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Ask HN: Do people really find job agencies helpful?
7 points by dmitryame 160 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments
The number of potential jobs I get in email every day from various agencies is mindboggling. The sad thing is that 99.99% of them are complete miss and totally irrelevant. The remaining 0.01% is usually awarded to a friend or a friend of a friend. In the past, all my jobs I found were also through the connections -- never through an agency (though I always tried to use few agencies when I was looking). As such, I'm really questioning, how do these agencies survive these days? Are they any useful? If yes, are there any big players that really should be avoided (for whatever reason). Perhaps there are some small boutiques which deliver personalized approach and should be considered?

I have had good success with recruiters and agencies. However, most of your observations are also very much correct. Agency timing is usually very far off. I rarely get an email from an agency when I'm actually looking (because, by percentage of time, I am rarely ever looking). The jobs they send me in these cold emails are often not what I am looking for (because recruiters often just don't have my latest information so they don't know what I'd like to see). But when I want a new job or contract and I give agencies the right information, they often help me very well.

This became such a big problem for me that I actually wrote a little app for myself. When I get an unsolicited email, linked in message, or even a text, from an agency or recruiter I forward it to the app and the app responds for me to the sender that I am currently not looking but will keep them in mind for the future. When I am looking I now have a mailing list of all recruiters that have ever contacted me. I create an email with a template that has my current information and work interests and send it back to all of them. I then see who sends me the best jobs.

I've thought about turning the app into a product and putting it out there for people to use. Maybe I will.

The app actually does seem like a great idea. I would love to become early beta tester when it's out -- please keep me posted.

On another thought, some recruiter do spend time on an introductory call with me, they appear to be studying my background and qualifications and do send few interesting jobs initially, but then, almost always, something horrible happens and they start sending my way every single job they've got. At that point, I just stop responding to these individuals and send their emails straight to spam (hoping it will train the filters correctly, but wondering, how many legit opportunities were missed simply because they got stuck in spam box). I'm hoping recruiters are reading this post and draw conclusions. But that was my original question -- perhaps, they (the recruiters) are doing so great these days, so that they simply do not care.

That's another thing I have thought of adding for myself, notes on the recruiters. Some are really good and stay that way. Some start out good and fizzle like you have described. Some suck from the very beginning. I would love to be able to track this and give preference to the good recruiters and agencies. Much like a reverse CRM.

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