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Your Experiences with Recruiters?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the odd-but-interesting-hiring-practices dept.

Businesses 165

companyAdvocate asks "I work in a small, high end IT consultancy. We are currently on a large recruitment drive and our targets are very ambitious. We are looking into alternative, original and cost-effective ways of hiring talented people. Google's billboard ad comes to mind. As we are a consultancy, we need good communicators as well as techies and raising the company profile may be an added bonus. What is the Slashdot community's experience with alternative recruitment methods? Were you hired in an exciting or interesting way? How do you make even rejected candidates leave with a positive impression?"

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Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14697926)

In general they are real jerks, but can afford to be.

Re:Recruiters (2, Insightful)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698227)

I doubt they can afford to be. They can be annoying as a manager, calling to push people you don't need, especially when you HR department won't let you use them anyway. When you deal with them as a potential employee, keep in mind they are working for the employers, who will pay them, and not for you. They need to find the right person to fill that job, and to do that they have to talk to a lot of people. If they are jerks to employers, the employer won't want to deal with them. If they are jerks to you, its likely you're expecting something from them they can't give. Deal with them professionally, and they'll deal with you professionally.

If you want more hands on treatment, there seems to be an explosion of "employee agents"; resume writing agencies on steriods, "job search coaches". These are people you pay, though when I speak to them every fraud alert bone in my body goes off. I submitted my own "Ask Slashdot" to see what others experiences with these services were like. I suspect they could be valuable, but I also imagine it would be an easy scam to run on vulnerable people.

As for this gentleman writing this article, I suspect the Google puzzle billboard idea won't go far since it apeals to a different sort of person. Google was looking for really smart people irrespective of personalities. Of course, I'm also curious because I happen to be looking for such an opportunity, so I want to know what to be looking for :)

Viral Marketing (1)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14697943)

If it works for nvidia, why not your company? =)

Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14697944)

Post an Ask Slashdot, and recruit people based on their answers.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698058)

You're hired, please call IBM H.R. at 1-800-265-5647

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698096)

But I already work at IBM! That's why I'm at home on a Saturday night.

I have an idea (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#14697951)

You have the right idea tapping into this site as a resource pool, but perhaps you should look for talent here as well? Give everyone a job who scores 5/5 on this Slashdot thread. Start with me [mailto] , and work your way down the list. I will provide a resume and credentials upon request.

logical fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14697967)

hiring someone with a low slashdot uid does not raise a company's profile.

Re:logical fallacy (1)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698168)

hiring someone with a low slashdot uid does not raise a company's profile.

Nice troll, but if logical fallacy was indeed present in my comment, it would have little to do with my UID -- as I did not mention the UID as grounds for my hiring.

Re:logical fallacy (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700386)

No, but if I where a hiring manager, I would look through your posting history to determine your attitude. It would quickly tell me if you know what you're talking about in certain situations, how well you handle people picking you apart, etc...

Re:I have an idea (1)

Tordek (863609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698800)

I would if you were able to do proper w3c compliant links :/

Re:I have an idea (1)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699580)

I noticed that I forgot the "subject=" but it's not that often that I am in the habit of putting my email address online, so there is my excuse. The reason? I did not check my work because it was not a serious comment. Although I wouldn't mind a better career! (who wouldn't??)

Drugs 'n Hookers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14697957)

more drugs 'n more hookers

works with me

Re:Drugs 'n Hookers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698003)

My pimp friend recruits some mad HO'S. Dont know where he finds such jawesome talent..

How do you make even rejected candidates... (4, Funny)

YaRness (237159) | more than 8 years ago | (#14697975)

How do you make even rejected candidates leave with a positive impression?

Two weeks pay would be nice.

Beware of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14697993)

"I read your resume in detail, and your skills are exactly what we're looking for."

"Can you please forward me a copy of your resume in Word format?"

The very top of my resume has a link, which reads: "My resume in Word format". Guess they didn't read it that close, eh? Anyone with reading comprehension that low hasn't cleared the bar. <delete>

Re:Beware of this (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698041)

I never bother sending CVs to places in Word format. If I'm job-hunting, electronic versions go in well-presented HTML/PDF formats, but I'm probably printing and sending my CV with a proper covering letter to anyone I care about anyway. If a business says something stupid like "Submit CV in Word format" on their recruitment page, I usually don't bother reading any further, because the working environment and staff attitudes that simple request betrays are not things I care to be associated with.

Re:Beware of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698491)

What the fuck is a CV?

CVs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698543)

When talking about the CV, it is important to note how this term is used and in reference to what geographic area.

        * In the United States, a Curriculum Vitae ("CV" or "vitae") is "a comprehensive, biographical statement emphasizing your professional qualifications and activities." It is not our standard resume but a variation provided only when specifically requested, usually in pursuit of an academic or research position. (Check the information from the Colorado College Career Center, below, for more guidelines on when to use a CV rather than a traditional Resume in the U.S.)
        * In other countries, the CV is the standard resume, although the format and some of the information may differ from customary practice in the U.S.

Re:Beware of this (2, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698524)

I never send a resume in anyting but PDF unless I'm sure I'm sending it to the company itself, not a head-hunter. That way I'm almost sure it's not going to be "massaged" by some lying scum to add skills I neither have nor want, and that my words will go out as written. I also take a copy with my to any interview, so if it turns out my interviewer got an edited copy, I can show them what I actually wrote. So far, I've never had an interview end at that point, but it's been close a few times.

Beware of plain text! (2, Informative)

Da VinMan (7669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698634)

Using PDF is a sort of half measure. If you have rendered your document into PDF using a real PDF distiller (like the one from Acrobat), then the actual text will still be present in the document and it is quite possible for someone to do whatever they like with it in Acrobat or upload it into a recruiter search system where it can easily be indexed and used for further contacts with clients (which you may not want at all at that point).

However, if you create your PDF file using a tool like PDF995 which acts as a printer driver and therefore distills the printer directives into PDF as an image (and not as text), the actual text of your resume will be inaccessible except visually. This gives you complete control over where and how your resume gets distributed because everything out there today requires being able store and index your resume at a text level and (so far) does not include automatic OCR as well (which would actually be quite effective in a case like this - but shhh! don't tell the recruiter geeks! :)

I've actually detected unauthorized use of my resume in this way when I get a call from an agency claiming that "they really need my resume in Word format because they don't have Acrobat and can't read the file *sob*". I don't do further business with those firms.

Have fun...

Re:Beware of plain text! (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698654)

I use a printer driver, as I don't have the money to spend on Accrobat. For that matter, if I did have that money, I'd have more important thngs to spend it on. However, thanks for your advice.

