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Hounded By Recruiters, Coders Put Themselves Up For Auction 233

Posted by timothy
from the even-uncle-sam-wants-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When Pete London posted a resume on LinkedIn in December 2009, the JavaScript specialist stumbled into a trap of sorts. Shortly after creating a profile he received a message from a recruiter at Google. Just days later, another from Mozilla. Facebook reached out the next month and over the course of the next two years, nearly every big name in tech – attempt to lure him to a new employer. He received 530 messages in all, or one every 40 hours ... the only problem? Pete London didn't exist."
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Hounded By Recruiters, Coders Put Themselves Up For Auction

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  • by elliot.mackenzie (853463) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @05:47PM (#42022025) Homepage
    All recruiters say they don't don't do this, but they do. All of them. And they don't even bother to manage independent lists these days they just run groups on LinkedIn. I wouldn't mind so much if I had to pay a few hundred quid for the service, but if you do manage to find someone passable in the 642 CVs they send you, they'll charge you 10%-15% of their salaried rate for at least a year and often forever for contractors. I can search linkedin too, but it doesn't cost me $3000 a year when I find someone.
  • by loufoque (1400831) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:07PM (#42022157)

    That reminds me a recent exchange I had with Google. Some guy from Google contacted me on linkedin saying Google was interested in my profile.
    Since my profile is fairly atypical, I am a researcher, a technical consultant, a CEO of a tech start-up, an open-source enthusiast and member of several major standardization efforts, I was wondering what they had to offer.

    I gave the guy my number and he called me. It was apparent that he hadn't even read my resume, and when I explained it he didn't seem to understand what I was saying. He actually expected me to resign from my job, freshen up bachelor's level computer science stuff and then come for an interview. He wouldn't even tell me how much they'd be able to pay me; just that "you know, Google has the best, and everyone there is quite satisfied with their salary".

    If you're going to try hiring people randomly with keywords on linkedin, a good idea might be to check who you're pitching to.

  • RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:13PM (#42022179) Homepage
    I know this is Slasdot, but out of curiosity I took a moment to RTFA: the part quoted as the summary here is the only place in TFA that the phony profile's mentioned. The rest of it's nothing more than a puff piece for the head-hunting firm behind it. Yet Another Case where the "editors" didn't bother to check what they were accepting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:52PM (#42022433)

    Hey, Matt Mickiewicz here, co-founder of DeveloperAuction (which got mentioned in the Forbes article).

    I've been at the receiving end of this "recruitment spam" more times than I can count... staffing agencies haven't changed in 30 years... by having VC-funded start-ups put the offer before the interview we're trying to change the status quo. If you have 4 years at Google and a Stanford Computer Science Degree you shouldn't have to deal with a lowly recruitment sourcer who thinks "Rails" is a form of transportation :)

    First auction had $30m in job offers on 88 engineers, second auction generated $80m in job offers on 150 engineers. There's a huge need for something better in this space...

  • Re:Thumbs up! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:56PM (#42022457) Journal

    Blowing off mod points here, but damn... I had to agree with you.

    I've lost track of how many headhunters call me up, thinking that I'd just drop everything and move to Dallas, Little Rock, Boston, Virginia, Seattle, SanFran, LA, you-name-it. Oh, and I'm supposed to be there in two weeks. For a six month contract. The guy usually has a heavy Indian accent, and always promises that the salary is larger than what I make now.

    It tends to crumble when I demand that the agency fly me out on their dime, pay any and all relocation costs, and oh, yeah - get all its fees from the employer. It shuts them up in very short order.

    Don't get me wrong, there are good headhunters out there, but I usually stick with the ones who are local, and that I know of personally. Cold-callers have always led to disappointments, and I'm in no hurry to give them a second chance.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:57PM (#42022463)
    My wife is a recruiter, and when I was in college, I took a job as a used car salesman. Both jobs are full of liars. I quit selling cars, as the management was ordering me to lie. Even if I could sell the car telling the truth, they'd rather I lie to do so. For recruiting, the game is about numbers. My wife is now an internal recruiter (hiring people for high-turnover customer service jobs), but her experience with recruitment companies is that they do more to get in the way than to fill positions, to make sure they get their pay. They don't just hand off three good leads, but they hand off one and only one lead and coach the lead to help them get the job, even if that coaching is to explicitly hide weaknesses that might affect performance.

    I would consider both professions almost 100% filled with liars. The stereotype got there because it's true.
  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @08:19PM (#42022927) Journal

    It's a stereotype: Just like used-car salesmen, the majority of recruiters are helpful, knowledgeable and genuinely want to help..

    I'll agree with the helpful part. Of course they want to help. That's how they make their living. As for knowledgeable? Not so much. In my 20+ year IT career, I've met exactly two (out of dozens) recruiters who actually had some sort of clue beyond keyword recognition. Many of the interviews arranged for me by recruiters were a complete waste of everyone's time since they didn't understand the job spec or my resume.

    But that's not the real problem. The real problem is the *lying*. I've caught recruiters lying *to* me and I've caught recruiters lying *about* me.

    On the whole, recruiters make things *more* difficult for those seeking jobs and waste an enormous amount of hiring managers' time. I suppose it's possible that I was just unlucky that the dozens of recruiters I've dealt with are the "bad apples," but that's not so likely.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @09:31PM (#42023345) Homepage
    For Pete's sake, people! It's not "cut and paste"; it's "copy and paste"!! The two operations are not the same thing.

