I'm a former tech recruiter. A few of you know that already. I hear these recruiter rants more than most. Most of it is justified however it's all noise and no feasible solutions.
That great little spiel the author mentioned at the end? The one where he said he would shout my name from the rooftops if I took that approach? How, exactly, does that fit in with I certainly don't want cold-calls or cold emails, ever. If I can't introduce myself to the guy, how am I ever meant to prove I'm not one of the many useless bottom-feeders he deals with on a daily basis?
I've blogged extensively about the problem: http://hackerjobs.co.uk/blog/2012/6/15/all-that-is-wrong-wit...
The facts are simple, regardless of the fact that most recruiters can't even spell PHP, the industry is worth hundreds of billions globally and isn't going anywhere fast and it's certainly not innovating any time soon. Sure their marketing methods are improving and their sales pitches becoming sleaker but ultimately, you are paying a ridiculous sum of money to get a guy with no clue about tech to spend a week or two on the phone harassing every developer that comes even close to some of the tricky but cool sounding words on your job spec.
My prediction: more and more tech companies adopt internal recruitment teams and someone will actually create a useful, multipurpose, recruiter free (cough print: http://hackerjobs.co.uk cough) job site or web service that eliminates, crowd sources or automates the leg work that you are paying an incompetent human thousands of dollars to do on your behalf.
Networking, word-of-mouth, recommendations and referrals, social media, via your website, advertising...
The same way everyone grows their business without spamming and cold-calling.
I mean this in the least aggressive and judgmental tone I can muster...
... How is this our problem, and how does the fact that feet-on-ground networking takes a lot of effort justify spamming and cold-calling?
You can build a decent business through better methods such as networking and building a reputation for yourself (my chosen method when I was in the business) however some of my colleagues who wouldn't know a tech meet-up if it slapped them in the face were making twice the bonus I made exclusively through cold calling.
The question is why we should be expected to put up with it.
419 scams also get a tremendous amount of traction, and selling things via spam is also surprisingly profitable.
How are recruiters different, and why should they be not be treated as cancerous perversions of the system, and why should we adopt any stance other than complete hostility towards these cold-calling, spammy recruiters?
You shouldn't and I'll never say otherwise. My original point is that moaning about it is pointless. This is one of the most innovative communities I'm aware of and despite the fact that HN constantly bemoans the recruitment industry (and rightfully so) these discussions rarely, if ever focus on potential solutions to the problem.
If you're not going to show me qualified applicants without me signing a contract then you can't. Thats the point. There's no way for you to distinguish yourself within the current system of cold calls. I hate these calls, I get a few a week and in the 20-30 I've gotten in the last few months not one has convinced me they're worth putting paper in place with.
A perfectly valid point. If it helps (it probably doesn't) the reasoning for this is generally straightforward:
1. Every rec COMPANY I've seen has a blanket ban on revealing candidate details prior to a signed contract.
2. If I send you someone amazing prior to getting a signed contract and someone else comes along a few days later and sends the same guy, you get the problem of agencies fighting over legal ownership. Happens all the time and I know quite a few companies that have a regular income from claiming ownership of other agencies candidates.
3. Recruiters are perpetually afraid of you cutting us out of the loop. They are absolutely aware of the fact that they are purely an introduction service. If they provide the introduction without having any guarantee of payment for that service they assume you'll go to the candidate directly and a lot of companies go out of their way to cut the recruiter out of the equation.
#1 - that ban won't exist on the disruptive company. The point is that if you are willing to trust the hiring company that will partner with you, then you don't need that ban.
#2 - "claiming ownership" is really sad, it shows the mindset of "owning" the candidate like the slave trade not introductions. If you can let go of the notion of "owning" you can say "Oh, did xyy bring them to your attention first, ok thanks." and move on.
#3 - Crappy recruiters should be afraid, a good recruiter should not. Yes there are companies that go out of their way to screw recruiters, choose not to work with them. You know if the second or third candidate they hire that you introduce them to was mysteriously introduced by someone else, just stop talking to them. There are other fish.
You're living the prisoner's dilemma in real time and it sucks, been there done that. Have a frank conversation with the company, make a relationship (you can start that with #1 and disclosing details early rather than later) and trust.
