Monday, August 27, 2012

So That's What IT Recruiters Are Good For!

The BI Market seems to be fairly hot right now, at least in Australia, if the number of calls I'm getting from headhunters and IT Recruiters is any sort of indicator. However an experience I had this week makes me wonder.

Right now I have a need to ramp up the number of BI folks in our company to handle some project demands. It's a short term gig for the time being so we directly approached a few service firms as well as posting in one or two LinkedIn groups. Two days later I received an email from an IT Recruiter offering me the chance to interview for a great BI position with a first class company there were working very closely with. The position description felt very familiar and no wonder, I'd written most of it only a few days earlier. It had been augmented a bit to give the impression that what was in reality a short term engagement with a slim chance of extension was instead just the initial piece of a long engagement. A hunch had me checking Australia's main jobs website. Sure enough, two more recruiters were also advertising jobs which were also obviously the roles I was trying to fill. Both had extra or erroneous information, I suspect to make their version of the job more attractive than the one being advertised by their competitors.

Recruitment "consultants" taking initiative and creating opportunities to make income for themselves and their companies is one thing, but it causes problems for those of us working in, or managing those working in, the BI arena. With multiple parties now advertising my two roles now seemed like eight, so when those two are filled it will seem as if many more roles have been quickly filled. I suspect this contributes to the general feeling that demand is high and might even be artificially forcing rates up. Worse still will it cause a scenario where this perception of great demand draws people from other IT areas to re-train in the BI field, potentially causing a future glut of supply?

So let's be generous and say that recruitment consultants generate a buzz for us and drive potential candidates our way, but those of us with our own Human Resource Departments could do that anyway. What else do recruiters bring to the table? In my experience the majority of those I've dealt with lack any depth of understanding - matching skills and expertise to roles is haphazard at best, and even basic screening of applicants seems limited to "if they can spell BI then they're qualified to get a second interview".

So, for me I struggle to see the value..... But then I had an experience that made me realize that recruitment consultants do serve a valuable purpose - they're here to make us laugh. I was approached by a recruiter interested in my data warehousing expertise and keen to learn if I had a forklift license and what my typing speed was. I suspect data warehousing may have been a new term for him! Another, during a preliminary chat when I was trying to find a candidate to fill a new data warehousing role, asked me if I felt rising real estate costs would make warehouse space more expensive and cause my firm to lift our rates.

So, guys, keep the laughs coming, but you'll excuse me if I pass on your other offerings!

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