back to article Reg man the most-flamed recruiter in the UK?

Last week's article by Dominic Connor on how some techies really, really need some help with their CVs hit a number of nerves. flame_thrower Image via Shutterstock It's quite possible that this single piece will earn Dominic The Reg's annual most flamed writer award for 2011. Now, we know you're busy people, so here are …


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  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    Is it hot in here?

    Or is it just me?

  2. Elmer Phud


    Having seen recruiters do a paper sift where the advert also included in big letters 'DO NOT SEND A PHOTO' by instantly binning those with photos attached it might help some applicants to actually read what they are applying for.

    I asked the manager about this and was told 'If they can't fucking read instructions properly I don't want them anyway'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like the Van Halen brown M&Ms thing?

      1. The Flying Dutchman

        That wasn't Van Halen, but the late unlamented "King of Pop" (ahem) Wacko Jacko, IIRC.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That very much was Van Halen.

          And why did you have to bring up that whackjob? Him snuffing it just brought him back in the news like a broken record, and you're letting the terrorists wi... ahem. As I was saying, good riddance and don't bring it up again, there's a good lad.

        2. caffeine addict

          Oh, come on... if you're going to "IIRC" at least check your recollection. The first google result for "brown M&Ms" is a snopes pages confirming the Van Halen story.

        3. error handler

          It was Van Halen.

          (the whole rider is quite an entertaining read)

          As I heard it, Van Halen's sets were particularly complicated and required some serious setup work on the part of the promoter and venue; if the band went backstage and found brown M&Ms then it was assumed the promoter also hadn't read the extremely detailed and critically important instructions on how to set up the stage, rigging etc.

        4. phuzz Silver badge

          Nope, it was Van Halen. Basically it was a check to make sure that their rider had been read. If they turned up and the venue hadn't bothered giving them the candy they'd requested (or more likely, apologised for not having time to remove all the other colours), then they'd probably not read the bits specifying how my power they'd need, what PA etc.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @Elmer Phud

      Or, as I posted a couple years ago (or so) ...

  3. Ru

    "I can get UNIX guys, C++ guys, you-name-it-guys by the bucket-full"

    Round these parts, you can also get manure by the bucketful. You just roll up with your bucket and a few bucks, and load up with horse crap. It does the job on your garden, I guess, but I wouldn't want to put it to work as a software engineer.

    Recruiters might be great for picking up commodity staff by the malodourous bucketload, and they'll come with standardised paperwork. But none of my accquaintances have ever landed a good job via a recruiter, and none of the companies I have worked for have landed excellent staff via a recruiter. The small companies and startups literally cannot afford to bring mediocrities on board, and that's all recruiters seem to be able to bring to the table.

    There's always a choice, of course. You can either get networking, and make some friends who'll land you a job, or you can go sit on the heap with the rest. If you're unwilling or unable to make the right sort of contacts, you'd better be polishing up your CV as Mr Connor suggests, because the magical job fairy will not be helping you out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The sharpest people I have ever worked with have been contractors who landed their job through an agency or, if you prefer, recruiter. Some had a good personal relationship with no more than two of them, most would just work through only one agency and one agent in particular. When these contractors are getting close to Ferrari type salaries why should they be expected to go looking for work when they have someone they can trust to do it for them. I can't recall one of them waiting between contracts unless it was their choice to take a break.

      I would take a different view to you, anybody who has time to waste looking for work isn't worth employing.

      1. Asgard

        @Chris W, your whole post sounds like an advert for recruiters.

        @"Some had a good personal relationship with no more than two of them, most would just work through only one agency and one agent in particular."

        That's only in the best interests of recruiters. Its better for employees to play recruiters off against each other by getting more contacts and therefore more chances of getting a job more quickly.

        Your whole post sounds like an advert for recruiters. For example, "The sharpest people I have ever worked with have been contractors who landed their job through an agency"

        WTF, so "sharpest people" use an agency, so you imply losers don't use an agency!. Seriously WTF!, are you on recruiter commission or something?!

        As for this bit … @"When these contractors are getting close to Ferrari type salaries why should they be expected to go looking for work when they have someone they can trust to do it for them."

        Someone they can trust?! LOL, they will give the job to anyone. Trust a recruiter?! ... they are entirely self-interested, they really would give the job to anyone as long as it earned them commission. (Plus I note you add the devious carrot on the stick phrasing about "Ferrari type salaries" to encourage people to believe they should only have one job agent).

        Your whole post uses sale pitch manipulative tactics that reek of deviousness.

        So Chris W, you are either a recruiter or hopelessly fooled by recruiters. Either way, you blindly repeat the rhetoric of recruiters.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I'd imagine it varies by industry sector. If you work in IT in finance you'll tend to find that it's rare, though not impossible, to get a job without an agent. You also find that the best candidates do tend to stick to just a couple of agents. The reason being that, because they are good candidates, it is easy for the recruiter to get them work and push the price on their behalf. It is each-way beneficial - the agent gets their cut and the worker seemless contract flows. They'll also choose agents that get the best roles.

          However, I find a lot of recruitment agents (but not all) to be total arseholes. Never call you back, never give feedback, all the minus points. You end up chasing them even though they'll be sucking up a percentage of the contract rate. I tend to blacklist the ones I can - some you have to deal with because the employers like them. I do have a limited few I prefer but they don't always get the roles sent to them.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          >WTF, so "sharpest people" use an agency, so you imply losers don't use an agency!. Seriously WTF!, are you on recruiter commission or something?!

          I am not a recruiter. The original poster said "none of the companies I have worked for have landed excellent staff via a recruiter". By your logic this implies that only losers do use an agency.

          Ru put his experience I put mine, a pretty small sample size but you selectively extrapolate as you see fit.

          >Someone they can trust?! LOL, they will give the job to anyone.

          No they won't for a number of reasons but primarily one. Do you think an employer would go back to an agency that continually sends unsuitable candidates? All the reputable agencies have been around a long time and they don't stay around by shafting everybody.

