The colorful wolf

September 14, 2010

On recruiters

Filed under: Daily Life — randy @ 15:40

I tagged this post under ‘daily life’, as a large part of my daily life currently involves talking to recruiters. Because I immediately went to Japan to work after I graduated I never experienced jobsearching in Europe, so this has been a new experience for me. I am particularly impressed at how professional (most of) the recruiters are that I’ve spoken to. At the same time it’s quite difficult to manage. Because I’m extending my field as wide as possible, both in terms of technical skills and location/country, there is a large potential for overlap.

Overlap is not good, as this blogpost will also tell you. It’s also hard to avoid, as both the person seeking employment and the recruiter will attempt to find a job as quickly as possible. In my case, I wish I had been a bit more clear about my situation to some recruiters I’ve talked to. In one case a recruiter who was London-based contacted me about an opportunity in Amsterdam from which I had already heard about from another recruiter. As long as there’s a good flow of communication that’s all fine and good, but on another occasion I told a recruiter that I was already being represented by another recruiter, and that I might contact him in the future should things not work out. This recruiter took that as an implicit ‘keep-on-searching-for-me’ order, while I really wanted him to wait to prevent overlap at some jobs I was working on with the other recruiter. A case of miscommunication that I blame on myself. I should have been more clear. In the end it’s best to deal with as few recruiters as possible (per location).

Other funny things I’ve noticed when dealing with recruiters:

  • Technical illiteracy: “So you can do Java, yeah? That’s kinda like C++, right? Here’s a position for senior C++ developer that fits you perfectly”
  • Technical over-literacy: “Hi, I’m so-and-so and my special focus is on Java J2EE+Hibernate+MySQL Now please answer 7 extremely technical questions about this topic.” (actually I really liked the recruiter who asked me this. It immediately showed that he meant business)
  • One recruiter’s ability to speak proper English was worse than my own
  • Failed promise number one: “I’ll call you back today”
  • Failed promise number two: “I’ll get you lots of interviews within 2 weeks”

I have to admit that the failed promise number two made me suspicious, which was really not necessary. The way the recruiter posed this statement to me was something like “I’ll make you filthy rich within two weeks, so please don’t talk to any other recruiter except me”. It sounded fishy at first, but it does make a lot of sense. Let that be a lesson to other young people who are over-eager to find a job quickly.



  1. “So you can do Java, yeah? That’s kinda like C++, right? Here’s a position for senior C++ developer that fits you perfectly” i.e. “So you can do a woman job yeah? Its kindda like a man’s job? Here is a position to be a construction worker that fits you perfectly.” Excellent

    Comment by Kamil — September 15, 2010 @ 12:16 | Reply

  2. sorry for my sexist comment I was merely referring to “Java is for women and C is for men”

    Comment by Kamil — September 15, 2010 @ 12:17 | Reply

  3. Now you reminded me of this:

    Comment by rheide — September 15, 2010 @ 12:32 | Reply

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