May be that it is completely naive to think one could partner with a recruiter, I hope not.
Everyone makes their own job board and wants $500 for employers to post there. So instead of giving gobs of money to the individual who successfully gets you a candidate, employers have to hand over gobs of money to feature their job on these boards (NumBoards x $500).
Seems more like a human problem where fixing the optics of payment on successful completion changes to something that better gauges quality.
I run a similar website to hackerjobs.co.uk (http://roundabout.io/about) and I'm starting to realise that's not the way forward.
I was looking for some statistics about the ratio of a real (as posted by a company) vs recruiter job post on those job boards, but I couldn't find anything.
I'd think candidates would be more willing to go to a site where they knew recruiters weren't posting
We completely agree (obviously) and our analytics tend to confirm our theory. So far so good. As we roll out more features it will be interesting to see how sustainable it is.
The only solution is to make more talented candidates. Go and invent http://hackerschool.com/ UK.
At any point of time the vast majority of good developers are off the market, they need to be cold-sold on a job before they even consider looking.
Unless you've got an alternative that has a proven track record of reaching developers who aren't actively job hunting, you're not going to replace recruiters.
I ran a job board that did go after this group by heavily targeting through passive ads (i.e. display ads, facebook, dating sites), and even though it was successful in reaching that group once I'd convinced a developer that job hunting was a good idea they'd often go and use other job boards, recruiters, etc. in addition to my own one.
So not only do you have to capture non-active job seekers, once you've got them you've got to close them almost immediately otherwise they'll convert to becoming an "active job seeker" and using other options for job hunting destroying your advantage.
Hence "capture-and-close" are the dynamics of the market, and recruiters are perfectly suited to those dynamics. I've yet to see a truly viable alternative.
Almost all recruitment startups focus on active job seekers, but that's not where most of the value in the market is.
Aside from just getting a bad reputation, is there some legal reason why you couldn't do precisely that? If this question seems a little naive, it's because I absolutely am (naive, and asking is how I learn).
It's also much cheaper for the recruiter because they're representing a range of different businesses. If the person they're calling isn't interested in a particular role they're pitching, they can pitch another role hence the ROI of each call is much higher for the recruiter than for an individual business.
The idea that a recruiter will "get to know you" and "deeply understand your needs" whilst still being on commission at another company is foolish.
I think the OP is a bit confused - he seems to want things both ways - the faceless contest approach (where he sees the Twitter feeds and linkediN pages early) and some how also have the deep and meaningful (where the recruiter says you should meet this guy, and without looking at a twitter feed you trust the recrtuiter and set up the interview
Either bring recruitment in house, and see it as long term nuturing of talent, or turn on a beauty parade and expect to do a lot of the weeding out of bad candidates yourself.
Now, if I was paying a few hundred a month for the beauty parade, I suspect that would be fine. If I am paying 20K / hire I want the recrutier to send over Mr and Mrs right.
Its that fact that recruiters are lining up beauty parades but charging for deep and meaningful that gets the ire of the OP up
In the contract IT space, fake resumes are the norm. There are some firms that just train up people in a technology, build them a fake resume with 4 years experience, then hope they perform on a phone interview and last past the first week or two of the contract and have learned enough to fulfill the contract.
For disruption, I like what Developer Auction is doing. Where the companies bid on each person they wish to employ and drive up the salary / signing bonus. Seems to be a better model than what is currently out there.
It's just a rudimentary filter for the time being.
I've started using a different model with my clients. I don't want to go into too much detail, but my clients pay me a smaller up front fee to initiate a search, and then a fee upon hire. The combined fees (front and back end) per candidate end up being much lower than the industry standards, perhaps even half what others are charging.
Why would I provide my service at approximately half the cost of other companies? For one, when a client pays me up front, it guarantees my fee and reduces my risk. Contingency recruiters take on 100% of the risk, whereas in a retained relationship the hiring entity assumes 100% of the risk. My model spreads that risk. I'm willing to take a lower fee, so long as my fee is guaranteed.
My model will surely not be popular with contingency firms that have hundreds of recruiters that they can burn through (pay them peanuts + commission until they burn out), but I think if more small boutique firms used this model regionally, many small software firms would jump at the chance to work with one small firm that is going to produce with a minimal number of candidates (usually 2-3 per search for my clients). Having the up front payment allows me to be more selective to find the right fit, instead of just trying to find ANY fit.
