RE: Did I overreact?

Subject: RE: Did I overreact?
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2006 10:39:43 -0400

Ned said...

> Recruiter: You say on your resume that can create custom software
> installers.
> I have an in-house project that needs someone to create an
> program using the new 32-bit SDK. The deadline is one week away, so
> anxious. Are you interested?
> Me: Ordinarily, I'd say yes. But I've looked at the new SDK and
tried to
> port some of my 16-bit projects to the new 32-bit API, and it is ugly.
> can't promise you I'll be finished in a week, sorry.
> Recruiter: Oh. But you said on your resume that you do ...
> Me: I do create installers, yes. I have, right here in my portfolio,
> example of a very complex one I recently created for a client. It
> some
> of my custom functions to check for installed fonts, install the
> fonts
> used by the software if they aren't already on the computer. Want to
> it?
> Recruiter: If you can't, you can't. Let's move on. I have another
> contract
> to discuss with you. The client is willing to pay an hourly rate for
> contract of $xx/hour. When can you start?
> Me: My rate is about 15% higher.
> Recruiter: Oh? Now you're asking for a raise, before you start? I
> think it is reasonable to expect a 15% raise. Back in Ohio , people
> get
> that big a raise. I certainly haven't ever gotten a 15% raise. No no
> Me: As far as I know, that 15% is more money than you make at all. I
> don't
> care what you make. I am not here to talk about your salary
> am
> I? I have a mortgage, a new baby, three years of grad school student
> loans,
> and my car is a 20-year old beater. Besides, as you must know, this
> client
> tracks each contractor's rate--if I take the work at this low rate,
> policy is to lock my rate for a year. After a year they'll allow a 10%
> increase. What can I say? I'll work for them, but my rate is MY rate,
> is
> what I need to make ends meet. I know this client will pay what I am
> asking.

This thread is a sad reminder that even though recruiters are supposed
to be placement professionals, it's always best to be armed with as much
research knowledge as possible. In the case Ned describes, I'm a little
curious why he didn't drive straight from the recuiter's office to the
hiring company and make an appointment to talk to the HR director
personally, offering his services at the rate he required and he knew
they would pay (it's a certain bet the recruiter was charging a
significantly higher markup). It's obvious the recruiter didn't know the
requirements of the job and how the candidate's qualifications match up,
and it's obvious that the candidate (Ned in this case) knew more about
the company than the recruiter. By negotiating directly with the HR
director at the employer, Ned could have saved the company money and
made a better deal for himself.

My take on this whole thread from the positive, negative, and
indifferent experiences others have had working with recruiters is that
it is nice to have a relationship with a recruiting firm at the time you
are not actively seeking a new job or new contract (they keep you
abreast of opportunities in the field) but when it comes time to make a
job change, it seems you're almost always better off kicking the
recruiter to the curb and approaching companies as an self-represented
independent agent. This benefits you by negotiating the most money for
your pocket directly with the employer. It also benefits the employer by
avoiding interviews with every unsuitable candidate the recruiter trots
out to them because they don't understand the needs of the company, the
requirements of the position, and the qualifications of the candidates.

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