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Headhunters that won't tell you the companies name

Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
What do you think of headhunters, job agencies? I'd racther talk to a company I could work for directly then through an agency first, or a headhunter. One less thing about these agencies is that do not tell you the company name before their first interview. So how can I decide whether or not I would like to apply somewhere, if I do not know what and who that somewhere is. But worse is when you apply for a job, send in your resume, and you hear nothing from them. Until a few months later, when they try to talk you into another job, you have not applied for and are not interested in.

Hence if it was up to me, I'd never talk to a job agency, but only directly with the company. But unfortunately, most companies are hiring these agencies. I think it even happens far more then say ten years ago, so I have to talk to recruiter agencies nowadays.
[ October 02, 2008: Message edited by: Marcel Wentink ]
Kalyan Anand
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Joined: Feb 07, 2007
Posts: 194
Up to sending your resume its ok. If they don't tell you even after you have sent your resume simply ignore that consultancy.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11256
    
  16

if the recruiter said "I have an opening at company XYZ", what would stop you from applying there directly, and cutting them out of the process? They can and do perform a service, and deserve to be compensated for their work.

I think a lot of companies use them now for at least two reasons:

1) the recruiters do a lot of filtering (theoretically). only qualified candidates should have their resumes sent through to the company, saving the company's time.

2) if the person works for the recruiting firm, it may save the company money in benefits and so forth.

How do you decide if you should apply? i'd say if the job sounds interesting, apply. Think of the interview as YOU interviewing the COMPANY as much as them interviewing you. It really should be a two-way process. So apply, and if you find out that the company is not a good fit, you can always withdraw your application.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:
What do you think of headhunters, job agencies? I'd racther talk to a company I could work for directly then through an agency first, or a headhunter. One less thing about these agencies is that do not tell you the company name before their first interview. So how can I decide whether or not I would like to apply somewhere, if I do not know what and who that somewhere is. But worse is when you apply for a job, send in your resume, and you hear nothing from them. Until a few months later, when they try to talk you into another job, you have not applied for and are not interested in.


I fail to see the problem. Would you apply to a company based simply on the name of the firm? Of course not, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

The only reason you need a name is to learn more about the company--the role, the culture, the line of business, etc. However, the recruiter can give you much of that information, at least a sufficient level for a first interview, and you can make a decision based on that information. In fact, a good recruiter should know you and know the company and know if it's a fit for your personally and not just because key words match. Bad recruiters simply match up laundry lists of skills.

As for applying for a job and not hearing anything back, that's not a big issue, you simply don't work with that recruiter again.

--Mark
Jimmy Clark
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Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
It is best to deal with human resources staff directly. Technical recruiters are like car salesman. Some have good work ethics and some are treacherous. So, it is a risk and gamble to spend time with them.

Many technical recruiters might have did a little programming when they were in high schoool or college, but were not really good at it. Or, they had a job as a programmer and couldn't make the grades. So, with these types, they might have traces of envy and resentment when they have to deal with an excellent candidate. Like I mentioned, it is best to avoid them and look for HR staff only.
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:


However, the recruiter can give you much of that information




They are not a neutral source, they get paid for getting me into a job, they will tell only the positive things. And also if they are telling me this, I am already in their office. So, if I could have found out for myself, with the name, I would not like to work there, I am already wasting a free afternoon for nothing.

And if I would not do business with an agency that does not give a specific responce after you have sent your resume for a specific job, then at least half of them are off the list. Although already of my list they still call me.... About jobs I have never applied for.

Ok, to be honest, and I do want to stay nice, but I think most people working in a job agency are useless. I from my side fail to see their use for me. I'd much rather apply directly to the company I will be working for.
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

They are not a neutral source, they get paid for getting me into a job, they will tell only the positive things.


As opposed to a company website or during the interview when the company tells you all their dark secrets? Or as opposed to websites where people complain about companies where comments are predominantly negative?

By that logic you can't talk to the salesman in the showroom because they aren't a neutral source either--they get paid for making the sale.

