Showing posts with label process. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Tale of Two Recruiters

It was the best of recruiters, it was the worst of recruiters ...

TheHackerCIO was recently impressed by a recruiter. That's rare. Really rare. But he always gives credit where it is due, and in this case, justice demands praise. And the reasons can be seen by contrast with another recruiter. Comparison and contrast always highlights important points. 

Unfortunately this pair -- both hero and villain -- have to be anonymized: to protect both from embarrassment, but embodied in very different forms. Those rightly abashed at their conduct have a very different emotion from those uncomfortable with public praise. 

The only justification for putting forth this contrast is the principle it underscores. And principles have to be embodied in the tersest wording possible, so they can be used. This one is newly articulated by me, so here goes an attempt to formulate it; after that we'll examine the illustrative examples.

The principle is: Seek those who also seek work-arounds to procedures. In other words, when bureaucracy impedes, those who evade it are the ones you want to work with. 

Let's see the villain first. Enormous Behemoth Recruiter contacts TheHackerCIO with a tempting position. I've taken the liberty of excerpting all the temptations and buzzwords, claiming:
  • very beginning stages
  • learning new things everyday
  • vision of changing
  • brand new approach
  • building great software
  • energetic trailblazers
  • creative mindset
  • rapidly deploying
  • competing with ... Google
  • competing with ... Apple
  • competing with ... Amazon
  • Technology is the ‘product’
  • innovation through technology products
  • quality
  • innovation
  • transformation
  • innovation
  • quality
  • speed
  • smaller product teams
  • quality 
  • speed
  • effectiveness 
  • A/B testing
  • frequent releases
  • adoption of “agile”
  • very large transformation

The catch was that you had to enter your whole resume into their on-line system. You couldn't simply email them a resume. And, supposedly, their automated system would pull this information from LinkedIn. But it didn't work on mine. I suggested an alternative to the recruiter, who claimed to have direct contact with the CIO:


I'd be happy to have you present me to the CIO. Can you use my LinkedIn 
profile? LinkedIn seems to have been failing to import as it is supposed to. 


But the reply came, SOP, SOP

Hi James, 

Thanks for the reply. I can’t present anyone unless they formally apply to 
the position. Standard protocol at <NameDeleted>. Once you apply I can 
certainly present your information to the management team. Below is the 
link to apply to the position. Please let me know when you have completed 
your application so I can submit everything as soon as possible.



Notice, by the way, how the reply suddenly backtracked away from direct presentation to the CIO. But I ignored this bad sign, and wasted quite a bit more time attempting to use the broken, but mandatory system. Finally, TheHackerCIO came to his senses. I realized how I had been deluded by the Silicon Valley location and various claims and buzzwords and wrote the following: 


Hi <Name-Deleted>: 

Just to let you know, I've wasted too much time messing with this. You site will not load my information from LinkedIn. I've tried it from a mac with Safari, Chrome & Firefox and with a Windows 7 box running Chrome, and Firefox. I suppose I could enter my details manually, but the experience reminds me that I don't want to work in a place with a firmly bureaucratic "process" that can't be gotten around. 

I've worked for clients larger than <NameDeleted>, and universally I've been stymied from their programs of alleged "change," by the bureaucracy. So, I'll take this as an indicator that I should focus on smaller clients where these kinds of impediments are either not present or can be worked around. 

This is just by way of explanation -- thanks for your interest. 



Now we turn our attention to the contrasting example.

This recruiter, (we'll call him Ted, to ensure anonymity) when I responded that I had to update my resume, and could he use my LinkedIn profile and/or blog in lieu of it, responded "yes." He would see if there was interest using those materials, and wait for me to get an updated resume to him.

He copied me on the correspondence, where he presented my LinkedIn profile & the URL of my blog, and asked the client to see if there was any interest, at which point something could be entered into the applicant system.

Now that is an example of putting the substance ahead of the form. It's an example of working around the bureaucracy and procedures, which, after all, were designed to get good candidates, not make the whole experience hellish.

This is what good software developers and technologists of every stripe have to do everyday. When something doesn't work, you have to generate work-around ideas and try them, until you find something that works. Why should technology recruitment be any different? Is the goal to place the right person in the right position, thus benefiting everyone? Or is the goal to adhere to the sclerotic bureaucratic process? Unfortunately, far too many believe that process automates success.

But Process Never Automates Success. (the Rothering Principle)

And, TheHackerCIO works with those who work-around obstacles.

I Remain,