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No skills shortage just poor recruitment practices

Discussion in 'News' started by wagnerk, Oct 25, 2007.

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  1. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator


    No skills shortage just poor recruitment practices

    An undesirable side effect of the buoyant market for IT staff appears to be that the largest employers of IT skills are artificially inflating rates and creating an environment where the best candidates are unable to access the best jobs.

    The primary reason a situation like this has been allowed to develop more or less unnoticed is due in no small part to the industry predilection towards blaming a 'skills shortage' for any fluctuation in the market.

    To read the whole article, see here.

    So, whose to blame? IMO, recruitment companies that go thru your CV with a check box sheet then send their candiate in, in order so that they get their commission :x

    Certifications: CITP, PGDip, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: MSc in Tech Management


    1. tripwire45
      I don't know if this applies, but I regularly get emails from national recruiting agencies who say I'm ideal for a job they've got based on my CV. Usually, the job is a temporary 3 to 6 month position thousands of miles from where I live. Also, just because I've got the word "SharePoint" on my CV, they are sending me referrals for high-level developer positions requiring quite a bit of programming experience (which appears nowhere on my CV). I agree with the "checkbox" theory.
    2. ffreeloader
      I would have to agree with this. Even with my resume I get recruiters wanting me go for positions that are very high level positions, positions that require 8-10 years of experience, and lots of time spent in very large environments. There's absolutely nothing in my resume that says I'm even partially qualified for these positions, but my resume must fit some type of checkbox list they have.

      I've responded to a couple of them and asked if they had something that was even remotely close to my current skill level as most of the job requirements showed the position they wanted me to apply for was way over my head. They didn't even bother replying.
    3. BosonMichael
      Most IT recruiters don't know what the heck is required for most positions... they just throw a bunch of employees at positions and positions at employees and waits to see what "sticks" so they can get their placement fee. They're often not at all familiar with technology... they're glorified sales reps, in most cases. There are exceptions... but they are few.
    4. onoski

      What he said, and very true too:biggrin
    5. Fergal1982
      This isnt unique to the IT industry really. I work in the Recruitment Sector (Just), and my other half is a kind of Recruitment/Resourcer. Apparently her company has a 'resource' centre, which is a large office filled with people who just look for candidates for jobs.

      These people are on bonus schemes (usually around £50 for a successful placement), and take the view that if they fling enough mud, some are going to stick. They are supposed to take the jobspec and search the DB for candidates that are suitable, then contact the Candidate and explain the position etc. If they are interested, the CVs are forwarded onto a recruiter for a final check, before being sent to the Client.

      My other half informs me that these guys spend 2 minutes doing the search (such as for 'Technical Assistant') and call anyone whos a hit. It doesnt matter that the person they are calling is in IT, and the job is for O&G. They dont ask the questions necessary to weed out those unsuitable, just make sure they are interested (and without asking the questions that tell you its not suitable, most are), then forward it on.

      This is also why you are often asked if you are interested and, after being put forward for the job, never hear about it again. Its usually because the recruiter in charge of the job has vetoed your CV because its just not suitable for the job.

      In short, its not the Recruiters that are your problem in most cases. Recruiters specialise quite often into sectors. They cant do those jobs, but they know whats required and what to ask the client to produce a good list of candidates. The problem is the resourcers.
    6. ffreeloader
      I'm not sure if you were posting this to me or not, but what you're talking about hasn't happened to me that I know of. I'm sent some of these crazy requests to apply for positions way over my head, and I contact the person sending me the request, tell them I'm not remotely qualified for that position, but tell them I'd be interested in hearing about jobs I am qualified for, and they just never get back to me. They don't even acknowledge that I contacted them. These are usually companies that specialize in IT recruitment too, as I do some research on the company before I contact them. I want to know if they are legit or not, before I respond.
    7. greenbrucelee
      I would also agree with the fact that recruitment agencies are just after commision and just place anyone anywhere if there tick sheet matches.