All sources have a bias, the trick is to recognize this and discount appropriately.



Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

And also if they are telling me this, I am already in their office. So, if I could have found out for myself, with the name, I would not like to work there, I am already wasting a free afternoon for nothing.


Well that's your choice. Most recruiters in the US work by phone, or at least do initial contact by phone. There are some who want to meet with me in person, but I don't meet with them unless I know it's worth my time. As you recognize,t hey are selling you something. If someone called me and said "Mark, I know you're looking to buy a home, I have one, come into my office and I'll show you" I'd reply "send me info on the house and if it meets my needs I'll come meet you."


Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

And if I would not do business with an agency that does not give a specific responce after you have sent your resume for a specific job, then at least half of them are off the list. Although already of my list they still call me.... About jobs I have never applied for.


I ignore more than half the companies that email me. Just yesterday I got an email for a tech support role for $15/hr. If they bothered to read my resume they never would have contacted me. Why would I want to ever work with a company like that? They don't respect my time or put any effort into it. I'm better off not wasting my time with companies like that and ignore all future emails.


Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

Ok, to be honest, and I do want to stay nice, but I think most people working in a job agency are useless. I from my side fail to see their use for me. I'd much rather apply directly to the company I will be working for.


If you look at my posts on this topic in other threads you'll see I agree that most are useless--although there are some good exceptions if you can find them. The use to you for the good ones is they provide jobs. In an ideal world the right candidate would find the right job opening, but that doesn't always happen automatically and they help improve the process.

Of course you'd much rather apply directly, you become 25% more expensive (in the US at least) when you go through a recruiter.

Ultimately you can choose whether or not to work with them. Personally, I keep about 10 out of the 200 some who have contacted me who I continue to work with.

--Mark
angela mishaal
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2008
Posts: 1
I tried D.C. Executive Solutions. It is an executive headhunting firm in Leesburg, VA and they are great!
Theodore Casser
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Joined: Mar 14, 2001
Posts: 1902

I think the danger with some of what I'm reading in this thread is the vast generalizations being made. Certainly, some recruiters aren't worth their salt and are doing things in odd ways, but there's always a few good apples in the bunch.

Now, I'm a little biased at the moment - I just recently landed a new job, thanks to a recruiter, and this is after I'd sworn off recruiters.

When I lost my job in 2001, I did try using recruiters, and ran into a whole slew of the "bad ones" - ones who kept me in the dark as long as they could about where my resume was going, and kept sending me out to interviews with companies that weren't a good fit for me. (I ended up finding a job on my own.) More recently... I hadn't even really started when one found me through my LinkedIn profile, and approached me in the right way - namely, being up front that he didn't know me, but found me through someone I do know, and that he was looking to see if I was interested in his putting my resume forward for a very specific opening. Now, he didn't tell me what company it was until a few days before the interview process began, but he was up front and proactive about the process. (I took the job, in the end.)

I don't know that I'd liken a recruiter to a car salesman. I'd liken them more to folks working at a pet shelter - the bad ones are just trying to clear the cages, while the good ones take the time to make sure that the pet and prospective owner match properly. It might not be the best analogy, but...


Theodore Jonathan Casser
SCJP/SCSNI/SCBCD/SCWCD/SCDJWS/SCMAD/SCEA/MCTS/MCPD... and so many more letters than you can shake a stick at!
Jimmy Clark
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Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Scenario:

Company is looking for experienced programmers with knowledge of various programming languages and methodologies. Salary: $95,000 USD

Company will pay 20% of salary to agency for finding the candidate.

The commission for the agency is $19,000 USD when the company hires the candidate.

That is a large sum of money for making a few phone calls and asking questions from the latest 1,000 Java Interview Questions by Billy Budd.

If you look at the numbers above and relate them to what is required, it is apparent why there are so many "poor" recruiters, globally. Even though, as mentioned, there are a few that do good work. However, the organizations that typically depend upon these agencies are problematic and unable to find the "Good" apples.

