Darren Mothersele

Software Developer

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I Don't Use Recruitment Agents

Apr 14, 2014

web-dev

I started working with Drupal full time in 2007. I knew back then I was on to a winner, as none of the other open-source systems I evaluated at the time offered the same power and flexibility. It took a while for mainstream web development community to catch on, but over the years the Drupal community has seen massive growth, and now Drupal powers some of the biggest sites on the internet, well over 1 million websites.

But, this success brings problems, and one recurring complaint I’ve heard over the years has been about the difficulty in finding top Drupal talent. This has made Drupal a prime target for recruitment agencies deception and dirty tricks.

Wunderroot are a well known company in the Drupal world, and are known to be a good employer. As UK MD, Steve Parks, says in his blog We Don’t Use Recruitment Agents

We would really love to be able to use recruitment agencies — imagine: a team of people with genuine experience in hiring great staff, with fantastic contacts books, and taking the role of a trusted friend to guide us through advertising, filtering, selecting and engaging the right people. It'd be fantastic. We'd pay good money for that. Unfortunately, that's not how most recruitment agencies work in reality.

I have experience with working with recruitment consultants from both sides. Before I started freelancing in Drupal full time I was running a digital music startup. As a successful startup we experienced fast growth, and didn’t have the resources in-house to do thorough candidate searches. We used a couple of recruitment consultants and were consistently disappointed. Candidates were misrepresented, to the point where one didn’t recognise his own CV in an interview.

On the other side, as a candidate, I do not use agencies for work. One experience in particular put me off for many years.

I interviewed for a position, but decided after the first interview that, although the opportunity was interesting, I knew I was not the right candidate. The company wanted to invite me back for a second interview, but I told the consultant that I was not interested, and explained my reasons. Unfortunately, the consultant would not take no for an answer, and I was subjected to a week of harassment (to the point of bullying) over my decision.

In We Don’t Use Recruitment Agents, Steve Parks tells of a “bait and switch” operation where developers had been approached by recruitment agencies saying that they had been engaged by Wunderroot to headhunt (the bait) in order to get someone interested, but then saying the position was filled and proposing other positions (the switch).

I’m not sure if it’s the same dirty tactic in operation, but I have heard in the past of an employer receiving my CV from an agency claiming to represent me. The employer knew me directly, so checked, and they had an out-of-date CV that I had given to the agency for a different opportunity previously. This came up in conversation at a Drupal meetup and it was suggested that this is probably not a mistake as other developers had heard of it happening too.

The extreme of recruiters’ tricks are documented in this old post from Kernel Mag in which Consol Partners are accused of “telling outrageous lies to candidates and start-ups”.

In a post on recruiting trends ERE suggest that, in an era when candidate sourcing is becoming easier as everyone is “findable” on the internet, recruiters should “shift toward improving the various selling components of recruiting”. I’m not sure exactly what they mean by ‘selling components’ but I would beg recruitment agencies not to do this, and instead focus on providing value.

###Recruiters - Do This:

Here’s a short TODO list for recruiters:

###Until then…

If you’re a reputable company looking to source Drupal developers, or you are a Drupal developer working in London or the UK, get in touch. I’m starting a free job board on DrupalDeveloper.co.uk.