A recent encounter with a recruiter

The first time I got a call from a head hunter about 6 years ago, I was proud! I was so happy that my head was worth hunting! I was fresh out of grad school and looking for a permanent job, I nailed that first call and started the job 2 weeks later.

Things changed over time. Those sweet “complimentary” calls turned into mid-day annoyances that interrupted meetings, family time or just an intense debugging/refactoring session.

I removed my phone number from the public phone directory and put this at the top of my linkedin:

PLZ NO CALLS (read why: http://goo.gl/Vt7kV4). I know you’re excited about your client but read this before wasting your time: https://goo.gl/oWRAhZ.

That second link is to this medium post where I pretend to be looking for a job and ask the head hunters to give me a reason to quit and at the end I even go as far as trying to recruit the recruiter! 😊

One could consider it career suicide as I’m practically unemployable after that. However it has stopped most of the cold-calls and emails.

But occasionally I get an email from ignorant head hunters who haven’t read it or the brave type who have read it and still wanna give it a shot. The ignorants get the link pasted as a reply but here’s a recent conversation that was fun enough to share:

First message from Linkedin:

Hi Alex, We have a very strong pipeline of new opportunities that are going to becoming available over the next 12 months in Sweden. Please can you confirm when you are next due to be available for new opportunities? Current priority position:

JavaScript Team Lead — 6 Month Contract — Sweden

JavaScript React Native Elastic Search (or similar) Team Lead Capabilities

If you are interested in this position, please let me know a good time to speak. Alternatively, please can you confirm when you are next available for new opportunities. Thanks RECRUITER_NAME Senior Contract Data Science Consultant at COMPANY

My standard reply:

Hi RECRUITER_NAME, https://medium.com/@alexewerlof/looking-for-a-better-job-4a40429d00e2

Then I got this email:

Alex,

I’ve thoroughly read both your Linkedin profile and your blog. If I’m honest (and this isn’t just recruiter rubbish), the business we are recruiting for should be right up your street. That’s if you’re a contractor, as until next year, all positions are being recruited on a consultant basis.

The business are a Fintech/Ecommerce organisation. One of the most reputable organisations within Europe. In the offices they employ over 43 different nationalities and look to offer opportunities to the best people that can do the job. I usually recruit within the Data Science space and to quote the Director of Data Science during our last meeting:

“Data Science is bullshit! It’s a buzzword! Nobody knows what ‘Data Science’ is. I look to hire intelligent problem solvers regardless of their education/backgrounds. If I have a business problem/business question and that person can demonstrate to me that they can solve that problem/answer that question, they will get the opportunity to tackle it!”

He went on to say that his best Data Scientist has no PhD, but he will solve any problem that you put in front of him.

The business are modelled around a personal growth and collaboration based model. The teams are led by 2 leaders. The ‘Accountable Lead’ who in effect is your ‘Team Lead, and your ‘Competence Lead’, who is responsible for ensuring that you have a solid training and development programme.

Quote:

Culture — You’ll have an opportunity to work with people from 45 different countries in our English speaking office in Stockholm city centre.

Learning — We have a learning and development focused environment with an emphasis on knowledge sharing, training and regular internal technical talks.

We need you to come on board and help with the build of a number of new teams and your profile looks to be a very strong fit to help us move forwards.

I’m straight talking as I’m guessing you are, judging by your blog/Linkedin. I’ve taken the time to read and respond so please can you do the same.

Kind regards

This made me laugh. 😄 Stockholm has a small population and even smaller IT market, if you’ve been working at a couple of companies and are in touch with your professional circle, there’s a chance you already have a good guess about which company he’s recruiting for.

Here comes my reply:

Hey RECRUITER_NAME,

Thanks for taking time to read the blog post. As you asked me I read through your email. To be honest I could as well say the following two paragraphs about Schibsted:

Culture — You’ll have an opportunity to work with people from 45 different countries in our English speaking office in Stockholm city centre.

Learning — We have a learning and development focused environment with an emphasis on knowledge sharing, training and regular internal technical talks.

Except that we have people from 80+ countries (the company is 6500+ ppl). Besides we have 20% unallocated time that we can spend on projects of our choosing. Then there are international conferences, e-learning, books and courses that the company pays for.

I also have a hard time to resonate with the Director of Data Science saying that Data Science = Bullshit because then he’s practically “Director of Bullshit” which is quite a hard sell ;-)

Anyway, an opportunity like this would probably make me droll 3 years ago, but unfortunately I’ve found the honey pot that’s hard to leave. Besides I wouldn’t leave my permanent position with a well defined career path to a 6 month consultant contract, but I guess I’m an exception.

It seems like you’re up to something so keep up with the recruitment process and I’m sure you’ll find more qualified people who are open to a change.

Cheers,

+Alex

Knowledge Worker, MSc Systems Engineering, Tech Lead, Web Developer