Recruiters – what exactly are you for?

I was recently looking for a new contract, hopefully something leveraging what I’ve been doing recently (SCRUM) and outside what are usually seen as my core skills (perl, Hudson). This brought me into copious contact with that subspecies of human we call the “recruitment consultant”, “agent” or more collquially “pimp”.

What I’ve found has staggered me. Years ago, I had one agent in Bristol that took the time to find the kind of left field candidate I was looking for and since then I’ve built a relationship with a couple of agents at one agency who are also good about knowing what I’m looking for.

Anyhow, this recent contact has left me staggered that most of these people even remember to breathe. Here’s a list of transgressions and stupidities:

  1. Don’t lie to me that you have jobs. The perl world is small enough we know who is hiring and who their sole agents often are. If you want to fly a kite, find a field.
  2. Don’t send me job specs that have NONE of the major skills I have. Or indeed want to have. I’m looking at you Monarch IT and your C#/.NET job.
  3. Do your research. £200 a day for a senior developer/SCRUM master, in London, with immediate start will just make me laugh and hang up. Even if I’m between contracts.
  4. If you call me, have caller ID. That helps me file you away and when you call back I know who you are without all the preamble.
  5. If you call me and I don’t pick up, LEAVE A MESSAGE. Especially if you don’t have caller ID or if your firm shares one dedicated number for outgoing calls. Otherwise you won’t make your commission.
  6. “Hampshire” is not a location. It stretches from Fleet to Southampton with many a hayrick in between.
  7. Make sure your job ad or email is literate. You are not a 17 year old writing an SMS. Or maybe you are? Get “its” and “it’s” right and spell the technologies you’re hiring for correctly. As soon as you write “Pearl” you’ve lost your commission. I may be principled, but I’m not a “principle programmer”. We’re all poking fun at you when you make mistakes like this.
  8. Please make sure your phone doesn’t make it sound like you’re calling from the moon
  9. I appreciate you’re Indian, probably better educated than I am and have a better grasp of English and cricket than I do, but if I can’t penetrate your accent, then we might as well be speaking different languages. There are classes. Watch My Fair Lady.
  10. If I tell you I’m not interested in a position, do NOT keep calling me offering a better rate. I’m NOT interested for any money.
  11. When you enter a job, put in the location of the job, not your office. Sheesh.

Got any other pet hates? How could they do what they’re getting paid or better?

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10 Responses to “Recruiters – what exactly are you for?”

  1. bob says:

    london is inside the M25 and that’s being generous.
    reading/slough are not london.
    central london is Zone 1 and 2 and again that’s generous.

  2. Denny says:

    Read my CV, don’t keyword search it.

  3. Manuel gomes says:

    I feel your pain, Dave – from the other end of the recruitment process, it is every bit as painful.

    * JavaScript and Java are not the same language. Recruiters should know this.
    * No, that obviously bogus CV with no internal consistency at all should not have passed screening.
    * If I had time to sift through every Tom, Dick and Harry who is a keyword match to part of the job spec, I wouldn’t be using a recruiter in the first place.
    * No matter how big the world is, the leading authorities for certain technologies are known. Frequently for the people doing the hiring, personally. It’s called a “community”, and wild missrepresentations of someone’s role in that technology are more than lame.

    On the flip side – YES, every once in a while, one chap knows his/her business and is worth the fee. They, above all others, should be very, very angry at the vast majority of clowns that give their profession a bad name.

  4. “Leverage” is not a verb – what was that about literacy?

  5. davehodg says:

    I forgot:

    12. Don’t pump me for references so you can approach them seeing if they have open jobs.

  6. David Byng says:

    Agree with everything you say, and have been through it all myself!

    I am struggling to cut through the bullshit and talk to the people that can get me the job I am after.

  7. davehodg says:

    David: LinkedIn?

  8. David Byng says:

    One of my problems is that I’m outside of the close-knit Perl community, I live in Surrey, am currently working for Semantico in Brighton, I never have any time to attend London PM or any Perl groups, I have worked for Venda, Photobox & BBC, took this Brighton role but now wishing I hadn’t as the commute sucks.

  9. davehodg says:

    13. Don’t call me a “resource”. That’s insulting.

  10. davehodg says:

    14. At least drop a hint what the job is doing. Testing chips is vastly different from large scale web sites.

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