Re:Beware of plain text! (1)

prodangle (552537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699794)

If you have rendered your document into PDF using a real PDF distiller (like the one from Acrobat), then the actual text will still be present in the document and it is quite possible for someone to do whatever they like with it in Acrobat

What you say may be technically true, but I doubt any recruiter will go to the trouble of editing a resumé in any format other than Word. Few people have Acrobat Pro installed on their desktop machine, and even if they did know how to edit the file otherwise, they won't go to the trouble. They're far more likely to not send your resumé out at all :)

Or ... like the top of mine says ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698788)

** In Plain-Text for Portability **

If there is a further request for DOC format, I'm out. Period.

PT can be dumped into a DB, churned quickly into XML, passed about, included in-line, printed without any BS, read without bollocks, just Plain-Text.

I'm not one to be an ass, but if the person hiring me can't get along reading plain text, that person can find another candidate for whatever position they are offering.

I used to go through the trouble of printing non-interactive PDF apps, scanning them and *painfully* aligning all my entries in Photoshop (huuuugeass files from the scans), printing them on high quality stock and making sure the stamps were perfect distances from the envelope corners ....

Now, fuck 'em. Read the text or don't call me.

Re:Beware of this (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698980)

One of the reasons, rightly or wrongly, that agencies/recruiters will ask for a Word document is so that they can then remove any identity / contact details to stop the client doing an end run around them and contacting candidates directly. They're protecting their income stream - and rightly so, if they actually work for it.

My favourite tale is about a job ad I answered. It was a re-advertised position, so the ad was already done. The recruiter had - in his own words - spoken to the client for about fifteen minutes, and uploaded the ad to a job site. I rang, spoke to him for half an hour, he forwarded the resume to the client, ten minutes later, I had a call back, and three hours later I was into the city for an interview, but first a 'chat' with the recruiter before I went to the interviewer. I got the job after 30 minutes.

I figure at the current going rates... 15-20% of salary for a fulltime position, that recruiter made $12,000 for about four to six hours of effort.

Re:Beware of this (1)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699084)

Unfortunately in Adelaide you can't afford to do this (jobs are always scarce). I'd prefer to send a hard copy (given a choice), but I've noticed that most pimps generally have one of the chicks in the office retype it as a Word (TM) document anyway, so it doesn't really matter. I've given up keeping the TeX version of my resume up to date.

Re:Beware of this (2, Insightful)

Optic (6803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698209)

Our job postings include the text "Submit resume in plain text or PDF format."

Resumes submitted in Word format are immediately deleted unread -- the applicant is unable to follow a simple instruction. Test #1: FAILED.

Re:Beware of this (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698395)

Following your instruction:

  1. open word document
  2. delete non-text (clip art, etc.)
  3. save word document as plain-text.doc
  4. send you the resume

That's what you asked for, right? Plain text?

Re:Beware of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698702)

Well, yes, but we typically only hire people who know how to use a computer.

Re:Beware of this (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699131)

I personally think it would be suicide to use Clip-Art in a resume...

Re:Beware of this (1)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698439)

Perhaps the applicant's were testing you by submitting their resumes in Word format. You know, just to see if it was a company of people that had the skills to react when the unexpect and unplanned happens.


I bet you lose out on a lot of good people.

Re:Beware of this (1)

Optic (6803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698502)

It's possible. But the employment demographic we're looking for aren't really the Windows-using types.

Re:Beware of this (1)

magictiger (952241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700031)

Perhaps the applicant's were testing you by submitting their resumes in Word format. You know, just to see if it was a company of people that had the skills to react when the unexpect and unplanned happens.

So you're testing the person screening resumes. It's not going to give you an idea of capabilities of people in the position you want. (unless you're applying to screen resumes...) A better test of the company would be to actually talk to them. Getting your name in the mind of the person doing the screening at least gets a "Hey, I recognize that name. We'll think about this one."

Re:Beware of this (3, Insightful)

StillAnonymous (595680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698520)

What exactly is it with the inflexible attitude of some employers and prospective employees?

You people really need to loosen up a bit. It's a diverse world out there and you're seriously going to miss out on some great opportunites if you keep playing the "my rules or else" game.

If anything, it just shows that you're a stubborn prick or a control freak.

Re:Beware of this (1)

Optic (6803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698593)

When I'm looking for employees my rules don't include anything about formal education, specific work experience, or even what languages they know. But you have to admit that it's important for a programmer to be able to read a spec and meet it, or at least to give you a convincing reason why it's wrong!

Re:Beware of this (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699201)

What exactly is it with the inflexible attitude of some employers and prospective employees?

They asked for plain text or PDF. Open, standard formats. If you send in your CV in some bizarre incompatible unreadable proprietary format, you're implicitly requiring the company to

1) get hold of whatever weird software reads that format
2) if necessary, get hold of the OS required to run that software
3) convert your CV into a usable format
4) and then read it

You think you're going to be looked on favourably after you caused all that hassle? No. Word format CVs go to /dev/null unread and quite rightly so. What, you expect the company recruiters to dual-boot just in case some really wonderfully qualified candidate just couldn't comprehend the idea of 'plain text'?

Re:Beware of this (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698592)

Well, then they probably won't notice when you bury a ton of stuff as hidden text in the Word document that will trip their keyword search software no matter what they're looking for.

Re:Beware of this (2, Informative)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698968)

My top 3 experiences with recruiters have been:

3) "Interested in a one millisecond contract job in <some city a thousand miles away>?"

2) "Maybe you know some people who might be interested in new opportunities?"

And the #1 experience:

"Can you please forward me a copy of your resume in Word format?"

A notable experience I've never had with a recruiter? Getting a job via one.

Why do they always want a Word version of your resume? When I was last looking and got contacted, I'd just point them to my online resume. It seemed to drive them crazy. Why? They still could've copied-and-pasted it into a new Word doc, and saved it off. Or was it about me not specifically sending it to them? As if that constituted an implicit contract or something, or my consent that they submit my resume all over town? The problem with that is, they're not going to position just you for the job, they're going to position the person who they think they have the best chance of placing. But if you then want to take a shot at getting an interview for the job yourself, it seems like if the company received your resume from a recruiter, then they cannot deal with you directly. So you're effectively screwed out of that potential job.

The bottom line is, I'm not really clued in to the rules of the game when playing with recruiters, and they sure don't seem to want to reveal anything about it, so I can only assume there's a lot that's not in my best interest.

Re:Beware of this (1)

CrankyOldBastard (945508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699162)

Why do they always want a Word version of your resume? When I was last looking and got contacted, I'd just point them to my online resume. It seemed to drive them crazy. Why? They still could've copied-and-pasted it into a new Word doc, and saved it off. Or was it about me not specifically sending it to them? As if that constituted an implicit contract or something, or my consent that they submit my resume all over town?

