8 Simple Rules for Recruitment Agencies

Most of you who work in the world of software development are used to being contacted out of the blue by recruitment agencies.

I used to run a recruitment programme for a solutions provider, so I have dealt with agencies as a recruiter and as a job-seeker. Some are very good at what they do, others need some guidance as to how to behave. All are just people trying to get on in life. As a recruiter, I changed the way agencies dealt with me so that they had to work harder per candidate, but resulting in better filtering, so a higher success rate.

Most agencies, in my experience, rely too much on keyword searches and mailshots (or the on-line equivalent). As a result, they often target the wrong people, irritating candidates (by making them feel there is a chance of work when really there is none) and recruiters (by sending them CVs that have little relation to the job specifications).

So with apologies to William Bruce Cameron, here are my 8 Simple Rules for Recruitment Agencies:

  1. Don’t contact me unless you are already armed with a job description. I am fairly clever, so I know that when you don’t have a job description it is either because the job doesn’t exist and you are fishing for CVs (resumés) or you are not actually working on behalf of the client.
  2. Don’t contact me based on a keyword search. Actually read my CV or my LinkedIn profile. You’ll get paid a nice sum of money if I get hired, so earn it.
  3. Don’t send my CV to your customer without having studied it first and matched it against the “mandatory skills” in the job description. Your customer expects you to earn your fee. In return, your customer will like doing business with someone as professional as you.
  4. Learn what the words “mandatory” and “must” mean. If I don’t have all the mandatory skills you list in your job description, I will discount myself from the hiring process as soon as you contact me, so make sure they really are “mandatory” and not just “ideal”.
  5. Don’t contact me about a fictitious job just to get hold of my CV. I’m pretty intelligent and I know when you are faking it. If you just want my CV for your files, try asking for it.
  6. Don’t contact me about a job and then not reply to my reply.
  7. On LinkedIn groups, don’t fill the “Discussions” tab with job adverts. There is a “Jobs” tab for that purpose. Doing this makes you look lazy and unprofessional. Why would I want to do business with someone like that?
  8. When advertising a job online, mention the location in the headline (or even anywhere in the advert). Not everyone lives where you live, believe it or not.

You are business professionals, not pimps (despite what we freelancers might call you when you are out of earshot). Behave accordingly and freelancers and recruiters will recommend you to each other.

I guess there is really a ninth rule, which is that unless you can adhere to the eight rules listed above, don’t even contact me. I’m not that desperate for work.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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