Last week's article by Dominic Connor on how some techies really, really need some help with their CVs hit a number of nerves. flame_thrower Image via Shutterstock It's quite possible that this single piece will earn Dominic The Reg's annual most flamed writer award for 2011. Now, we know you're busy people, so here are …
Is it hot in here?
Or is it just me?
"I can get UNIX guys, C++ guys, you-name-it-guys by the bucket-full"
Round these parts, you can also get manure by the bucketful. You just roll up with your bucket and a few bucks, and load up with horse crap. It does the job on your garden, I guess, but I wouldn't want to put it to work as a software engineer.
Recruiters might be great for picking up commodity staff by the malodourous bucketload, and they'll come with standardised paperwork. But none of my accquaintances have ever landed a good job via a recruiter, and none of the companies I have worked for have landed excellent staff via a recruiter. The small companies and startups literally cannot afford to bring mediocrities on board, and that's all recruiters seem to be able to bring to the table.
There's always a choice, of course. You can either get networking, and make some friends who'll land you a job, or you can go sit on the heap with the rest. If you're unwilling or unable to make the right sort of contacts, you'd better be polishing up your CV as Mr Connor suggests, because the magical job fairy will not be helping you out.
The sharpest people I have ever worked with have been contractors who landed their job through an agency or, if you prefer, recruiter. Some had a good personal relationship with no more than two of them, most would just work through only one agency and one agent in particular. When these contractors are getting close to Ferrari type salaries why should they be expected to go looking for work when they have someone they can trust to do it for them. I can't recall one of them waiting between contracts unless it was their choice to take a break.
I would take a different view to you, anybody who has time to waste looking for work isn't worth employing.
@Chris W, your whole post sounds like an advert for recruiters.
@"Some had a good personal relationship with no more than two of them, most would just work through only one agency and one agent in particular."
That's only in the best interests of recruiters. Its better for employees to play recruiters off against each other by getting more contacts and therefore more chances of getting a job more quickly.
Your whole post sounds like an advert for recruiters. For example, "The sharpest people I have ever worked with have been contractors who landed their job through an agency"
WTF, so "sharpest people" use an agency, so you imply losers don't use an agency!. Seriously WTF!, are you on recruiter commission or something?!
As for this bit … @"When these contractors are getting close to Ferrari type salaries why should they be expected to go looking for work when they have someone they can trust to do it for them."
Someone they can trust?! LOL, they will give the job to anyone. Trust a recruiter?! ... they are entirely self-interested, they really would give the job to anyone as long as it earned them commission. (Plus I note you add the devious carrot on the stick phrasing about "Ferrari type salaries" to encourage people to believe they should only have one job agent).
Your whole post uses sale pitch manipulative tactics that reek of deviousness.
So Chris W, you are either a recruiter or hopelessly fooled by recruiters. Either way, you blindly repeat the rhetoric of recruiters.
I'd imagine it varies by industry sector. If you work in IT in finance you'll tend to find that it's rare, though not impossible, to get a job without an agent. You also find that the best candidates do tend to stick to just a couple of agents. The reason being that, because they are good candidates, it is easy for the recruiter to get them work and push the price on their behalf. It is each-way beneficial - the agent gets their cut and the worker seemless contract flows. They'll also choose agents that get the best roles.
However, I find a lot of recruitment agents (but not all) to be total arseholes. Never call you back, never give feedback, all the minus points. You end up chasing them even though they'll be sucking up a percentage of the contract rate. I tend to blacklist the ones I can - some you have to deal with because the employers like them. I do have a limited few I prefer but they don't always get the roles sent to them.
>WTF, so "sharpest people" use an agency, so you imply losers don't use an agency!. Seriously WTF!, are you on recruiter commission or something?!
I am not a recruiter. The original poster said "none of the companies I have worked for have landed excellent staff via a recruiter". By your logic this implies that only losers do use an agency.
Ru put his experience I put mine, a pretty small sample size but you selectively extrapolate as you see fit.
>Someone they can trust?! LOL, they will give the job to anyone.
No they won't for a number of reasons but primarily one. Do you think an employer would go back to an agency that continually sends unsuitable candidates? All the reputable agencies have been around a long time and they don't stay around by shafting everybody.
As for trust, the same position could go to a number of agencies. Would you rather be an unknown CV amongst many or someone an agent knows and whose name pops into mind when a spec comes through? Agencies have to survive and they do so by putting forward people they know to be capable of doing the job. When those options are expired they will filter the other anonymous possiblities and select the most suitable based on the contents of the CV, which is why you need a good one as being a new entity to the agency you're already second class..