I asked this question of a recuitment firm once, and I was told it was because they have some funky VBA macros that do sorting, categorisation and job matching.

This might explain why I get offers from them as a DBM when my qualifications are as a mathematician, an ecological modeller at that. It seems that if you have "wierd" qualifications, but a high GPA (seven in my case) you just get all the DBA jobs.

Now although a DBA might make OK $$$, I could imagine nothing worse as a job as far as I'm concerned. The fact that they can read my CV, with all the awards, prizes, scholrships etc in it for Mathematics yet just offer me DBA jobs suggests that they never read the things, they just believe the results of their matching software.

Re:Beware of this (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700117)

As another math major (well, engineering and math double major), I think it's fair to say that the backbone of databases is mathematics. One could argue you that the same sort of brain capacity that allows math types to think about sets and logic is very related to coaxing data out of a database. But, yea, it's probably a fluke you get all those DBA offers ;-)

How I got my job (2, Interesting)

Mabonus (185893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698002)

Well, I saw a posting on Craigslist, so I replied. Monday I went in for an interview and personally I thought I was waaaaay too wooden and not likely to get the job. They had me take a skills test in PHP (but couldn't decide if PHP Programming or PHP Scripting was the correct test). Either way, my test results were good, and they said that they'd try to get me an interview with the client on Friday. Friday comes, and I get a call from them. Turns out they just wanted me to start on Monday. I still work there to this day.

And that, is my experience with recruiters.

Re:How I got my job (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698255)

So, did your experience with the recruitment process match with your current impression of the company?

Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698007)

As we are a consultancy, we need good communicators as well as techies and raising the company profile may be an added bonus.

You could try identifying good people in on-line discussion forums, Usenet groups, etc. There you can immediately gauge not only a person's technical knowledge, but their ability to convey it in writing.

How you then approach them is a different question, of course. For example, I do post to various technical Usenet groups, and I've always assumed that's where the headhunters found me one day. Personally, I was mildly flattered, and I did sent them a polite reply declining their offer (since I had no interest in moving to where the job was based). However, I can imagine that others might not be so charitable about unsolicited e-mails these days.

You could always try leaking the name of your company later in this story. You're not short of geeks who know their stuff around here, so all you have to do is get rid of the 95% who can't right too safe they're lifes, and your problem's solved. :o)

Re:Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698288)

you can immediately gauge not only a person's technical knowledge, but their ability to convey it in writing.

Except that in these days most smart people refrain from leaving a trail back to themselves. Having just left one job where I received 700 spam emails a day (thank god for good filter software) any advice I offer online is untracable for most ordinary folks.

You're not short of geeks who know their stuff around here, so all you have to do is get rid of the 95% who can't right too safe they're lifes, and your problem's solved

You could leak a link to a page that offered a quick test to do the filtering for you, the number of people who think they are experts because they can install linux is pretty high around here. Check out this numbskull, who refers to himself as Linux God [linuxgod.net] , in reality he a communist nutjob in the backwater of MS.

Re:Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698868)

...who refers to himself as Linux God, in reality he a communist nutjob...

You must be new here. Those are the same exact things.

Re:Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (1)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699101)

Linux God certainly looks like a real plonker.

Re:Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699413)

You're not short of geeks who know their stuff around here, so all you have to do is get rid of the 95% who can't right too safe they're lifes, and your problem's solved. :o)

Hahaha. Good one!

Re:Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (2, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700373)

Why did you not bold "too safe they're"?
Just curious...
-nB

Re:Look at on-line forums, Usenet, and so on? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700433)

It's a shame you can't mod posts (-1, Ironic)... :o)

"Alternative"? To what? (3, Insightful)

dlefavor (725930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698009)

Everybody with a brain knows (or should know) that the best jobs and the best employees are brought together by word of mouth.

If that's alternative, so be it. Get in front of actual people. Go to social events. Attend symposia. Lift a glass or two. Get to know individuals as human beings. Watch them when they are interacting with others - not just you. Don't talk to people you might want to hire with a desk in between you.

Let people get to know you. Be accessible.

Get out there, for catssakes! What's keeping you? What the hell are you asking us for? Go! If you don't have a network already, you're behind. If you have one but it's not actively working for you, you're behind.

Just a guess here, but I think you're behind.

Word of mouth (2, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698184)

Problem is, the "word of mouth" pool is finite. You only really get a superior candidate pool with at most two degrees of separation - you either hire someone you know, or someone recommended by someone you know. Go further apart and the social mechanisms that makes the method work (personal trust and obligations) fall apart, and you're no better off than advertising in a trade publication.

And you only know so many people in the business - and they only know so many - that the pool of competent and available candidates isn't large. You can fill one or two positions at a time by word of mouth, but if you're looking for a dozen people it's no longer any better than other ways.

Re:"Alternative"? To what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698647)

Lift a glass or two.

Know any good developer pickup lines?

Re:"Alternative"? To what? (2, Funny)

mikaelhg (47691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698894)

Know any good developer pickup lines?

Is your resume padded, or are you just happy to see me?

Re:"Alternative"? To what? (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698689)

Get to know individuals as human beings.

That's real good advice, especially when not 3 sentences later you're telling him to use them as if they were some crass job-hunting mechanism. Get to know them, pretend to be friends, so you can use them. Haha.

Re:"Alternative"? To what? (1)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699127)

Word of mouth? Mumumumaybe.

My current job started as a contract and has morphed into a Real Job (TM), ie, holidays, sick days, superannuation. The first time I applied for it I still had my date of birth (1950) in my resume, and didn't even talk to the pimp. The second time it was advertised, I sent in a resume which didn't tell them how old I am, and I got an interview. I got there about 30 minutes late (caught in traffic - in Adelaide for fucksake! We don't have traffic problems here as a rule) and immediately said to the two interviewers, "You'll have to excuse me if I'm a bit dopey, I've just spent the last 12 hours driving a taxi." The interview went OK, but I wasn't hugely confident. Later that day (or maybe early the next day) I'd had a sleep and was back in the taxi in town, and I saw a few people waving goodbye to each other. One of them kept waving, so I thought "Beauty! A job." This bloke opens the door, and says, "Gidday, Dave." One of the blokes who'd interviewed me that morning ...

It's one of the best places I've ever worked.

locality (3, Interesting)

aetherspoon (72997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698015)

Host a job fair at a university that is close to your company's main location. Not only would you provide experience to a host of university nearly-grads, but you'll be able to scope out the creme of a specific university's crop. Finally, you can also provide benefits and generally increase the educational level of that university through other means, which will net you higher quality employees already localized to the area.