Right, because that's so relevant compared to photos indicating that the candidate is pregnant, black, or of a religion the CTO hates passionately. This sort of thing is either an irrational fear or a cover for excluding the sort of person he's not allowed to say he doesn't want.
It's not that I want to force him to hire penguin murderers; it's that I find myself wondering how likely it is that some crazy will find their way into a technical interview process.
Thanks for taking a few hundred words I wrote over a lunch break and extracting from them a warped inference that I must be a racist, misogynistic bigot.
I actually have no such biases. I'm a leftist-liberal who reads The Guardian, I've worked in the public sector for many years which in the UK means having to know employment law inside out, and have specifically worked out of my recruitment process anything that could impede somebody getting a job in my team that other employers would secretly harbour as an excuse.
My hiring strategy is a bit like Valve software's: T-shaped skillsets are gold, and I ask the three questions: What would happen if this person were to become my boss? Would I learn a significant amount from them? How would I feel if they went to work for a competitor?
I just like to understand candidate's beyond a single sheet CV before they come into interview. They might spend 10 hours a day playing Minecraft. Cool, let's talk about that, and how they like to hack around with it a little. They might spend their weekends canoeing. I hate physical exertion, but cool, let's talk about the challenges canoeing provides and how they deal with them. They might be a devout Scientologist. OK, I don't get Scientology personally, but I know employment law well enough to know that's no barrier to you getting the job - I've heard Scientology is really big on clarity of communication through "auditing", so let's talk about how that's helped the candidate in the workplace, 'k?
I am not a white male bigot who hires people like me. I work with women, non-white, non-atheist, non-Christian, non-liberal, non-leftist, non-English (I'm British), people all day, every day and have done so for many years.
The fact you assume a potential employer who is betting a substantial amount of money on you is interested in your personal life for any other reason than to understand you better and to make sure you're going to be a great fit, is cynical, naive and misguided.
It might be rooted in a truth with some employers, but I don't think those employers live in the world of technology - particularly startups. Perhaps that's naive of me. Perhaps that is a problem. So let's talk about the wider issuer of "worst-case scenario" - if somebody on discovering who you really are is prejudiced against you, wouldn't you rather they hadn't hired you - especially in a start-up environment where your legal recourse is highly limited - than for them to find out a week into employment when you've moved across a continent and now you're fucked?
If somebody is a penguin-murderer, why would I want to know that as an employer other than to rule them out immediately? Because somebody who enjoys torturing animals probably has an interesting approach to teamwork that isn't going to fit into the way I like to run my teams. I'd want to spend some time in interview understanding that a little more, precisely because I don't want them turning up on day one and it being a disaster.
Yes, I was being flippant, but there's an important point there, somewhere.
Asserting that my "real agenda and biases" are hidden from view is wrong, and the assertion that this is therefore worrying is flawed.
Hope that clears things up for you.
I don't doubt that you are a nice person, within your own culture.
However, when you refer to someone else's most deeply held beliefs as "barbaric rituals", perhaps we can be forgiven for jumping to conclusions about whether you are bigoted toward them. I am not a religious man, but for this conclusion I don't have to practice mass, or auditing, or wearing temple garments, or kosher meat production. We can't be sure which of these (or whatever other religious ceremony) you mean when you say "barbaric ritual", but it really doesn't matter which one, does it? Essentially every religious practice is someone else's barbarism.
Is there any other meaning to "barbaric ritual" than "religious ceremony I find distasteful"?
British sense of humour lost in translation I think.
I have no interest in a person's religion. In fact if anything, I find religious diversity in the workplace a bonus. I've worked with Catholics, Protestants, Pagans, Muslims, Jews, Satanists (they're fun!), Atheists, Agnostics and I think one Scientologist/Freezoner who didn't want it widely known. So be it. Diversity and different viewpoints on the World and different ways of thinking are good.
So yes, there are other meanings. Plenty of other meanings, especially in a sentence that is clearly flippant.
I accept your apology in advance.
Or is there a religion that does murder penguins and he's referring to that?