AC >However, I find a lot of recruitment agents (but not all) to be total arseholes. Never call you back, never give feedback, all the minus points.
Which is exactly why you should form a relationship with a small number of them and cut out the dross. You might miss out on some positions that have gone only to preferred suppliers who are not on your list but overall you'll be better off.
"anybody who has time to waste looking for work isn't worth employing"
I don't feel that I can fully express the contempt I feel for this particular statement.
I wonder how you find these worthwhile and competent agents who are worth forming a longer term working relationship with? Searching for such people is neither doing work, nor looking for work, and might therefore be considered meta time wasting. In the same way I would be unwilling to gamble on a recruitment agent providing decent staff when time and resources are scarce, I am also unwilling to gamble on a recruiter being honest and hardworking, because my time is valuable to me and I'd rather spend it usefully.
I'm not entirely sure why you feel that networking in order to find jobs or candidates is a waste of time. Whilst I appreciate that not all recruiters are necessarily non-value-adding, the rest of your points are strange, to say the least.
The sharpest people I have ever worked with have been on schemes for the unemployed. That the workplace is typically infested with dullards and borderline psychopaths must have something to do with the 'skills' of recruiters and others in the Human Resources field (as they unironically call it less than 70 years after Auschwitz.) These people abuse psychology they don't understand in order to pose as professionals, but they keep quiet about the research that shows just how useless interviews are in finding competent staff.
Brilliant but regrettably correct, tell 'em how it is
& have a beer on me
I see that we have a similar collection of people making observations that "Dom was just telling the truth - you need to write a good CV!" Those people should just read the work of art that is Hollow's flame to understand that all the flames have virtually nothing to do with writing a good CV: the majority of people *already* *know* that they have to put down their relevant qualities in a coherent fashion in order to get the attention of the people doing the hiring. Instead, this has everything to do with the inefficient, incompetent business that is recruitment, particularly when done through recruiters and agencies.
Stating that "That's why you techie losers can't get a job, hippies! Fix up your CV!" is just intellectually low-level point-missing. People like Hollow (and most of the other respondents, I imagine) have already polished their CV, targeted it, done the recruitment dance, only to be given the brush off by someone who in all likelihood thinks that their lack of actual familiarity with the things mentioned in the job description can be made up by their blagging and bullshitting skills - this probably following a lifestyle pattern set down by a school career adviser telling the perpetrator of this charade that they would be great working in sales, account management, as an estate agent, or in any kind of job where sweet-talking and a chummy disposition (while looking after number one, of course) are essential skills.
Of course, CV workshops and such stuff - the author had a near-advert for them in his article - are the easiest way that recruiters, job centres and the like can pretend that they're "solving" a recruitment problem. When your own lifestyle and the only thing you know is "selling stuff" ("You're not selling yourself properly!") and which BMW series is which, I suppose everything has to be framed in precisely those terms.
Having seen recruiters do a paper sift where the advert also included in big letters 'DO NOT SEND A PHOTO' by instantly binning those with photos attached it might help some applicants to actually read what they are applying for.
I asked the manager about this and was told 'If they can't fucking read instructions properly I don't want them anyway'.
Like the Van Halen brown M&Ms thing?
That wasn't Van Halen, but the late unlamented "King of Pop" (ahem) Wacko Jacko, IIRC.
That very much was Van Halen.
And why did you have to bring up that whackjob? Him snuffing it just brought him back in the news like a broken record, and you're letting the terrorists wi... ahem. As I was saying, good riddance and don't bring it up again, there's a good lad.
Oh, come on... if you're going to "IIRC" at least check your recollection. The first google result for "brown M&Ms" is a snopes pages confirming the Van Halen story.
It was Van Halen.
(the whole rider is quite an entertaining read)
As I heard it, Van Halen's sets were particularly complicated and required some serious setup work on the part of the promoter and venue; if the band went backstage and found brown M&Ms then it was assumed the promoter also hadn't read the extremely detailed and critically important instructions on how to set up the stage, rigging etc.
Nope, it was Van Halen. Basically it was a check to make sure that their rider had been read. If they turned up and the venue hadn't bothered giving them the candy they'd requested (or more likely, apologised for not having time to remove all the other colours), then they'd probably not read the bits specifying how my power they'd need, what PA etc.