Throw a party (0, Offtopic)

ZenFu (692407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698020)

Throw a party with an IMAX version of the Matrix. Offer free beer and food in exchange for a resume. Advertise on Slashdot and Dr Dobbs.

That should do it.

IQ test + programming abilities test (4, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698082)

In a company where I was recruited, they had an IQ test and a programming test (SQL + general algorithms).

The project manager (who was a senior programmer) was the one who interviewed me.
This was very personalized, and the whole recruitment process made me feel appreciated and worthy. This isn't something many companies give.

Re:IQ test + programming abilities test (4, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698294)

In a company where I was recruited, they had an IQ test and a programming test (SQL + general algorithms).

I had one of those companies try to recruit me about a decade ago. I wasn't looking for a job, but decided to check it out just out of curiousity. My interview was with the senior manager and one of the division directors. At the end of the interview, I was informed that I needed to take an "aptitude test." I couldn't believe it. They'd called me, not the other way around. They were recruiting me because of my skills, training, and experience - and they want me to take an aptitude test?! I turned down the job.

I could see doing this with a new person, right out of college or without experience. If you're recruiting experienced people, all you're going to do is antagonize them - particularly if you spring that requirement on them at the interview.

To the original question, about what you can do to leave a good impression with the unsuccessful candidates, I'll give the following tips:

1. Let them know they didn't get the job.

2. Tell them in a timely fashion. At the very least give them a time frame in which to expect your decision.

3. Let them know why (in a nice fashion) you decided not to hire them, and (if possible) what they could do to make themselves more attractive to your company in the future.

I've been on both sides of the desk - as an applicant, and as the one doing the hiring. One thing I made a decision was to try to never do the things that drove me nuts as an applicant, when I was the one doing the hiring. For the most part, I succeeded.

Re:IQ test + programming abilities test (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699183)

I could not agree with this more. I have always hated it when I'm ignored and unfortunately it happens a lot.

Re:IQ test + programming abilities test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14699750)

At the end of the interview, I was informed that I needed to take an "aptitude test." I couldn't believe it. They'd called me, not the other way around. They were recruiting me because of my skills, training, and experience - and they want me to take an aptitude test?! I turned down the job.

Personally I don't think that an aptitude test is insulting. I've come across far too many "big shots" who seems to know everything, but is rather poor when it comes to doing the actual stuff they should do.

A guy I know who tend to do interviewing do perform the aptitude-test "in-interview" in a quite skillfull manner. He asks various questions, tells things the company works with - and suddenly doesn't remember something, letting the interviewee help him out.

He also asks some "How would you solve a problem such as: " in a nice manner?

It's ridiculous how many people that tries to give the impression that they know how - but doesn't give anything that _resembles_ a good answer.

I've seen other companies, that doesn't perform any aptitude test in the interview - but just try to 'feel out' whether the person would 'fit into' the company .. well, they hire great people that fits in completely socially - but who are complete disasters when it comes to producing results.

ask slashdot! (1)

bagofcrap (260283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698113)

In all honestly, an "ask slashdot" is one way for 'unusual recruiting'. I'm sure I'm not the only the only one who thought at some point "ooh, where do you work, cos now I /know/ you're hiring, and at least one person there reads /. ..." So exactly do you guys do? 'High level IT consulting' sounds like a lot more fun than, say, help-desking, or the reformat-reinstall grind that I hear goes on. So reply with an email/website and prepare to get inundated w/ cv's. And ask yourself if this follows: 'if he's checking /. on a saturday night, and most people check /. while at work...'

But seriously, you're asking quite a few things. My real question for you is do you know who you're looking for? Do you know what you want? What're the ambitions of said hiring drive? If you're trying to have rejected candidates leave with a good impression, sorry, but thats just how it is (Some people even hate Google). But bring recruiters/promoters in-house to the PR dept, and use them together to raise the company's profile.

Uh... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698142)

How do you make even rejected candidates leave with a positive impression?
 
Are you fucking retarded?

IT Recruiters Are Worthless (2, Informative)

Dracos (107777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698183)

Of all the recruiters I've dealt with (at least 20), not one has even gotten me an interview.

Being a web developer who actually knows (X)HTML, I was once hung up on by a recruiter when I told her I don't use Dreamweaver. A year later, I start seeing job postings where DW experience is a disadvantage.

But, a recruiter is sometimes only as useful as the requirements they get. 10 years of .NET experience? 15 years of J2EE? The list of absurd requirements goes on and on.

As for one alternative, post on Cragslist [craigslist.net] in your area. Monster and Dice are becoming less and less useful as time goes on.

Re:IT Recruiters Are Worthless (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698251)

I think you are overlooking the fact that you may NOT be what people wanted -- at least at the time you were applying. Remember that many jobs are filled by PHBs. They hear Dreamweaver is the standard, so they want people who know that. They don't care if you know HTML, or can wave a wand and magically create a web page in a flash (pun only half intended). All they care about is that they are following a standard so they have some control over what's going on. That way, if you leave, they can easily replace you. They may need you, but they don't want to depend on you. As you pointed out, it was a year later you saw ads saying DW was a disadvantage (I wonder how that was worded?). Maybe you were ahead of the curve, and as all the FOSS people on /. can tell you, most PHBs don't want that. They don't understand it and it threatens them.

If they were smart enough that these things were an issue, you wouldn't see the requirements you mention, including ones like 5 years experience with Windows Server 2003 or 5 years with Java 1.5 (sorry, I just can't bring myself to call version 1.5 something like version 5).

Re:IT Recruiters Are Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698380)

"They hear Dreamweaver is the standard, so they want people who know that."

As someone that hires, I sometimes make these sorts of mistakes. And sometimes I make them the other way as well.

For instance, I've always looked at Dreamweaver and other editors as cheating -- I make my developers use Notepad / Textedit / VI -- what ever system they are comfortable with. And recently taking a class that is centered around web standards (trying to get my css skills up to date -- I use it, but not to the extent I SHOULD be...work pays for classes and I get time off for any time spent in class -- so why not) -- I was asked to demonstrate something and I was fumbling around trying to find the f'n CODE window so that I could get to the HTML. My prof thought I was nuts -- he claimed no one did HTML like this any more.

So I struck off the mental list of not hiring guys that are Dreamweaver junkies and bought a few copies for my office (and it was kinda nice as my security guy was able to do some quick web changes after that in the 10 minutes a week that he isn't having to deal with all the Microsoft crap thats forced upon us).

