January 2008

I know someone who recently applied for a job in a recruiting agency and learned quite a bit about their working methods. As it turns out a recruiter at that agency has to handle in parallel 14-16 cases – positions that they have to fill for the agency’s clients – and there is no industry specialization. So, one might have to find three accountants, two C# developers, one scrum masters and three floor cleaners – and five other people from other, completely unrelated fields. With this number of cases to handle and lack of focus on a given industry the recruiters they have can’t be good, even if they wanted to. It becomes a number game, hence retorting to database handling and everything really that can make the process faster. Hence I was not surprised when I’ve learned that on top of all that the recruiters at that agency were required to strictly follow company’s procedures.

And this is not a small agency, they employ some 60 people and have been recently acquired by an investment fund (who, btw, requires them to be more profitable – read increase the load of cases on recruiters).

This corroborates what I was long suspecting and explains why no recruitment agency I’ve worked with was able to deliver really good programmers, IT managers, routing specialists and the like. First – the best rarely ever look for a job or read ads in newspapers. You have to go after them and fish them out of the universities, this or that language users group etc. And you have to know that a typical geek is a completely different type of fellow than a sleek marketing graduate looking for a job. I bet fishing out good accounting & finance talent is equally hard and in this day and age requires much more effort than just shuffling CVs around as they flow in.

Somehow this – and most other recruitment agencies – don’t get it. Why? Well, because the truth is most jobs – especially many corporate jobs – don’t require exceptional talent and outstanding skills. Filling the seats with half-decent people is a success already so anyone who can deliver them in numbers has a business. That’s why I expect also this agency to grow along, congratulating themselves they do the right thing – and still missing the point completely.

Here is the first presentation about our work methods.

I feel it is still a bit too long – people these days expect more punch in less time, my conversational style is suitable for lectures put probably not for that. I already have another one prepared – I just need to record it and share.

The last year was quite successful – I’ve managed to change my development team into Code Sprinters and we did some interesting projects. We also have some ideas of our own that we work on – and here comes the challenge: how to sell a really great idea to a larger company without being ripped-off.

That’s what I’m thinking on when I’m not talking to clients and preparing a series of webcasts about our work methods.