          As for trust, the same position could go to a number of agencies. Would you rather be an unknown CV amongst many or someone an agent knows and whose name pops into mind when a spec comes through? Agencies have to survive and they do so by putting forward people they know to be capable of doing the job. When those options are expired they will filter the other anonymous possiblities and select the most suitable based on the contents of the CV, which is why you need a good one as being a new entity to the agency you're already second class..

          AC >However, I find a lot of recruitment agents (but not all) to be total arseholes. Never call you back, never give feedback, all the minus points.

          Which is exactly why you should form a relationship with a small number of them and cut out the dross. You might miss out on some positions that have gone only to preferred suppliers who are not on your list but overall you'll be better off.

      2. Ru

        "anybody who has time to waste looking for work isn't worth employing"

        I don't feel that I can fully express the contempt I feel for this particular statement.

        I wonder how you find these worthwhile and competent agents who are worth forming a longer term working relationship with? Searching for such people is neither doing work, nor looking for work, and might therefore be considered meta time wasting. In the same way I would be unwilling to gamble on a recruitment agent providing decent staff when time and resources are scarce, I am also unwilling to gamble on a recruiter being honest and hardworking, because my time is valuable to me and I'd rather spend it usefully.

        I'm not entirely sure why you feel that networking in order to find jobs or candidates is a waste of time. Whilst I appreciate that not all recruiters are necessarily non-value-adding, the rest of your points are strange, to say the least.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Chris W

        The sharpest people I have ever worked with have been on schemes for the unemployed. That the workplace is typically infested with dullards and borderline psychopaths must have something to do with the 'skills' of recruiters and others in the Human Resources field (as they unironically call it less than 70 years after Auschwitz.) These people abuse psychology they don't understand in order to pose as professionals, but they keep quiet about the research that shows just how useless interviews are in finding competent staff.

  4. N2 Silver badge

    @ Hollow

    Brilliant but regrettably correct, tell 'em how it is

    & have a beer on me

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I see that we have a similar collection of people making observations that "Dom was just telling the truth - you need to write a good CV!" Those people should just read the work of art that is Hollow's flame to understand that all the flames have virtually nothing to do with writing a good CV: the majority of people *already* *know* that they have to put down their relevant qualities in a coherent fashion in order to get the attention of the people doing the hiring. Instead, this has everything to do with the inefficient, incompetent business that is recruitment, particularly when done through recruiters and agencies.

      Stating that "That's why you techie losers can't get a job, hippies! Fix up your CV!" is just intellectually low-level point-missing. People like Hollow (and most of the other respondents, I imagine) have already polished their CV, targeted it, done the recruitment dance, only to be given the brush off by someone who in all likelihood thinks that their lack of actual familiarity with the things mentioned in the job description can be made up by their blagging and bullshitting skills - this probably following a lifestyle pattern set down by a school career adviser telling the perpetrator of this charade that they would be great working in sales, account management, as an estate agent, or in any kind of job where sweet-talking and a chummy disposition (while looking after number one, of course) are essential skills.

      Of course, CV workshops and such stuff - the author had a near-advert for them in his article - are the easiest way that recruiters, job centres and the like can pretend that they're "solving" a recruitment problem. When your own lifestyle and the only thing you know is "selling stuff" ("You're not selling yourself properly!") and which BMW series is which, I suppose everything has to be framed in precisely those terms.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fan the flames, man the engines

    Or was that the wrong way around? Anyhow.

    Our poor (ahem) recruiter knew what he was in for, but that's not the point really. People in this business /ought to/ know how sensitive people can get about being told they're no good. Whatever the intention, that is the message anyway, whether you're lying about it, waffling around it, finding intelligence-insulting excuses for, or saying nothing. What I find appalling is how few "professionals" in this field are actually professional about possibly the hardest part of their profession, that is to say no in a good way.

    In fact, after saying no poorly, recruiters shouldn't get a chance at peddling the fresh rejects somewhere else. If more people would explicitly blacklist recruiters or entire agencies for poor peddling, they might get the message someday. Creating feedback and all that.

    Maybe Dominic is a nice guy and maybe he's good at this. Maybe he's also good at what that other thing recruiters get wrong in spades: Finding the right person for the right job. I don't know. All *I* know is that every single recruiter so far has proven to be... less than stellar on this point.

    Just today I found another personalised spam mail (addressing me without permission by my misspelled first name for starters) from an outfit I've only once sent an email to but never heard back from except in fully automated fashion, and who don't notice at all those emails land in the bin right away. They're trying to match me as a "BI - BUSINESS ANALYST" by keyword because they have DEBIAN attached to my name somewhere.

    There's a lot of emotion and frustration around because there's livelyhoods at stake, extremely dumb and to techies insulting handling, and then there's this guy telling his merchandise to do better now, y'hear. He's got a point, but, y'know, he's somewhat lacking the moral standing to pull it off. If the peddler isn't treating his merchandise right, well, he's got no right to demand they treat him better, too. And he's speaking for a whole industry of maltreatment. It's nothing personal, I'm sure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some companies only allow a recruiter to submit 3 CVs for a role. That's not a bad idea.

  6. David Evans

    I didn't read the original article...

    ...I've just gone back and read it now. As someone who's had to look at hundreds of abomnible CVs over the years, there's very little that's wrong in the original article; and the pedantry and bloody-mindedness of the responses confirms my experience that techie CVs are usually amongst the worst (web designers are THE worst, but IT CVs run them close), because the people writing them fail to understand what they're actually for, and who's actually reading them.

    The author was honest, self-deprecating and most importantly, right.

    1. Reading Your E-mail

      True, but if you scream the truth at people you tend to get the two fingered response. Tone down the venom and you may have got a very different general response.

