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Why are headhunters overwhelmingly idiots?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Neil Bradley, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. Neil Bradley

    Neil Bradley Guest

    I posted my resume on Monster.com back in December when I was laid off. I got
    flooded by calls from various headhunters, but one occured last week that really
    put a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to headhunters. It went something like

    Me : Hello?
    Him: Can I speak to Mr. Bradley?
    Me : Yes, that's me.
    Him: Hi, I'm xxxxx from yyyy and I saw your resume on monster.com. We have an
    embedded job that match your skill set. Does this sound interesting?
    Me : Sure. What is the product and what type of work is it?
    Him: It's an embedded Java job.
    Me : Oh, I don't know/do Java.
    Him: But it's an embedded job.
    Me : But you also said it's Java work.
    Him: Yes, but if you know embedded, you can do Java.
    Me : Um... no, Java is a lanaguage, embedded is completely different.
    Him: No, if you know embedded you know Java.
    Me : Trust me on this one - Java is a language they're using in an embedded
    system. I have plenty of embedded systems experience, just not doing anything
    with Java.
    Him: Then why did you say you did embedded work on your resume?
    Me : Because I've done 8051, ARM, AVR, PowerPC, and Intel based processor
    embedded designs in my history, including hardware and firmware.
    Him: So.... then you know Java.
    Me : No, I don't know Java. Java is a language. Java CAN be used in an embedded
    system, but more often it's straight C or assembly language instead.
    Him: You can't know embedded without knowing Java.
    Me : Are you actually serious?
    Him: Yes - Java is a prerequisite for embedded in this job.
    Me : Maybe for that job, but not generally - that's why I didn't list it on my
    Him: But on your resume you shouldn't say you know embedded if you don't know Java.
    Me : (getting really irritated at this point) It's clear from my talking with
    you that you have NO CLUE what you're talking about, and I wouldn't consider
    working for you or any client stupid enough to hire you. Goodbye!

    I've gotten other really bizzare calls, too - one who couldn't get it through
    her head that I didn't want to move 120 miles away no matter how many times I
    told her, nor matter how much she increaesd the pay.

    This is my first experience with headhunters. Are they all this retarded?

    Neil Bradley, Apr 11, 2005
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  2. On Sunday, in article <>
    Quite a lot of headhunters/recruitment 'consultants' (in UK) are just
    glorified insurance/snake oil sales people with the so called ability to
    matchthings up. Often some companies have targets to meet so do simple
    word searches and never read the resume/CV.

    I have in the past had problems with "VME bus" and "VME Operating System",
    those who know the later will know that it is rarely considered an embedded
    system let alone a small system!

    Personally I think resumes/CVs should be distributed as image files, with
    sufficient added noise to the image to make OCR very difficult. To force
    reading and stop word searches and changing of the documents to send to
    potential clients/employers.
    Paul Carpenter, Apr 11, 2005
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  3. Neil Bradley

    GaryKato Guest

    Not all. I haven't met that many who insisted on flaunting their
    ignorance. The smart ones will learn from you. But then, when I'm
    usually out of work, so are a ton of other programmers and I seldom get
    such calls. I wonder if there's a website to showcase such experiences.
    You see a lot of "Do's and Don'ts of Interviews", maybe there should be
    a "Dos and Don'ts for headhunters".
    GaryKato, Apr 11, 2005
  4. Neil Bradley

    Guy Macon Guest

    I have a technique that handles this.

    (Note; this is only for idiot recruiters. *Ignorant* recruiters get a
    different treatment; walking them through what each part of the job
    desciption means, helping them to do their job better.)


    GM: "Guy Macon speaking."

    HH: "Hi! I am a recruiter and I have a job that you might be interested in."

    GM: "Great! Have you looked at my online resume at www.guymacon.com?"

    HH: "I don't have internet access here."

    GM: "I'm sorry, but I only deal with recruiters who are able to read
    my online resume. Feel free to call back when you have done so.


