Dark Light

Having entered the murky world of Contracting, I’m putting together a new set of recruiters, since my previous circle of useful ones mostly deal in permanent roles. These are some things agencies have done that annoy me:

Gone dark

If I’ve applied for a role, and you’ve put my CV forward, and they’ve given you feedback of the form “Good but not the one”, please do not “wait until [you] have balancing news” before telling me of this.

This goes double, triple, quadruple for interview feedback. One agency got told “We’d hire him now, but he’s too expensive with your fee” and instead of discussing negotiations with me, fobbed me off with “They haven’t got back to us” for a month until they hired someone else.

Fishing Expeditions

If I apply for a job that happens to go though you, it’s because I’m interested in applying for that job. I’m not really interested in being on your database as a primary objective, and phoning me up with roles outside my field (The top part of my CV consists of a long list of buzzwords I’m compliant with. None of Java, .Net, ASP, Mercury or Drupal are on it, whereas other things like them are. Guess why?) will not make me happy.

Fucking Around With My References

My references aren’t on my CV. As of this month, though, I won’t give them out except to companies themselves, not to agencies. Why? Because a recruitment agent asked me for my references “because a company asked for them” and then used them to spam high-level contacts in previous companies. Well done.

  1. Have come across the first two. Also come across recruiters ignoring location preferences, as in sending me roles based in Aberdeen or the Maldives because “you could always move”

  2. Another one you will come across is being disqualified from a job because of multiple applications – maybe one you know about and have agreed to, and several from agencies chancing their arse and having your CV to hand.

    You will also meet agencies who by their very existance are toxic to your prospects because they do all the negative things and are widely known to do so by their potential clients and as such are avoided. Thankfully they tend not to last too long.

    What you will also find is the agents leaving their previous employer, either for a better job or to set up their own “Agency” and taking their entire candidate list with them and then spamming you relentlessly with crap.

    And I don’t dare get too far onto the “one e-mail notification for every copy of your CV we’ve ever seen” crap.

  3. Oh yes, I am very familiar with points 1 and 2. I got asked to do 3, but refused – it would mean giving out personal information.

    You may also meet another lovely trend: the phrase “Would you consider…” followed by something completely out of leftfield, and usually impossible.

  4. When will companies realise recruitment agencies are just sales and marketing droids with little (if any) specialist knowledge and just want a fee. I tried one, with many letters after my name and much consultancy experience in environmental field and got put forward for a job selling fire extinguishers. They did have nice expensive offices.

  5. Neil: To be fair, from the other side of the interview desk a decent recruiter is worth their weight in gold, as they provide a filter for all the “I’ve never done this job but I’m sure my three months picking fruit is enough experience for your digital marketing agency” crap, and a source of possibly useful CVs. Recruitment takes enough time as it is, without all that.

    OTOH, a bad agency that sends you everyone on their books then bugs you every week to see if you’re still looking is of roughly twice that worth, but negative.

  6. @neil

    Most recruiters aren’t even that – they will literally do the minimum possible work which normally equates to doing a quick keyword search through all of their CVs, letting a Word Macro spam the candidates found this way and then simply batch dumping the CVs onto the client.

    My current client has voluminous rants against recruitment agencies because they actually make his job more difficult due the the vast numbers of *almost* viable CVs he gets which is actually more difficult to filter than some good and some dreck.

    I have a pet project that I occasionally work on which is a markup based CV with keywords in the markup and a crawler which spiders job sites and then automatically tailors the CV based on the sections in the markup to the keywords in the ads and then autoposts them.

    Been years since I worked on it, but I once did a benchmark run without the actual submit and discovered I could apply for every advert on Jobsite in less than an hour.

    I figure if agencies are going to play that game, I might as well too.

  7. @Aq And just how vanishingly rare are decent recruiters, and how long are they likely to stay in any position where you can use them?

  8. Have come across the first two. Also come across recruiters ignoring location preferences, as in sending me roles based in Aberdeen or the Maldives because “you could always move”

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