      Content: fine and accurate

      Pitch: awful

      his CV is in the bin ;)

    2. Annihilator Silver badge

      @David Evans

      Pretty much agree, but you can be honest, self-deprecating and right without coming across as arrogant and angry. As many have pointed out, the skill of writing a CV is to succinctly get your skills and experience across to a recruiter.. The basic skill is communication and failing at that hurdle should be a decent filter regardless.

      A small point though re: web designers being THE worst, if you're looking at a web designer's CV, then you're recruiting pretty badly to begin with. Ask them for a portfolio page instead.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The original author may well be correct, but how will the applicants ever know they're wrong? If every recruiter in the land just bins and discards a CV, how will the creator ever know of their failings? That's the bit that gets me. If no one replies and says "look, we can't forward your CV, I think you should get help in rewriting it and then apply for future vacancies". Likewise, applications direct to employers should also have a polite reply stating what, if anything, was wrong. 3 or 4 standard templates should be enough, covering lack of skills, unsuitable CV, uninformative cover letter or just plain old "we found someone with a better skill set". If it's all about cost, then request an email address if the person wants feedback about their application.

      Until recruiters/employers reply and tell people what's wrong, they'll keep sending badly written applications.

      1. LaeMing

        That would imply recruters actually working for a living.

        Cats and dogs living together next. Where would it end?

      2. David Evans


        I didn't see him as arrogant and angry, I thought he was pretty funny, but I suppose if he's not getting that across to everyone, then you have a point.

        Re: web designer CV's; that was kind of my point, I've seen loads with no portfolio links at all, and others where they've tried to use their leet design skillz on the CV itself; neither approach impresses.

    4. flying_walrus


      I kno. Poeple dont evn botehr two speel choke animoor.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All I have to say is,

    ...more, please!

  8. Thomas 4
    IT Angle

    Another article from Dom?

    Yay! Another chance for a FotW!

  9. Anonymous Coward 15

    He talked a bit of sense.

    A bit. However that sense which he did talk was blindingly obvious, and his tone was unpleasant. And good spelling isn't just for CVs.

    1. Malmesbury

      I think that many people missed the weapons grade sarcasm in the original article.....

      1. Marvin the Martian

        "weapons grade"

        Define weapon.

        Legally a broomstick or fishbait catapult are weapons --- but you don't bring them to Helmand tho. Even garden variety fertilizer blows up buildings in sufficient quantities.

  10. ThomH

    In retrospect

    Maybe posting an article that states that anyone reading it is either illiterate or stupid was the main source of offence?

    Either that or it was an excellent idea for the amusing feedback.

  11. John Latham

    Hold the front page...

    The Register in "techies think recruiters are twats" shocker.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    >But this Dominic Connor sounds like a bit of a cnut.

    With spelling like that your CV would get binned straight away.

    Personally I liked the article and if I'm ever in the job market again would consider sending him my CV.

    1. JimC


      I dunno, the capitalisation is a bit of a problem, but the spelling is bang on: even to the extent of removing the traditional anglicisation. That's assuming, of course, that the implication is that Mr Connor is the type that would sit on the beach and command the tide not to come in, either from a sense of exaggerated self importance* or else to satirise the a***-licking tendencises of his subordinates.

      *in a recruiter? Perish the thought!

    2. Ru

      I assumed it was a reference to King Cnut (or Canute, if your orthography swings that way)... you cannot, after all, hold back a tide of idiots just by talking to them.

      1. Craig Chambers

        Or to use the metaphor correctly...

        Even a recruiter can't hold back the tide of idiots just by talking to them?

        (Cnut's holding back the tide story was a metaphor to show that even the powers of the king have limits, not a serious attempt by a megalomaniac)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah, the old cnut chestnut

        Whilst I do hear people being called a bit of a Charlie or a right Doris, I do not recall being a bit of a Cnut as part of modern day vernacular in much the same way that being a bit of an Elizabeth isn't.

    3. br0die

      Fail. Misses the point where "cnut" is a common intended misspelling of the word, to get around draconian wordfilters, or just for a bit of fun.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Your powers of comprehension are woeful. A couple of comments have made a poor excuse for what is, as you correctly say, a common intentional misspelling. The only fails are the dimwits who instead of pointing this out like you did perpetuated the excuse.

        1. JimC

          another commentard who is

          quite incapable of spotting <irony> tags </irony>

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with Hollow


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair

    I've had 3 professional paid for CV companies do mine, all are different, none ever got me an interview.

    My original no good for getting an interview we'll do it for you at £xx CV has got me the last 2 contract and current perm roles

    you'll never get the right CV format to the right recruiter or employer, better to have it "generally good" than professional according to one agency, else you're fishing for a herring in a shoal of mackrel

    1. Malmesbury


      But the basic ideas do work -

      1) a couple of pages.

      2) reverse order - last thing you did first.

      3) summary of you and your skills in a paragraph at the top

      4) contact info. at the top of page 1

      5) these days - work permit/nationality stuff at the top as well.

      The best thing about the "re-write your CV our way" thing is seeing the different takes on your original - how other people see what you've written....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But the basic ideas do work"

        Yes they do. In your comment, you've managed to do a better job of giving concise, pertinent advice than the author of the article. And you've managed to avoid coming across, as others have said, like a cunt.

        But most of the flames weren't disputing the need for a readable CV.

        (I'm sure Mr Connor isn't really a cunt, but he should perhaps work on his communications skills to avoid giving that impression. Maybe a future article will have a public relations officer tell the readership why they need his services while offending everyone in a barrage of egregious insults that go beyond a mere lack of political correctness.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I've had "Dual UK/Australian citizenship" written at the top of mine and dolts still ask if I can legally work in the UK. Fuckwits, the lot of them.

    2. Bruno Girin

      I've had mine done several times by several CV companies too and the price you pay has no relation to how good the result is. The last one actually took the time to meet me, understand what I could do and what I wanted to do. Most importantly, every time he suggested a modification, he also took the time to explain why and discuss the rationale. The end result is a much improved CV and best of all I know why it's better and how to do it again. As you would expect that guy was not the most expensive and I didn't find him through ads but via word of mouth.

