Recruitment rules.

So, I spend a lot of time complaining about the behaviour of recruiters, mostly because they’re either horrible human beings, or because they’re forced to BE horrible human beings by their overlords who are horrible human beings and are perfectly happy spamming, cold calling, LinkedIn baiting, and all the other awful stuff that recruiters do, like not listening, ignoring requests, only doing rudimentary keyword matching etc. If you want to have me NOT complain about you and your behaviour, and if you ever want to stand a chance of being on my PSL, you’d be best to take heed of the following list.

  • Call me first: If I don’t take your call that’s because I’m busy or don’t want to speak with you. If it’s the former it’s likely that within 4 or 5 calls you’ll get hold of me, if it’s the latter it’s likely I’ll keep “being in a meeting” of course feel free to carry on but youre just wasting your own time (and mine, and the receptionists) and so you’re NEVER getting anywhere with that plan!
  • Do offer to come over and see me; I like to look into the eyes of the people that I work with, I like you to take the time to explain to me how you work, I like you to show that you understand my agency and my business – I like talking about what we do and how you can help!
  • Understand who I am and what requirements I have; I don’t use contractors (so if you work the contractor desk, DON’T phone me as its a waste of your time and mine, and the receptionists); On permanent I have a PSL, and it’s expandable if you show that you know what you’re talking about – don’t tell me that you’re an expert, prove that you’re an expert – and not at using a database, at what I do (I dont need you to be a programmer, but it would be nice if you knew the difference between HTML and .NET)
  • Don’t send me emails that I’ve not asked for; my time is limited, I get many emails and if you’re sending me things that I don’t expect or want then that’s more things for me to filter through; I’ll remember your name in a negative light if you keep making me read emails that I’m not interested in. By all means introduce yourself if you think that you’re the right fit for me and my agency, but if you get nothing back then cut your losses (see 1. above, not giving in does not guarantee results)
  • And definitely don’’t send me speculative CVs, absolutely nothing annoys me more – because lets be honest, it’s going to be either a) someone I’m not interested in, or b) someone I am interested in and have no budget to take on – either way, you just annoyed me, a lot – when I want to see people, I’ll ask you, okay?
  • When you do send me CVs (because I’ve asked for them), then please put names on them. I’m not going to go off and introduce myself to them, but I am going to look at their social media profiles and try to get an idea of who the people behind the words are, its really hard to do when you send me candidate J3576359G. Trust eh?
  • Don’t add me to your consultancy lists; When you ask if you can send me your details over and I say yes, that’s me accepting you as a person with a face who I’m happy to deal with – I don’t want to be on a list where everyone in your organisation calls or emails me.
  • Equally, don’t _you_ send me bulk emails, recruitment is about relationships, nothing says “I don’t care” like an email blast with a “personalised” name in the header. I’m not just a faceless public sector HR manager!
  • That said, please DO keep your records on who I am up to date! Salesforce or whatever other CRM package you use should be able to allow you to create some fairly detailed notes on me, and what I like and hate in a recruiter (how I like to work) and in candidates (good personal hygiene). In an industry where high staff turnover isn’t unheard of, why do you think I’d want to work with a recruiter who is having to relearn my wants and needs whenever anyone leaves!
  • Oh, spell my name right. It’s Matt, or it’s Mathew (If you’re my MOTHER). It’s NOT Mat (NEVER), and it’s NOT Matthew (EVER). Oh, and I’m a brand nazi so you’ll probably want to get the name and capitalisation of the company I work at right too (twentysix, no Digital). You’d not call it CokaCola FizzyDrinks would you?

Ultimately boys and girls, I’m a person, a human being and if you treat me like one, I’ll treat you like one. That doesnt mean I’ll always give you a role to work on, but it does mean that I won’t write about you and your consultancies reprehensible policies on the internet. It’s not hard folks, it’s courtesy, respect and understanding. Now, go forth and recruit!

Advice for universities and students.

Hey there generic University,

I strongly believe that University 101 should be one of your lecturers standing up in front of the commencing class and saying, University is a social experience for you, one where youll undoubtedly learn things both of life and of your chosen subject but if you want to get a job after it then please aim for more than just a grade!.

Ive just once again gone through a round of interviews from a few local universities, looking for gap year students to come in and work with us as a junior developer, and as with the last 3 years Ive once again found that students today feel that learning how to correctly apply a <br> tag to a page, or how to make a form submit, or how to use a PNG (albeit in the instance of this particular interview incorrectly/for no apparent reason) should be enough to get them a job at a professional level upon leaving education/having a gap year.

University, will you please sit down and tell your students that doing enough to get a first isnt, at least for most companies I know, going to be good enough to get them a job!

I cut 60 CVs down to 10 interviews and in those 10 interviews spoke to each applicant for around an hour. In those hour slots not one person showed the level of passion, commitment and ability to development in general, the web in any guise, or a glimmer of anything else interesting that I felt would make me want to scoop them up and offer them a placement.

It was with genuine sadness that as I sat through one particular interviews with a Computer Science student who was holding up his ability to create a very basic HTML form as something that everyone should be proud of I was sat there thinking that at the same age as this student, that Zuckerburg fella was creating The Facebook and also thinking that creating basic forms is probably what Year 7 students are doing at secondary school now.

So, University, please tell your students to learn outside of class, please tell them a first isnt enough, please tell them that they need passion because if they dont have it now, they wont have it in 20 years, please tell them that they need to be doing and creating things for themselves, not just essays and things for you to grade, please tell them that until they realise this, a lot of digital agencies are going to think theyre more suited to shelf stacking than wasting space sat on one of their office chairs.


Frustrated hirer