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Since last Friday I have applied for 7 jobs, via various recruitment agencies, and as of today I have been put forward for 3. Now I’m waiting to see if I get any interviews. Please God, don’t make me speak to any more recruitment consultants. How useless are these people? Has there ever been a single recruitment consultant that knows more than how to list of a bunch of acronyms? Generally, they will phone up, tell you about an amazing position, say they’re going to put you forward, and then all of sudden the job doesn’t exist anymore, and sometimes the person you originally spoke is impossible to get hold of. 

The main recruitment sites like and are full of listings entered by employment agencies. It’s very rare that an employer itself posts on these boards. If you want, like me, only web developer type jobs listed directly by the employer check out 37signals Job Board, CrunchBoard, CSS Monster and Jobs @ JoelOnSoftware. Out of these niche job boards, only JoelOnSoftware allows you to filter jobs by country. All let you subscribe by RSS feed.

Here’s a plea to employers: Forget the large recruitment sites and please stop using employment agencies. They charge far too much for their services (not that I have to pay) and, like all middlemen, do nothing useful except create beaurocracy and get in the way of the task at hand. Instead, find a job board that caters for the particular niche you want and advertise directly and accurately.

I’d put recruitment consultants in the same bracket as estate agents. Useless, but a necessary evil.



    • Jen
    • Posted Saturday, 13 January 2007 at 12:58 pm
    • Permalink

    We recruit most of our programmers ourselves I think, but other staff (support, admin etc.) via recruiters. It’s difficult to match people to jobs on competency lists (which is how I presume recruitment and job matching actually works) as it doesn’t quite work that way.

    Can I suggest you adopt this tactic: (Recruiterless job searches)

    and good luck!

  1. Thanks for link. I read the rest of the blog and the author nails the problem when he identifies that recruiters hurt the technical hiring process.

    So far, I have had one interview and I have another scheduled for Monday. Interestingly, the first interview came via a personal contact. I hear that having someone personally vouch for your dedication, work ethic, skills and ability to learn can make all the difference. My fingers are crossed for this position. I’m unsure if I’ll get it because of my limited experience in .NET stuff, though you have told me and did demonstrate by switching over to Java for a year, that .NET is very much like Java and is easy to pick up. During my 3 months of coding ASP.NET, I found it pretty simple to code in C#. Often it was frustrating too, because I found the developer loses a lot of control when relying on web controls and the like, and it wasn’t easy to make simple changes. I hear things are better in version 2 of ASP.NET.

  2. I’m the author of the blog mentioned above, In addition to whereco, we’ve started a new principals-only job board that approaches the recruiter problem from the other side. The board is moderated to ensure that all posts are direct from the hiring company.

    The popular job boards (even Craigslist) are a mess these days – they are swamped by anonymous, generic recruiter postings. The listing pages don’t distinguish between direct and recruiter ads, there is no way to tell from the recruiter ads what company is actually hiring, and all the recruiter posts have more or less the same skill requirements.

    How can the searcher have any idea if the post represents a company where he/she would want to work? How can the company be sure to attract someone with a specific motivation to work there rather than just another generic cog in the wheel? Both employer and job seeker need a way to find each other without the recruiter middle-man…

    You can check out the new principals-only job board at

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