      Same rules apply to recruiters: if they are not ready to meet you to understand who you are and what you can do, nor are they ready to discuss feedback with you, they are the type of recruiters who just throw candidates at jobs and see what sticks. The really good ones do their homework and make sure that they send the right candidate to the right job. Run away from the former and make sure you keep the latter in your phone book and updated on your situation.

      1. Paul Shirley

        The best improvement most people can make to their CV is not having a recruiters mark anywhere on or near it. After sitting on both sides of the hiring process, direct write ins go straight to the top of the heap unless the CV is hopelessly bad. Keeping track of the few reliable recruiters isn't viable for small shops with low turnover.

        Saw far too many CVs professionally massaged to the point they were fiction and we preferred applicants with the balls to take control of their own career and just apply direct.

      2. Why Not?

        then use the words of post

        Sounds like a nice business, make him famous!

        Sorry slipped into amanfrommars mode there.

        who is this guy who did a good job then?

  15. Pete 2 Silver badge

    And now ...

    comments to an article about the comments to an article

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not done yet

      Waiting for the article on the comments on an article on the comments on an article. I've got some comments and they need an article.

      If I could have a coat it'd be one with a packet of droste's cacao in the pocket.

      1. A. Coatsworth


        Maybe one or two of the comments of this article will be featured on the COTW next Friday... Just go to its comments section. That way you'll be able to comment on the article about the comments on the article on the comments of the article

    2. br0die

      We need to go deeper.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yo dawg

      I heard you like mudk^H^H^H^Hcomments, so we posted an article about yo article so you can comment while you comment.

  16. a cynic writes...

    Reader Feedback

    Oddly enough a few days later I saw a link to a presentation about <ahem> negative reader feedback and its motivation.

  17. Tony S


    Shame I missed the original article.

    As for spelling, grammar etc. recruiters and HR people are equally poor even with the spell checker in use. Confusing they're / their, or your / you're - and don't get me started on the misuse of apostrophes. 10 items from recruiters lately; not one of them 100% correct (hint; make sure that you set your spell checker to the correct language; UK English - and no, US English is NOT an acceptable alternative to me.)

    Remember, as a manager, I may also be an employer, and one day you might want to sell a candidate to me; and I can be just as much of a dick as you (possibly more so). If you piss me off, then I guarantee that if I get the chance, I will waste your time and bugger you about until I get bored with you. I have a long memory, and I don't forgive arsehamsters that are too self important to be polite.

    Most recruiters are just high pressure sales people; as such, they don't care what they are selling, just that they sell. They know sod all about the product, and sometimes revel in the fact that they can sell without knowing anything about it. They are arrogant, because if they weren't, they would not be able to do their jobs (or would crack under the pressure).

    Ain't life a bitch. Nice to blow off steam, but it don't pay the bills.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      One question

      I'm guessing you were very careful about your grammar before submitting that post? :-)

      9.5 / 10 however. "self important" should be hyphenated.

      1. Tony S

        The eye of the beholder

        No, not more so than usual. 8-)

        If I get 9.5 out of 10, and everyone else only manages 8, do I get the interview? In reality, if you make a mistake of a kind that really hacks off the reader, then the answer is probably 'no'. Others can make far more mistakes, but if they are not of the type that would upset the recruiter, then those others may well get past that first hurdle.

        Oh well, back to the job boards. 8-(

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't want to be pedantic or owt

    but the Sean Baggeley comment was quoting my comment, not the article. I wouldn't even mention it if you'd added in my response, which I think dealt with it quite succinctly.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the subject of crap CV's....

    ...most of them i receive are from recruiters. Just Saying.

  20. Mr Larrington

    That's as maybe...

    ...but an e-chum recently got a job spec from a Slave Trader. The employer wanted someone with four years experience of developing apps for the Jobsian Fondleslab. Yes, please DO ask yourself how long said device has been available in the UK. Then ask yourself how clueless a Slave Trader would have to be not to pick up on this.

    When my last job went to India I got a copy of "my" CV from the HR Droids. It bore absolutely no resemblance to the document I'd sent to the Slave Traders some seven years previously and, while it didn't say I was fluent in spoken and written Xhosa, the rest of it was so full of outright Lie that I am mildly surprised that I'm not doing porridge for fraud. And this was not the first time that a Slave Trader has re-written my CV to make me appear to have l33t 5k1llz in an area of which I know little. Witness the embarrassing time when some chump sent me to an interview with $BIGCO. I had understood it was for a VMS BOFH position, so all of us were a bit put out when it turned out that they were actually looking for a RSTS system manager.

    Get you own bloody house in order, Sarah Connor, before you start bitching at the people who, when all is said and done, pay your fucking salary, er, commission.

    1. Cazzo Enorme

      I had a "recruiter rewriting CV" experience as well. While coming to the end of a contract, I was contacted by a recruiter over a role. The details were scanty - data analysis, database design for Oracle, coding an interoperability layer in C/C++ on Unix - but as they were the key skills on my CV it sounded like I was an ideal candidate.

      When I got to the interview, I was bombarded with SQL Server, Visual Basic and Windows NT related questions. One of the two interviewers became increasingly irate as I told him I knew little to nothing about those three technologies. He eventually shoved "my" CV at me, and asked me why I had those technologies listed under the skills summary.

      Turns out that the recruiter knew enough that SQL Server and Oracle are database engines, VB and C/C++ are programming languages, Windows NT and Unix are operating systems. Desperate to earn his commission, he'd simply substituted them on my CV before forwarding it to the client.