But as an occasional PHB (that has to report to other PHBs -- most of us are hands on PHBs so we cain't be too dumb) its good to have a list of standards because we expect everyone to train each other and if there are a hundred technologies that could be used and everyone uses something different, there is going to be very little cross pollination (not everyone in the tech industry are geeks that like to know technologies for the sake of it -- I'll learn something just because I need to, but I work with a few killer programmers that have no interest in technology once they leave the office).

Anywhooo....

Re:IT Recruiters Are Worthless (1)

wk633 (442820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698436)

Reminds me of a Dice ad that wanted "UML Experience using Visio".

Kind of like asking for a poet who can use Word.

Re:IT Recruiters Are Worthless (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699597)

I've had pretty good experience, landing 4 jobs over the last 13 years by posting at Careerbuilder (formerly Headhunter.net), and having a recruiter pick it up from there and match me up with a position. They key is getting someone who can effectively advocate where there isn't a 100% match with requirements.

Interestingly, my new job (6 months) was obtained through a recruiter who, frankly, worried me when we met for the first time, for breakfast right before I went for an onsite interview. He commisserated with me on what it's like to be an IT guru (he supposedly does website design), saying that "most people look at the code and just drop their jaw, but for me, it's like the Matrix, you know? It's like I just look at it understand what's going on in there while everybody else is just confused..."

I could hardly keep from busting a gut, but in the end I went on to have a good interview at the employer and landed a great new job. Amusing anecdote aside, the key is a recruiter who sees and can pitch the benefits of a match where the requirements don't exactly line up.

I hate recruiters... (1)

LeddRokkenstud (945664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698194)

They always bother me, set down a book and say "This is what we offer in the Marines/Army/Navy." NO

Do not use Word (4, Insightful)

KPU (118762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698202)

If you're looking to hire good Computer Science people, make all your emails plaintext. For more fancy formatting, use HTML forms and PDF. Many companies do not realize that UNIX sysadmin applications should not be Word attachments.

Re:Do not use Word (4, Funny)

maw (25860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700247)

Why do you think Unix sysadmins are good computer science people?

Make fun events, contests, (emp/applicant) mixers (3, Interesting)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698259)

You've asked a bunch of questions here... good ones... Alternative means of hiring: Monster still has some effectiveness, although it is no longer an alternative means. You get lots of bulk that way, but there are many gems in that particular stream. Perhaps you could team with folks like Monster to come up with some neat ideas.

A good alternative would be to hold a contest of some sort. Let potential job applicants put together solutions, write software to solve a simple, fixed problem. Give the most successful applicants some incentives (other than just a job): perhaps some small cash prizes; something interesting like a nice gadget; perhaps some interesting prestige like a listing in some neat place on a web page or a brochure.

How might you leave rejected candidates leave with a positive impression: First and foremost, make decisions in a fairly quick period of time. Don't leave folks hanging out there for long periods. Also, tell the rejected applicants what it was that was good about the applicant. Perhaps let the person know on what they could work to make themselves more attractive to the type of position for which they applied (in other words, help them in their future employment quests).

Hiring communicative technical people is a special challenge: It is generally better to hire someone who has experience, and a great attitude and excellent human communications - even if they don't have all the super-duper "on-paper" skills for which you might be looking. Exciting ways to be interviewed and recruited: Throw a celebration focused on your company, bring your most fun and interesting people to the party, then invite lots of possible applicants. Mix it up with the folks, have some free poker games (not money gambling, just plain chips with door prizes, etc.), no booze, just great snacks, good music, and lots of chairs and tables where people can sit down and pitch the company or pitch themselves as applicants. Make it fun, advertise it in key places in the country. Don't be afraid to fly extremely interesting candidates out to your party...

Every nickel you spend on getting face-time with applicants is well spent... make lots of fun and interesting ways to attract applicants to your meetings...

Re:Make fun events, contests, (emp/applicant) mixe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14700146)

Yeah, most of the time leaving a positive impression just means spending a little bit more time on the rejected applicants instead of immediately dropping them once you've decided you aren't going to hire them. Very short sighted but almost everyone does just that. Getting feedback and personalized attention after the no hire decision can't help but leave people with the impression that you are interested in them and wish them well.

Granted most HR people will complain they just don't have the time to do that sort of thing, but being better than the rest rarely is a time saver. If you hire very few people then maybe not worth it, but for companies that will hire fair numbers the benfits will be worth the extra time, in positive word of mouth and also in applicants who may return later on.

Re:Make fun events, contests, (emp/applicant) mixe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14700303)

Hiring communicative technical people is a special challenge: It is generally better to hire someone who has experience, and a great attitude and excellent human communications-

in other words, dont hire this guy- http://www.theregister.co.uk/odds/bofh/ [theregister.co.uk]

Forget tests or interviews, ... (2, Informative)

aralin (107264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698271)

I would suggest to forget tests or interviews when trying to find a real talent. Just talk to some real talented people you know. My experience is that these who are really good at their job are much better to recognize others who are as good or better. Especially male employees will keep a list of people that are surpasing them in some aspect. Its just the way their brains are wired.

So talk to them and you will get suggestions, if you find really talented people, don't try to embarass yourself with tests and interviews. Talk to people they worked with, talk to them casually and talk to their references, you get much better picture and comming with offer because you know this is the right person, without resorting to tests and tricky questions on interviews, leaves a lot of positive impression.

If my employer had the smarts to come up to me and ask, I could name easily ten people who could each replace 2-3 average employees I meet with at my company. Of course, most of them already have a job and would need some incentive to come on board or relocate, but its alwasy worth it to employ one exceptional worker rather than five average. And they often get the same amount work done. Often its cheaper even if you'd pay them double salary, which you probably won't.

Freaky (-1, Flamebait)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698279)

My girlfriend can't take them seriously since she heard her recruiter on a local talk show admitting that she used to own and use a vibrator before she had her son. (I'm not trolling, she really did hear her recruiter admit to that in front of a whole Northern Virginia radio audience)

Re:Freaky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698324)

can't take them seriously since she heard her recruiter on a local talk show admitting that she used to own and use a vibrator

Horror! Her recruiter failed her chaste expectations, I bet she felt real unclean having spoken to someone who enjoyed sex. I bet your girlfreinds a great lay, and by that I mean I bet she'll lie there stiff as a board grinding her teeth just as soon as you marry her.

If you want to really freak her out, let her know a bunch of people on Slashdot know she has a vagina.

Re:Freaky (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698701)

So, your girlfriend dismisses the thousands of people in an entire profession, because one of them talked about having a wank on a radio show?

That's a bit of broad brush there, isn't it?