I am not a white male bigot who hires people like me. I
work with women, non-white, non-atheist, non-Christian,
non-liberal, non-leftist, non-English (I'm British),
people all day, every day and have done so for many years.
I'm sure you don't discriminate - you just want to see my holiday snaps on facebook out of general interest. The problem is it makes looking at people's facebook profiles the norm; today you're doing it, tomorrow every employer is - and they're not all as open-minded as you.
The fact you assume a potential employer who is betting a
substantial amount of money on you is interested in your
personal life for any other reason than to understand you
better and to make sure you're going to be a great fit, is
cynical, naive and misguided.
I don't think it's naive or misguided to worry about employers subconsciously discriminating.
So let's have some transparency, and deal with the actual root cause of the problem: racism, anti-Christian or anti-atheist sentiments, and wholesale bigotry in general.
Obfuscating names and past-times and religions might allow people to game it as far as first interview, but how does that help anybody, compared to actually dealing with the root cause issues?
It's not necessarily that you are racist or misogynistic or whatever, it's that there are undoubtedly people out there who are and making something like this standard practice would make it a lot easier for them to discriminate.
Saying "you wouldn't want to work for anyone who discriminates anyway" is almost as bad as discrimination because you are essentially encouraging people to accept prejudice.
Besides discrimination is not necessarily the person's own prejudices but perhaps they are worried that their clients may be prejudice. For example maybe you have a company that goes into people's homes and installs equipment or whatever and you know that at least some of your customers are BNP members who wouldn't let a muslim cross their threshold.
I don't know about penguin murdering or whatever, but it's probably difficult to draw conclusions from stuff like that without some kind of evidence.
For instance, what do you think of someone who doesn't have a Twitter feed at all, and whose Facebook you can't access?
I'd ask in the interview "do you enjoy social networking?" and if they said "No", I'd want to explore what aspects of tech startups they do enjoy. If they said "Yes", I'd just accept that they'd locked it down and move on. I've actually done this.
I think too many people are flipping the fuck out about the Facebook aspect.
I would actually prefer github profiles and mailing list contributions. They're much better evidence of ability, mindset and "cultural fit" within a work team, but there are actually very few devs who have anything to show on that front.
I once asked for a github profile, received the username and... it was empty. Not one project. They hadn't even forked anything. I don't think they quite got the point. :-) I interviewed them anyway, they were pretty solid but they had an air of "programming is just a job" compared to other candidates who were more "I absolutely love coding" - it's easier to get the latter group more fired up about building something cool than it is the former, and so they edged him out. Github was a good early flag for that, and I will no doubt use it in future as a barometer of engagement.
However, it is not the sole arbitrator, and not everybody can commit to coding in their downtime because they have other commitments. So fine, show me what you do have.
I do not want to see "private" information. I want to see public information. I am not going to ask to sift through all their holiday photos. I just want to see what they've put out into the public domain, and get a taste of how they think professionally.
The lives of your potential employees are their own, their time spent outside of work belongs to them. That time does not belong to you, it's not on the table, it's not up for discussion. It is, in fact, fucking creepy that you feel like that because you're offering a pittance of a salary you should be able to rummage through the contents of someone's life looking for things 'you don't like'.
You have no respect for the lives of your employees, else you wouldn't expect their social network profiles all lined up and waiting for you to hold judgement over, looking for 'barbaric rituals' and other unfunny comments. It's that simple.
If I'm about to give somebody £50k a year and spend 40-60 hours a week basically living and working with them, putting my job on the line on the promise they can deliver, I don't want to be blind. I want to see everything I can.
It's not because I want to be nosey, it's because I want to know it's going to work.
I want to be firmly cemented in your mind as a competent developer before you find out what I wore to last year's Halloween party or who I favor in the upcoming election.
I'm going to be much, much more interested in your github profile, posts to mailing lists, etc.
First thing I do when I get a CV is not go to Facebook - I google the email address. If there's contributions to tech mailing lists there, the rest of what I see is going to have to be pretty shit for me to rule you out for interview, to be honest.
What you are describing here is a situation that implicitly guarantees prejudice. You are looking for a near-guarantee that "it's going to work" - which is to say, you're going to implicitly exclude people who are unfamiliar to you.
