Like a lot of people I’ve met in this industry, I’ve yet to have a positive experience with an IT Recruitment consultant. What are these Recruitment consultants doing so wrong and why do we all seem to hate them so much?
1: Keeping out of date records
If you sit in amongst a group of web developers, in a web agency for a day, you’ll undoubtedly bear witness to at least one phone call from a recruitment consultant. The majority of the time the consultant will have got their name/details from a CV several years old. I get calls/emails like this at least once a fortnight and often the person calling me has a CV that is from my graduate days – e.g. three to four years old and horrifically out of date.
So what’s the problem? Their data’s a little out of date; so what? The problem is that these people are contacting me because they have a job and are panicking and they can’t find a suitable candidate. In reality, they should be contacting prospective candidates every three to six months to check up on them regardless of whether there is a job just to get their latest CV, skills, wants/needs etc.
2: Selling candidates the world then never getting back in touch
The amount of times, I’ve been told I’m perfect for a role by the recruitment consultant only to never hear anything back. Honestly, I’m convinced these guys edit my CV and put buzzwords in there to make it sound better and in doing so remove the bits that appeal to employers. They must either butcher my CV or never send it off in the first place. That sounds very arrogant, like ‘how could someone not offer me an interview if they’ve seen my CV‘ sort of attitude but as long as the job is targeted at my skills, that is often the case.
Having spoken to recruitment consultants a lot in the past three and half years, you’d think I might have scored at least an interview via one of them? I’ve come close only once when a recruitment consultant passed my name on to a client after I’d already taken a job. They must’ve mistakenly sent on my CV without editing it first.
3: Trying to get candidates to interviews at too short notice
When I was working full-time, and looking for a change, I needed at least a couple of days notice before an interview. It isn’t always easy lying to your boss (and getting away with it) to get time off for interviews, so if I’m told I have to be there tomorrow morning then I often can’t make that and if there’s no leeway then that’s probably not the right job for me.
4: Offering unrelated jobs
The other issue, is a clear lack of understanding of what is involved in web development. My CV does not mention .NET, C++ or anything other than PHP so I don’t want to be bombarded with emails and phonecalls for jobs outside of my skillset and/or on the other side of the country. A quick read of this blog will show you what my skills are and what kind of work I’m looking for. How hard would it be to read this blog (and others) and click on the names of some of the commenters. If they did that they’d find some very good people.
5: Asking me to do your job for you
I will happily pass on details of friends or colleagues if I can’t do a job, but not to a recruitment consultant because I know I won’t be getting any of their commission if I do. When I get emails through from these guys there always seems to be ‘let us know if any of your friends are interested’ but there’s never a statement that says we’ll pay £xxx for each recommendation. Therefore, there is no incentive whatsoever for me to refer people. To be honest, I can probably guess who the company is via the job profile and apply directly anyway.
There are undoubtedly good people out there working as IT headhunters who are good at their job. Perhaps they’re all in London, New York or California and not working in Manchester. I’ve definitely heard of recruiters getting involved in events like PHPNW conference in an unobstrusive way thus building up contacts and making friends. That’s definitely the way forward.
Even in this financial climate, there are still jobs going and people looking for work and we need go-betweens because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do your job and find a new one at the same time. Recruitment consultants need to step up their game and get involved with the community, otherwise job boards will completely replace them and no-one will mourn the loss.