Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Programming

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hounded By Recruiters, Coders Put Themselves Up For Auction

Comments Filter:
  • I get hit hard every day due to some of the esoteric terms in my resume (I'm a Windows OS/apps rollout and migration specialist), and end up having the primary tier of recruiters contact me first, then a week or two later the second (larger) tier hit me with the exact same job. The worst aspects of it are the recruiters ignoring my geographic/telecommuting preferences and wanting me to constantly "network" for someone to fill their positions. It becomes discouraging to waste so much time filtering the same exact irrelevant positions over and over. - HEX
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:35PM (#42022341)

    "Not enough qualified applicants" my ass.

    Too many qualified applicants, but not enough talented candidates. That is the real problem.

    Anyone who has worked in Software can tell you that, the top 5% of engineers are often many times (3x-10x) as productive as the bottom 50%. There is no shortage of Qualified Candidates (people who have experience in the job), only a shortage of the top 5% of engineers (people who would do well in ANY software job). When employers say talented this is what they mean. Unfortunately most people identify themselves in the top 5% and don't realize they aren't.

    My basic problem is I work in one of the least attractive positions at a very attractive company. The only way I get top 5% talent is through risk management of college recruits who I think will work out to be the new top 5%.

  • by A bsd fool (2667567) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @06:49PM (#42022411)

    You've taken a rather myopic view of the situation, wouldn't you say? There's plenty of blame to go around, and at the end of the day, it all comes down to two simple factors: capitalism at work, and the fact that there are no perfectly rational actors on either side.

    Lets look at some of what you've put forward from an employers perspective.

    1. You can't staff experts unless you're willing to pay expert rates.

    Oh yes you can, in an economy like this one, unemployment what it is. You're selling your labor, and it's a buyers market.

    2. Finding (and keeping) good employees is the single most important part of maintaining and growing a business

    Wrong. This is something that the labor force at large would really like to be true, and it's as big a fallacy as the "They don't dare fire me, I'm an irreplaceable cog / this place would fall apart without me" attitude. Minimizing employee turnover enhances efficiency and profit margin, but it's not the "single most important" factor by a long shot. The single most important factor is that you can convince your market that they need or want your product or service. Just as important is that you can provide that product or service at a price they're willing to pay for it without taking a loss. Everything else is tertiary and simply a matter of efficiency and margins.

    3. you're only going to get desperate people, not those who are capable

    See point 1. In this economy there are plenty of people who are BOTH desperate and capable. The two states are not mutually exclusive. There is a simple three dimensional map you can mentally construct here. On the X axis, plot how your skills match up with the position. On the Y axis, your income if you take the job. On the Z axis, how much effort you're willing to put forward to get the job..

    You must come to an agreement with the company in terms of the X and Y, but the Z is entirely up to you. Not responding to recruiters because they are emailing you blindly from a outsourced Indian firm is entirely a Z axis phenomenon. I won't make a value judgement on the wisdom of making that choice, because it's personal, and depends heavily on your current position on the Y axis -- if you're out of work and might end up homeless soon, it's a stupid idea. If you're comfortably employed and the Y axis bump wouldn't be much, then telling them to get stuffed (as I, too, often do) is not an irresponsible move on your part.

    This is all partly practical, and partly playing devils advocate to someone who seems a bit heavy on the sanctimonious side. If the competent people you know are getting "stonewalled" there are simple reasons why, and almost all of them boil down to one thing: disagreements about this persons value to the company. Maybe the person is overvaluing their own skills or capabilities, or maybe they aren't doing a good job of demonstrating them to the employer. The only alternative is that the company doesn't need to hire someone right now, and are just testing the waters to see what kind of candidates are available. Several years ago I went on an interview and was told point blank about an hour in that they weren't *actually* looking to hire for another 6 months to a year. I was furious with them for wasting my time, but kept my temper in check and departed without burning any bridges. This has only happened to me once though, in almost 20 years in the field.

  • by c0l0 (826165) * on Sunday November 18, 2012 @07:13PM (#42022537) Homepage

    A Google recruiter (from Google Ireland) contacted me a few months ago due to having found my personal website (which is in German, but transported the important information nevertheless, it seems - and yeah, he definitely HAD read my resume. That said, noone cared much about what I did or did not do with my current job, noone asked me to quit it before starting the interviewing process or anything downright crazy like that.), and asked if I was willing to do a phone interview. Sure thing, I said, and after passing the first interview, I did two longer follow-ups on the phone, and finally one just recently on site in Dublin (Google was nice enough to pay for the trip and accommodation, and Dublin is a very nice place that I had always wanted to visit anyway), and last Friday, I've been offered a very attractive position in their Site Reliability Engineering team due to all of this - so I do have first-hand experience with all stages of Google's interviewing process.

    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: Most of the software you can get away with running at a small- to medium-sized IT shop, despite any glaring and maybe-no-so-glaring inefficiencies, will fall apart at the scale Google would need to have it work at, so they'll implement something on their own and run that to do that job. Read the GFS paper for one such (albeit a bit dated) example. That's where all that "bachelor's level computer science stuff", a nuisance that apparently, in the eyes of some, only inhabitants of ivory towers should be allowed to care about, comes in again. So I think it's perfectly reasonable and in their best interest to test for that kind of knowledge and skills in their interviewing process.