      I suppose it's like training providers, as long as they get some cash they are not bothered if they have signed someone to do a high level course when the person has no experience.

      Its a mixture of greed and not knowing the business properly imo.
    8. Fergal1982
      I have to disagree with that sentiment to be honest. Like I said before, its not usually the recruiters that are the problem. My other half, and the other person at her office (only 2 for an office designed for 14 right now :biggrin ) do nothing of the sort. More important than bums on seats is a good relationship with the Client. A happy client will keep sending work their way. Any recruiter worth their salt knows that that means MORE bonuses. Sending piles of shite at them is just going to make them unhappy and go elsewhere. So they have to filter the shite out to provide good quality candidates. And even more so because, in the unlikely event that someone utterly incapable gets into the job, then they are going to harbour even more bad feelings.

      Freddy, I can be fairly safe in betting that the people contacting you are resourcers. All they care about is the numbers, and the bonuses. If you arent interested in the job, they are unlikely to even waste their time responding... until, that is, they find another job to punt your way. If it takes 15 minutes to properly vet a candidate for a position, the resourcers try to get it done in 5. Plenty of time to move onto the next candidate. Their thinking is that, surely if they send enough of it to the client, one of them is bound to be good!

      And these people can't know the business as well as we do. In any industry (especially Oil & Gas), theres so much difference in even similar positions. All they can do is take the specifications listed by the client and try to find good matches. As they get more experienced, they begin to get a better understanding of who would be suitable for a given position. Most of the recruiters I have dealt with consistently in the past have specialised in IT, and know what kind of jobs would be suitable for my experience. Again, here the problem is the resourcers (who are often the ones that make initial contact to determine interest), they DONT know the industry, and they dont get to build that knowledge because they dont specialise.
    9. BosonMichael
      Unfortunately, Fergal, your other half and her co-worker are among the exceptions. :(

      They can know it well enough to correctly place candidates with positions appropriate for that candidate's skill level. But most don't take the time to do so... including ones who are supposedly "specialized in IT".
    10. onoski
      Whilst a lot of facts have been stated about recruiters and or human resources and the intricacies am still very much convinced that a lot of them are not professionals.

      Fergal, no disrespect to your other half but as Mike said this is an exception as I have dealt with too many in the past to factually come to a conclusion that they are just sales people.

      Ultimately they're trying to place anyone in a role regardless of whether the person is suitable for the role or not. Basically, if I had my way I would not apply for a job through an agency:(
    11. ffreeloader
      I won't color them all with the same brush. I have talked to some decent recruiters, and have had a small minority respond to my replies about being interested in a position for which my current skills are suitable. Most of them are not the ones who will contact you out of the blue by email alone though. I've found that the legit ones will at least call you before they email you, or drop an email and leave a message on the answering machine the same day so that they can do at least some type of personal vetting.
    12. onoski

      That is true but a very small minority.
    13. tripwire45
      It must depend on the recruiting agency. I've had very good results working with TEKSystems (except for the current situation where I'm still "on hold" after almost a month). They've worked closely with both me and their clients to provide the closest possible match between their needs and my skill sets. On the other hand, I just got this email which illustrates the opposite end of the spectrum:
      Have a look at my online CV and tell me if I sound like I'm even remotely qualified for this position:

    14. wagnerk
      Yes of course, all I'm waiting for is my commission now

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      Ticked all the checkboxes, good luck on your new career

    15. BosonMichael
      I had very bad results sending my resume to TEKSystems a few years ago. I had just gotten married, and I was tired of travelling every week, being away from my new wife. So I sent them my resume, and they called me back asking me what salary range I was looking for. I told him, and I also told him that I'd need to give two weeks' notice before leaving my current employer.

      The next day, he called me saying a client needed a "TCP/IP administrator"... whatever THAT is supposed to really mean... :rolleyes: ...for a pay rate equal my salary range minimum... and they needed me to start the following day. I thanked him, but told him that I was obligated to provide two weeks' notice before leaving my currently employer.

