Are you a specialist?
By the way these specialisms do exist and I have no doubt you could add to my collection. If you want a light hearted look visit this article.
As an interim connected to the technology world, I get a lot of calls and emails from recruiters and over the years the, the most notable change is the degree to which these people expect me to be specialised. Why, I wonder, did I spend five years studying the subject to get a broad and deep understanding and then spend the next ten deliberately learning the different aspects of the industry on the ground. This is what we did, what every professional did. Do you know a lawyer who can only handle attempted fraud by Orientals on diabetic white Americans living in London on Fridays? I doubt it somehow.
The need for specialisation is the back-bone of economic theory
If you are drawn into a discussion about why some African states have failed to develop a modern economy despite being richer in resources than we are, you will generally find yourself in two separate discussions: One about availability of capital ( An Adam smith fan) and the other about specialisation, or lack thereof. Given that many of these economies have weak currencies, micro-loans can now finance substantial start-ups and there has ever been more lost money ( for want of a better description) looking for a legitimate looking home, so arguments about lack of capital no longer work. The problem is inability or unwillingness to specialise. The scenario: I grow vegetables, hunt for meat, make my furniture from bamboo, make beer from fruit and find herbal medicines when I am sick. I am always poor and I lack equipment and skills to do all of this stuff well.
Far better, if I could just grow vegetables and swap some with the hunter for meat and with the carpenter for furniture. Each could enjoy a margin because of their specialist skills, tools and experience. That is the fundamental theory that still underpins economics. For some reason, in some places it is slow to happen.
It gets boring just placing the full stops at the end of sentences, can I have a real job?
The problems rarely lies with the client who needs help, but with the recruiter who calls himself a “Consultant” but is in fact a commission only salesman who last year was an Estate agent or rather a “Property consultant” and knows as much about what I do and what my potential client needs as I do about life on Mars. For an insight from a legitimate HR person have a read of this
The problem begins sometimes because the client who either doesn’t really know what precise skillset would be best for his needs and either by habit or misconception expects a recruiter to help with this problem. What a very large error that is.
A rough guide goes off to the recruiter who then places adverts via an “autoposter”. This tool is preconfigured and whacks his advert out onto numerous job boards where his agency has accounts.
He then instructs a resourcer to do some searching on the main databases, e.g. Jobserve and Jobsite for IT and these are imported directly into the system and emailed with a standard mailing.
Now the fun begins. The resourcer has not yet been promoted to recruiter and is supposedly learning the business by pouring through millions of CVs starting with keywords searches Now we have identified the first problem. Just like Google SEO, if you want to appear in the SERPs you must include the keywords.
I sometimes help businesses to profile skills and to shortlist CVs, so I know just how tricky this can be even for a seasoned professional. A resourcer, or a recruiter with no grasp of the IT profession or the task at hand stands no chance at all. It is simply a random matter of chance whether or not they find a remotely applicable CV and it is no more or less efficient than asking Siri or saying “OK Google” to your phone.
If you’ve ever engaged an agency, you’ll be familiar with the bombardment of pointless CVs and then the ever more pestering phone calls for feedback and pressure to hire. There is a reason why it feels so pointless, it mostly is exactly that and there is a reason why it is so expensive, all that pointless effort has to be paid for. Don’t be deluded by commission only, that is always the most expensive purchase. If you have two agencies at work and one has submitted what they think are strong candidates, they well be calling every other candidate in the market pretending they are submitting them in order to rule them out for the competition. Don’t kid yourself that there is efficiency in this.
Why am I telling you all this?
The reason we are being driven to specialise is to a large degree so that recruitment agencies can understand a tiny bit more about what we do.
Let’s face it the way to make it big in recruitment is to specialise in Saturday morning perfume demonstrators and get them all in your database. Easy to understand, no search issues, you can truly be a specialist and maybe even a consultant and all is well with the world.
The problem is that IT doesn’t work this way. Every system that is implemented impacts and is impacted by many others, all different and employing different infrastructure, protocols, languages, data structures, security arrangements and so on. You can’t simplify IT to suit your needs and every attempt to do so has ended in tears. Understanding the IT impacts is only the final mile, before that you have to understand the process impacts and manage the stakeholder culture and much more. All of this is heavily entwined and all absolutely unavoidable and critical. When you need a specialist to solve critical problems in your business, ask a specialist for advice not a recruiter.