More stupid recruitment questions

I swear I’m going to kill one of these recruiting agencies soon.  Most of them are fine.  Helpful, even.  But some of them need some sense slapped into them.  Slapping them may not actually make them any more sensible but I’d sure as hell feel better afterwards.

My pet hate this week is when they ask questions for which the answer would be obvious if they’d apply even a shred of intelligence.  I’m a contractor.  Which means by definition I work somewhere for a fixed period of time and then I leave.  But these idiots insist on asking why I’m finishing a contract.  Because the fucking contract has fucking finished OK?  Can I make it any clearer?

To be fair, it is possible for a contract to finish early because of a bad experience.  Either the contractor or the employer may have decided to end it early because of dissatisfaction.  But I tell these morons I signed on for 6 months and extended my stay to over two years.  But they still ask why I’m leaving with a tone in their voice that suggests something must be horribly wrong.

OK, you got me!  I embezzled millions and got found out.  I murdered the auditors who discovered my scam but it’s only a matter of time until the bodies I stashed in the stationery cupboard start to smell.  I have to get out now!

The other thing they do is hassle me to start a new contract straight away.  Is this person’s planning so bad that they REALLY need someone to start tomorrow?  I explain the situation to them:

“I promised to give four weeks notice.”

“Why does it have to be so long?”

“We negotiated that term so that there wouldn’t be a major disruption to either party.”

“But this employer only wants to talk to people who can start straight away.”

“So he’s only interested in unemployed people?”


“The only people who can start straight away are unemployed people.  Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with unemployed people.  But you’re saying that gainfully employed people are automatically precluded from this role.  That doesn’t sound like a smart selection criterion to me.”

This led to an extended silence until the recruitment gimp came back with:

“Couldn’t you just walk out?”

“Despite the fact I gave my word about a notice period?”

“Yeah, you’re a contractor, you could just walk out.”

“So you’re suggesting that I should start my professional relationship with you by doing something really unprofessional to someone else?”

“Well, yeah.”

“I’m hanging up now.  Don’t even think of calling me back until you understand why I can’t do that.”

Call me crazy but I have a hard time entrusting my fate to a stranger who wants me to screw over someone I already know and like.



Filed under Work

17 responses to “More stupid recruitment questions

  1. shadowshian

    I dunno but could be the spell of insomnia (26 hours no large quantaties of caffiene involved) im having but judging from that conversation i would really like to see what his internal organs would look like as chrismas tree decorations. well i dont think you should do the unprofessional thing but i think you should shove the recruiters head up his own ass for being such a dick. consentration sucks you do something for a long time and you lose track of time and after the suns up you cant go to sleep becouse its too bright. last part was completely random rambling please ignore if you want to thank you and have nice day. now wheres the damn coffee.

  2. nothing crazy bout that – anyone who asks you to switch horses midstream is not someone you’d want to have dealings with. makes you wonder what other iffy ideas he has…

  3. Although only slightly related, the dumbest question I ever heard on a job interview was…

    “If you could be any type of animal, what animal would you be? Why?”

    I wanted to answer, “A dog. That way I could be home licking my own ass, which would accomplish much more than speaking with you ever could.”

  4. Nooo…they aren’t just interested in “unemployed” people, they are interested in people who will “just walk out” as the recruiter asked you. Umm…. seriously… WTF, right?

    People who “just walk out” aren’t stable employees no matter what their resume says. If they will walk out on their previous boss, they could very well walk out on you. Why the hell would someone want to hire a person like that? huh?? huh??

    Call me crazy (’re crazy!) but that seems like piss-poor hiring strategy, which begs the question “What’s the rest of the company like?”.

    Nooo…way…Jose! Thanks but no thanks. See ya!

  5. Ah…Human resource people. Always fun to talk to. There is always something wrong. If there is nothing wrong, than something is fishy about that. Too perfect. Lets grill him some more. And of course you need a degree in rocket science and lots of experience these days to be able to handle the responsibility of mopping the floor. Or, as they say it these days in those human resource manuals: to be a floor manager. Yes, that is how they call a cleaning lady these days.

    Ah look at me…I am on a rant. Perhaps I should start blogging on everything that makes me angry as well. I could be busy for quite some time.