-jcr

Re:Freaky (1)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699155)

Let's face it, most of us have interfered with ourselves, although most of us would also not care to discuss it in front of a large audience ... D'oh!

Re:Freaky (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699243)


(I'm not trolling, she really did hear her recruiter admit to that in front of a whole Northern Virginia radio audience)


Umm.. wow. I guess I'll never be visiting northern Virginia if someone admiting vibrator use is so shocking that you might consider it a "troll". Try to get out more buddy, there's more to life than extreme religious beliefs.

Re:Freaky (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700099)

It's the man, not the region. We're good people here in the DC metro area. Don't let one non-representative repressed freak ruin it for you.

Re:Freaky (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14700285)

Fair enough. I thought perhaps the bible belt extended into northern Virginia. Good to hear that I'm wrong.

Contests, pie, ducks and restaurants. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698391)

I've seen multi stage contests (which are a form of extended interview). If the input and output for the programs is well defined then testing could be partly automated. At the very least it'd generate a contact list of some unemployed candidates. The one I saw was advertised at UoW, so you could do it on the cheap if you just hit nearby campuses.

Other less successful methods included;

one company gave out slices of pie for a resume (UoW C&D)

another, in the middle of the night, dropped a bunch of rubber ducks in the stairwells of the MC building @ UoW. That was somehow linked to getting their profile raised.

I've always struck out at job fairs, but holding one at a restaurant is a recent variation I've seen.

Recruiting experiences... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698401)

I was at an interview with the now defunct Excite@Home in Australia, after being sent by a recruiter, and they wanted personality. I didn't know what to say. I just changed the subject back to technical stuff and asked if they wanted someone who could do the stuff. Apparently they didn't. They wanted a converted warehouse full of wankers. If you want to hire the best, you have to quit the bullshit. Our bullshit radars can bleep from half-way across the planet, so be prepared to be honest and drop the marketing.

At another recruiter, they pulled me into an office, hushly, hushly, and asked how they could get around the firewall blocking hotmail. Within 10 secs I had hotmail up on their monitors. Wow, they said. I was a hacker! I had long hair and a beard, so I must have been one of them, right? ;) (Dang. I should have collected a fifty dollar note from them all first. ;)

Another recruiter a year earlier: me, 19 years old and offered $90,000 a year? Shit, yeah! So off I go. No pay for 7 weeks, while working 12 hours a day and 6 days a week. They left me in a youth hostel scrounging for food. I left some child porn on their system as a last "fuck you" before casually walking out. I hope the leaving of the IT manager, who was campaigning and chest-beating about kiddie pr0n at the time, "left" because of that.

What else. Oh yeah. If you want to hire the best, here's a few tips: big salaries, fewer working hours, quiet work spaces (or telecommute if possible), no PHBs breathing down one's neck, and no office politics. Leave them alone.

Complete and total Liars (2, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698451)

I half to admit that they always got me an interview, and always got me a job, but the few times I've had a chance to see the info they presented to my prospective employer - I wouldn't have even recoginized that it was talking about me. What was even funnier is that I would get the job thinking that I am doomed when they find out about all the bullshit that was spoonfed to them, but instead they're impressed - cause I guess they were expecting bullshit, but then actually got some substance instead. Go figure?

Ask people (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698467)


Ask people, people who may be happy with their jobs currently, who they think the best people are. Agressively recruit these people yourselves. Considering how much of a cut a recruiter usually takes, you can get talented people yourself for what you were going to pay. Plus you get people that you know can work with others.

Never hire based soley upon qualifications. Always get people recommended by good people. You have a much better chance of getting someone great. Worst case, you get someone competent that everyone likes to work with.

How to leave positive impression... (3, Insightful)

LABarr (14341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698596)

Start by treating candidates with the same respect you'd like to be treated with. Sounds so simple but surpisingly very few recruiters actually do this...

I interviewed with a company called HopOne located in Seattle the day after Thanksgiving last year. I thought the interview went really well and I was both excited about the position and confident I had nailed the interview. I was told they would let me know their decision by the following Friday. To this day I have yet to hear a single word from them reagrding the position despite several follow up e-mails and phone calls. They have totally ignored me and couldn't even muster the common decency to let me know anything one way or the other regarding the position. That should be an excellent example of what not do do if you wish to leave a psoitive impression. My impression of HopOne has been severaly tainted and I can't say I recommend them in any sort of a positive way. I also hope that in some way instant karma pays back all of the principles involved.

I also interviewed with a recruiter once who told me, "I love your credentials, and if none the 3 candidates I've currently got interviewing for this position today pan out, I'll be happy to submit your resume." (This was after insisting that I drive 50 miles each way that very day to rush to interview with him as soon as posible. It turned out it was just so he'd be ready to send someone else right away if needed.)

My point with both of the above examples is that I am fine with not being the one selected for a job I have interviewed for. Simply let me know that you've gone with someone else and show me a little respect during the process.

Showing just a little common decency and respect doesn't seem to be asking for very much...

Re:How to leave positive impression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14700219)

Agreed. I had the exact same experience at NetNation, a Vancouver hosting/colo company. The interviews all went very well, except for two things:

  1. The managers who did the third interview were ten minutes late, and blamed it on a late lunch. Hey, I'm on time...why aren't you?
  2. After the interviews were over, I got one voicemail message leaving no number and saying they'd call back. That was two weeks ago, and I haven't heard from them since.

For various reasons, I'm not sure if this was the right job for me right now, so I might not have taken it. But after this behaviour, NetNation is way down on the list of any potential employers.

how to leave a positive impression (2, Informative)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698796)

Personally when I apply for a job I want to know whether my CV was received (this can be done with automatic email confirmation), and how many days I will have to wait until I have an answer. Then, after this period has elapsed, I want to know whether my application was accepted or rejected, and, if possible, the reason. For example: "Your application was accepted because you meet all requirements and you know good XML, please come for an interview and get ready to answer some programming questions about PHP and XML" or "your application was rejected because you do not have the necessary prior experience at another company" or even "your application was rejected because your CV was too long" (so, in that case, I can send a shorter CV). Before I apply I also want to know the exact geographical location where I will work and, if possible, the salary. Additionally, I want to know the privacy policy of the company and how long my CV will be archived, as well as whether and how I can update my CV in the company's database (if it has one). I believe that the best way to recruit talented people is not to ask for specific degrees or professional experience, but to put a programming problem of medium difficulty on the vacancy ad and request all CVs to include a solution to the problem. Remember: The best way to keep people happy is to treat them as human beings, not like machines. By the way, here [karastathis.org] is my professional webpage.