This can play out in any direction - race, culture, religion, orientation, lifestyle.
To be blunt, it all comes to this: as a society we value inclusiveness and equality more than your right to a bit more peace of mind.
I don't doubt that you approach this with the best of intentions, Mr. Robinson, but FWIW I would never work for you so long as you demand the private details of your employees' lives.
Let me rephrase it: I want to see HN, github, blogs, twitter feeds where they talk about tech and work and so on.
I'm not going to demand access to Facebook. I'm going to look at their public profile. If they add me on Google+ I'd expect to be in a circle for bosses/peers, and to see stuff that's pertinent, not pictures of their goldfish or what they had for dinner last night.
Is that still open to prejudice? Sure. Am I going to exclude people who are competent but I might not get on with? Possibly. But isn't that actually a good idea? Would it not be crueller for me to hire a waterfall tech who hates agile and who really wants to work in Enterprise IT rather than startup development, and for both us to be really miserable than for me to just realise early on that despite his CV scoring high on the startup development bullshit-bingo cards, they are simply not going to be a great fit?
I have never - and will never - hire/fire or select interview candidates based on religion, creed, gender or even necessarily experience. It's about ability, mindset and evidence of performance. Every time.
You should have just stopped there.
I doubt you can. Not easily, anyway. Think about the social implications for a minute.
If you do this in the most efficient way - grab profiles with a simple algorithm, then send the same pitch email to everyone using blind-carbon-copy - you're cold-calling. The problem with cold-calling is that it doesn't enhance your reputation. Do you really want your name and email address filed in the spam filter along with the clumsiest of recruiters? Do you really want to experience the indignity of being unfriended on LinkedIn?
Just wait until your amateur spam-o-rama accidentally hits four employees and a hiring manager at another company. They will talk to each other, and figure out that you're attempting to "poach" their employees in the clumsiest possible way, and now your name is mud, twice over.
Cold-calling does work, though. (There's no shortage of evidence.) Most of the best candidates don't surf job listings for entertainment, and those few who do are window-shoppers, who have trained themselves to read but not to act. But they might respond to a little poke, when it happens to arrive at the right time. But: You can't be doing that nagging yourself. Frankly, you need a scapegoat. A third party. Perhaps someone whose job description protects their reputation a bit: Everyone knows that recruiters gotta recruit, or be fired.
Alternatively, to be kind to your colleagues, you can screen profiles more carefully, making sure not to email people who are obviously not a fit, and making sure not to target the employees of companies run by your friends, and making sure to write lovingly personalized emails to each person, asking about their dog and their kids and then oh-so-discreetly suggesting, as if by accident, that maybe they'd like a new job? This strategy works to some degree - it is, in fact, what most of us do as we wander down the hall at a conference - but it doesn't scale. We call it networking, but when you have to do it with 100+ developers it is a full-time job called recruiting. Perhaps you should consider outsourcing it? And now we're back to square one.
Could a startup make a setup where anyone can sign up and become a part time recruiter? Maybe you set up a real recruiting company to handle the paper work and billing, and let programmers sign on to be your staff. Then give them a big cut of any fees they make.
Anyone interested in helping me flush out this idea? It might be a viable startup, no?
That never seemed fair to me. I wonder if a twist on this is that the employee can refer his friend to the recruiter and then go to his employer and say I have a friend perfect for this job. He's represented by recruiter X. Then recruiter X splits the fee with the employee.
Big companies can use their size as a workaround (ie, only let you refer candidates to other departments), but in startup land this incentive will probably be very real.
There are laws and liabilities to consider. Also, recruiters are essentially sales people. They need to have a degree of sales ability. You need to be able to sell the benefits of a job to a candidate and the benefits of a candidate to a hiring manager. Also, decent recruiters spend a huge amount of time on the phone. Not just calling every and any candidate that looks remotely decent but simply trying to get through to a select few people takes a crazy amount of time.
I don't want to cyberstalk anybody. I want to see what projects they're interested in, what technologies they're loving, what they're hating.
My twitter feed has large amounts of swearing at Jenkins. Says a lot about me and my attitude to code (I love CI, I hate configuring Tomcat, etc.).
If there's nothing there of tech interest, and there's lots of poems to the candidate's other half, that tells me something far more interesting than a CV can.
