The economic news today was good: the U.S. unemployment rate is down to 8.9% and hiring is up in the private sector. For those who are looking for an IT position right now there is one thing the improving economy won't help: the sad state of technical recruiting today.
Once upon a time I was working a contract for a well known, large company in the IT field. We had an opening on the team. I was called into my boss' office and asked if I was unhappy. I said no and asked why. A recruiter, without my knowledge or permission, had sent my resume to my boss. Fortunately I had a good relationship with that manager and he believed me when I said I was not looking. I ended up working 15 months on what was originally a six month contract.
I've also run into recruiters who refuse to tell me who a position was with. When I then told the recruiter that I do not want to work with them some became arrogant, insisted that most reputable recruiters work that way (clearly a false statement) and, in general, acted like they were doing me the biggest favor in the world by even being willing to talk to little old me. Thanks but no thanks. I have never permitted my resume to be submitted blindly. If a company receives two resumes from different recruiters for the same candidate the usual result is that both end up in the waste basket. I certainly didn't want a resume sent where I was already in the interview process. How clueless would that have made me look?
Then there are cases like the one I wrote about back in 2007. I've also had recruiters call who are clearly overseas who do not know that Washington D.C. is not within commuting distance of Raleigh. There are countless resume mills who just pass things on without doing any work to present the candidate. There are way too many who simply do not understand the technology they are recruiting for, match some random keyword and call or write about positions that simply do not match what the candidate does at all.
A good recruiter, one who develops a personal relationship with both hiring managers and candidates, is worth their weight in gold. Why? Sadly such recruiters are increasingly few and far between. I am very happy that I am running and building a small business rather than hunting for employment.
The funny thing is that I wanted to write this when I was looking. I wanted to vent my very real frustrations at the time but I was afraid of insulting the recruiting community. Now, thankfully, I don't have to worry about that. Honestly, the only recruiters who should be insulted are the clueless ones who, sadly, seem to be the majority.