Or, as I posted a couple years ago (or so) ...
Fan the flames, man the engines
Or was that the wrong way around? Anyhow.
Our poor (ahem) recruiter knew what he was in for, but that's not the point really. People in this business /ought to/ know how sensitive people can get about being told they're no good. Whatever the intention, that is the message anyway, whether you're lying about it, waffling around it, finding intelligence-insulting excuses for, or saying nothing. What I find appalling is how few "professionals" in this field are actually professional about possibly the hardest part of their profession, that is to say no in a good way.
In fact, after saying no poorly, recruiters shouldn't get a chance at peddling the fresh rejects somewhere else. If more people would explicitly blacklist recruiters or entire agencies for poor peddling, they might get the message someday. Creating feedback and all that.
Maybe Dominic is a nice guy and maybe he's good at this. Maybe he's also good at what that other thing recruiters get wrong in spades: Finding the right person for the right job. I don't know. All *I* know is that every single recruiter so far has proven to be... less than stellar on this point.
Just today I found another personalised spam mail (addressing me without permission by my misspelled first name for starters) from an outfit I've only once sent an email to but never heard back from except in fully automated fashion, and who don't notice at all those emails land in the bin right away. They're trying to match me as a "BI - BUSINESS ANALYST" by keyword because they have DEBIAN attached to my name somewhere.
There's a lot of emotion and frustration around because there's livelyhoods at stake, extremely dumb and to techies insulting handling, and then there's this guy telling his merchandise to do better now, y'hear. He's got a point, but, y'know, he's somewhat lacking the moral standing to pull it off. If the peddler isn't treating his merchandise right, well, he's got no right to demand they treat him better, too. And he's speaking for a whole industry of maltreatment. It's nothing personal, I'm sure.
Some companies only allow a recruiter to submit 3 CVs for a role. That's not a bad idea.
I didn't read the original article...
...I've just gone back and read it now. As someone who's had to look at hundreds of abomnible CVs over the years, there's very little that's wrong in the original article; and the pedantry and bloody-mindedness of the responses confirms my experience that techie CVs are usually amongst the worst (web designers are THE worst, but IT CVs run them close), because the people writing them fail to understand what they're actually for, and who's actually reading them.
The author was honest, self-deprecating and most importantly, right.
True, but if you scream the truth at people you tend to get the two fingered response. Tone down the venom and you may have got a very different general response.
Content: fine and accurate
his CV is in the bin ;)
Pretty much agree, but you can be honest, self-deprecating and right without coming across as arrogant and angry. As many have pointed out, the skill of writing a CV is to succinctly get your skills and experience across to a recruiter.. The basic skill is communication and failing at that hurdle should be a decent filter regardless.
A small point though re: web designers being THE worst, if you're looking at a web designer's CV, then you're recruiting pretty badly to begin with. Ask them for a portfolio page instead.
The original author may well be correct, but how will the applicants ever know they're wrong? If every recruiter in the land just bins and discards a CV, how will the creator ever know of their failings? That's the bit that gets me. If no one replies and says "look, we can't forward your CV, I think you should get help in rewriting it and then apply for future vacancies". Likewise, applications direct to employers should also have a polite reply stating what, if anything, was wrong. 3 or 4 standard templates should be enough, covering lack of skills, unsuitable CV, uninformative cover letter or just plain old "we found someone with a better skill set". If it's all about cost, then request an email address if the person wants feedback about their application.
Until recruiters/employers reply and tell people what's wrong, they'll keep sending badly written applications.
That would imply recruters et.al. actually working for a living.
Cats and dogs living together next. Where would it end?
I kno. Poeple dont evn botehr two speel choke animoor.
I didn't see him as arrogant and angry, I thought he was pretty funny, but I suppose if he's not getting that across to everyone, then you have a point.
Re: web designer CV's; that was kind of my point, I've seen loads with no portfolio links at all, and others where they've tried to use their leet design skillz on the CV itself; neither approach impresses.
Another article from Dom?
Yay! Another chance for a FotW!
He talked a bit of sense.
A bit. However that sense which he did talk was blindingly obvious, and his tone was unpleasant. And good spelling isn't just for CVs.
I think that many people missed the weapons grade sarcasm in the original article.....
Legally a broomstick or fishbait catapult are weapons --- but you don't bring them to Helmand tho. Even garden variety fertilizer blows up buildings in sufficient quantities.