    You'd think a bunch of geeks would get it right.
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:11AM (#42024301) Homepage Journal

    Almost everything I had to do in the interviews involved stuff you're supposed to learn when studying Computer Science at a university that deserves its name, and I think that's a very good and reasonable thing. I've always been a fan of the "concepts, not implementations/products"-kind-of-education. I think that's especially important at Google - their infrastructure is so vast and powerful and unlike any other in the industry that the overwhelming majority of people who take a position there won't have seen anything even remotely like it in terms of scale, and they will probably find very little there that's overly "familiar" to them

    This is very true. Pretty much everything in Google's tech stack is homegrown. Most of it because there is (or was) nothing out there that was capable of doing the job. Some of it because it doesn't even occur to Google engineers to look. Google doesn't sneer at technologies not invented at Google... Google doesn't even notice them. :-)

    That's only part of the reason for the CS-heavy interview approach, though. I'm an interviewer at Google (though a relatively inexperienced one, at least in interviewing the Google way), and I'd say the real reason Google asks the sort of questions it does is because it's the only way the company has found to get a handle on what it really wants to find out about candidates: Problem-solving ability. Technical jobs at Google all require people who can think on their feet, who can quickly absorb the salient points of a problem, rapidly identify areas that need to be defined, then define, implement and analyze a solution. That ability could perhaps be tested with other sorts of problems, but CS provides a wealth of potential problems for discussion along with a well-defined common set of concepts and language which both interviewer and candidate are (or should be) intimately familiar with.

    Some experienced candidates (like loufoque, apparently), find it insulting to be asked questions a kid straight out of school should be able to answer. They want the interviewer to give due deference to the value of their experience. The problem with that is that experience can be fudged, and it is simply not true that you can judge a candidate's real experience by asking about their previous work. I've met many who can talk the talk with the best of them, but when you start asking them to solve problems on the spot their weaknesses start to become very apparent. I do admit that some people just struggle with the on-the-spot nature, and might be able to devise great solutions given time to go off and think, but such people wouldn't do well in Google's fast-paced technical culture anyway.

    But don't think this means Google doesn't value experience. It does, a lot, because of the judgment that comes with experience. But experience can easily be judged by reading the candidate's resume, so there's really no value in spending time in the interview trying to evaluate it.

    So, the interview focuses on evaluating ability and cultural fit. CS theory is a useful tool for evaluating the former, and it's not unrelated to the latter. Assuming the candidate does well in the interview, experience becomes relevant later in determining compensation and placement (Google doesn't generally hire for specific positions; Google hires good people, then figures out where to put them).

    One final caveat about Google's interviewing approach: It rejects a lot of good people, and everyone at Google knows it. It's broadly accepted among engineers at Google that virtually any one of us could be interviewed again and have maybe a 30% chance of being rejected. Maybe 50%.

    This is decidedly sub-optimal.

    The problem is that no one knows how to identify top talent accurately other than by hiring them and putting them to work for a few months. Doing exactly that is a big focus of Google's internship program -- it's one of the very best sources of good permanent hires -- but trial peri

  • Re-read the introductory line to TFSummary:

    An anonymous reader writes

    Now for those for whom English is a second language, AND native English speakers who have never learned to use the language properly, realize that the word "writes" can take either of two distinct meanings in this context:

    1. In both the context of written discussion as well as the more general context of broad English usage, "writes" means the same thing as the newer word "authors" means: "to write" or "to author" means to construct new sentences and paragraphs using alphanumeric characters.

    2. In the specific context of written discussion only-- not in the general case-- "writes" means to contribute a piece of text to the discussion. The origin of the text is not a part of the concept. The word "contributes" is an exact synonym and in formal writing (to use yet another definition of "write") it is probably always the better choice.

    But slashdot is not formal writing and because there are so many ESL participants, the use shorter words is better than polysylabic ones. Using "writes" as a synonym for "contributes" is the more appropriate choice. And in this sense, it says only that someone contributed some text, without implying that the text was an original creation.

    The summary is not plagiarism. This is most especially evident to anyone who goes from RTFS to RTFA and sees that TFS is a repetition.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:05AM (#42026869)
    LinkedIn has gone from being a semi useful way to keep track of colleagues to being a meat market. If you accept invites from agents you WILL be spammed without remorse from now until forever. At least that's my experience. It's best not to accept invites from agents at all and be careful about what groups you join too since I've had explicit spams identifying as a member of some group to justify the spiele that follows. I expect agents just see LinkedIn as cheaper than Monster.com andsimilar and LinkedIn has obliged them with tools which mine the data. That might be great for agents and LinkedIn but it makes me quite averse from using the service at all.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:20PM (#42027799) Journal

    I've found that many of the recruiters aren't real either. A high percentage originate offshore, have some obscure short-term contracting job a long way from your current position and want some kind of handling fee from you. It's this century's 419 scam.

    My adventure began when my company announced outsourcing a few years back. I ended up transferring to another group and staying on, but for about a year I explored all those annoying recruiter emails and cold calls. More than half of them did not sound real (for a lot of the same reasons a 419 scam doesn't sound real -- unlikely profits, terrible writing skills, difficult to understand on the phone, obviously no technical or recruiting skills) and it eventually came down to wanting a handling fee from me to process the job application. Now, maybe somewhere there are recruiters that operate this way, but my experience has been that legitimate recruiters charge the company, not the recruit. Buyer beware.

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