Everybody knows that today it’s not easy to find qualified software engineers who are able to “get things done”. I like evaluation system of IT team that’s been developed by Joel Spolsky (Joel Test). Having read his system, I’ve decided to write my own criteria how to effectively assess IT recruiting agencies.
There are few of recommendations how to solve a lack of talented IT guys. For example:
- Hire a recruiter
- Post ads on your website or any other information resource and wait…Because you are not in a rush to hand a deliver a project on time, are you?
- Interns. It’s cheap and simple.
- Contractors. It’s expensive and fast. Why not?
- Sign up “an agreement with a devil” and apply to a IT recruiting agency
For a lot of IT companies, the first 4 items may sound quite simple and easy to do. But a majority of companies fundamentally don’t work with recruiting agencies complaining on the bad candidates, poor service, cost of their services, leaves without figs etc.
12 easy steps with “yes” or “no” answers:
1) Have you got the references of clients who were exhilarated with the results of work?
I think everyone has seen hundreds of companies who are the clients of Microsoft, HP, IBM, etc. Interestingly enough, it’s very difficult to check and follow up such references. Do they really exist? A big number of logos given in references don’t inform us about successful head-hunting as well as they don’t tell us whether they manage to hire workers on a regular basis. I personally don’t share my clients’ contact information on the site. Maybe my clients should help me to sell and answer all the requests? Even if they don’t mind to give a reference, I very much appreciate their time. Therefore, if you’ve got clients who want to learn more about your company and services, the most suitable thing to do is to organize a meeting and talk over all the details eye to eye.
2) Have you got the references of the candidates who have found a dream job?
A candidate who’s pleased with his or her work is equally important as a pleased client. The connection between them pair is obvious. Besides, workers from your team can help you to find smart recruiters. Just ask your employees… I’m sure they’ve changed their jobs several times. And if they happened to meet a good recruiter in the past, they should be eager to share this information with you.
3) Do recruiters ask for the detailed requirements?
Very often the staff of companies believe that requirements for a candidate are not that important. Therefore, too often we see short descriptions that go like “We need a passionate iOS/Android developer with 3 years of working experience” for example. A professional recruiter should be interested in each position. How do you picture “a passionate developer”, what are your company’s values, what knowledge – iOS or Android is priority?
4) Do recruiters “polish” CV of a candidate?
The CV should be written in one and the same format and contain maximum 1-2 pages. It’s also important to give space for some personal information of a candidate (why he/she decided to change a job, the desired wages, a marital status, etc.) The first thing that a reader should see on a page is the last project of a candidate. Don’t make a story about technical knowledge of a candidate.
- What’s bad: Back-end development with latest PHP version, Content Management Systems – Joomla, Drupal, Performance optimization using Varnish, Memcached, Amazon Web Services, Object Oriented Programming and Object Oriented Design etc.
- What’s good: PHP 5.3, OOP/OOD, Joomla, Drupal, Varnish, Memcached, AWS.
And the links to the open-source and personal projects on github, bitbucket etc.
5) Do recruiters give a technical evaluation of candidates?
A resume can speak loud, however you shouldn’t judge from the number of smart words and references. When people go to the restaurant, they judge chef’s work after tasting his meals. A code is a type of art of each developer to some extent. Thus, if you’d like to show your client really qualified developers, it’s worth to evaluate their code (a current project, a personal project, participation in open-source projects) and hold a technical interview using online tests. By doing so, you’ll be able to select the most tech-savvy candidates.
6) Do recruiters give assessment of candidate’s personality?
“Passionate”, “enthusiastic”, “get things done” are the most frequent characteristics that we read in the ads when look for a developer. Is it worth to measure up this “passion”? I would say, yes, definitely. I remember situations when employers rejected candidates who were really well tech-savvy. A developer should also be a good team player who is interested in innovative technologies and sincere at an interview. Every company has got its own set of “values”, hence they should be able to check whether a “portrait” of a candidate match their company’s criteria.
7) Do recruiters reply promptly to your requests?
I’m not mentioning that they should send a client a report on progress, even when there are no potential candidates to show. The way recruiters reply says a lot – it’s basically an indicator of their responsibility level, service quality and their desire to have you as a client. I think a recruiter is supposed to be able to close every dialogue with each client.
8) Do recruiters keep faith even if they didn’t promise anything that important?
One can judge quality of service taking into consideration all little things. If recruiters promise to send you their terms & conditions or the list of their first candidates tomorrow and then don’t do it, I would get pretty cautious. How will you know that your collaboration is going to be reliable in future?
9) Will recruiters help you even if you’re not going to be their client in future?
The featured target of any service is to see long-term potential. Therefore, if recruiters don’t reply to your request, their expertise leaves much to be desired. I wouldn’t collaborate with them, without a shadow of a doubt.
Recently I’ve been contacted by a Dutch company that was looking for a PHP developer in Romania. Our team doesn’t have expertise of headhunting in Romania. However, I thoroughly looked throughs services of local IT agencies, selected some of them according to the reviews and sent a list of agencies to the address so that a requester could chose a company to work with.
10) Do they give preference to active search and head-hunting than passive search?
Of course, one can wait for ages to find the right employee, however, active search is the most effective. You can buy a database of candidates from a certain resource or pay for ads on work websites. But you should remember, that highly-skilled developers don’t look for a job. You should be looking for them. It’s better to use personal networking, LinkedIn, Xing, Stackoverflow, Github etc instead of using paid ads and databases of candidates.
11) Do you know a team member who will look for candidates and take an interview for YOU?
If you’re not informed who exactly from a recruiting agency is going to look for and speak with candidates for you, it looks quite suspicious. Maybe, he or she is a trainee and doesn’t know job well. In this case there’s very little chance that you will be happy with a list of candidates provided by him or her. You need to know how the searching process is performed or at least, be able to communicate to a Recruiting Manager.
12) Do you like a website of recruiters?
This is probably the most efficient way to see whether IT recruiters can find a proficient web designer 🙂