      Needless to say, I turned the air absolutely blue when I subsequently phoned the recruiter. Now, while that's an extreme case, I have to admit that the overwhelming majority of recruiters I deal with as prospective employer or employee are bloody useless. This week alone I've had in excess of twenty "cold call" emails of CVs for people with skills we don't use for posts we don't have open.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shooting the messenger

    Personally, I thought the article hit on some really good points. It seems that people have just slated him because he's a recruiter. I can't say because I've never had to deal with any. If someone gave me some homebuying advice, would I instantly discard it if I found out the advisor was an estate agent? Certainly not.

    I've recently advertised for a techie, not the greatest of salaries, but double the minimum wage and a fairly cushy job. The standard of application forms and CVs has been frankly dire. Just one guy stood out from 30, because he'd tailored his CV for this job - which is now the accepted norm - than just firing out some standard CV which features way too much information about everything in the applicant's life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some messengers need shooting

      <see title>

  22. The First Dave

    Okay, lets just iron out once and for all - how by all that's holy am I supposed to produce a CV that "stands out" but that also follows all of the (unwritten) rules of the recipient?

    Use of colour: twat or individual?

    Business-speak (twat) or tech-speak (anti-social) ?

    Full CV (too long) or brief Resume (where's the detail) ?


  23. Paul Shirley

    @Dances with Sheep:mobile phone number

    Sadly, refusing to give them a number doesn't stop the irritating pests calling at awkward times.

    My 1st encounter with a recruiter was a 'stealth' head hunting call to the office I'd just started work in. Who told him where to call (or why they did it) I never pinned down. A call already suspicious enough, my manager actually recognised the voice, the recruiter having forgotten he'd got him the job! Great way to fsck up a new job ;(

    Cue 15 years of occasional calls and email pushing their services, not one of them at a time I was free. Quite a trick given I choose to work only 50% of the time. When I finally did need to talk to them, no response at all.

    That company at least don't have a rep for physical violence toward people that dispense with their services...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Hollow

    You really didn't get what the article was trying tell you, did you? The point of the article is, a none techie will read your CV and approve it for the interview. The reviewer's job is to weed out the ones that might turn out to be a waste of time for the interviewer (that their job). The reviewer is so disconnected from what the job require that they are limited to the few bullet points provided to them. Match those points and write in good EngRish, and you _might_ make it to the interview.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You really didn't get what the article was trying tell you, did you?"

      You really didn't understand the flame, did you?

      You don't specifically need a recruiter to tell you how to improve your CV - it's all common knowledge, and someone managed to condense it to a readable form in these forums already - but it is galling to have a recruiter lecture a bunch of people who already know all this stuff when that same recruiter is probably slicing and dicing someone's CV in order to "place" someone as we read their self-indulgent rant.

      "The reviewer is so disconnected from what the job require that they are limited to the few bullet points provided to them."

      So you're saying that instead of people who know their own expertise applying directly to an organisation who knows what expertise it needs, you need a middleman to do a job that a simple piece of software or a Web form could probably achieve without all the bullshit.

      And simple pieces of software and Web forms don't cold-call people at work with "interesting positions", either.

    2. andy, bacup

      Overpaid much?

      "The reviewer is so disconnected from what the job require (sic) that they are limited to the few bullet points provided to them."

      So that makes it a minimum wage job, right?

  25. Rovindi

    Whilst some of the tone of the original article was a bit shit, many salient points were raised.

    Over the past ten years alone, I have recruited in the region of 120 people - Tech/Solution Architects, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Developers of all varieties, Graphic and Web Designers and bucket loads of other IT related bods. Reckon that gives me a sense of perspective on this.

    During that time I`ve seen CV`s that shouldn`t have got passed the agency sent to me. Some of them simply terribly written/structured or full of mistakes. I`ve had direct emails and CV´s from technies that would astonish you. I`ve had a candidate arrested for fighting outside the office prior to his interview. Another turned up dressed like the Queen Mother - I shit you not. He was a taller bugger n all!

    On the other hand, I`ve had the pleasure to view many excellent CV`s and interview and subsequently hire, a lot of outstanding people.

    It is the same in any trade - there are some people that are excellent at what they do, communicate well, work well with their peers and progress steadily through their respective careers. There are also many who simply aren`t as good as some of their contemporaries and will flounder or flop about through their careers.

    Why should IT be different from any other job sector?

    Personally, I`ve always found myself to be lucky to work in a industry that pays far more than many other sectors, with work that can be exciting, challenging, sometimes downright fun! Obviously, there can be a lot of tedium, wank-word consultancy speak, stress, shitty politics etc. But sometimes the large salary compensates for that.


    1. DavidK

      - "shouldn't have got passed the agency"

      - "technies"

      1. BoldMan

        and your point is?

  26. dekker


    I don't know Dom but i can see both sides of the coin, however i can't say the majority of recruiters have impressed me at all. Ex-Estate agents. LOL. Most have very poor specialist knowledge of a particular field, and no doubt due to pressure to put candidates up seem to use a shotgun keyword trawl of the databases to compile mailing shots to those "trawled".

    The few good recruiters, know the employers expectation or can provide a job spec, are aware of the industries they operate in and know who the main players are and where they are based, who they supply etc. The don't contact candidates unless they fit the profile

    The bad ones in my experience, don't know what their customer wants, in some cases did not even where they were. They obviously have never read my CV in some cases as the role was not even within my experience window as long as they can say to their boss they have submitted regardless after in some cases phoning 15 20 times in a day to get me to agree to be submitted. I work mostly in a mobile free environment folks, it says so on my CV 3/4 of the way down page 1. My #1 bugbear.... you never hear back from them if nothing happened, not even an email. Must be too busy doing keyword searches.

    CV's can be over long and gild the lily and there's never an excuse for poor spelling, but.... i think the real issue on length is it saves the recruiter reshaping a CV to a particular opening. I've been shown "my" CV as sent by a few agencies over the years when I've started contracts and I've had a few laughs.

    In short i think most recruiters are commodities now, if you don't submit to your targets then your history even if it means putting marginal candidates in who really won't make it past stage 1.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I can get UNIX guys, C++ guys, you-name-it-guys by the bucket-full"

    I can also get recruiters by the bucket-full!