The "Good" apples will share the name of their client after a good conversation with you. If they don't, ... danger ahead, proceed with caution!
[ October 02, 2008: Message edited by: James Clark ]
arulk pillai
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Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Up to sending your resume its ok. If they don't tell you even after you have sent your resume simply ignore that consultancy.



It is not that simple, unless you can be represented by some other recruiter. From my experience, the reason behind this is that, at times some candidates get represented to the same company by more than one recruiter. Also, there is a competition between the recruiters. You might tell another recruiter where you had already been represented to, and that recruiter might contact the same company to put forward his/her own candidate. It is a competitive world out there.
[ October 02, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]

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Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Ultimately you can choose whether or not to work with them.


Mmm. Up so a certain level. But ten fifteen years ago, 10% of the jobs were offered through agencies, 90% by the companies HR department directly. Nowadays, here where I live then The Netherlands, the figures are turned around, 90% of the jobs are offered by agencies, 10% by companies. So if you choose not to work with them, you'd not be able to react on 90% of the job offers. Now that's a poor choice. So I'd just accept the agency as an extra hurdle for me to take.

And any idea why companies so much rely on job agencies these days? It was totally different 15 years ago.
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

Mmm. Up so a certain level. But ten fifteen years ago, 10% of the jobs were offered through agencies, 90% by the companies HR department directly. Nowadays, here where I live then The Netherlands, the figures are turned around, 90% of the jobs are offered by agencies, 10% by companies.


I don't believe that statistic to be true, can you cite a source for it?

--Mark
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:


I don't believe that statistic to be true, can you cite a source for it?

--Mark




No Mark, I have not done a survey on the exact numbers, it could also be 20-80 or 30-70. But I do think most jobs are offered through agencies these days in my area.
Edvins Reisons
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Joined: Dec 11, 2006
Posts: 364
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

And any idea why companies so much rely on job agencies these days? It was totally different 15 years ago.


Like the IT/IS of five years ago, some HR may be downsized to a point where they cannot do any meaningful recruitment themselves.
And some of those "downsized" HR employees may now have become independent recruiters.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

No Mark, I have not done a survey on the exact numbers, it could also be 20-80 or 30-70. But I do think most jobs are offered through agencies these days in my area.


I am skeptical of those numbers too. I think you are grossly over exaggerating and the situation is not at all how you describe it.

In the past 15 years a number of technologies have reduce the cost of hiring (e.g. job websites as opposed to newspapers, internal resume databases, job postings on corporate websites, faster communication allowing for better mining of networks).

--Mark
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
It's not an official survey, but from my personal experience: Fifteen years ago, when I came from Tec Uni, a job advertisement from an agency was a rare thing. Ok, then it was newspapers, not internet, and I had a different resume and market to aim for.

Now, I am explicitly trying to avoid them, and I have to do effort for that. From the jobs for me, although different jobs now, with experience, different media, internet, like 90% are from agencies. I have marked URL with jobsearch websites in which the agencies are not so frequent, I have browsed myself on the internet trying to find websites from companies and look in the 'work for us' page.

If you now go to a mainstream jobsearch website. Most are from agencies. But, sorry, I am not gonna count them for you to prove a point.
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:

If you now go to a mainstream jobsearch website. Most are from agencies. But, sorry, I am not gonna count them for you to prove a point.


My point is no one will believe you if you don't. I can simply claim the number is 10%, meaning I'm right and you're wrong--can you prove otherwise? Someone else can claim 20%, could he be right? Anyone can claim anything. Data is what backs up claims; without it, few people will accept it such claims.

--Mark
Edvins Reisons
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Joined: Dec 11, 2006
Posts: 364
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:



In the past 15 years a number of technologies have reduce the cost of hiring (e.g. job websites as opposed to newspapers, internal resume databases, job postings on corporate websites, faster communication allowing for better mining of networks).

--Mark


As I understand it, most of these costs are work (interviews, evaluation, verification�), and now more than before, there is a tendency to outsource this work.