And my point is that the recruiters will never let me see that. They'll never let me get an understanding beyond one side of A4 with all personal information removed.
How do you connect to an individual in 2012 without some inkling of them online? What value is the recruiter really adding by deliberately blocking my access to that info?
Out of people I know most of them keep their privacy settings pretty tight on things like facebook and twitter so that only their friends can see. So unless the recruiter has befriended them on these networks the recruiter wouldn't know anyway. If someone is using social networking sites to write poems to their other half I can understand they might find it somewhat creepy to give a recruiter or employer access to that.
The type of content they have on their twitter/FB is going to depend on what they use it for primarily and who their friends are.
I don't use FB but if I did I would mainly to communicate with people I know in real life, most of whom are not technical. So I wouldn't see any point in subjecting them to rants about Tomcat6 or whatever because they wouldn't understand or care.
Maybe if I lived in SV and all of my friends were developers at startups then I would post about this stuff, but I don't know what exactly that would signal?
If I want to discuss technical stuff I post on HN, if I wanted to write more thought out longform stuff I would create a blog which I would then add to my CV.
I don't want to see stuff for the sake of being nosey. I want to understand you better, and to have a better place to start the interview other than "how was your journey here today?"
For example, here on HN some people link their profiles to their real life identities and talk about stuff that they are working on with their startups or side projects or whatever.
You also get a lot of people like me who post under pseudonyms and just use HN as a platform for ranting about mostly trivial pedantic stuff as a bit of fun.
That doesn't mean I'm not working on stuff, it just means that the stuff I'm working on I don't really feel like talking about them on here. And I don't want some silly comment I write on here affect the stuff I am working on.
The way I write HN comments is completely different to the way I would write a publicity piece for something I was working from for example.
Of course if I was applying for a job I would provide as much info as possible on what I am working on, on my CV.
Basically a CV is a way of saying "here is everything I think is relevant". Perhaps that does give you a one sided view of somebody. On the other hand if your potential employer has access to everything you write online to your friends, then there is a strong incentive not to write anything online to them at all, lest some stupid comment you wrote at 3AM whilst drunk get taken out of context.
There is also the question of which profiles of somebodies you want to see? Maybe you want to see their HN profile, but what about their 4Chan or Reddit account? What about their online dating profile? What about the profile they set up some gay cruising website? Where do you draw the line?
A github profile is far more useful to me than a CV.
I've seen CVs that were absolutely dire, and so I was about to pass before I saw the github URL, I checked out their work and it was solid, so I wanted to talk to them.
If you don't want to share what you're doing, that's fine. You're just not going to get a job with me. You're not going to get a job at a lot of startups, as it happens.
That's your choice. I'm not forcing you into it, but I think you and your career would benefit if we moved as an industry to CV-less employment - github, HN, Twitter, whatever, are all far more helpful than knowing what grades you got at University, and 4 bullet-points covering several years of what you did working for a previous employer, for example.
Some additional ideas on disrupting tech recruiting
Thread on HN http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4535547
Case in point.
I have a barebones facebook page, which I primarily use for privately messaging old friends who prefer facebook over normal e-mail. I do not use twitter or involve myself in any publicly identifiable way with message boards or mailing lists. This may be 2012, but I know quite a few people who do not even have facebook accounts.
So I'm curious - how does someone like you react when an applicant tells you he has no online presence for you to stalk? Would you say that speaks volumes about his competency for your job as well, or would you try to make do with the information in their CV? Just curious.
Example: I have a friend with lots of industry experience, who also happens to have a PhD. A recruiter removed the PhD info from his resume and submitted it to a company. After flying out and going through a half-day interview process a certain topic came up and he said "Oh, my Thesis topic was related to that" To which the manager said "Oh, we don't hire people with PhDs" and the interview was over.
Obviously there is plenty of stupidity to go around here, but recruiters regularly remove (or move to a 2nd page) things from resumes that they know would immediately disqualify a candidate and they do so without the candidates knowledge.
Reading what you wrote, it in essence says "Jews and Muslims need not apply". You'll of course insist that is not the case since that would look bad, but that is why you wrote "barbaric rituals" rather than specify what you were really getting at explicitly.
