What are staffing agencies hiding? – Career Weekly vol. 16

The battle for the best candidates is fierce and sometimes ridiculous. Today we’ll take a closer look at it, and then we’ll turn to more pleasant topics – ideas for your portfolio and Christmas film sessions. Still in the context of technology, of course.

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1. Pathologies in recruitment agencies

I realise that this thread may open a Pandora’s box, but I’m ready for it. Even if you took away my laptop and cut off my internet access, I couldn’t pass up a post in which JTK describes the ‘standards’ of the big recruitment agencies. I would write it on paper.

The author of the quoted post used to work for a recruitment agency. Admittedly, this was in 2013, but in her opinion, not much has changed since then (although it should have). A very bleak picture emerges from her report – sometimes recruiting IT professionals is a real struggle for contacts, money, and influence. Without much sentiment. 

JTK had the ‘pleasure’ of working in an agency that relied on assignments sent by a giant of the recruitment market, serving mainly global brands. The demand for candidates was submitted to multiple partners, so the same job offers were distributed simultaneously by several companies. In addition, to the same candidates. The result? Mass email campaigns and dozens of spammy messages from recruiters in your inbox. You know this from somewhere, don’t you? 

However, that is not all. This uncoordinated process resulting from the presence of an additional intermediary led to total absurdities. Recruiters from minor agencies intimidated candidates to reveal whether they had already spoken to another company about an offer. Not answering such question would result in the candidate being dropped from the recruitment process. And this was because only the first agency to reach a suitable candidate was entitled to a commission…

I overlook the fact that the offers sent by the intermediaries of the intermediary were incomplete, not very specific, and simply poor compared to the competition, which translated into the quality of the recruitment process. JTK did not have enough time to get to know the candidates. It was just about getting more data and CVs on the sheet. Without any additional philosophy.

This story ended with a new job for JTK. This time she chose a small recruitment agency that operates completely independently – without big corporate intermediaries. She also encourages you to avoid answering to unclear emails from recruiters. If it’s about a client whose name can’t be disclosed, if it lacks a salary range, if the description is generic, and if the email looks like dozens of emails you’ve already seen somewhere… drop it. It’s a waste of your time. 

By the way, we also try to approach the jobs recommended to you in a qualitative rather than quantitative way. That’s why in the Vived app you’ll only find ads straight from companies worthy of recommendation. Sure, for now there are only a few, but we are still working on it 🙂


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2. Some portfolio examples for the dev

Let’s put the unpleasant topics behind us now, because it’s time for inspiration for your portfolio! The New Year is approaching, and it’s a good time to refresh your offer. It’s not just about the traditional price increase, but about showcasing your skills in a creative or just visually appealing way. And, of course, about complementing your portfolio with the skills you’ve gained over the past year (because even the best-looking portfolio is no good when it’s out of date).

Suppose you already have a set of information but don’t know how to present it. With help comes Tapajyoti Bose, who found 7 great examples of a portfolio for a developer. The following sites caught the podium:

  1. Bruno Simon – a portfolio in the style of a 3D game (well, he’s a creator of Three.js Journey), in which we move in a tiny jeep between the author’s successive projects: 
  2. Robby Leonardi – an interactive site in the convention of a Super Mario-like platformer, where you just hold down the down arrow to find out more about the author and his experience:
  3. Nitin Ranganath – a really cool portfolio base on a layour that looks just like a Visual Studio Code editor 

If you would like to see the rest of the proposals, click here.

I’m not a Tech Lead, but if I were and saw this type of portfolio, I’d probably hire the candidate without recruitment tasks.


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3. The best films about technology (not just for Christmas)

Christmas is ahead of us – I hope you will spend it pleasantly with your family. May you enjoy good health, peace, happiness, and success. Before my wishes come true, you have quite a challenge ahead of you. I know that every year you are asked the same thing – what do you do, apart from click on the keyboard a lot. And that every time you have to explain that, as a developer, you can’t quite fix printers. 

This time you don’t have to enter into a discussion with your uncle from the other end of the country. Just pick one of these films to cut off any doubt.

The linked list of film recommendations is extensive and relates to specific IT specialisations. There are titles for designers, those involved in cyber security, artificial intelligence, social media or consumer electronics. There is something for everyone. As an expert in a particular field, you can find inspiration there, or you can look at yourself from a distance. On the other hand, non-experts will be able to visit your world for a while. Unless, of course, you tell them about your bugs on a daily basis. Then let it go.

By the way, I’m surprised no one in Hollywood has yet come up with a documentary film about the recruitment of a senior executive from a rival software house? That would be a real spy action movie! Or, on the contrary, a several-hour struggle for survival, like in The Revenant. I just don’t know if the main role would be better for the recruiter or for the senior dev himself.