I have recently spent some time talking to recruitment agents and HR managers, I thought I would collect all my experiences about these conversations and share them with the public. This article will be a critique to all agents and please, try to adhere to at least some of these rules that I'm trying to outline here. I understand that under today's seemingly harsh economic conditions every person who you can recruit, every referral fee that you can get is vital to you or to your organisation but that doesn't mean that you have to mindlessly send irrelevant job offers to your candidates.
Misspelling of names
I know that my first-name is not from the English world, and it's very similar to 'Thomas', however, it is really not difficult to type my name, all those 5 letters. If you reject my CV because there are grammatical errors and/or spelling mistakes, at least have the decency to spell my name correctly in your correspondance. Should you send me multiple e-mails, try to at least 'stick to' one of your misspellings and not change it within the email chain:
Hi Tamos, I haven’t heard from them yet but will let you know as soon as I do... Thanks, 'The Agent'
From: Tamas Piros To: The Agent Subject: Re: Job opportunity
I hope this email finds you well. I was wondering whether you have any updates for me with regards to this opportunity. I'm in a training all day today and tomorrow so I probably won't be able to take your phone call but I'd appreciate if you would get back to me via email.
Thank you and regards, Tamas
From: The Agent To: Tamas Piros Subject: RE: Job opportunity
Hi Thomas, The role is a UK based role, with time spent in their office, at home and with clients (90% will be London based). The other role will cover European based clients and involve more travel. 'The Agent'
This is really not cool.
The 'I will get back to you by tomorrow' theorem
No you will not. We both know it. Please don't get me wrong here. I understand that you are awaiting a reply from your client, and your client is trying to run a business as well and they may be late in getting back to you - but in all fairness you should know this. So if we have a phone conversation and you tell me 'I will get back to you definitely by tomorrow' I will expect you to call me, well, guess...as you said, the next day. Of course this won't happen, and if I'd like to get an update, I need to chase you, but you are gone. Disappeared. I can't get hold of you via email, nor by calling your mobile. 3-4 days later I will however receive an email, saying that either your client is OK with my CV, or that they are not interested at all. Please, try to leverage for the time that it may take for your client to get back to you. You can tell me that you will be in touch within a week, that's fine. At least I know that if my mobile doesn't ring the day after, it's still okay, because you have 6 more business days to contact me.
Windows != Linux
You found my CV and you love what I do/have done, you give me a call and start by saying: "I have your CV in front of me and I think I have found this wonderful opportunity that will suit your profile". You then explain me where the job is located, get into a 10 minute argument with me about why you think I won't be able to commute to this job, and only after this unnecessary prologue we start discussing the job, and I ask you to tell me what is involved in the opportunity you are so keen to discuss with me. So, this job would be a Support Analyst position, technologies include Win2008 Server, Oracle and C/C++. At this point, I really want to hung upon you, but let's finish this the proper way - I tell you that I give you £1,000 if you see any of these technologies listed anywhere in my CV. I'm a Linux guy, with web development experience and as for the databases I use/used MySQL and PostgreSQL, so now what? This is the place where you should not ask me 'oh, can't you do the others then?' because you have already wasted 15 minutes of my life. My advice is: read my CV 3x times. If you call me and you think that I could potentially do this job, first ask me: 'Are you interested in managing Win2008 Servers even though you have experience managing Linux environments?' and I will tell you 'No.'. And that's it. Both of us can move on.
Make notes of what I tell you
You have really found an opportunity for me, and I'm really interested in it. The time has come to setup a call with the client and you give me a call to brief me - which is really great, I can prepare for the interview and you do help a lot here. I am giving you my schedule: I'm available all week except Monday between 3pm and 5pm. If, 4 hours later you call me back and let me know that you have setup a call with the client for Monday at 3:30pm, I will be very disappointed and you will also loose your credibility very quickly. This is basic organisation, make notes of what I'm telling you, or just read your e-mails again to check for my availability.
Do you have 10 years of experience with HTML5?
I understand that most of the time you are directly passed on the requirements with some questions that you need to ask your candidates. But if you're a technology recruiter, you should know some facts. For example, if you require 10 years of hands-on commercial experience with HTML5, I will tell you I don't have it. But it's not because I haven't worked with this technology for 10 years, it's purely because it didn't exist for 10 years - HTML5 was made official in 2012 (and was around for much longer but still not for 10 years). Equally I have never used Oracle 5.0 nor MySQL 10g. Ever.
All this being said, I understand that sometimes these problems are not the agent's faults and they have nothing to do asking for the wrong requirements or giving inaccurate information about the job itself, however I believe that there is a lot of room for improvement. Check some facts, think about the information that you have and whether it is truly relevant to someone's knowledge and experience. I hope that IT/Technology Recruitment will change in the near future and at least some of these points will forever be forgotten.