All I have to say is,
Maybe posting an article that states that anyone reading it is either illiterate or stupid was the main source of offence?
Either that or it was an excellent idea for the amusing feedback.
Hold the front page...
The Register in "techies think recruiters are twats" shocker.
>But this Dominic Connor sounds like a bit of a cnut.
With spelling like that your CV would get binned straight away.
Personally I liked the article and if I'm ever in the job market again would consider sending him my CV.
I dunno, the capitalisation is a bit of a problem, but the spelling is bang on: even to the extent of removing the traditional anglicisation. That's assuming, of course, that the implication is that Mr Connor is the type that would sit on the beach and command the tide not to come in, either from a sense of exaggerated self importance* or else to satirise the a***-licking tendencises of his subordinates.
*in a recruiter? Perish the thought!
I assumed it was a reference to King Cnut (or Canute, if your orthography swings that way)... you cannot, after all, hold back a tide of idiots just by talking to them.
Or to use the metaphor correctly...
Even a recruiter can't hold back the tide of idiots just by talking to them?
(Cnut's holding back the tide story was a metaphor to show that even the powers of the king have limits, not a serious attempt by a megalomaniac)
Ah, the old cnut chestnut
Whilst I do hear people being called a bit of a Charlie or a right Doris, I do not recall being a bit of a Cnut as part of modern day vernacular in much the same way that being a bit of an Elizabeth isn't.
Fail. Misses the point where "cnut" is a common intended misspelling of the word, to get around draconian wordfilters, or just for a bit of fun.
Your powers of comprehension are woeful. A couple of comments have made a poor excuse for what is, as you correctly say, a common intentional misspelling. The only fails are the dimwits who instead of pointing this out like you did perpetuated the excuse.
another commentard who is
quite incapable of spotting <irony> tags </irony>
I'm with Hollow
To be fair
I've had 3 professional paid for CV companies do mine, all are different, none ever got me an interview.
My original no good for getting an interview we'll do it for you at £xx CV has got me the last 2 contract and current perm roles
you'll never get the right CV format to the right recruiter or employer, better to have it "generally good" than professional according to one agency, else you're fishing for a herring in a shoal of mackrel
But the basic ideas do work -
1) a couple of pages.
2) reverse order - last thing you did first.
3) summary of you and your skills in a paragraph at the top
4) contact info. at the top of page 1
5) these days - work permit/nationality stuff at the top as well.
The best thing about the "re-write your CV our way" thing is seeing the different takes on your original - how other people see what you've written....
I've had mine done several times by several CV companies too and the price you pay has no relation to how good the result is. The last one actually took the time to meet me, understand what I could do and what I wanted to do. Most importantly, every time he suggested a modification, he also took the time to explain why and discuss the rationale. The end result is a much improved CV and best of all I know why it's better and how to do it again. As you would expect that guy was not the most expensive and I didn't find him through ads but via word of mouth.
Same rules apply to recruiters: if they are not ready to meet you to understand who you are and what you can do, nor are they ready to discuss feedback with you, they are the type of recruiters who just throw candidates at jobs and see what sticks. The really good ones do their homework and make sure that they send the right candidate to the right job. Run away from the former and make sure you keep the latter in your phone book and updated on your situation.
"But the basic ideas do work"
Yes they do. In your comment, you've managed to do a better job of giving concise, pertinent advice than the author of the article. And you've managed to avoid coming across, as others have said, like a cunt.
But most of the flames weren't disputing the need for a readable CV.
(I'm sure Mr Connor isn't really a cunt, but he should perhaps work on his communications skills to avoid giving that impression. Maybe a future article will have a public relations officer tell the readership why they need his services while offending everyone in a barrage of egregious insults that go beyond a mere lack of political correctness.)
The best improvement most people can make to their CV is not having a recruiters mark anywhere on or near it. After sitting on both sides of the hiring process, direct write ins go straight to the top of the heap unless the CV is hopelessly bad. Keeping track of the few reliable recruiters isn't viable for small shops with low turnover.
Saw far too many CVs professionally massaged to the point they were fiction and we preferred applicants with the balls to take control of their own career and just apply direct.
then use the words of post
Sounds like a nice business, make him famous!
Sorry slipped into amanfrommars mode there.
who is this guy who did a good job then?
I've had "Dual UK/Australian citizenship" written at the top of mine and dolts still ask if I can legally work in the UK. Fuckwits, the lot of them.
- Product round-up Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows
- Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
- Review What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
- Product round-up Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
- Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'