  • Re:RTFA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @07:17PM (#42022563)

    Yes, this is not actually a Forbes article. Forbes lets anyone publish a "blog", which many spammers and scammers use to make their crap look legitimate. Same deal with Examiner.com articles.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @07:39PM (#42022671)
    No, I run across recruiting companies that get "exclusive" contracts with companies, then try to get jobs for their favorites. One of the larger recruiting companies in this area splits up their areas and the recruiter for my area got mad at me for passing up a poor fit, and wouldn't submit me to any other jobs, and many that sue recruiters use them because they don't have their own internal recruiters, so there is no way to apply without going through a recruiter. I've been blocked from applying more by recruiters than submitted to a job by a recruiter. And when I finally did find what I was looking for, it was direct, and I didn't deal with a recruiter, even though I did see the same job listed with recruiters, I'd already seen it direct.

    They'll deliberately lie in the advertisement to hide who it's for as much as possible and make it so that if you were reading their ad and one for the same job from a competing recruitment firm, you wouldn't know it was the same job, so they can waste as much time of yours as possible to prevent you from applying any other way, even if they end up not submitting your application.
  • by pavera (320634) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @07:46PM (#42022713) Homepage Journal

    So, these companies are really bidding an average of $350-$500k/yr for developers in these auctions?

    And isn't your "4 years at google and a *Standford* CS degree" just the same arbitrary requirement as a recruiter that thinks "rails" is a form of transportation?

    I have 15 years of software development experience, have run 2 startups (one as CEO, one as CTO), and been a team lead or senior engineer on multiple projects at both startups and established companies. I have extensive experience with C, C++, Java, Python, PHP, Perl, Javascript, SQL, and lots more... And, I'd be just as excluded by you because my CS degree is from the University of Utah, and I haven't worked at Google as I would be by the recruiter who's never written a line of code and doesn't know that someone with my background can learn Ruby and be proficient in a week or 2 at most.

    I also went to sign up on DeveloperAuction, and was disappointed that you give so much weight/prominence to github projects. I have many side projects, but not of the public nature, and I chose not to pay someone to host my source code privately when I can do that just fine myself thank you. (What self respecting software developer doesn't have 4-5 servers in their basement to host/play with personal projects?)

  • Simple skill (Score:4, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Sunday November 18, 2012 @08:59PM (#42023177) Homepage

    I'm surprised at the number of people who don't know the skill of dealing with telemarketers on the telephone: "I'm not interested"

    Dealing with recruiters is similar and simple: "I currently make $X, and would consider a change for a 30% increase."

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @09:22PM (#42023307)

    "Not enough qualified applicants" my ass.

    Too many qualified applicants, but not enough talented candidates. That is the real problem.

    Anyone who has worked in Software can tell you that, the top 5% of engineers are often many times (3x-10x) as productive as the bottom 50%. There is no shortage of Qualified Candidates (people who have experience in the job), only a shortage of the top 5% of engineers (people who would do well in ANY software job). When employers say talented this is what they mean. Unfortunately most people identify themselves in the top 5% and don't realize they aren't.

    My basic problem is I work in one of the least attractive positions at a very attractive company. The only way I get top 5% talent is through risk management of college recruits who I think will work out to be the new top 5%.

    I don't really agree with your 5% / 50% breakdown, but we could quibble all day on where to draw the line between talented and ordinary workers. (The world is not JUST programmers.) The point I want to make is that if you're hiring, you can try all you want to get the best candidates to fill each position, but no matter how hard you try, business in general ends up with about the same mix of unusually productive workers and average to below average workers. If you're getting a little better than an average workforce for your industry, you're doing well. If you manage to get a stable of mostly high performers, you're doing extraordinarily well.

    You won't change the equation by hiring H1-B foreign workers either. They're a similar mix of top performers and worker bees and you will still end up hiring your share of people who look good on paper and interview well but don't do that great on the job. All you've done is expanded your already-large pool of possible hires and made your choices more difficult.

    The bottom line is to get as good as you're probably going to get, you need about ten resumes of people who look good on paper and sound plausible on the phone. You pass those on to the hiring manager, who manager narrows this down to a group of 3 or 4 who almost certainly could do the job and you interview only those people. The one who seems most competent (if he or she's not personally objectionable) is good enough because the real bottom line is you can never be sure how good they really are until they're on the job.

    Forget "finding talent" and "only hirig the best." You will always hire some who don't meet your standards. So what? You either train them to be efficient workers despite their shortcomings of you fire them and move on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:46AM (#42024415)

    I stopped working with recruiters entirely. They are useless middlemen, and I'm not shy about telling them so.

    Any company that hires exclusively through recruiters is likely to be dysfunctional anyway. Stop wasting your time and only speak to people who work for the company with the job opening.

  • by 19061969 (939279) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:54AM (#42025307)

    This.

    I was at an interview just last week for a position at a large UK telecoms company. The salary was probably 45th percentile for the country, and I was told with a straight face that I had to prove I was the "world's best of the world's best".

    For the first time in my life, I actually walked out of an interview. I'm quite good at my job and get shit done well with everyone happy. I might (or might not) be world class but I don't know because I've not had the opportunities to work at the large trendy tech companies; but this condescension is only allowed if they're paying a truly awesome salary.

    If they're paying shite wages and the manager is a twat, they will never be world's best of world's best, no matter how much they want to be.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

Working...