Are IT Recruiters Worthless (Part 2)

A couple of you left comments after my last article on this topic, and you were just amazed that I would dare show up to an interview in sweats. You have to understand a couple things. First of all, we’re talking about an 8am meeting 40 miles away. She’s lucky I wasn’t in my bunny slippers. Second, that’s the favorite game of every recruiter on the planet. They live for making you drive all the way across town t

A couple of you left comments after my last article on this topic, and you were just amazed that I would dare show up to an interview in sweats. You have to understand a couple things. First of all, we’re talking about an 8am meeting 40 miles away. She’s lucky I wasn’t in my bunny slippers. Second, that’s the favorite game of every recruiter on the planet. They live for making you drive all the way across town to meet you so that they can judge whether you’re worthy to send on an interview. This is another one of those things that makes looking for a job so incredibly unbearable. It’s pretty common knowledge that the only thing you’ll be doing for the first 2-3 weeks you’re looking for a job is running back and forth across town meeting with one recruiter after another. Sometimes they have an actual job for you and sometimes they don’t. And what’s really the point of the meeting anyway? Like recruiters have been given special powers that allow them to see what kind of person you really are for the 15mins you’re with them. It’s a pathetic exercise. I’ve turned down so many interviews because the recruiter insisted on me coming into his office just to inspect me beforehand. It’s like we’re children. Did you brush your teeth? Did you wash behind your ears? Did you bring your list of stupid questions to ask the hiring manager? Did you put on clean undies?

I’ve always wanted to show up at the recruiter’s office in a nice suit looking like a million bucks, and then change into cut-offs and fishnet stockings on the way to the interview. It would be nice to show them that their little 15min meeting didn’t tell them anything about me.

My point here is that recruiters have the job listings so they’ve pretty much got us by the shorthairs. They can demand that we jump through any little hoop they like and we have to do it because we need to get to that interview. I’ve actually had recruiters try to insist on driving me to the interview. I had a couple who insisted on me telling them what I was going to wear. They actually wanted it described in detail to make sure it met with their approval. To be fair though, they both worked for the same company. And I’ve had several who actually met me in the lobby of the company. This was presumably to make sure I was on time and wouldn’t wipe a booger on the hiring manager when I shook his hand.

It’s this level of babying from people who are often times quite a bit younger and less experienced than us that makes a lot of IT professionals resent recruiters.

By HR for HR

Now, I’ve given a lot of thought to the whole thank you note thing. Frankly, I just don’t get it. Maybe back in the 50s and 60s that was how things were done, but today, nobody really cares. I’m convinced that this practice was started by HR managers as some sort of touchy-feely ritual that’s meant to make you feel like you’re going the extra mile. In truth however, it simply doesn’t work in IT. It doesn’t make a difference. I can interview the dumbest DBAs out there, and they’re not going to get the job because they sent me a stupid note telling me how wonderful it was that I even considered them for the job. They can either do the job or they can’t, and nothing is going to change that. They either fit in with the team or they don’t, and nothing is going to change that either. I’ve hired plenty of people and none of them ever sent me a thank you card for the interview. So the same goes with highly qualified people. Man, that guy was qualified, and he sure would fit into the team… too bad I can’t hire him. If only he’d sent me a thank you card.

It just doesn’t make any difference. Now, I know what you’re thinking… it’s just a nice gesture, and it could make you stand out if it comes between you and another guy. Most IT people don’t have time to get a dozen of these things, much less take time to reflect on what a nice he was for sending it. Besides, there are more useful ways to narrow down a selection. Try something novel like looking at what you actually want him to do, and see which one of them meets your specific needs. They may both be excellent DBAs, but one of them is bound to be just a little better for what you need. Ok, I just noticed this is getting long again, so I’m going to stop here and I’ll pick up again next time.

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