On to Facebook stalking in general. As far as candidate's Facebook pages where they communicate private things with friends and families, you as employer are neither friend nor family, and their Facebook account is none of your damn business. That you think it is your business shows that you are a control freak who can't mind his own business, and that your company is a hellhole to work at.
I am speaking here as someone with hiring authority who has hired hundreds of very talented people. I do not need to know their religion, their barbaric practices, their baby photos, their friends list, or their poetry in order to evaluate their technical ability. And you know what? I have no problems recruiting the best, and I don't use recruiters.
Companies that have problems finding talent always have attitude problems and deep systematic problems within their firms.
How to find talent? It's easy. Here are some tips I have used, which are not comprehensive, they are just a starting point for how to wise up to the right attitude.
* Make sure one's firm is not a lousy place to work. If you are not sure, it is probably a lousy place. If you ever say "why do I work with idiots" then it definitely is.
* Make sure one's firm pays at least at the 75th percentile and above for one's area for talent because the fact is that the average talent is quite poor.
* Be upfront about compensation. If there is a job ad somewhere, state clearly the salary range and benefits including if full relocation is paid.
* Pay full relocation after a hire and interview expenses before a hire, that is just common sense. If the employee would have to sell his house at a loss in a down market to move because the market is underwater, the company buys the house from the employee to cover the difference so he doesn't lose money selling, which can make it impossible to move. When the employee is moving from a cheap housing area to an expensive one, signing bonuses can be used to cover the difference in housing prices between the two areas so the employee can move into a house comparable to the one he left.
Lousy places to work will go haywire when reading these sorts of tips and start making excuses about why some or all of the above are impossible policies.
"barbaric rituals" was a flippant and throw-away comment inspired by the fact that quite a few developers really, really like emacs. That's enough barbaric ritual for me.
I had no thought or concept of religion in mind when using either that phrase, or penguin-murdering. I was being deliberately dramatic in an attempt at humour. I was pointing out the irony of how there's actually nothing to be ashamed of by talking to your potential employer in terms of who you actually are, so why do recruiters try and hide it?
You have cynically twisted my words, in as insulting and degrading a manner as possible. You're wrong, you know nothing about me, and the Jews and Muslims I've hired in the past would happily correct your interpretation of my character if given the chance.
You're also within a whisker of libelling me, so, you know, please turn it down a bit.
I still declined, but I actually wrote a nice response instead of dustbinning it as spam.
I suspect a lot of what differentiates a good recruiter from a bad recruiter is the ability to connect on a personal level. Even though it's obvious what the motivations are, it's still better to [pretend to] be human. Perhaps the recruiting field needs to draw some lessons from online dating.
So in dating you have guys saying: "I want to date supermodel. Lets go this dating site ... after a couple of months... oh online dating sucks it needs disruption".
We actually took many principles from online dating services to form betacave.com and think we have a solution that can suffice the needs of both parties (the site is up and functional but not quite ready for primetime; I'll do a formal Show HN next week, but was too relevant to this thread to not share).
A good recruiter is good on both sides - people want to have their resume in the recruiter's portfolio, and companies want that recruiter's card on their hiring manager's desk. Because of this, technology has only made recruiting more empowering for good recruiters - they can manage more clients on both ends, can schedule easier, and are more agile.
I've got two particular recruiters in mind, but I know that with either of them, if I quit my job on a Friday both my employer (who works with one of them) and myself would have interviews lined up on Monday if that's what we were looking for.
Just because there are a lot of bad recruiters out there (for the same reason there are a lot of bad realtors, or marketers, or hair stylists), doesn't mean there isn't immense value in the good recruiters.
This rant is just a rant, probably the result of one too many recruiter emails in the inbox on a Friday morning.
Also any tips on locating a good recruiter next time I'm looking?
A good recruiter is interested in a long term relationship - they know that people tend to change jobs every 18 months to 2 years (in my industry at least) and they want to be the first person you'll call each time you get itchy feet and because they know you, you're easy for them to sell to your next employer and they know what type of company you'll be happy working for.
The three best recruiter's I've used have all done one simple thing that got the relationship off to a good start - spending a solid hour or so sitting down and getting to know me over a coffee or drink within a week or two of first contacting me. This is a far cry from the recruiters who call me on an almost daily basis who 'chat' for five minutes and then I never hear from again.
