentioned in the job headline matches what’s mentioned in the body. Come to that, mentioning a salary or day rate in the advertisement is a Good Thing.
  • Really research your client. Even yesterday I spoke to a recruiter who barely knew the client, didn’t know what their vertical sector was, and had a really sketchy job spec. At the very least, check out their profile on Glassdoor.
  • It’s REALLY nice to know where in the UK the job/contract is. Come to that, knowing where in LONDON the contract is would be nice. Docklands and Shepherd’s Bush are worlds apart.
  • Just because my CV isn’t littered with Jenkins, JIRA, Confluence and Git, doesn’t mean I don’t use them every day! They’re fundamental.
  • Recruiters, keep *your* web site jobs listings up to date. Get a job in, put it on your site. Fill a job, take it down. Otherwise, you’re wasting my time and yours.
  • Don’t spam me on my work email address. Straight to the trash, this one.
  • Don’t email me with barely a spec. I’ve just had two. What’s the point? “Must be good with computers.” Well, *duh*.
  • Don’t demand references up front. You’re just trawling for business.
  • Don’t demand ridiculous documentation like passport copies, A-level certificates, utility bills up front. That all comes AFTER the offer. I’ve worked for banks where that process took a day when I was being “onboarded”.
  • Don’t expect me to fill in a long, convoluted web form that replicates pretty much everything that’s in my CV. At least that’s optional with Jobserve.

Finale

And now, the big one. Back in the day, when I was CTO, I was hiring for a team of Linux, Perl developers. Not one of the people I hired had all of the things I was looking for. Some people were Java or PHP. One guy was a Windows dude. I hired them because they were GOOD PEOPLE and as it turned out, we built a great team, of expert Linux/Perl people.

Asking for 10 years of Python is essentially meaningless. These days we have Google and Stackoverflow. I’ve done Python and Ruby on this basis. It’s not hard. Anything can be learned. Unlike twenty years ago, there’s barely a question that hasn’t been asked, answered and blogged. I want the right PEOPLE, not your in-depth Node.js skills. Asking for particular knowledge is essentially meaningless.

So there you have it. The entire recruitment industry is based on a false premise and staffed by a proportion of cowboys and dodgy companies. Where have we heard that before?

2 Replies to “Recruitment. Broken industry.”

  1. Not forgetting,
    Don’t ask for a single person, then give a list of requirements that a full development team would be hard-pressed to fill.

    Don’t use superlatives like ‘Fantastic’ – it’s for me to decide whether it’s a ‘fantastic’ job

    I don’t care whether the company has a Playstation 4 for use by the staff. I’m more concerned whether the hardware and software I’m expected to use is actually adequate for the job

    1. I’ve seen the list of requirements gripe pop up a couple of times on Reddit.

      And I’ve never worked anywhere with a ping pong table or a PS4.

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