Monday, August 8, 2011

Oh, Monday!

Mondays continue to be my least favourite day of the week. I hate having this bias but it seems like not-good things always happen on Mondays. Three Mondays ago, one of ‘my’ consultants was found dead in his hotel room. Two Monday’s ago, I had to fire someone and last Monday, I had to meet with the consultant who I had to fire for no reason other than the company decided they wanted to bring someone back and didn’t have room for both programmers. This week, one of my candidates managed to get us banned from sending any more cnadidates.

I’m thinking I should just take Mondays off. It might be easier. Today’s incident was due to the fact that despite my strong counseling against mentioning it, my candidate decided to blurt out the fact that he was going to be quitting programming in order to become a lawyer in two years’ time. I promise, I’m not prone to shady counseling. I don’t usually tell my candidates to lie. In this case, I didn’t tell him to lie. I just told him very, very specifically that if he wanted the new job, it would probably be best if he didn’t let them know he might be leaving in two years.

The thing is that in the IT development world, two years is a long time. In my job, I deal with a lot of contractors who feel that more than a six month stint at any job is too much of a commitment. Contractors generally enjoy moving around, trying new companies, working on new projects. It’s not for everyone but there are a lot of folks out there who like the temp jobs because they get variety.

These days, developers are very much in demand. It’s a candidate’s market. They have the freedom to pick and choose when they decide they want a new job and where they end up going. It’s hard to let companies know that. It’s the reason that my old company is desperate for a couple of developers and can’t figure out why they’re not getting any decent resumes. They simply don’t move fast enough. If a Java developer puts his/her resume out on the job boards, they will literally be flooded with calls from recruiters within ten minutes. If you want to work with them, you have to move fast. By the time they’ve interviewed and been offered a job with my company, chances are they already have three other offers on the table.

This is not an exaggeration. This is why it’s hard to explain to big companies that they can’t put a Java developer through two phone screens and two rounds of face-to-face interviews. It’s a nice idea and an definitely the ideal- if you’re bringing a new employee on board, you want to make sure they’re the perfect fit. However, in the present job market, it’s just not feasible if you really want to get someone hired. There simply isn’t time. It’s a nuisance but it’s the truth.

This is all my way of explaining why I told my candidate NOT to mention his lawyer aspirations. I didn’t want him to lie. However, I didn’t want him to mention it because the company where he interviewed still doesn’t understand the revolving nature of working with developers. Two years is a very long time to a developer. To a major company who still does things as they did in the 1980’s, two years is a drop in the bucket and not worthwhile to bring someone on board.

So, naturally, when my candidate DID mention his timeline, the company got a little upset. They were furious with me and my company for wasting their time. I didn’t see it as a waste. I saw it as an opportunity to actually add someone to their staff who was a good developer who wanted to work there. Considering they’ve been trying to fill the position for several months, I saw it as a good option for them.

They did not see it this way. They saw us screwing them over. They promptly informed us that we were not to send any more resumes as the hiring manager refused to work with us.

Obviously, I felt horrible. Even though my boss encouraged me to send the candidate in the first place and encouraged me to remind him NOT to mention his career goals as a lawayer, I still feel that it was my fault. Of course, it really is my candidates fault for not using his common sense but in the long run, there’s nothing we can do. It makes me look like a bad recruiter, it makes my account manager look shady and it doesn’t help our company much.

When I finally asked my candidate why he ended up mentioning his career plan, he said that the interviewer asked him what he liked to do in his spare time so he mentioned law school. I get that, I suppose. It's what he does in his spare time but, well, I can't help thinking if he'd have just said something or cooking or hanging out with his wife/kids, that might have been a wee bit more sensible but that would be too much to have hoped...right?

Still, the deed is done. My lesson is learned. Once again, I cannot control what my candidates say and do. It’s just the nature of working with human beings. I don’t always like it but it’s what makes life interesting.

Of course, I also quite like it when things aren’t quite that interesting. I’d actually rather like a Monday where someone doesn’t get fired, die or get us banned from a vendor list. Maybe next week will be better?

Here’s hoping. I’m a firm believer that there’s always hope.

Happy Monday!

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