    I keep them locked safely up in my Linked-In-Bin.

    Shame I missed the orignal article as well although it does make me wonder, if they are making so much commission on the back of placing me why have I never recieved a signing on bonus for allowing them to represent me?!?!

    Maybe that will change next time I sort through the old Linked-In-Bin looking for who to represent me :-P

  28. Eradicate all BB entrants

    From my experience.....

    ..... it is the middleman that is an idiot. After posting my well written CV to a popular tech jobsite a number of years ago this is how 95% of calls went

    Recruiter - I have just downloaded your CV and read it and have the ideal position for you

    Me - What position?

    Recruiter - It's a business analyst with.....

    Me (interrupting) - I'm a techie, why the hell would I want a BA position? 'click'

    The only task a recruiter should be allowed to do is put all the CV's in a nice little pile to send to the interviewer. 10% of my salary to forward an email is not working, it is parasitical.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Buzzword bingo

      Bad recruiters just seem to do keyword matching, which can be fun. Hence being called to start an urgent contract wiring submarines because my CV has submarine cable systems experience on it. Or another recruiter who'd seen that, had a position that was somewhat more relevant. But when interviewing me, told me transatlantic cables attached to submarines offshore. That would be one way of doing slack management. Why are they allowed to screen interview candidates?

  29. Spoonsinger

    Actually I couldn't see the point of the original article other than to get a rise. Which it did with much aplomb. Also I can see both sides. However with only a little research you can see where the "recruitment" industry could do better in getting it's own business in order.

    Random examples for a specific skill set:-

    1st lack of geographical knowledge of the country


    Delphi Developer (Delphi/SQL/Manchester/£35,000)

    West Sussex - ARUNDEL UK

    Delphi Developer (Delphi, SQL, Manchester, £35,000) My client is a firmly established company who are looking to grow their expanding team. They have an exciting new opportunity for a permanent Delphi developer in the Manchester area. Key skills include...



    Location:South Yorkshire - BARNSLEY UK

    Job Type:Permanent


    Software Developer (Data - Delphi / Pascal)REF: 32162/RBSalary: Negotiable Greater LondonAn innovative leader in data software is looking for a Software Developer (Data - Delphi / Pascal) on a permanent basis to join their team in the Greater London... area.The Software Developer (Data - Delphi / Pascal) will join a small team and be working on software development for the marketing arena. The company...


    2nd - Positions which have been spam listed for at least the last year, and in the case of the second example since 2008.


    Location: cambridge cambridge | cambridgeshire

    Salary/Rate: £50000 - £75000

    Tags: delphi | delphi developer | developer | windows | software engineer | vcl | risk | progress | engineering | insurance | software engineering | delphi cambridge | delphi cambridgeshire

    Type: Permanent

    Start Date: ASAP

    Reference: BB/2885E/111111

    Recruiter: Client Server

    Delphi Developer / Software Engineer (Windows API, Win32, Maths, Delphi VCL / Delphi RTL). Hugely successful financial software house is seeking a bright technologist with a passion for software engineering. As a Delphi Developer you will design and develop one of their key product offerings used by all major banks, financial institutions and insurance firms to model risk.

    The role presents a technical challenge and a stimulating environment in which to progress your career.


    *Strong knowledge of Delphi (VCL and RTL)

    *Experience with Windows API (UI and file I/ O)

    *Data connectivity

    *Must be degree educated, minimum 2.1 ideally from a Red Brick University

    *Desirable: Delphi 2010 / Delphi XE Mathematics / Computer Science background, knowledge of algorithms & efficiency, GUI / graphical diagram experience

    As a Delphi Developer / Software Engineer you can expect to earn a competitive salary (from £50k to £75k depending on skills and ability).

    Send your CV now.


    Experienced Delphi Developer - Music Industry - London

    Recruiter Parham Consulting Limited

    Location London, South East England

    Salary £30,000 - £35,000 per annum

    Sector IT & Telecoms - Software Developer

    Job Type Permanent

    Date 09 Nov

    Applications 0

    Job ref no 20793873

    More jobs like this

    Email this job to a friend

    Email me jobs like this

    Experienced Delphi Developer - Music & Entertainment Industry - London

    Location is London, near Euston and King’s Cross

    Salary: Max £35,000 plus Bonus and good benefits package


    Due to an increased demand for their market-leading product, the world leader in the provision of software solutions to the Music and Entertainment industry needs an experienced Delphi Developer. Additionally, this is a very pleasant working environment - casual dress code, laid back and friendly atmosphere and a genuine prospect of cross-training to C# in the future.


    The experience required to be eligible for this role is as follows:

    A minimum of 5 years commercial experience in Delphi development

    Excellent standard of written English

    Adaptable, flexible, team player

    And that’s it! We just want good Delphi people (although if you happen to have any C# experience too, that would be an advantage).


    3rd - Listing jobs which were never put through an agency but are still listing them two years after they were filled anyway:-



    Our client is looking to recruit a junior developer for their modern offices based on the outskirts of Lincoln.

    The successful candidate will be required to maintain a Delphi/Paradox product, and also maybe work on their MS SQL applications.

    The role is largely fault fixing when issues arise in support, some minor integration work with manufacturer systems, along with conversion and distribution of data files.

    Any experience with the Sage Line 50 SDO com objects is beneficial, along with any experience of the Retail Motor Industry.

    Delphi experience is Essential for this position.

    Duration: Permanent

    Location: Lincoln

    Salary: £22,000


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reminds me of the shark-jumping which managed to be consistently worse than the worst employment sites by having a bunch of fucking technical support "vacancies" physically located in Dublin, Ireland spammed to every country's job market.

      Morons! If we're looking for something in Ireland, we'll look at jobs in Ireland, not think "I'm in Spain, what jobs are there in Ireland? SEARCH SPAIN!" Sheesh!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That still exist?

