Friday, January 11, 2008

Headhunting Stories

When you've been in the IT consulting business for a while, you run into a host of colorful characters in the form of agency sales and account managers and plain old recruiters. There are stories and stories but here is a small sampling :

1- It was a phone screen with the agency recruiter before being submitted to the client. After about five minutes she asked me "Have you ever considered a career in radio ? You have the perfect voice for radio" When I said I had not she had a second recommendation for me"How about technical recruiting, you know interviewing candidates and screening them for submission to clients ? I think you would do really well at that too". While those were great votes of confidence, neither resulted in a job.

2 - She is a recruiter in her early twenties and asks me to meet her for coffee at the local Starbucks. Before I leave I find out that she has no college degree, has quite a bit of credit card debt - she hardly makes any commissions and her salary is about same as a McWorker's only she has to dress a lot better and look very cheerful. Goodwill is her lifeline. The worst part of her job - meeting nerds for coffee who stare at her bust for the full twenty minutes of the conversation.

3 - He name drops every time he gets a chance and impresses upon me the power of his sizable Rolodex. If there is not a job, for the right candidate he can have the hiring manager create one - it has been done before. He thinks he can put my resume to work handily. There is no company in town that he has not done business with. Then he tries the oldest trick in the trade - he does not have a position that may be a fit for me right now but could I give him "at least three professional references" along with their phone numbers.

4 - He tells me that he came to this country from India before I was born. I say that's a long time ago. To emphasize the relative difference in our places in life he adds, I got divorced when you must have still been in high school. Needless to say we had not talked about the job yet. I resolve to remove the year of graduation in the education section of my resume. But for that we would not be having this conversation. Then he talks about how his ex-wife has the best of both worlds "the privileges of marriage without any of the responsibility". He lives an hour away from her and was on his way to the airport to receive her and drop her off at her home. He was her preferred handyman as well he adds proudly. I say she has a deal that was hard to beat. As for the job, the hiring manager had to cancel the position since her budgets got slashed.

5 - She contacts me regarding a position. I am a little slow to react and send her my resume months later when I am back in the market. She calls and leaves me a message asking me to call back. When I do she tells me that she no longer works for the company she was with at the time of writing to me. She has her own catering business now. She is confident she'll break even this year but in the meanwhile if I had a part-time project manager position would I please consider her ? Money is rather tight with the business still struggling. I am at a loss for words but manage to say of course, go ahead and send me your resume.

6 - In a previous life she was a waitress at Hooters. Apparently she met her husband when he came there one evening. She looks like Barbie doll might at forty five - a little wrinkled, sagging and worn out but still very much the bimbo that men find ogleable. She wears an Omega and carries a large brown bag that looks ominously like a Birkin. Every time I meet her at the consultant appreciation breakfasts, I find myself working the math of number of bodies times spread minus cost of bagels, coffee and OJ equals money for Birkins and more.

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