And, while it is difficult to interpret the data on this question (where to draw the line between companies and agencies, with all those �service companies�?), my perception is that a significant majority (maybe even more than 90%) of announcements on the job boards are from agencies.
Jimmy Clark
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Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Organizations with strong senior management and efficient HR groups can easily find reliable candidates, in my opinion and experience. Moreover, than can do it cost effectively and with long-term results.

When you read a group of resumes where the candidates have a total of 6-10 years experience, but only one or two years with any single organization. This is typically the result of only dealing with recruiters. Technical recruiters are thinking mainly about their commission. Once they get it, that's it, they move on. No real consideration about either party, or if it was a good match in the long run. Only $$$ counts.

Instead of primarily searching "job web sites", I always suggest visiting web sites of companies you may be interested in working for. Note, this may take more time, but may be worth it if you can be patient and understand that things take time. There is an expense associated with posting ads on "job web sites." HR groups are better off posting job ads on their own Career web pages. The responses are typically better from candidates showing drive and a direct interest in their organization.
[ October 03, 2008: Message edited by: James Clark ]
Mark Herschberg
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Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Edvins Reisons:

As I understand it, most of these costs are work (interviews, evaluation, verification�), and now more than before, there is a tendency to outsource this work.


I don't quite follow what you mean. The effort of reaching out to people has been reduced as electronic communications have lowered costs. the cost of interviewing has not changed. Some claim tests--which have become easier to administer and therefore cheaper--make it easier, but I don't make such a claim. The cost of verification is also easier as it's easier to find and verify references, and the cost of a background check has certainly gotten cheaper and more thorough. I don't see any way the costs have gone up but I have seen them go down for the reasons I name.


Originally posted by Edvins Reisons:

And, while it is difficult to interpret the data on this question (where to draw the line between companies and agencies, with all those �service companies�?), my perception is that a significant majority (maybe even more than 90%) of announcements on the job boards are from agencies.


Let's assume for the moment that the percentage of postings from agencies has increased (certainly empirical checking on major job boards in the US reveal it's less than 90%, although I haven't checked in other locations). I won't concede this point but I will use it as an assumption for this particular argument. Very few companies (I don't know of any myself) who says, "let's give this opening exclusively to a recruiter, potentially paying them tens of thousands of dollars, but let's not spend a few hundred to post it on major job boards nor shall we post it for free on our own corporate website." So even if by percentage the number of jobs posted by agencies has increased that doesn't mean the percentage of jobs only available through agencies is anywhere near whatever level that may be.


--Mark
Henry Wong
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Posts: 18764
    
  40

It's not an official survey, but from my personal experience: Fifteen years ago, when I came from Tec Uni, a job advertisement from an agency was a rare thing. Ok, then it was newspapers, not internet, and I had a different resume and market to aim for.


In my opinion, a small sampling (especially one that is 15 years apart) is very difficult to draw conclusions from. For example, in my case...

20 years ago, when I was job searching, I had quite a few headhunters working for me, trying to get me a job. I actually don't remember how many interviews I went to. And most of them were not a fit.

A few years ago, when I job searched, I worked through one headhunter, who didn't send me anywhere. I had a few job interviews from friends, and most were actually closer fit than 20 years ago.


Now... what does that mean? I can say agencies are much rare now. That they have very little openings. And if you look for jobs on your own, you will find a much better match than agency.

But, the truth is probably closer to... Agencies probably work better for people with a few years of experience, instead of people with a few decades of experience. You probably have more friends in high places, have a reputation, have much more confidence, and can probably get a job with only a cursory interview.

As Mark stated, a small sampling is not very accurate. But I like to add that sampling based on a person, in points in their career, that is drastically different, is not very useful either.

Henry
[ October 03, 2008: Message edited by: Henry Wong ]

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Henry Wong
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  40

Now, back to the original topic... here is an interesting story. (okay, maybe not that interesting)...

A few years ago, a headhunter called to see if I "knew anybody" for the usual long laudry list of requirements. I said "sure", I would ask around, just give me the company details, department, etc.