    GM: "Guy Macon speaking."

    HH: "Hello. I represent XYZ recruiting. Do you have a moment to speak?"

    GM: "Glad to. Have you looked at my online resume at www.guymacon.com?"

    HH: "Yes, I have it in front of me. I have a position that has the
    following requirements. [long list of buzzwords ending with a
    requirement for a degree in mechanical engineering]."

    GM: "Did you read the section of my online resume titled "education?"

    HH: "Yes, I read that."

    GM: "Why, then are you wasting my time with a position that requires
    a degree in mechanical engineering? Feel free to call back when
    you have a position that matches my qualifications.


    I have found that roughly 90% or recruiters *have* read my online
    resume and *have* done their best to match me up with the job.
    Those recruiters get treated with the respect they deserve. The
    ones who screw up on matching person to job will no doubt screw
    up in many othetr ways, so I don't want to deal with them.
    Guy Macon, Apr 11, 2005
  5. Not all, but a lot of them are. There's a very high turnover
    rate, and most of them only last a few months. They typically
    have no training or experience in either HR or the field for
    which they're recruiting.

    Most are just sales people making cold calls with a script in
    Grant Edwards, Apr 11, 2005
  6. Neil Bradley

    Michael Guest

    Too many are, in my experience.
    My pet peeve was being asked to "tweek" my resume for each and every prospective
    employer. After doing that twice I refused all further such requests. I was an
    Assurance engineer who specialized in the IBM S/370 "channel"; any prospective
    employer who doesn't understand that short and to-the-point job descripton
    doesn't need my skills.
    Michael, Apr 11, 2005
  7. Neil Bradley

    CBFalconer Guest

    I assume you are restricting your job search to firms that want an
    "Assurance engineer specializing in the IBM S/370 channel" and that
    you have no interest in any other type of position. If this is
    correct your attitude makes sense. Good luck, you will need it.
    CBFalconer, Apr 11, 2005
  8. Neil Bradley

    Ian Bell Guest

    No, most of them are *much* worse.

    Ian Bell, Apr 11, 2005
  9. Neil Bradley

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Which begs the question "are there headhunters
    for headhunters?"
    Jim Stewart, Apr 11, 2005
  10. Not that I know of. The ones I knew started out as HR
    recruiters or they just answered an ad in the paper and went to
    work for a sweatshop type operation.

    <pet peeve>
    "begs the question" refers to making an argument containing the
    logical fallacy in which the argument assumes as a premise the
    result being proved. It's pretty much the same as a circular
    </pet peeve>
    Grant Edwards, Apr 11, 2005
  11. Of the order of 90% are probably retarded to this sort of degree. Of the
    remaining 10% half will be quite decent worthwhile companies that will be
    quite clued up on the positions they are offering. The trick is finding
    those few.

    I don't know any US ones but I do know some good UK ones.

    Paul E. Bennett ....................<email://>
    Forth based HIDECS Consultancy .....<http://www.amleth.demon.co.uk/>
    Mob: +44 (0)7811-639972
    Tel: +44 (0)1235-811095
    Going Forth Safely ....EBA. http://www.electric-boat-association.org.uk/
    Paul E. Bennett, Apr 11, 2005
  12. Neil Bradley

    Guy Macon Guest

    No. Headhunters are for hard-to-fill positions.
    Nobody is going to pay that extra expense for a
    position where a newspaper ad gets them more
    applicants than they can handle.
    Guy Macon, Apr 11, 2005
  13. I was contacted by a recruiter for a job that sounded
    interesting but the job description/location/etc. was
    somewhat vague and I wanted some questions answered.
    When I got the guy on the phone after not being able
    to get any answers via email, he said that he makes
    $200/hour and doesn't have time to answer questions!
    Everett M. Greene, Apr 11, 2005
  14. Neil Bradley

    Norm Dresner Guest

    If they know anything about programming they wouldn't be headhunting
    programmers but they'd get their own programming job!

