There’s an interesting blog entry here. I can appreciate the writer’s issues with recruiters, he’s got some points. However, I wanted to offer a recruiter counter point…
“Actually Pitch Me”
Hard to do, and a waste of time, until I have a better idea of what you do. Building up a pitch and putting all my effort into getting each candidate I find on the first pass is a waste of time, specifically in Engineering and IT because most of you guys lie on your resumes. I recently spoke with a Network Engineer who had every piece of Cisco equipment ever manufactured on his resume. He’s actually worked with one series of switches. I also recently talked to a self proclaimed C# guru who didn’t know what .NET was, or ASP. I have spoken with countless Electrical Engineers who can’t tell me Ohm’s law, or Mechanical Engineers who can’t identify friction as one of the forces acting on a body situated on an inclined plane, or simply draw the force vectors. These are people from junior to advanced, with consistent gaps in knowledge.
The point being, resumes do not usually tell me what I need to know. They offer a broad based communication that person X might be someone I want to speak to. I’m not going to pitch a position unless I have a fairly good idea that you’ll have a chance in hell of doing it. What’s more, I don’t pitch. I’m not trying to sell shit, because shit that’s really worth it sells itself. I want to know what you’re looking for to make your next career move a worthwhile one. If the job I’ve got offers what you want, I’ll communicate that, but I’m not into cajoling or convincing beyond the basics. If you don’t want it, or if you need to be perpetually goaded into doing something to get it, chances are it’s not in your best interest or mine to proceed. Pitching is for used car salesmen and Hollywood movies.
As far as revealing the client name, it’s not going to happen so get over it. I do want to make a profit if I can, and once I release the client’s name, assuming they allow me to do so, which most of the time they don’t, I’ve just lost all hold on the job. Now you can simply go, and with minimal effort find the company and the hiring manager and a connection which wouldn’t have happened without my effort goes forward with nothing’s in it for me. It’s an industry rule, we keep their names and your names confidential until it’s time to proceed to interview. As the recruiter, my asset when dealing with candidates is the job, and my asset when dealing with an employer is the candidate. I know who is looking on both sides of the aisle because candidates don’t usually want it public that they’re looking, nor very often do employers. That’s my product, my niche, and I’m not going to just give it up for free.
“Don’t Ask Me To Call You”
I agree, unforunately my boss does not.
Now, that’s not specifically my boss, however recruiting is dominated by people for whom communication is key, and for whom the key to communication is the phone, period. They’ve marginally heard of this thing called email, but all that new fangled gadgetry just confuses them. I heartily agree that email should be acceptable. I’ve measured response and success rates and email and phone are roughly equal overall. However, if I’m having trouble finding someone for position X and my boss asks me if I’ve called anyone, and the answer is, “No,” it’s my ass. Why? No particular reason. There’s no guarantee the phone calls will work, or work better than email. In fact I’ve had plenty of experiences where making those calls after emailing also yielded nothing. But it’s a thing I could have done that I didn’t do, so it’s my fault if it didn’t get done.
I prefer email as an initial communication method. I’d rather being talking to people who want to talk to me rather than cold calling, but cold calling is how things are done in this industry. It’s seen as a measure of success independent of actual success at fillng positions. There are some recruiting places which aren’t happy unless you’re calling 70+ people a day, and many recruiting ‘thought leaders’ who say that’s a good standard, ’cause it worked in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Technology doesn’t, you know, develop, as far as these people are concerned. So long as recruiting managers are old school types who still don’t really know what email is, phone calls will be the norm.
Also, quite frankly, you’re going to have to talk to me. I’ve connected clients with candidates before without speaking to them, it was almost always a fucking nightmare. There are people out there who are not worth employing who would agree with everything in this guy’s blog post. People who show up to interviews wearing a Hawaian shirt, a pair of jams and smoking a cigarette. People who refuse to answer questions, or who are just downright snotty assholes. I am going to speak to you before you interview, and meet with you if possible. The main reason behind this is just to make sure you aren’t a fucking idiot because I can’t make that determination simply by looking at a resume.
“Recognise Bad Timing”
Unfortunately the number of people willing to switch afer realizing they just made a bad job decision is pretty high, so you’re going to be contacted regardless. However, the answer is simple. If you’re not interested, just say no. If you’ve got a persistent recruiter I can understand your frustration. If he weren’t so intent on pitching you things would be so much easier…
“Your job is not to get me invested in the opportunity. That is the company’s job, by creating an exciting opportunity.”
So, first I have to pitch you, but now it’s not my job to get you invested.
I like Paddy, but in my conclusion it’s really hard to figure out what this guy wants. He wants to be pitched, but not to the point he gets invested. He wants to be contacted, but only by people who will be aware of when the perfect time to do so is, I guess through some sort of psychic connection. He doesn’t want to talk to the recruiter, because we’re not decision makers, but we should connect him and our client, and have us risk our relationship with that client if he turns out to be a moron or a psychotic. Not saying Paddy specifically is either, I just won’t have any way of knowing that about him or anyone else until I speak to them for at least a few minutes. There is a candidate who is still calling the recruiters at a job I had years ago. His resume was perfect, I put out one call to him. He now calls them regulary, and he is convinced I work for the CIA and/or sell drugs, and leaves lengthy voicemails letting everyone know that. I need to know you’re not that guy before I connect you with a client, Paddy. He wants to be treated like more than an email address, but puts himself at such a distance, how are you supposed to do that?
I think Paddy is just frustrated with the hiring process of most companies, and I can’t blame him. However, this dysfunction is a problem for us recruiters too, and we often have limited ability to change it.
The bottom line is you are not entitled to a job, nor are you entitled to dictate the process and have others comply. You can set whatever terms you want, but if the employer doesn’t agree, you’re not getting in, whether those terms include talking to me or not. Right now there is a demand for Engineering and IT people, but it won’t always be so. Supply rises to meet demand. When there are more people doing what you’re doing, or the economy tanks again and demand drops for your skillset and you’re without a job and I have one available, you may want to talk to me. Keep in mind Paddy, you will not always be a young, uber marketable candidate. There will come a time when an employer looks at you and says: over qualified; too old; off target; too specific; too broad; etc. Employers go into interviews looking for reasons to reject people, and rarely looking for reasons to say yes. A no vote to hire someone is automatically assumed to be the right move, a yes vote gets scrutinized to hell and back. Eventually everyone, even the most successful people in the world, hit a run of ‘No’ answers and stimied requests and no progress. It happens.
Right now a sense of entitlement can be maintained in Engineering/IT candidates due to high demand for such people. People will learn though, as do people in all professions including mine, that they are expendable at the end of the day. If you’re not in the budget, you don’t have a job. Right now technical people are in a position of having an inelastic demand for their labor. It won’t always be so, it never stays that way for any profession, much less any individual. All that remains to say on this point is to enjoy your position of strength while you can. I did when I was in such a position. But, you’ll be surprised who you would be willing to talk to when the rent is due and for some reason no employer seems to be willing to acknowledge your obvious brilliance and emminently employable nature.