Re:how to leave a positive impression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14698967)

Totally offtopic but... After looking at your professional webpage, there is no way I would hire you, the color scheme was so offputting I didn't want to stick around long enough to read through it. I noticed that you offer your services as a web page designer, but if your site is any indication of your skills...

Incentives (3, Insightful)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698893)

The thing that always worked for my fellow IT friends is the tangible offer of mad loot and crazy benefits.

my list... (4, Interesting)

sewagemaster (466124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14698990)

ok, here's a list based on my experience with them during interviews and career fairs - and feedback from people i know.

Intel - they give noctoriously hard questions, with 3 rounds of interviews. but there were simple interviews where they only asked about course projects and not too much textbook material in too much depth. in the latter case, there was only 1 interview round before the candidate was hired.

Xilinx - phone screen - basic textbook material. onsite: presentation. multiple full day interviews based on in depth textbook material. the onsite was probably 20 times more difficult. Interviews were disorganized. They had a list of questions that they go through and some of them were repeated from one interviewer to the next. This was in the valley and some of the people seemed to have attitude and ego problems, and didn't like to listen to your answer when are multiple solutions to the interview question. The group looked like zombies, probably from all the overtime shifts.

Analog Devices - the campus onsite interviews are a complete waste of time. they're basically for PR purposes whether they're planning on hiring or not for the year. Questions they ask are generally simple, but I hear onsite interviews are always challenging. Recruiters at the career fairs are always excellent and informative. Company slide presentations are always disorganized - but we were engineering students - who really cares anyway ;)

Teradyne - Campus onsite interviews are usually given by aluminus of the university. I have a theory that their company is sending these folks for interviewing is because these are the ones that have nothing else better to do at work - i.e., they can afford to send the non productive ones for these events... At the career fair, almost all of the recruiters think you don't know anything about the field and go through the whole process explaning everything. Perhaps it's their strategy - holding up a queue at their booth so it looks like they're generating a lot of popularity and interest! Some of them don't even know what they're talking about after working there for a couple of years.

NVidia - this one's the worst. They used to show up at the career fair and flat out refused people's CV right at the spot if their GPA is below 3.5. They would ask up front and basically tell you to buzz off if you "don't have what it takes". I know of someone who worked there as an intern and he basically had to go through their insane work hours. Oh, what happens to the ones that get past that absurd GPA screening? They sit you down at the back of the booth, and basically ask you technical problems which would take up to over an hour.

Synopsys - Very reasonable interviews. They ask really good questions and are not there to find out what you don't know, but what you do, and to really see what you're capable of. They're interested in seeing your thought process and would give you slight nudges in the right direction to see whether you catch on.

Anyway, my current job was found through monster. I had my interview, signed the offer and began work just within 9 day of submitting my application online. I'll not name the company here, but interview process was very reasonable, (see Synopsys - very similar). Very humane people and you had a sense of the great people you would be working with if hired. After graduating, it took me 3 months of job search before I found the job.

Amazing work environment - but that'll be for another time and a different story :)

Recruiters (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699056)

I've always felt that if I've had a decent chance, then a refusal is acceptable. The worst thing for me is to be rejected out of hand with little or no consideration.

Actually, no - the worst thing is not to hear anything. I find it rude when I spend a lot of time putting together an application (tailoring CV/resume) and I don't even get a rejection email.

Beware agencies. In addition to an article on recruiters [goingware.com] that shows some of their less salubrious side, I've personally never been impressed with them. For example, in my current work (HCI/usability), I have a PhD and private consultancy experience), I cannot even get a reply from them; this applies even to specialist agencies. I'm not sure why but my guess is that their customers want MSc's and the agency is damned if they'll accept anything more. They seem to promise a lot but deliver with little. Some job adverts have unrealistic requirements - these often have little real knowledge of the job and know only buzz-words. Avoid them.

But if you can identify your needs, there is no reason that you cannot search for people yourself. Yeah, it's a long process but you know your requirements better than anyone else does. People working on FOSS have their work on public display. Find projects (and thus workers) that you admire and get in touch. Even if nobody wants the job, the offer is tremendously flattering and they may be able to recommend someone else with the skills.

I guess my point is that if you want people to do a specific job, make sure you talk to people who will understand what you needs are. Talk to techies, not to recruitment folks.

Start with an AskSlashdot (1)

Scott Swezey (678347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699212)

Seriously, you could even post something like: "I work in a Small, high end IT cOnsultancy. We are currently on a large recruitmMnt drivE and our targets are very ambitious. We arE looking into alternative, original and cost-effective ways of hiring talented people. Google's Billboard ad comeS to mInd. As we are a consultancy, we need good communicators as well as techies and raising the company profile may be an aDded bOnus. WhaT is the Slashdot COMmunity'S experience with aLternAtive recruitment methodS? Were you Hired in an exciting or interesting way? How do you make even reJected candidates leave with a pOsitive impression? (Read Between the lines)"

And no, this isn't a troll post, ReAd BeTwEen ThE lInEs iF yOu MiSsEd WhErE i SaId ThAt.

Other than that, a carefully crafted mix of something google billboard like with a local college might work out well, especially if you at least hint to what you do and where you are located.

And for my final thought, with all things, you get what you pay for, so put in the time or plan to put up the bucks. And no going to a recruiter isn't an alternative, original or cost-effective way to find good people, IMHO.

My contracts come through carter-jones.biz (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699262)

I recently started contracting, and I was looking for a setup that doesn't just shop meat but actually tries to find something that suits me + prospective client. Maybe I got lucky, but I ran into a startup that is currently now represented in London, UK, India (not quite sure where) and has a presence in Switzerland they're not yet ready to use yet (takes a bit longer if you want to do it right, apparently).

What I like about them is that they actually really listen to what you want. Maybe that will change over the years as volume increases, but it's nice to find someone who doesn't subsequently waste your (and employers') time with giving you unsuitable positions and presenting unsuitable CVs to prospective clients - it's IMHO a win-win because these guys get listened to. And they also manage payroll so I just have to turn up at work, do the job and hand in timesheets - no more paper hassle (yes! ;-). Moreover, I took the trouble to see what their future plans look like (because I don't want to change every job) and I think this club is here to stay..

So, I'm happy to plug them, but their website is presently embarrasing - when I complained (because I have referred some friends to them already) I was told that's being improved in the next few weeks because they're changing designer (rightly so, any designer who puts an 'under construction' sign anywhere on a site ought to be hit with a clue bat - repeatedly).

They're called Carter Jones (there's an 'Associates' in the name as well somewhere, but that appears to have been dropped), at www.carter-jones.biz.