The answer was no. All he can give is the "requirements", which he had done. My response? "ahh... who is doing whom a favor here?"...

Henry
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I appreciate that story and wished more people understood who is helping who.

I get a lot of calls from recruiters asking if I know anyone for a particular job. Some even offer token payment of $500 or $1000. Whenever someone sends me an email like that I simply reply that my fee is $10,000. If they say, "but we only pay X dollars" I remind them that they approached me to do business and if they want to work with me they do so on my terms. Thus far only one recruiter has accepted my terms, although I didn't have anyone for his particular roles.

--Mark
Edvins Reisons
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Joined: Dec 11, 2006
Posts: 364
There is a company that employs a few hundred people at its headquarters.
Its three HR staff manage the contracts, the remuneration and whatever else for those existing (and outgoing ) employees. For recruitment, they have a preferred, or maybe exclusive, agent.
So, unless one happens to know about them (with their rather low-profile presence in the town and no �Careers� on their website, this is not so likely), the only point of contact for job applications is one, also rather low-profile, agent.
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Edvins Reisons:
As I understand it, most of these costs are work (interviews, evaluation, verification�), and now more than before, there is a tendency to outsource this work.


Yes it's today's management fashion to outsource things that are not core business. Including recruitment, but also software development, for example. I cannot say I am happy with that.

But another question. Say I am more active in looking for a job, and by-pass the agency. Then I save my employer a lot of budget. Can I get some benifit from that? For example, if you have a lot of costs to pay off to your then former employer, your future employer could be more reluctant paying off your lease car contract and education costs to your former employer. Or giving you a possible education in your new job.

That would be a whole lot of benifit for browsing a few websites and looking at the 'work for us page'?
Jimmy Clark
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Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Yes it's today's management fashion to outsource things that are not core business.


This is a general statement and is misleading, in my opinion. What is described is one "type" of management style. However, there are many different types of management style. Many of them recognize the importance of strategic human capital management and do not "outsource" this critical business operation.

Organizations that do "outsource" recruitment functions typically have difficulty retaining talent in the long-term and suffer from a wide-range of "symptoms" related to large numbers of poorly skilled staff. Competitive organizations realize that the most important assett is "people" and finding and retaining strong individuals is "core business."
Mike Isano
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Joined: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 144
Head hunters are useless. These middlemen produce nothing of value and provide a service that has no value.

I guess a middleman has value if you just want to give up, throw your arms up in the air, and have someone find you a random job.


Start making cold calls people!!! Talk on the phone, then mail your resume to them. It's not that hard.
Ulf Dittmer
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Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41621
    
  55
Incorrect generalizations are useless, too.


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Edvins Reisons
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Originally posted by Mike Isano:

Start making cold calls people!!!


Suppose that you are targeting an area that contains 10 000 businesses.
You think that, according to your criteria, 100 of them may be worth a phone call.
How do you find these 100 out of 10 000?
Marcel Wentink
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Ulf Dittmer:
Incorrect generalizations are useless, too.


Correct ones are very usefull though.

No really, I think these agencies provide a service for smaller companies that do not have the asset nor expertise to find personel. But for you as a programmer they are just an extra hurdle. There not ten thousands of companies from which a hundred are interesting. There are like a few hundred from which a few dozen are interesting. You can easily find them yourself. For those applying for the job the agency hardly presents an extra service. Well only if you are too buzy to browse for an hour or two, then they provide a service. Not that much so.

Hence one time an agent said that he was 'offering me his services'. And I thought: 'What? Why do you think I need your service. You just are a "stand in the way" too me'.
[ October 07, 2008: Message edited by: Marcel Wentink ]
Edvins Reisons
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Posts: 364
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:


There not ten thousands of companies from which a hundred are interesting. There are like a few hundred from which a few dozen are interesting. You can easily find them yourself.


