Bob Fox has recently blogged about recruiters.  I'm not saying that recruiters aren't ignorant, but understand why they do the things they do.  You don't have to be good at putting a resume together to have great skills and to be desirable.  The recruiter is compensated to find a person with a certain skill set.  So they shake a lot of trees, so to speak.  They have to ask the questions, do you have this, this and this?  Over and over again until they find what they are looking for.  The reason is that person might have an outdated resume or may not have thought that those skills were important to list on their resume. 

Naturally a good recruiter or account manager will tell their client sooner rather than later that these skills are incongruent.  But sometimes they don't know, this makes them ignorant.  Ignorance is not so bad as long as stupid isn't added into the mix.  I'm ignorant about a lot of things, but thank my lucky stars I'm not stupid, I can learn stuff I don't know about.  Recruiters aren't really dumb, they usually speak pretty darn well.  They just aren't in this business like we are and don't know what skills makes sense together.  You can certainly tell who you're dealing with when you get a call for a web master position that uses Adobe Photoshop and can maintain the Cisco router.

I work with recruiters a lot.  I'm nice to most of them.  Some of them I really blast though, like the guy looking for the Adobe Photoshop, Cisco router guy.  Good luck with that.   The recruiter you want to work with is the one that realizes how hard it is to find a person with all of these specialized skills.  For me I want to hesitate anytime I feel like yelling at an "dumb ass" recruiter, because they my not be stupid, in which case they wont always be ignorant.  Ultimately, being eligible to work with me someday. 

I've been a paid programmer since 1993, naturally I wasn't as good then as I am now, but working none the less as a professional, getting paid money.  In the future I hope to be even better at my craft, because I constantly study and try to understand what's going on.  Anyone want to talk about AOP?  Frankly I'm a pretty good programmer, I know this because people I have worked with have told me so.  Just because I work with SharePoint doesn't mean that my programming skills will raisin up.  And because I'm a programmer doesn't mean that I don't know much about SharePoint.  I'm actually a pretty strong developer in many different "platforms" like Content Management Server, Biz Talk, Commerce Server . . . and the list goes on and on.  My roots are in web development and all things that allow people to be remote.  I've done quite a bit of work with mobile devices as well.  That doesn't mean that I'm terrible at ASP.  But I am stronger at some things over others.  Some things I'm more interested in than others.  It's the recruiters job to find the candidate and the clients and candidates responsibility to know what kind of animal you are and if you are a good fit in the environment. 

One last note, the recruiter competency is usually directly proportional to the client competency.  Because the recruiter is clueless the client would be clueless by orders of magnitude, on the other hand as the recruiter knowledge goes up the clients competency goes up by orders of magnitude.  Naturally this is just a rule of thumb.  My thumb.

So use recruiters as a window to peek into the opportunity and perhaps the job does require to different skill sets, if you've got one put your foot in the door and explain why they need to hire two resources.  Help the recruiters do their job, after all they're just trying to help the client fill a position, why not with you?

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