I would say ask around. Chances are people you work with who have been placed, if you are at a good company, were placed by good recruiters.
The problem is that you can't find a good recruiter based on your needs (price, specialty, experience level, etc).
The quality of recruiters is variable, but the need for them is constant. I appreciate more systems to post jobs and review candidates directly, but after LinkedIn and Craigslist, the value diminishes. I've also worked with recruiters who are highly qualified and present good candidates.
A solution would be a system to help you find a better recruiter and create more transparency in that industry.
I can envision a system whereby you can rate your interactions with recruiters (ie., Yelp for recruiting).
"I used [recruiter] and they found me [x] candidates in [y] days. The quality of the candidates was [z] and I [hired/didnt hire] someone that they presented. I [would/wouldn't] work with them again. They charged [x] per [candidate/hour/placement]"
When a recruiter contacts you, and knows nothing about your [Technology/Industry/Company], you can look them up on a site and rate them. You would rate them on these vectors, and then you could build a search tool that helps you find the right recruiter. ("Find me a BioTech Recruiter in Seattle who works with Genentech on a flat fee" etc)
This would also have a benefit keep recruiters more honest. The good recruiters would rise to the top, and potentially get more leads. You wouldn't have to waste as much time with poor recruiters since they would be outed pretty quickly. Frustration levels (as evinced by this thread) are pretty high when incompetent recruiters waste your time.
Exactly. I still don't understand (after 9 years of being in industry and consulting the last 5) why it is too much for a hiring manager to spend some time himeself to vet a candidate esepcially if they will be critical to the team,project and company's success. As much as I hate to work with thetse agency recruiters, the underlying issue is not them. The issue is the employers who depend on these recruiters even though they rant about how bad the quality is etc.
Employers: it is simple. To hire the best, you need to do a lot more than asking agency/vendors to send u resumes/cvs. Interview your recruiter first. Test them if they know and understand what and who you really need. Just saying "PHP developer" doesn't cut it. Provide more specifics. Any good candidate will be more inclined to talk to you.
"I want to see the candidate's twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, activity on mailing lists and github, etc."
This is the very reason I keep all my social network to myself and not under my name. Unless I tell you what my Twitter page and Facebook page are, you'll never find them and I do this on purpose.
I agree this industry needs some help. A company I was recently working for developed an application for the pharmaceutical sales industry which assigns a score to each sales person based on various criteria, which is then tracked by employers looking hire the best talent. As soon as I saw it, I thought it could just as easily be used in tech field for developers or any other technical position.
This is just a start, but at least its something that's gaining traction in a industry that is similar in size and revenue generation.
The single-score approach is a bit heavy handed but it's still interesting information.
I found TalentBin.com comes the closest to solving this need. This is a screenshot that shows all the profile information accessible on a TB profile- http://screencast.com/t/DgePgGRj
Not only do you get access to what they are tweeting about, but you also can see their personal blogs, google+, Meetup, and Stackoverflow? http://screencast.com/t/SfFqIMXWIzlg
So far nothing comes close to Talentbin in terms of information quantity and quality.
And if that isn't enough- TalentBin.com recently added the entire patent database. Soon will come the day where we hire by looking at only implicit web information and resumes are long forgotten.
Writer could be measured only by (the value of) his texts. It is not about the knowledge of grammar, even if it is a relevant knowledge.
And, of course, appearance and manners of a potential writer have almost nothing to do with his talent.
I hope that thread dies, and the discussion moves here.
Can you not see however, that the recruiters are all over the list, hitting reply-all, and not really helping the list at all, and it's because of that, that we need to make it clear why they're not wanted, why they shouldn't be on the list in the first place, and why we want our list back?
Don't be part of the problem (leaving the list so making the recruiter/coder ratio even worse), be part of the solution. Re-join the list, and let's start some interesting tech discussions. I'll start. Check the list in 20 minutes.
so whats wrong with jobs.txt
Parseable, searchable, uptodate (one assumes, and can easily be deprecated) and simple to throw up a cottage industry around.
So I made this: http://jobstxt.org/ and http://jobstxt.org/jobs.txt