Job Recruiters – Career Opportunity For Those Who Couldn’t Get Into Real Estate

The other day I was dealing with a recruiter who was “representing” me to a hiring manager.* We had arranged for her to call me at 9am to discuss the position, but when 9:10 came along and I hadn’t heard from her, I tried calling her office number she had in the signature of her email.

The phone rang on and on with no answer. So I went back to work, and figured I would try later. A bit of phone tag later, and we finally were able to talk and prepare for an interview with the hiring manager.

When she asked me to call her after the interview was over, I related the issue I had reaching her earlier. Her response? “I was getting too many telemarketing calls on my office line, so I unplugged it. Call me on my cell phone. I guess I should take my office number off my email, huh?”

A woman whose entire job consists of talking with hiring managers and job seekers didn’t see any problem with disconnecting the phone number she was handing out as contact information. And this level of incompetence is by no means unique when dealing with recruiters.

I have a hard time feeling sympathy when recruiters tell me the past few years have been difficult when the entire profession seems to combine the non-value adding qualities of HR departments with the clueless and dilettantism of bored housewives who get the idea to start up their own business to feel productive that ends up never really turning a profit if you factor in all the business expenditures, which they never do. (Real estate agent and pyramid scheme marketing are the other two big options for the later quality)

Sorry that this post is all complaint, no solution, but sometimes that’s all ya got.

*The other big joke in the recruitment field is the nebulous relationship each recruiter has with everyone else in the process. The hiring manager often has contracts with a few different people, so they see the recruiter as representing the prospective employee. The job seeker is often lulled into thinking the recruiter is on their side, which is a little true, in that they don’t get paid unless the job is offered (and accepted). But, the recruiter is making “matches” based on the job offers they represent, not job seekers. In the case above, I was only working with this buffoon because she was in the same recruiter network as another recruiter I work with and respect, and she had this offer on her desk. So while I never chose her, her unprofessional manner reflects on me, not the hiring company.

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(b)Logrolling In Our Times – Week Ending 4/16/10

Back on the horse:

This and That – Part I: The basic error of who you ask to manage – From BadConsultant – Sobering thoughts for someone in the middle of a career transition who is damn good and “this” has some skill for parts of “that”, and got used to a position that was a little bit of “this” and “that” which nobody hires for

A good old idea: “making things” – From Bert Maes – I truly hope that we aren’t being obstinate nostalgists when we say we have to go back to manufacturing

How To Get Them While They Are Young?

A blog that almost nobody reads may be the smallest way possible to throw my hat over the fence, but I hope it has the needed effect for me.

A few weeks ago, right around National Engineering Week, I had a brief back-and-forth about the idea of giving some sort of lecture/presentation/demonstration to the 8th grade kids my sister teaches (math) in order to try to convince some of them to at least think about engineering, and more specifically, manufacturing as a viable career. Especially now that I am getting to the point where I think my job is more about teaching/mentoring/training than it is about doing.

Since I’ll see my sister for Easter, I want to talk to her about what her year’s curriculum is, to see if there is something I can tie into. And really, making stuff is cool – manufacturing shouldn’t be THAT hard of a sell (especially to kids who haven’t had their eyes open to the terror that is trying to find steady employment).

So my question out to the vast wasteland is – how DO you get kids excited about manufacturing and engineering? Anyone?

(b)Logrolling In Our Time – Week Ending 3/26/09

Not sure if it is me, or the demographics of wordpress – but looking through all the “engineering” blogs makes me wonder why anyone would outsource to India. Onto my post of the week:

So, what are you gonna do about it? – From BadConsultant – When there are hundreds of applicants for every position, success has to be more than getting a warm body behind the vacant desk.

Professional Reputation In The Balance – Understanding The Expected Level Of Communication

Today at work within the span of one hour, there were demonstrations of the damage to your professional reputation that can be caused by both over-communicating and under-communicating with your peers and managers.

The under-communication example:  The assistant plant manager needed to round up a half-dozen employees, and had them called as a group over the plant’s PA system. All but one showed up. The asst. manager then called the missing person by name over the two-way radios we are all to carry in the plant. When he still failed to respond, I was called to search the facility for him. Once he was found, and the initial matter was taken care of, it was brought to his attention that his lack of awareness of the situation could have had serious consequences had the issue been an emergency. (It didn’t help that this wasn’t the first such incident, just the first time that it was someone that high up the ladder that was looking for him.

The over-communication example: The same assistant plant manager expressed his displeasure over a recent incident when the off-shift supervisor called him at 3 am to let him know that the plant was down due to a town-wide power outage. At our plant, late-night calls are not an infrequent occurrence, but the manager couldn’t figure out the purpose of this intrusive call. There was no question of what to do, there were no options, there was just a need for temporary down-time until the power company fixed the problem. This was purely an informative call, which could have waited a few hours until the morning.

The lesson here is to understand your audience, understand the relationship you have with them, and give them the level of communication they need to do their job, and that they request from you – no more, no less. The VP of quality assurance doesn’t care about the reactor size of your new process, she wants to know what considerations for product integrity were made. Your sales force is going to glaze over if you explain each step you needed to go through to expedite an order, they just want to know that you arranged for the product to be received on date X. And your direct manager will let you know the level of detail they want to hear about your work based on how much he trusts your ability to do it correctly.  Being able to read the room and the clues that your audience will send you about their interest makes the difference between being perceived as a professional and being seen as hopeless.

(b)Logrolling In Our Time – Week Ending 3/19/2009

Since I’m finding myself spending more time reading other people’s posts (and occasionally commenting on them), I figured I’d start giving a weekly shout to those posts I found interesting in the last 7 days:

‘Smart’ Kids, ‘Dumb’ Kids, and Mathematical Insight – From Superplexa! – An argument that getting the right answer does not a good student make (Hopefully the same applies to using proper sentence structure)

Earth to CEOs:  Come Back Down Here with Us! – From Morale at Work – While I continue to maintain the Undercover Boss is a Bad Thing(tm) in many ways, it has brought out more thoughts on what executives are and should be

How To Make Project Meetings More Efficient and Productive In One Simple Step

Short post today. One simple step to take to keep project meetings short, effective, and productive:

Have one person in attendance whose main function is to interrupt conversations as they derail with a quick “Shut The Fuck Up.” It needs to be someone who has some respect among those in attendance, but probably not the most senior person at the meeting, as he will be the most frequent target of the comment.

Whenever a project update meeting drifts into group design – “Shut The Fuck Up”

An impromptu recounting of the history of the building the project is going to be located erupts – “Shut The Fuck Up”

The 2 hour conversation you had last meeting about a trivial point starts revving up again – “Shut The Fuck Up”

Discussion on a topic continues (or more accurately, replays) after a decision has been made – “Shut The Fuck Up”

Someone dithers for the tenth time over a decision they were supposed to give a definitive answer to months ago – “Answer Now, Quit, Or Kill Yourself” (This task is not as simple as just repeating four words, or else a Furby could do it – if Furbys still exist)

Why yes, I did just come back from a three and a half hour project update meeting, why do you ask?

PS – The person you assign this task to must also a)be protected by enough of upper management AND the people who actually do work so as not to be fired immediately; and 2)be independently wealthy so that they don’t starve when a) is not enough.