Thursday, February 03, 2005

Get Staffed

Would you hire a person who didn't know the difference between your product and a flour sifter? Who didn't care? Then why do you hire a staffing agency to find your documentation writer?

If you find a recruiter you can trust, that's as valuable as happening across a brilliant programmer or a gifted writer.

Your Web site claims that your company prides itself on its communications. Then why is your job ad barely literate? How do you expect to attract good writers this way?

I've had a lot of conversations with people from staffing agencies in the last three weeks. Many of them don't have a clue, but the good ones aren't afraid to admit it. They ask questions. I’ve had conversations with recruiters where we both went away with a better understanding of the job. I wasn’t the right person for some of these jobs, but if the recruiter understands both my qualifications and the technology better, then it’s more likely we’ll work together in the future.

A staffing agency is a tool, nothing more. It can't provide passion or brilliance. It doesn't solve any problems on its own. It helps you solve problems you already understand. If you’re not sure what to do next in your project; if you're experiencing friction and you don't know why; if things aren't working and you can’t diagnose the problem, then you don't need a staffer, you need a consultant.

If you know what needs to be done but lack the time or precise skills to do it, call a staffing agency.

If you're looking for someone who can engage your project actively and intelligently, don't count on a staffing agency to find them. You might get them, but if you do, hire them right away because you got a lucky break.

In most cases the recruiter is a middle man who understands less about the job (and the technology) than the people on the ends.

I've talked to 2 or 3 recruiters who seem to get it. I want to work with them again.

A lot of staffing recruiters think of you as nothing more than a resume or a way to fill a seat. They're easy to spot. Ask them how you can provide better value and you'll see it right away. They aren't interested in someone who goes above and beyond.

Yes, I've only been "out there" for a month now, but this stuff isn't very hard to see. I’ve had some good interactions with staffing agencies, and I’ve had some bad ones. I’m starting to understand that good recruiting is a bit of an art. Bad recruiting reeks of spam.


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