  30. E-Penguin

    coffee people?

    "Wake up an smell the coffee people."

    Are these people made of coffee, or are they merely responsible for the delivery thereof?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Spoonsinger .. I could not agree with you more and the problem is not confined to IT related positions I can assure you. A little known job search engine over at shows just how widely some 'local' jobs have been advertised by recruiters from Lands end to jon o groats.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a right way and a wrong way... get your point across.

    Done the right way, that is: constructively and with humility, the point can be made and the information can find its way to where it needs to go.

    Done the wrong way, that is: arrogantly and narcissistically, the point is lost because people are riled up and they aren't going to listen.

    For a grown man who claims to be a "professional" to go the latter route. Well, it doesn't matter if he's right or wrong. He still comes across as a bit of a cnut.

  33. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    "Trying to help"?

    Sorry I don't buy it. "Trying to turn everything into nails because he only has a hammer", more like.

    If I was the ranting type, I'd say this kind of article rather calls for it's counterparts, titled "Why your CV-reading skills suck".

  34. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    To be honest...

    I did not read the article in question because I KNEW it was going to be a load of -irritating- bovine droppings. Turns out I was right. Not reading it spared me the hassle of typing my very own incandescent comment.

    Oh, and yes, if you ask me recruiters are in line together with the "management for dummies" types, right behind the patent lawyers.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nasty little trick

    A trick I`ve come across quite a few times recently is for UK recruiters to contact me (I`m in Spain) about an excellent role they have. Love my CV, experience, colour of my eyes etc. Can I fill in their "summary sheet", highlighting key achievements etc as a well as the references (name, position, email & phone) which "legally" they must take up prior to representing me. Eh?

    Pity the "Summary" doc was a spreadsheet called LEAD GENERATION - yes in capitals and the sheet within was called Lead Gen. More info required about the referee than in the other sections of this doc.

    Now if I were a suspicious bugger...

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dominic might be the best recruiter the world has ever seen but if he ever spoke to me in the manner of that article I'd not want the job after he'd retrieved it from his sphincter.

  38. Stevie Silver badge


    I missed the article itself, but the comments reflected some personal hot-buttons so went back and read it.

    Given this article was really just a rant, it would have been nice if somewhere, just somewhere in that article Our Dominic had said something along the lines of "I provide a stylesheet for CV submissions at (URL) and expect people to use it when submitting them to me".

    That way, since Dominic clearly doesn't know that people are taught to write long CVs in other places, he could add some obviously much-needed advice on How To Do It Right as opposed to simply whining that Everyone Is Doing It Wrong.

    I shouldn't have to tell him this. I'd think it was self-evident that increasing the pool of CV-literates (at least, to his standards) would increase the pool of potential commission earners.

    Word to the wise, Dominic, many of the stylistic CV things you complain of are things I've either been told to do by recruiters or things the recruiters have done to my CV and which have had to be undone in the interview by me in real time. I could never pad my CV like my first agent could.

    And I wish your relative good luck should she ever look me up on Google. I have what turns out to be the most common christian name/surname in the universe. Google me and I guarantee you'll find not-me.

    Only last week my lawyer was explaining to another who followed your relative's idea of research that a Google search does not constitute due diligence when issuing summonses, and that perhaps the small matter of a differing middle initial was more important that would seem when it came to empowering process servers.

    But by all means look. Most of the me-alikes are way more impressive, CV-wise, than I. There's one bloke invented a new kind of aqualung in his time off from being a noted bio-chemist with a list of patents as long as my arm. I'll be him if you like. He's dead impressive.

    And if you use a credit rating service, well, good luck. When I bought my house I got to see the query results that the best-of-the-best gave my mortgage banker, and was appalled. Rarely, outside of an Amazon search, have I seen a worse set of matches for my name and social security number than was shown on that roll of paper.

    More than half the information was casually discarded by the banker as "irrelevant", lines that matched only my surname, only some digits of my social security number, that sort of thing. Why the programmer responsible thought that would be helpful I don't know. Whatever he or she was paid it was too much.

    The article was fun, but hardly written by someone "trying to help". That would require positive advice. Word documents are bad? Okay, I'll take your word for it, but I don't Use The Force so could you at least hint as to the format that has the Dominic Seal of Approval?

    And as a man talking about placing staff internationally, why are you referring to "A4"? A word count would be more helpful in places where A4 is a mystery that probably has something to do with English roads as much as a sheet of paper (whatever that is - it *is* the 21st century after all and if a prospective employer isn't reading my CV on better kit than I have myself he isn't impressing me at all).

    I hope you won the pool on how many comments you'd generate with the article, Dominic.

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Let me suggest there are *two* issues here.

    1) Great candidates whose CV is so s**t by the time *someone* has read their CV carefully enough to realise they are the *perfect* candidate for the job they've been passed over for 20 others they could have done *perfectly* well. You don't like to communicate in written form. We get it. How are the telepathy lessons going?

    2)Rubbish candidates whose world class BS skills and ability to *claim* they can do the current skill de jour and sound *convincing* at it, which means they stay around just long enough to f**k up some project before it is discovered by some (possibly only slightly *less* clueless) manager that all they *really* know they got by speed reading the relevant "for dummies" title.

    I'll suggest all managers implement *practical* tests.

    Set up test environment, manuals and task description.

    Stick candidate(s) in room(s).

    Come back in X hours. They've sorted it, they're in. Failures leave.

    Test definition *may* be tricky but if you can generate a job description you must have some past examples of what the job *is*. Do you want someone who can *tell* you how good they are or actually do it?

    It'll save a shed load of cash in the long run (and probably in the short run).

    BTW There are large firms that *do* operate this way already.

    Just a thought.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Come back in X hours, when there will be cake.

      Welcome to Aperture Science.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Most of the agencies I've come across are not keen on having "their" candidates tested unless they do it (for a larger fee).

      Some agencies get upset if you don't supply a verbatim copy of the test.