I see how one can work from a list of a few hundred companies, but where do you get this list and how complete is it? My Yellow Pages has at least 10 000 entries.
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Edvins Reisons:


I see how one can work from a list of a few hundred companies, but where do you get this list and how complete is it? My Yellow Pages has at least 10 000 entries.


Mine does not. Not at a limited travel distance from my home. A few hundred at the most. Ok my maximum travel distance is 16 km, or 10 miles if you will. I want to be able to bicycle to my workspot. And the list does not have to be complete, it should just have enough interesting items. Which it does.

Apart from that I just do not like the agents. Many have not got a clue what information science is, and reject you some times on something soft and vague like 'you did not have the right vibes' and 'I did not get a good feeling about you'.

Oh go work for your money!
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Originally posted by Ulf Dittmer:
Incorrect generalizations are useless, too.


Sorry to ask. I have observed that you always defend companies/HR/recruiters as though they don't make mistakes. It is only the candidate who is at fault.


Groovy
Ulf Dittmer
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Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41621
    
  55
Originally posted by Prad Dip:
I have observed that you always defend companies/HR/recruiters as though they don't make mistakes. It is only the candidate who is at fault.

I will defend who I think is being unfairly criticized. Since in this forum most of the criticism goes towards those people, naturally they will also be the ones being unfairly criticized most often. A statement like "head hunters are useless." is just silly in its generality, since it's quite obvious that many people find their services useful.

I have never said -or implied- that always or only the candidates are at fault; that is an incorrect generalization. Feel free to point out where you think I said something to that effect, and I will clarify what I meant.

Note, though, that most often people post here because they have had an unfortunate or unsatisfying experience with a company/HR dept./recruiter. Maybe you mistook my explaining the thinking of the other side for defending it? The way I see it is that quite a few people posting here do not have a whole lot of experience with the many facets of the recruitment process, or fail to understand that the interests of applicant and company are not 100% aligned.

But you're right insofar as I think that some of the people posting here are going about these job-related matters in a way that I would consider to be unprofessional, or at the least not likely to be successful and/or satisfying in the long term. A better understanding of the thinking of the "other side" would help with that.

And last but not least: So what? This is a discussion forum, not a "please confirm that what I did was right" forum. People here have different experiences that shaped their views; we can all learn from each other.
[ October 08, 2008: Message edited by: Ulf Dittmer ]
Mark Herschberg
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Posts: 6037
Well said Ulf.

--Mark
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Oh please! I can totally imagine that some people want to blow off a little steam here sometimes. Agents can be very arrogant and irritating. You study for years and years, and then they talk with you for half an hour, and then you can get rejected for something vague like 'I did not feel the good vibes with you'. And all your effort in your study for years is less important than 'mister agents vibes feelings' of course.
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
If you want to blow off steam go to Meaningless Drivel. This forum, as is true of most forums on this site, is designed to help people with meaningful questions, not for rants and raves. The problem is neophytes might not recognize a rant for what it is, and may actually take such comments seriously. That negatively impacts the value we offer to people who come to our site; consequently we discourage it.

--Mark
Edvins Reisons
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Posts: 364
Originally posted by Marcel Wentink:
you can get rejected for something vague like 'I did not feel the good vibes with you'.


Too bad that you cannot hear how the agent discusses you and your fellow applicants with their client company. I believe that on that side, the arguments are more rational.

The agent is feeling insecure about giving you the real reason, which may be questionable legally (age, for example) or just embarrassing (for example, they only have half the budget needed to hire you).
Marcel Wentink
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Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
Originally posted by Edvins Reisons:
The agent is feeling insecure about giving you the real reason, which may be questionable legally (age, for example) or just embarrassing (for example, they only have half the budget needed to hire you).


But I also think that undefinable aspects play a role. The interviewer and future employer likes someone or not: For having the same hobbies, for having a nice chat, or just having a pretty face. Body language, tone of voice. And I, well, I just really look like a nerd.

And this is then summed up as 'I have people knowlegde and concluded you did not have.... "the right vibes"'.
 
Consider Paul's rocket mass heater.
 
subject: Headhunters that won't tell you the companies name