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Does anyone have any luck with outsourced recruiters? From where I stand, they seem like a bane of the industry.

Was going to answer this but then saw the child comment say this:

"but only because a) he was really hungry at the time b) he really went out of his way to build up a lot of contacts with a lot of top-notch talent."

And that was really the essence of what I was going to say. I think after a while anyone who is busy and being paid in the manner that a recruiter (or real estate salesman) is is going to go for the easy route and the low hanging fruit. Especially as they get busier. Because back and forth is time consuming.

It's kind of like a satisficing model. You need to keep the client happy enough to keep sending you projects and no more than that. [1]

Consequently in theory a new and hungry recruiter is really the one that will give you the best results but that assumes they have a file full of candidates and that kind of contradicts being new.

[1] There is truth to that book that stated that real estate salespeople get more when they sell their own house than your house. 3% of $10,000 is not $10,000 and it pays to move on to the next deal in your book.

I've never understood paying 3 recent to sell a house, especially in these times(Internet), and some markets sell themselfs(Bay Area). Plus, the full commissions usually go to the best salesperson, or Cheerleader. It's eight courses! Two years for a broker--who most likely got their brokers license with any four year college degree. (Yea--most of these guys partied through a bachler's degree before this year and got their broker's license. They lobbied Gov. Moonbeam to make it harder for anyone else to do what they did--The Terminator saw right through the ploy, and vetoed the bill--ironic?) Success is moving Realestate. The average homeowner only realizes they could have got more after they do their homework, but that never really happens--they go into denial after the sale. It's done.

I've never seen a industry that needs a fresh, iron clad Application, but it has to be top notch. A hungry, smart developer could revolutionize the Realeste market with the right code, and eliminate Realtors to a history wiki. Plus--I would never need to look at their stupid smiling faces everywhere. And yes, I know a house is the biggest thing you will ever own--you need hand holding? That's all your full commission will get. Smart Realtors always cover their asses legally if you buy a Lemmon. This is just my rant on Realtor's--especially full commission brokers. The above post reminded me of how arcane buying a house is.

We've had some good luck with a single one, but only because a) he was really hungry at the time b) he really went out of his way to build up a lot of contacts with a lot of top-notch talent. In a lot of ways, he was a lot more like an executive placement consultant, only placing software developers.

The large bodyshops, OTOH, seem like a colossal waste of time to me. I don't trust them, and the candidates they offer have been almost uniformly disappointing.

I've hired a number of engineers through agencies. It's a PITA because our incentives aren't aligned but I've found a few things to help. One is to be firm with recruiters and not to care about your relationship with them. In a place like NYC where there are hundreds of firms constantly trying to work with me I make it very clear what I expect of the recruiters. If they don't give it to me I move on.

Perhaps coincidentally, companies say there is an engineer shortage while at least 80% of the Rails jobs on LinkedIn & Craigslist are posted by recruiters. Recruiters may simply be ruining the employment market, probably as a gold rush.

I have exactly one that I think is good in 21 years in the field. He actually understands his candidates at a moderately deep level and I can get on the phone with him, describe what I'm looking for, answer his questions, and a week later get a handful of resumes with his notes attached after speaking with the candidates.

His "secret" is that process, which also allows him higher than average access to passive job seekers. Let's face it, many (not all, but many) of the "best" candidates already have a sweet gig and aren't pounding the pavement looking and mindlessly applying to every job posting. This recruiter calls them and they take the call, because he's not just matching asses and seats like it was a musical chairs problem.

Candidates like him (he placed me once 17 years ago) because he's not perceived to be a time-waster, and hiring managers like him because I get better candidates through him (albeit at a lower volume and I "can't afford" him for every role).

That's responsive to your first sentence; to your second sentence, I generally agree. I have the luxury of having a strong in-house recruiting team, who are willing to selectively and smartly use outside agencies when it makes sense. As a result, I get to direct the flow of nonsense from outside agencies at my in-house team. ;)

Anecdotally, I know of an experienced and competent engineer who actively sought out a recruiter, hoping to find a job in Silicon Valley (which he did). Some people just can't be bothered with the interview grind, and if you know you're good, why not have a recruiter do a bit of the grunt work for you? But I suppose this could be an edge case, where a legitimately good candidate actually works with a recruiter.

I tried that route to no success. My problem, back when I actually wanted to work in SV, was I found it to be an impenetrable bubble. There seems to be a serious delusion that any engineer worth a damn will move to SV of their own volition, so the only reason to look outside is to try to snatch the top talent from the top schools elsewhere.

I have had good enough luck that I won't dismiss a recruiter outright.

I treat recruiters like widening the funnel, and haven't found any correlation that suggests they produce better results.

I have found the best results is hitting people up through linkedin.

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