|So, in a brief moment of enlightenment, I came to a conclusion that my current place of work does not fully utilise my broad range of skills and expertise, and the best course of action for me is to change it (job, not skills). As the grass is always greener on the other side, I put myself on the quest to find it. Unfortunately this meant dealing with those dreadful kind of people called Job Agents. Here are some stories I’d like to share with you:
A job agent called, saying he had “a fantastic opportunity” with “a leading company, employing best people and using cutting-edge technology” and I am “a perfect match for the role”. Moreover the MD of the company is “a good friend of his” and he really liked my CV and “is eager to meet me”. I ignored those warning lights, and I decided to go ahead with it anyway. The interview was set up and I showed up at the specified time.
The company turned up to be a complete disaster, chaos and filth in the office, and of course no one expected me. I waited for 20 minutes and some guy came thrice asking my name and if I was sure I had an interview there. I was almost ready to walk out, but was too curious to find out how it was going to end up. Then I was seated in a kind of a store room, which I think was the cleanliest place in the office, where I was interviewed by a techie guy, who must have recently read some book on TDD, and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. On my delicate suggestion that TDD is just a tool, like many others, to help us write better code, he gave me that indulgent look, the way you look at a pathetic ignorant, and our ways parted. I didn’t get to meet MD.
Immediately after the interview, I called the agent as it is customary. No answer. I texted him, emailed him, still waiting for any contact.
I received an initial email from an agent. I replied, we had a nice and long email exchange and three possible roles were identified, which I could apply for. She asked me to call her to discuss them in details. That’d be a first time I spoke to her, as all previous conversation was in email.
Now, I might have some heavy eastern European accent, and there are some people who find it a bit difficult to understand in the beginning, but usually after some time they get used to it, and it was never any issue in communication. Anyway, I called the agent. After I spoke two or three sentences, I could clearly sense she became so disappointed (presumably with the way I speak) she cut the conversation short and hung up on me. No further contact was ever made.
I talked to an agent, who said to have a “fantastic opportunity” for me, so I asked to email me a job spec. The spec turned out to be for a role of Head of IT with some company in Central London. I politely declined, explaining I can’t see myself in such a role, as I am just a software developer. The agent called me saying that he thinks I am a good match for the position and I’d do just fine. I refused to proceed, stating my reasons, which in any civilized world would be sufficient. But not in London.
The guy kept nagging me with phone calls, texts and emails, saying he cannot understand why I refuse to even consider such a great opportunity. He even set up a phone interview, without my consent. Doh!
As usual an agent called with a “fantastic opportunity”. I went to an interview, the company turned up to be quite good, I had a technical test followed by a conversation with a Dev Manager. All went well; in fact it went so well they quickly organized my meeting with CEO, which wasn’t originally planned. Satisfied, I waited for their decision.
Two days later I noticed that the job ad disappeared from agency website. A good indicator that the company filled the position. I contacted the agent, but he said they still hadn’t decided, and it should happen in the next day or two. Waited two more days, and this time I heard that one of the developers was off, so the team couldn’t meet yet to discuss. Few days later I heard one more excuse, after that the agent stopped answering my calls.
So, is it just me or do you find job agents to be quite unprofessional too?
My wife had a really good laugh when I told her all these stories, and now, after some time, I find them funny too. But honestly if we were to do our jobs in the same manner job agents do, we would never develop any good software.
One of the problems I found, at least here in the UK, is that devs are not clients of job agents. We are products that agents try to sell and therefore we are treated accordingly.
What are your stories?
PS. In another moment of enlightenment, I re-considered my position and the current company is not that bad after all.