IT Training Tips

IT Recruitment Agencies are they idiots?

Having dealt with IT Recruitment agencies for well over 10 years, I've come to the conclusion that a large proportion of them are complete idiots.

This doesn't mean I treat them like idiots, I instead work with them to ensure I get put forward for the job they are advertising. I have to work pretty hard with them to get them to understand why I am the right person for the job.

Recently, I've started getting calls from Indian IT recruiters, who just do not understand how to deal with people and antagonise more than aid, people like me, who may be looking for opportunities.


Many of the idiots I deal with in IT recruitment, know very little about IT and find it difficult to quantify a candidates suitability. They rely heavily on keywords, whereby they look for words associated with a role in the candidates CV (resume).

If they don't see these keywords splattered throughout, they can assume the candidate has a lack of experience and knowledge, thereby rejecting them.

Using keywords to determine experience means the agent actually has very little knowledge of the specialism they are recruiting for, with their whole assumption of a candidates capability to do a prospective position is based on the candidates use of keywords.

I had an agent say to me,

"the customer is looking for someone with technical writing skills and this isn't on your CV".

Actually it was and appeared as,

'produced high level designs, low level designs, build instructions and operational reports'.

This particular agent wouldn't submit me because they felt I didn't have the technical writing skills. Even though I explained I am proficient at documentation and had listed the relevant documentation on my CV. But all was not lost as I did find another agent who understood where I was coming from and they submitted me instead.

I wasn't prepared to argue with the idiot agent or try to enlighten them any further. There's plenty of agents out there and some of them will be able to help me secure my next role.

Years of experience

Some recruiters also look at the number of years to quantify experience, so 10 years Citrix experience to them looks good. Whilst in reality 10 years Citrix experience administrating and supporting Citrix systems means nothing when it comes to a role designing Citrix systems.

In such cases 6 months Citrix design experience is worth much more than 10 years Citrix administration experience. Someone who understands the realms of Citrix could see the distinction but not most IT recruiters won't be able to do this.

Agency interviews

I believe face to face interviews with an IT recruitment agency are completely pointless. It's a complete waste of my time, especially as in most cases this interview will be with an idiot recruiter.

I'm not prepared to take time out of a current role, travel many miles just to meet a recruiter, who can't get a idea of who I am over a telephone conversation.

One agency I dealt with, wanted me to visit them for an interview before they would submit me for a job they were advertising. No way, was I prepared to drive a 100 miles for a quick chat with the agency and no matter how hard I tried to get the idiot recruiter to budge, I just kept hitting a brick wall. So I told them, I'd have to think about it.

Anyway another agency, contacted me about the same job and put me forward for the job without an interview with them. Anyway, I had a brilliant interview with the company who the agency was representing and I got the job.

When the other agency phoned, asking whether I was prepared to come in for an interview with them, I told them I'd already had an interview and had been offered the job. The recruiter went silent for what seemed to be for ages, so I thanked him for his time and ended the call.

This agent needed to appreciate how people like me do things and not just be a complete inflexible idiot. Because of his idiocy he lost out on a decent commission.

Under sold

Another recruitment agency I dealt with, had put up a job on a job board at half the rate expected, as more of an administration type role instead of a troubleshooting role. When I phoned them up to enquire, I told them the rate was too low for what they wanted and if they paid the market rate, I would consider the role.

"Oh no, no, no, no, this is what the customer is willing to pay and I've already had over 30 people willing to do the job at this rate, so if you want to be submitted, then I can do so at this rate".

I didn't argue and thanked them for their time. I instead decided to speak to another agency who I'd dealt with many times before and asked them whether they were on the preferred supplier list for the company who was advertising the job with this other agency.

I told this agency about my concerns for the role and the recruiter asked me to email this to them and they would in turn contact the company.

To cut a long story short, the company in question interviewed only one person and offered them the job at twice the rate the other agency was offering. That person was me!

The second agency who'd I'd voiced my concerns to had used my list of concerns, I'd emailed, to advise the recruiter at the company, why they'd have to pay more to get a specialist. If I'd left it to the idiot at the first agency, I would have probably not been submitted and worse still, if I had, I would have been paid peanuts.

Pussy foot

Having to pussy foot around these agencies can be frustrating for many of us but losing 'your cool' by biting at the stupidity of these agencies isn't going to do anyone any favours.

To sort of overcome this, I have a select few agencies I use as my preferred suppliers, so if an agencies stupidity is just too much, I will check to see if the role is advertised with another agency.

I will ask my preferred agencies whether they are dealing with this end customer and if my preferred agencies aren't dealing with the role in question, then I tend to 'grin and bear it' and go with the problematic agency in question.

Hand that feeds

I don't bite the hand that feeds and therefore do not treat IT recruiters with the contempt they deserve, irrespective of them being idiots. I stay professional at all times, giving them the appearance of having the upper hand. I never let them know that I think they are idiots.

I whole heartedly appreciate they are the gatekeepers who decide whether I can come into their opportunity or end up missing out. This makes them the hand that feeds and I don't necessarily want to bite the hand that feeds.

In essence, I'm dealing with a sales person with limited IT knowledge, so even if I have the skills and experience, I have to work doubly hard trying to prove it first to the IT recruitment agent before I even get a chance of being submitted to the customer who actually needs my skills.