  6. I love how you lowered the boom on him. What an idiot.

    My favorite thing, as a fellow contractor, is when they call up with an old resume and ask me if it’s a good time to talk about a position. I tell them no, I’ve got a contract I’m working on. Then they respond with, “well, this is a full time position.” As though that’s going to make me drop everything and listen. In my head I say “Oooo! You mean one of those pigeon-hole jobs where they pay you a lot less for the same work I do now with no overtime and fake job security? Could I really? Could I really get a full time job? Oh yes, god, yes!”

    What I usually say is “sorry, I don’t do full time. I gotta go, I’m on the clock.”

  7. Shadow: I think you need sleep.

    Vett: yeah, this is not a person I trust

    Total: that wins a special prize in the “stupid question” category

    CinnKitty: What I love is these idiots don’t even realise how stupid their questions are when they ask them

    Hyponos: I love it when they want 5 years experience in a technology that’s only been around for 2 years

    Brian: yeah, it’s funny when they try to convince you to go for a full time role when you make it clear you’re only after contracts.

  8. Vladimir

    “Couldn’t you just walk out?”
    “I sure could.”
    “Welcome aboard, then.”
    “No, I refuse to work for any company that will accept [such bastard as] me as an employee.”

  9. I swear that recruiters are the dumbest people on the face of the earth. I live about an hour and a half east of the SF Bay area, and I specified that I wanted jobs in the “East Bay” area. Recruiters would call me with jobs in San Jose. So I listed specific cities and told them not call me for anything outside those areas, and then I get a call for a job in San Bruno, which is on the OTHER SIDE of San Francisco. It’s like these people don’t have access to Mapquest.

    And yeah, I never understood the desire to hire people who are so anxious to leave an employer in the lurch. Idiots.

  10. Those recruiters just call everybody on their lists I think. They don’t have much time to check whether someone lives nearby or not. They have a deadline and just call everybody trying to convince them to drop by. And when you drop by, you don’t get the position or it has already been taken or…
    They don’t even remember who they called.

  11. “yeah, it’s funny when they try to convince you to go for a full time role when you make it clear you’re only after contracts.”

    This reminds me of my favorite contracting story. My boss was looking for a contractor to help us with an ERP project, using a specific vendor tool, so we really needed people with experience in that system. Some recruiter sent her a resume from someone that said the person had 6 months experience, and my boss said “thanks, but no thanks, that’s not enough experience…”

    The next week, the recruiter sent her a new resume for the *same person*, and this time it had been updated to say “2 years experience”…!

    We know sometimes contractors work lots of hours, but since its impossible to do 18 months of work in a week, my boss told the recruiter that she would no longer be accepting any candidates from him.

    (Definitely falls under the category of “How stupid can you get?”)

  12. Vlad: I should have done that to them!

    Diesel: Basic screw-ups like that are hilarious, aren’t they?

    hypnos: You hit the nail on the head, the bad ones forget you five minutes after they talk to you.

    Ponderous: That sounds familiar. I remember an interview when I was reading “my” resume upside down while the interviewer was holding it and I saw the recruiter had inserted lies like that. Without telling me!

  13. HR recruiters are just interested in filling their quotas, nothing else. If they fill their quotas, they get bonuses. Which is why they are such idiots.

  14. Aaron

    Recruiter: Why do you want this job?

    Me: ‘Cuz I need money you stupid motherfucker.

  15. I love it!

    My favorite is when hiring managers ask for a contractor then get a contractor resume and ask why all the contracts are such short duration(maybe because they contracts?).

  16. David S.

    One thing I always remember talking to recruiters is that they don’t have your best interests at hand only theirs. If you have to give 4 weeks notice and their client has to have someone who can start today, then it’s in your best interests and the best interests of the client for the client to look at some other candidate. But it’s NOT in the recruiters best interests for that to happen because in all likelihood, that other candidate will also come from another recruiting firm.

    I’m a .NET Architect that has had to argue with a recruiter who was trying to push me to let them submit me for a Sql Server DBA position. I prefer to do contract work but I constantly have recruiters push me to take perm jobs they are pushing. A lot of recruiters try to push square peg candidates into round hole positions, because they are more inerested in making sure their candidate gets the position than they are in making sure the client gets the right candidate for the position.

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