      The day after that, he called me saying that a client needed an Exchange administrator, for a pay rate equal to my salary range minimum, and they needed me to start the following day. I again reminded him that I should really give two weeks' notice before leaving my current employer.

      The very next day, he called me saying that a client needed a network administrator, for a pay rate equal to my salary minimum (see a trend here? :dry), and they needed me to start the following day. I had had enough... I asked him, "What part of 'two weeks' notice' do you not understand?" It would be different if he had "forgotten" months later... or weeks later... but this was four times within the span of a WEEK!

      I've had mixed results with other recruiters.

      I once answered a recruiter's ad for a Technical Writer position for a practice exam company. I applied for it, and was rejected; the recruiter said that he turned me town because I "didn't have an English degree, and the employer wanted candidates with English degrees" (which was not stated in the candidate requirements). Undaunted, I put two and two together and figured out which practice exam company was based in Nashville, and sent my resume directly to them. They interviewed me, and I got the job (and thus, my career as an IT certification exam writer was born).

      But I've once had good results with a recruiter. When I got tired of editing outsourced crap written by a company in India, I applied for a position through a recruiter. The recruiter saw my resume and felt I'd be a perfect fit for a Senior Network Administrator consultant position. I interviewed and got the job, because I *was* a good match for the position. Unfortunately, management or working conditions must have been horrible... everybody who I knew with that placement company had left within 4 months.

      A recruiter once called me to ask me if I would be interested in a CCIE-level job. I told her that I didn't have a CCIE. She asked me if I knew any, and I told her that I would pass along the information to those who might be qualified. When she told me what the pay was, and what the responsibilities were, the job didn't require a CCIE... nor would a CCIE work for those wages (nor would I have)... and I told her so. The job consisted of simple router configuration. I told her that she should look for an experienced CCNA or, at most, an experienced CCNP. She thought that because the job involved Cisco routers, that she should look for a CCIE. :rolleyes:
    16. BosonMichael
      ...and that's exactly what happens. Perfect illustration, Ken!
    17. Fergal1982
      Ironically, After sending my last post, I received an email from an Agency with a short-term vacancy in Lancashire (For the US bods, its a fair while away from Aberdeen). I've previously sent to the same named individual and email indicating that I was no longer available for placement, and to remove me from their list.

      Bet they must have been shitting it a little when they saw the following land in their inbox:
      Now, Im fairly sure that I could do just that, since there is no legal requirement for them to have my data, and I believe that the DPA permits me to demand its removal. However, even if it doesnt, its unlikely they will know. Hopefully its going to put the shits up them enough that, at the very least, I'll get a 'Do Not Contact' against my record. And, at the end of the day, thats all I want.

      Edit: Did I mention its a 5-week contract?
    18. Fergal1982
      Actually, just read the whole thing over. Gotta post this:

      I've bolded what I think is the best bits.
    19. dmarsh
      They are salespeople, they major in manipulation, they work for commission.

      I think Mikes got it about right, the recruiters are generally only motivated by money, most have no real interest in whats in either the candidate or the clients real interest. They are middlemen, they work the margins, this means talking you down, getting your minimum, pushing the client to place more people, harvesting CV's for client contacts, mining candidates for information on past clients or interviews to find other compaines recruiting.

      Manytimes they could perform a service, oftentimes they don't, generally there is very little value add, I've had agents offer to contact my past employers for me, as if this was a service, if I wanted to work for a previous employer I'd just give them a ring myself ! Why give 20-25% of your salary away ? Why not put some legwork in and work direct ?

      HR departements are largely responsible and have been in bed with the recruitment companies for years. What is a HR department for if they can't manage recruitment ? If the candidate and the client end up having to do all the work anyway what use are HR and recruiters in the process ?

      Unfortunately this is the way of the world, its how business is done so better learn to negotiate ! :biggrin

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