In my job hunt, I have had many frustrating experiences with recruiters who have no technical knowledge. I recently had a recruiter ask me several times if I knew how to code with frames. He asked me to re-send my resume and mention frames in it. I assured him that frames were an elementary aspect of HTML, and that my resume demonstrates expert knowledge of HTML. Never heard back, of course. Another ecruiter perused my resume over the phone, and said that it would help if my resume mentioned web development. My resume shows nothing but web development jobs during the past five years. Any tips on dealing with these mo-mo's?
My advice is...don't. (But you probably expected that.) Even with the recuiters I do use, I don't trust all thei abilities. Specifically, I think I'm a better negotiator then many of them, and I negotiate my compensation directly. Most recruiters have you go through them to set up the first interview. Much of the time, after I get the contact info of the company, I go directly to them and leave the recruiter out of most of the process. (Note: this does not mean the recuiters get excluded, rather, s/he gets the same money for doing less work.) Some recruiters don't react well to this. Maybe they don't like not being in control (I don't like not being in control of my own career!). Maybe they fear they will be cut out (i.e. they don't trust the people they are working with). Maybe they just realize how little they do offer, and start to question their value. My experience has been that the better and more experienced ones tend to have less of a problem with it. Can you imagine a car dealer who doesn't what a transmission is? The car dealer doens't need to have the skills and knowledge of an auto-mechanic, but he does need a basic level of understanding. Dealer: "Does the car come with pistons?" Mnfr: "Um, yes, see that line item called 'engine?'" Dealer: "Yes?" Mnfr: "Well, an engine contains the pistons." Dealer: "Well, can you send me a new invoice that explictly lists the pistons, people like pistons." A car dealer who does not understand cars cannot sell cars--except maybe to those who know even less then him. How is the recuiter going to sell you and your skills when he clearly doesn't understand them?
The skill set that earns money for a recruiter is the ability to develop contacts to hiring managers in growing companies. It has been my experience that very few recruiters are able to understand the technical skills of engineers. If you want to cut the recruiter out of the loop, then try to develop your own recruiting skills. For example, if you want to contact the hiring manager within a company that interests you, then search the net for articles, press releases, white papers or patents related to the company. From those publications, you should be able to find a few names of the members of the technical staff. Once you have the names, then just give them a call and ask for the name of a hiring manager. You can also ask for the names and phone numbers of colleagues in other companies. The above research process is good for engineers because it will give you an opportunity to learn about the company's products and services. A recruiter, of course, doesn't care about technology. Instead of doing a lot of reading, a professional recruiter will spend more time on the phone calling everyone that he/she knows to dredge up names. They might also hang out at the golf course, chamber of commerce, toastmasters, or anywhere else that professionals tend to spend their time.
Dan Chisholm<br />SCJP 1.4<br /> <br /><a href="http://www.danchisholm.net/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Try my mock exam.</a>
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