Large fat disclaimer: this worked for *me*. No guarantee it works for you, if you prefer someone who just shops you in volume these guys might not be right for you. I appreciate that for some jobs volume shopping is more effective, but I'm in a more mature market which requires experienced specialists and I'm happy with them ;-). They allow me to focus on doing interesting work instead of fighting paperwork ;-).

Re:My contracts come through carter-jones.biz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14699839)

Bah, .biz addresses are just for losers who can't get .com addresses. Sounds fishy.

Nearly worthless (1)

Ratbert42 (452340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699507)

I've found recruiters to be nearly worthless, from both sides. They keep trying to cram square pegs in round holes, trying to make a match.

At work, I think we've used 2 different recruiters to bring people in. We'd get a stack of 5 resumes at a time and could immediately throw out at least 4 of them because they didn't match what we asked for. Then we'd get callbacks from the recruiter asking why we weren't interviewing these people and what we were looking for. I mean, we'd ask for a C++ unix person with 3 to 10 years experience and we'd get someone that's done Java for the past 5 years but had a C++ class in college. Or we got a guy in that had 30+ years of experience, mostly COBOL on mainframes, but he'd been doing C++ on Windows for the past 6 months. Worthless. Well, almost worthless. We probably went through 40 resumes and interviewed 7 people. We contracted three for six months and eventually hired just one of the three. The funny thing about the one is that we just knew within 5 minutes of talking to him that he'd work out. He was the only one we all felt strongly about hiring. No amount of tech checking or testing made a difference.

From the looking for a job side, I watched my office-mate use a recruiter for more than 6 months. Constant calls and emails like "would this be a good fit?". Um no, I'm looking for a local .Net job for over $70k. This is a VB6 job for $48k and it's 200 miles away. It'd be one thing if they just wanted to clear up your requirements, but it was a constant barrage of openings that shouldn't make sense to a human. It was like they were just automated keyword matchers.

I still vote for what's worked best for us (and me). Networking. Everyone you know should know that you're looking for people. Not just the techies either. I can practically talk to anyone I know about needing a developer and they can name someone. They might not personally know anything about development, but they can tell me "Pete's brother is a developer and he's looking". Hey, I know Pete's brother, but I didn't know he was a developer. Etc. The same with looking for a job. "Oh you're looking for a job? I think Bob Loblaw needs a IT manager."

Recommendations (2, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699557)

Here are my recommendations:

Be honest. If you aren't, it will show in everything you say and and you will get applications from dishonest people, who will make your life miserable.

Be trustworthy. If you say or imply you will do something, do it. People who are analytical enough to do well in a technically demanding job are analytical enough to be aware if you are mentioning one thing but doing another.

Of course, being trustworthy is one aspect of being honest. However, so many companies have difficulty with creating trust that it deserves to be mentioned separately.

Look for people who communicate well. Every job requires interaction with other people. If you find someone who isn't good at communicating, you have found someone who fundamentally doesn't like working with other people. Such a person drives up costs in ways that are difficult to measure.

Advertise on Slashdot. Many very smart people read Slashdot. When someone replies to your ad, ask for their Slashdot ID. That and a Slashdot subscription will give you access to all their comments. A good way to judge the maturity of a candidate is to see how he or she communicates in casual circumstances like a Slashdot discussion.

Seek a reputation for being warm and friendly, and deserve it. If you have a good reputation, eventually your ad budget can be cut to one-tenth of what it was when you were beginning, because people will hear about you from friends.

Be charitable. Try to give every applicant something valuable in return for applying. Useful feedback is a excellent gift. Even a well-written discussion of the job market on your web site is a gift.

Remember, many of the candidates who didn't quite have what you needed this year will have had growthful experiences and will be excellent candidates in future years.

Don't waste anyone's time. Make sure your business processes are efficient.

Mostly bad experiences (1)

theinfobox (188897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699623)

I have dealt with recruiters many times. The part I hate most is that they don't seem to listen and aren't usually that technical. For example, you tell them you don't want any contract that involves much travel, yet they will still call you about contracts that require 50% travel. I've also had recruiters ask if I know Visual Basic Scripting. When I reply that I am pretty good with VBScript, I had one guy say, "Sorry, they are really looking for Visual Basic Scripting."

The final straw was my last dealings with a recruiter. It was a 6 month contract-to-hire job with Apex Systems. They told me a $10K salary range for when I went full time. However, when my 6 months was up, I found out through the real company that Apex Systems had overstated the salary range by $10K. Luckily for me, I had a job offer from a different company that same week for the original salary I was looking for. Now I will never deal with Apex Systems again.

To be honest though, I have had a couple of good meetings with recruiters. The difference was that they were usually small time recruitment firms and they didn't lie. They also had a real interest in placing me in the RIGHT job. I said I didn't want a travel job, so they didn't call me about travel jobs.

Blogs, Extracurriculars, and Grad Students (1)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14699736)

First, how do you define cost effective? Is it just minimizing waste costs, or trying to recruit on a small budget? There are smart ways of recruiting and there are cheap ways, and it's fine to spend money if the recruiting is done in a smart way.

The most powerful thing to do is to make your company attractive to prospective employees. This is, unfortunately, something difficult for a recruiter to control. You can make the company look bad, but it's hard to make it look better than it is. Because you are on a recruiting drive, the business can't be all that bad, so that's +1 already for the company.

If you're looking for good communicators and techies, the internet is probably a good place to start. If they post on a blog, you can already get an idea about their ability to communicate by writing. They'll also list their interests and possibly a resume, which makes things easy for you. Google's Blog search might be a good place to start--I can't say I've ever been contacted by this means, but if I were, it would indicate immediately that Company X is personally interested in me (regardless of whether or not I get a job offer).

Another thing to try is use events where your hiring base might exist. I recall distinctly when I was on a solar car race, and a solar cell manager from a national lab walked around visiting with teams, handing out his business card with the express invitation "feel free to contact me when you start looking for a place to work". He knew that the best and brightest would work on their stuff even if they weren't paid to--and I have yet to meet anyone on a university solar car team that was paid to do their job. Indeed, often such work resulted in a slight detriment to their grades in unrelated courses. Regardless, I kept that card in my wallet for two years until I began looking for a job, and when it came time, I pulled out my card and contacted him. I knew he really wanted good employees, and he knew that I cared enough to keep his business card (and remembered to actually use it).

Another possible method: contact university professors. This is especially useful if you want to hire graduate students. Find a professor who teaches a relevant subject, and see if there's any way you canc work with them. If there are enough graduate students around, give a presentation about who you are and what you do. Maybe even fund some research at the university. When the graduate students finally graduate, they'll probably know whether or not they want to continue working for you, and you'll know if you want them to work for you.

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