Your shout: Recruiters in the spotlight

Readers put their point of view

Readers put their point of view





Recruiters overlook valuable IT skills

I agree completely with David Lambert in his opinion column, "Recruitment in disarray?" (Computer Weekly, 10 May), about the state of IT recruitment.

Spot the difference between this: "for (i=0;i<0;i++){}" and this:

"for (i=0;i<0;i++){}".

Of course there isn't one, although I had C in mind when I wrote the first and Java in mind when I wrote the second. The point is that key IT skills are transferable across different technologies. This seems to be something that recruitment companies fail to understand when selecting candidates and employers fail to appreciate when placing their adverts.

It leaves the poor job hunter with no chance of escaping the box that their current role puts them into, as their CV is instantly disregarded the moment the software/recruitment person scans it for the key words they have been instructed to look for.

This approach results in qualified, experienced IT professionals being overlooked for jobs they are more than capable of doing and doing well. The other side to the problem is companies asking for "n" months commercial experience in their advertisements. How do they think the job market gains this commercial experience?

Do they think/hope that their competitors will take the supposed "risk" of employing people with no commercial experience, train them in these new technologies and then wait for them to be poached later on?

Where do the people responsible for recruitment think the skills shortage comes from? It comes from companies not being willing to employ IT professionals without the holy grail of commercial experience gained in the narrow field that they are currently using, completely disregarding the skills they possess.

What do employers do when they decide to change technologies - replace their entire workforce with a new one that has the required skills, or retrain the staff they already employ?

Dan Beavon, software engineer


The risks of too much personal information

My personal bugbear about recruitment agencies is "date of birth". Why does an agent need it to put you forward for a job?

They don't, of course, but they do find it convenient as a primary key. Human resources departments have always collected it on the application form.

Agents want to add value by collecting this information for employers, putting it on file before they even ask for it. Then it goes onto a database. Now the job boards front it again for the same reasons. It all escalates despite the Data Protection Act.

One agent told me this is done "to see if you fit in with the age range of the team there". It is easy to think some recruiters also believe in star signs.

It was probably OK in the old days to apply for a few jobs and put your details on each application form. Now I have no idea how many databases my date of birth is in, and who is claiming my authority to use it. This data has until recently not been very easy to find, whereas now it is exactly what you need for identity theft.

Why should such data proliferate in a largely unregulated market when there is no real reason for it to be at risk at all?

Andy Tomalin


The human filter is what really counts for job fit

David Lambert is absolutely right (Computer Weekly, 10 May). With the high level of automation promised by job boards, many agents believe the work will be done for them, but this is simply not the case. Having sampled the highs and lows in recruitment from the days when e-mail was in its infancy and job boards were a twinkle in the heavens, I have seen a plethora of methods for sourcing candidates. One truth remains constant throughout: human intervention is paramount at all stages of the process.

Job specs have to be thoroughly scrutinised with the end client, this means either getting HR approval to speak to the end-user or HR having 100% clarity on the role. Quite often this form of questioning will highlight omissions, errors and a lack of understanding of what the "real" requirements for the business are.

I am not an advocate of job board advertising; if you rely on a job advert response, in my book you have already lost. The sure way is to actively search for your candidates and have meaningful business conversations with them. Get buy-in and understanding of what you plan to do and tell them how, why and when you will be contacting them moving forward. You will build commitment and trust with your candidates and the business will have a better submission, interview and placement ratio. The result is that clients get what they want, when they want it, and at the right price.

Recruitment should be approached like any other project: planned and methodical, with identifiable deliverables and milestone reporting.

Greg Horne, managing director, Aqua IT Resources


Job agencies need to listen to their clients

The malaise described by David Lambert (Computer Weekly, 10 May) prevails in almost any area of business recruitment, not just IT. I originally trained in computing and switched to the legal side a few years ago. I recently dealt with an agency which had never heard of the BCS, never mind its law specialist sub-group, although it was recruiting in-house lawyers for computing/technical companies.

Agencies need to listen to what their client wants and needs, and provide it, rather than providing what they think the client wants.

Also, until companies want to pay more than the minimum for staff, acknowledging that a role needs experience (and that some of us are not dead above the neck over the age of 40) and are prepared to use and train staff to keep their expertise, the situation will not change for many of us.

In the meantime, a lot of valuable, experienced, and frustrated people with appropriate and unused skills, (and the ability to learn new ones) will be wasted in more than one business arena.

Gill Felton

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