Monday, May 25, 2009

Stupid Recruiter Shenanigans

I could fill half of this blog with the 'fun' I have had with job recruiters since Disney Mobile imploded as I tried to find the next step in my career. In fact, when I was still in LA, I did, about insane location matching, ignorant lying automation, astounding lack of technical knowledge, and just plain incompetence and repetition. I haven't had as glaringly dumb moments in the UK, but there still have been, uh, 'fun' moments. My current gigs I found by going to meetups with a stack of moo cards and finding someone who needed my skills. We have been working well for the last 5 months now and want to do much more.

My latest beef is just mindless external recruiter inanity around the cloak-and-dagger game of trying to interest me for a job without telling me who the job is for. I understand why recruiters don't want to come out and say who they are recruiting for-- no wait, I actually don't. I see two options here:
  1. The external recruiter has the commission from the company to be the people recruiting for that company. In that case, since I am not at the sooper-dooper CEO level where the knowledge the company is trying to find someone will send the stock crashing (but finding out they are after me of course will send the stock soaring), the recruiter should be able to simply tell me, because if I do a run around the recruiter, the company will send me right back and say 'please work through the recruiter'.
  2. The external recruiter does not have the exclusive commission, so of course they can't tell me for which company they are recruiting, because I then actually will go do an end-run around them. The external recruiter is injecting themselves into a process between two parties where they haven't been asked to be, eating up a fee off my future work that could have gone into my pocket or kept the company in business longer, and, as is obvious from my examples, overwhelmingly not giving much value in return: no feedback on how to increase my chances, and as I have found, terrible skills-matching. In that case, get out of my life and stop making this process harder.
But, that aside, the modern way of working seems to be this, often somewhat coquettish-looking, hiding of the employer. Ok, let's take that as a given. In that case, dear external recruiters, if you must, could you at least stop being outright dumb about it? Example: I recently got an email inquiring whether I wanted to work for 'a global leading electronics consumer brand' in Eindhoven.

No, seriously. I am Dutch. My CV very clearly states so. Thus, I know the Netherlands. There ain't that many brands there, people.

Ok, for those who don't get it because they do not know this part of the world well, it's like describing a job for 'a leading global software powerhouse' located in Redmond, or 'a well-known mobile-phone manufacturer' in Finland. What is up with this kind of coded communication when the answer is so obvious? Are these recruiters -- yes, stuff like this happened more than once -- assuming I do not know my own industry that well? Or that I need to have what is blindingly obvious sent to me in code? The scarier thought: this recruiter does not know how insanely obvious his 'riddle' is.

Standard disclaimer here how not all external recruiters are bad, I actually have -- no really -- worked with one or two that impressed me, of which one even got me two gigs. And the internal recruiters I worked with, at Nokia and Disney Mobile, are astonishing people that I would want to have work for me if I ever ran a big software company. But that this field is now filled with dross is not a secret. That they are actually introducing friction in a market that thanks to Monster and Dice and CWJobs should have been significantly disintermediated by now is not a secret either. I often wonder if the companies hiring them know just what tremendous shit they sometimes send to job-seekers: ads that disrespect our intellect as I stated above, terrible terrible matching of the job to the person, outright misspellings or lack of grammar that at the same time they will turn around and say they will not tolerate from job seekers. Employers, do you know how bad these people make you look? How so few of them are actually finding you the best talent?