    Norm Dresner, Apr 11, 2005
  15. Neil Bradley

    Dr Justice Guest

    The short and irresponsible answer: yes.

    In my experience HH firms are generally manned by failed salesemen and
    managers. One bad thing is that they are messing up the job market by their
    sheer ignorance, but worse is the effect that they create a barrier between
    employer and employees. A barrier that wasn't there afew years ago when
    real people actually spoke directly togehter about the real issues.

    HH ads that I see all to often goes almost like this:
    "Engineer wanted for company."
    The people that puts up ads like that probably know little more than what is
    literally stated. IMO that's an insult to both the anonymous company and the
    potential employee.

    Another strange thing is that many firms seemingly care more for exposing
    you to (bogus) "personality tests", than examining your professional
    ability. How low can you go?

    There may be competent HH firms out there, that does something more than
    leeching. I hope to make such an observation one day, but maybe I'll be
    better off looking for Dodos :-D

    Dr Justice, Apr 11, 2005
  16. Neil Bradley

    bit eimer Guest

    Yeah, that's how it always starts out. They may SAY they just want some
    company, but they want a lot more!

    But before you know it, you're holding hands, then engaged, then married
    with 2 kids...

    Give 'em inch, they'll take a mile.

    bit eimer, Apr 11, 2005
  17. Here's one for you...

    A while back I was contracting and was contacted by a head hunter about
    a job "involving linux running on a proprietory platform". She couldn't
    tell me much more about it but set me up with an "interview" with the
    client the following day.

    I turn up, and they tell me that they'd like to be able to run linux on
    their hardware (I can't recall which processor it was, but Linux already
    ran on that processor). I told them that I've never actually
    bootstrapped Linux on another platform but couldn't see why it wouldn't
    be possible, and that I can look into it. With that they nodded and
    walked away.

    So here I am, sitting at the desk, thinking they'll return in a few
    minutes. I think nothing of it and start to look into things, read doco,
    source etc. Before I know it, it's lunchtime and they're inviting me out
    to lunch. We return to the office, they ask how I'm going, and I say
    that I'm confident it's do-able (they had a 4 week schedule). Again they
    leave me to it. By about 3pm I'm starting to think they're milking some
    free advice so I get up and try to find someone (the office is almost
    empty). After a quick chat I realise that they're under the impression
    that this is no interview at all - and that I've actually *started*
    working for them!!!

    I go downstairs, ring the HH to find out WTF is going on and she swears
    it was supposed to be an interview! I leave the matter with her to sort
    out and head home.

    [At the risk of being labelled a sexist pig, I actually met this HH a
    few years beforehand and her only saving grace was the fact that she
    was, quite simply, stunning! ;)]

    As luck would have it, that same afternoon I get a call about another
    (longer term) contract with former colleagues and I could tell the HH
    "thanks, but no thanks". They obviously had a lot of trouble trying to
    find someone to do the job because she begged me to reconsider and
    offered me more money just to stay for a few days until she found
    someone else!

    Mark McDougall, Apr 12, 2005
  18. If I had a file, this would go into it. You can't make this stuff up!

    Bryan Hackney, Apr 12, 2005
  19. Neil Bradley

    Dr Justice Guest

    LOL - Undoubdedtly! :D

    Heres an HH anecdote:

    One time I had announced myself available and registered my CV.
    The CV is the kind that a computer/embedded engineer has.
    As it happens it has the word "development" in it. This led to
    an HH contacting me, wanting me to start working in
    a property broker firm doing "property development".
    He was very insistent that I would be a good man for the job
    with all my development experience...

    Dr Justice, Apr 12, 2005
  20. Neil Bradley

    Jet Morgan Guest

    I must've been really lucky then. All my recent pimps have
    perfectly well understood what "embedded" means, and how
    my CV and potential jobs will relate to each other.

    Richard [in PE12]
    Jet Morgan, Apr 19, 2005
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