Right now the economy is not in turmoil, but it sure doesn’t feel good.
The tech sector is, as you well know, feeling pretty weak right now: Reports out today have indicated that, contrary to some recent hopeful signs, tech has not bottomed out yet.
The Internet sector is of course feeling the effects of this downturn/rightsizing/correction/recession/callitwhatyouwill much more acutely than other tech sectors. Things are ungood.
People working in tech — especially the Internet arena — are feeling the pinch. They are getting laid off, taking on more work (to fill the shoes of those laid off/left and not replaced) and have to sit in their cubes watching the perks dwindle (options worth….worthless, no more free Mountain Dew, no more “take your dog to work day”) and staring up at the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. “Am I next???”
Some will be next. Some will be spared but still fear the sword. Basically, for those let go or left behind, things suck for tech workers these days.
Yes, that’s relative. It sucks today compared to the heady days of about a year and half ago, when options meant something (briefly), when your sandals and nose ring told more about your programming skills than your resume. Yes, things suck today compared to those good old days.
But, still, things are rough. While government and analyst reports say that IT is still a growing industry, tell that to the almost 19,000 workers cut by chipmaker Toshiba today, or those at Chapter 11 flooz.com.
And one of the lessons of this dot.com turned dot.bomb correction (or supply your own adjective) is that good ideas are not enough. There has to be a competent, forward-looking (I hate buzzwords/phrases but this one works for me) staff of individuals/teammates that make it all happen. Sure, ordering a piano onlne may be cool. But don’t give the folks free delivery…..stuff like that.
Which makes this blog’s pet peeve all the more perplexing: The overwhelming incompetence and lack of professionalism displayed by recruiters and tech companies. Maybe this extends into other industries — I think it does, from what others have told me, but I don’t have first-hand knowledge of this.
What I do have first-hand knowledge of is the summed up in the following three statements:
- As indicated above, IT personnel needs still outstrips supply.
- I’m an IT worker looking for a job.
- Companies/recruiters are unprofessional — they never follow through as they have promised.
I just got off the phone with a recruiter who called me, not the other way around. Spent about 45 minutes with him, giving him background and so on, before he got to the job he had called me for: Visual Basic programmer.
Yes, I know VB, it’s on the resume as that (as a beginner). Why was he calling me? Guess: Did a search on Monster or the Web for Visual Basic, I turned up, he called without doing ANY research — my resume is a (sadly unemployment-wise) non-Microsoft resume. Once we got to this, I said I didn’t think I would work for what he had; he agreed.
We wasted both of our times.
Oh — and here is the favorite part: After the agreement that I wasn’t for this job, he said he’d e-mail me and I should send him my Word resume for future reference.
I will never hear from him.
I have a list of people that I have and not heard from. It’s interesting.
People who promised to get back to me who did not:
- Hall-Kinion recuiters (sp?) — Many interviews (phone), much work on my part to get a resume to them that they liked; I filled out their standard form promptly as requested. The ironic part of the last item is that their standard form had the following question (I’m quoting from memory): “What don’t you like about recruiters?” I answered: 1) Tech is hard to place people, it’s complicated. Tough for recruiters to understand what I/someone else needs/whats/can do. That’s awkward but understandable. 2) Recruiters promise to get back and they don’t. The recruiter actually pointed this out to me afterwards, saying he “appreciated my candor” in this matter. Yet not enough to get back to me.
- Vermillion Group (recruiter). Couple of calls, promise to get back.
- peoplebonus.com — I had two phone interviews — one lengthy — with one of the founders, then went in to talk with this guy and other founder (1/2 day killed for me), they then set me up to have a phone interview with acting CTO (~ one hour) and this person arranged to have me speak on the phone with the leader of the consulting group they had engaged. About 2 hours there. Then nothing. Over one full day of time, plus gas, parking etc. NOTHING. MONTHS AGO. Any questions?
- Lucas Group: This is the person – Jeremy — who called me for a VB job today. I have yet to hear from him; I doubt I will. (I’ll try to update if I do; if I DO hear from him and DON’T update, my bad). UPDATE TUES. AUG. 28 — Nope, never heard from him. I just in shock….
- General Employment: I went in there months ago to meet with someone; they said I couldn’t unless I did this or that (uh, I have an appointment). I left. So this one is my mistake (NOT!).
- truepoints.com — Several phone interviews (~3-4 hours total). Never heard from them. Then I read in the themayreport.com a press release from them that they had a beta site live; I was able to hack into them easily (uh username = “username” password = “password”). I wrote to The May Report about this (they published it); I wrote to truepoints.com about this with further info/comment. No response.
- Many (more than three) that I don’t have enough data about on hand (one a company in Northbrook; one in Elk Grove Village) or I have just forgotten. Whatever.
People who promised to get back to me and who did:
- Accuquote.com, Northbrook, IL. They sent a very prompt rejection letter (snail-mail). Kudos.
DO THE MATH.
Does this make sense?
OK, may make sense, but is it professional? And I’m just looking for a RESPONSE WHEN ONE IS PROMISED. Yes, rejection letters are better in that they give closure (and then the persistent ones will stop buggin’ the recruiters etc) and they demonstrate professionalism. But, I’m just looking for people to call when/if they have promised such. What’s wrong with that?
Of course not. And that’s the weird part. Especially for the recruiters. Companies pay these folks to do the dirty work; maybe, say, Motorola doesn’t realize that this or that recruiter is getting people, but pissing off a lot of others. They get pissed at the recruiter AND Motorola.
And the business of IT is business.
Shakeup coming in recruiting? Doubtful. I’ve worked at too many places where the Human Resources department (i.e. in-house recruiter) was a joke.
Doesn’t seem to worry anyone enough to make a difference.
See the sword….
OK, I didn’t want to go here, but now I’ve had two stupid phone calls in the last 20 minutes, so I’m forced.
As I mentioned before about the guy calling me (!) about the VB position, recruiters don’t get it. Yes, it is hard to place people in general — what do they really want/what does the company really want? — but in IT very difficult due to its technical nature. Sure, I can build database-driven Web sites. Oh, here’s a MS ASP job for you…uh, don’t know ASP….etc…
It is hard.
But MANY RECRUITERS DON’T EVEN TRY:
- The guy who called me about VB (detailed above). Nothing I have that suggests that I really know VB. Keyword search will find it, sure, and it will also find that I’m a beginner…if you read.
- Guy I just called back who had sent me an e-mail: E-mail indictated saw my resume. Please call. OK. Job was for SALES AND MARKETING. Nothing about that in the e-mail. Wasted both of our times (and my resume indicates NO sales or marketing experience/interest/skills). Why was I called.
- No clue in general. Too many to detail, but much of what is above. Hone in keywords; talk to them and they don’t know the diffence betwee a static and a dynamic site, Access is a database (yeah, sorta) and what’s the difference between an intranet and the Internet?? *sigh*
I have two calls sorta outstanding right now. Let’s see if they come through (I’m an mouthing-off fool) or they don’t (told ya!):
- Nelsy from Parallel Partners called me about a job I had submitted to online. Few questions; I had more for her. Bottom line, she promised to call back before 5pm today (VERY quick if it happens, as I talked to her about 2pm). She sounded like she was calling from a call center. Interesting. UPDATE: While she did not get back to me by 5pm on this day, an e-mail did follow Tuesday Aug. 27 giving me the blow off. Unusual but good.)
- I got an e-mail. Called and they promised to call. No names. I don’t care. They won’t. Shit. This is bad for everyone. UPDATE: No, they never got back.