      I've also had two agencies refuse to play ball without the test and the answers.

      Of the last 40 agency supplied candidates I saw for a development role, 37 failed to get the basics right, 2 didn't have work permits and one broke down saying he didn't think he'd actually be tested.

      Pre-testing has saved me time and money. It also allows you to pay new recruits "up to" (insert commission fee) more than if you were using an agency.

  40. John D Salt


    What a lot of knicker-wetting fuss about nothing.

    I vaguely recall being mildly irritated by something Dominic wrote on some previous occasion, but I cannot recall what, and he is clearly not a tithe as bad as 99% of the gormless oxygen bandits who make up the recruitment industry. He can spell, he can make a point, he has a sense of humour.

    The only response I would wish to make to his original article is the one point that applies to me -- I don't put a mobile phone number on my CV because, as you correctly surmise, I don't have a mobile phone.

    All the best,


  41. Winkypop Silver badge

    Don't all the recruiters....

    ...end up getting put in the B-Ark?

  42. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Top Tip:

    Interviewers, only employ lucky candidates by immediately binning 90% of all CVs submitted for the post.

  43. ForthIsNotDead


    I've only had one good experience with recruiters. The rest of the time it just a waste of my time.

    The last time, just a month or so ago, the agency paid for me to fly into London (the end client was picking up the tab, of course) and attend an interview. In fairness to the recruiter, he had prepared a half-inch thick binder on me (goodness knows what was in it) for the end client.

    It was clear to me that the end client had never read my CV, had never read the info-pack that the recruiter had prepared, and frankly didn't know who the f**k I was, or why I was there.

    They put me in a room and gave me a PI certification exam to wade through. I've never seen, touched, studied or used PI. PI was never ever mentioned in my conversations with the recruiter.

    A total and complete waste of time and money.


  44. ForthIsNotDead

    And another thng...

    Does anyone ever get the feeling that when reading the job boards, some/most of the positions simply do not exist. They're just fishing for CV's?

    I remember getting a call off a recruiter - he couldn't really tell me much about the role, but recommended that I read the role description on the clients website. He had just read the role description out over the phone to me, word for word, EXCEPT for the last part, which read "direct applicants only. No agencies".


    1. 73N

      It happens

      It's not meant to happen but it does, most recruiters do this when they haven't got a lot of work so they can go to any potential clients and say we have x amount of people looking for a job in your industry. A good recruiter won't have any need or time to do this so I stay away from a role that looks too generic or is lacking information.

  45. Robinson

    My experience....

    There are two kinds of recruitment consultants in my experience: those who don't care about their reputation in the industry, either from employers or employees, and those who do. The former you can very quickly recognise by the fact that they don't "interview" you when you call them, or they call you. They simply want to find you a job, and not necessarily the right job for you, or you the right employee for the employer. The latter will usually ask you questions about your CV, to try and find out what kind of a person you are, what kind of an employer would suit, and what your chances of successfully interviewing would be.

    I am going through this process at the moment. I've had one god awful recruiter send my CV in for a job with a company without my knowledge (I received a rejection letter direction from the company for this specific job that I would NEVER have applied for as I don't have the skills). That recruiter went straight into the bin. The other two are energetically trying to find me a job. Yes, if I screw up interviews it wouldn't surprise me if they ditch me as a prospect. But why shouldn't they? There's an opportunity cost for them putting time into promoting *you*. If you're not very good at promoting yourself, then that's your problem not theirs.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was offensive

    The actual message of the article was fine, there was a very harsh undertone though that was very insulting. I spend a lot of time making sure my CV is right and have good success because of it; however I always find dealing with recruiters to be a pain. They either have no understanding of your profession at all, or don't call you to let you know you didn't get the job after going to an interview! It would also be polite to respond to someone after they have gone to the effort of writing a cover letter to apply for a job to give them a straight answer even if it is "Sorry, we are not taking your application any further."

    I've also had recruiters and companies that don't filter the CV's they receive nearly enough, there is nothing worse than going for a interview to find your competing against 100 people for 1 position; it's just a waste of time.

  47. Andy Enderby 1


    Back in the day I resorted to recruiters and agency's for assorted labouring work. I was lied to consistently, when temping couldn't reliably get paid, and generally treated like a turd. Having got into work with a PC manufacturer in a techie position, suddenly, when they closed I find myself flavour of the month. Unfortunately the experience didn't improve..... Called at my new place of work repeatedly, despite instructions not to do so. Sent to interviews with piss poor information only to find that they've sent me for the wrong vacancy and I don't have the skills for the position (or indeed an interest), arseholes requiring 5 years experience with a product that was available for a year or two was favourite (and I still see those crop up).

    Now I find myself with some limited lasting mobility problems after a road accident 10 years ago and even "ethical" recruitment company's routinely lie (ie I overhear the the rep telling a receptionist they are never in if I should call), never return emails/calls and frankly it has merely confirmed my view that the lot of them are viscious 10%ers, a shower of shit who should be whipped and driven across the land.

    It used to be said, "If you can, do. If you can't, teach". These days there's an alternative, set yourself up as a recruiter. Flamed ? He should be incinerated along with the rest of the trash nibbling 10% men that seem to define modern business.

  48. calaiskid

    CV vs Resume

    We never ask for CV's, as has been pointed out quite correctly these are a life story. A resume on the other hand gives us concise relevant data pertaining to the skills required for the job at hand. It is quite amusing to read supposedly learned people with no knowledge of the difference between the two. On the flip side, myself, I do not have either. Reason, I am the employer, I started and run Binary Buddies. Years ago when I worked as an engineer I did, but there is no relevance in it now. Our employees are second to none, from the Linux lads to the code writers, and they didn't have glowing CV's, they had resume's but with tangibly reference able pasts that we speak about at the interview :)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I think...

      ... that before you try and educate us on the difference between a CV and a resume, you should try and educate yourself on the difference between the UK and the USA.

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