Unprofessionalism Rampant in Staff Aug

Unprofessionalism Rampant in Staff Aug

I’ve been working with staff augmentation firms and recruiters as both a client (the person using the staff aug firm to get talent) and as talent for about 12 years now. I’ve had some really great experiences and some really not-so-great experiences. But on the whole, I’ve had good experiences.

Lately I’ve noticed a precipitous decline in professionalism from these firms. I keep an updated profile on Dice and Monster and a few other public resume databases because I can typically judge what the business climate is like by how often i get pinged by recruiters. Additionally, I like to know what kind of projects are going on in my local area and I find this is a faster way than reaching out to individuals at companies with whom I have relationships – plus I hate to bother people as we all seem to be so darned busy.

In the past two years 90%+ of the emails I receive from recruiters don’t address me by name. 60% of the emails pertain to positions for which i’m not qualified – you’d not believe the number of emails i get for developer jobs – and about 30% are so poorly formatted or worded that they are unreadable.

Typically when I receive one of these I send a canned response that tells the sender that if they don’t have the professionalism to address me by name, then don’t bother. Normally, I get no response. But sometimes I get a nice apology back and I thank that sender and we both go on with our lives.

Rarely, I get a response like this one from David Herr, Manager of Consulting Services at the Staff Aug firm York Solutions:

I’m going to pull your name from our database James. I’ve received this same goofy email from you 3 times now. We get it…you’re awesome! You’re a professional and deserve ultimate respect. I’m truly sad that the way we bring our services to market do not meet your exceedingly high expectations.

Very sorry to waste your time!

Now, I’m just puzzled by this. First and foremost, since when is common courtesy an “exceedingly high expectation”? I mean, is it really too much to ask to be treated like a human being instead of as a number?

But what’s far worse about this exchange is that David is responding to me not as David Herr a man with a different opinion than me. David is responding as a representative of York Solutions. At the end of the day I couldn’t care less whether David agrees with me or not. My opinion is mine and his is his and it doesn’t matter if they match up.But I think it’s a huge deal that David thinks it’s ok to lash out at me when he is representing York – acting as its public face.

This is unprofessional on a staggering level. Clearly David didn’t think before he sent this. He was annoyed by my mail and reacted. Which, if he had used his personal email would have been fine but he didn’t. It is this lack of thinking, lack of courtesy, lack of professionalism, lack of holding oneself to any standard of behavior that has me turned off by most staffing firms. They hire the lowest common denominator, pay them next to nothing and expect to get results for their clients. And the clients are the ones who really suffer.

I can tell you from vast personal experience that companies that employ the methods similar to York’s typically provide lower quality talent because they spend less time vetting that talent and follow the principle of “throw enough crap against the wall and some of it will stick”. That’s great for their bottom line since the cost to operate that way is less to their margin is higher. But as the client i can tell you it takes longer to complete projects, you cycle through talent more frequently because the firm doesn’t understand/care what your requirements are and it’s harder to find cultural fits, it takes more effort and energy to manage the resources you do get and it ends up costing more.

There are firms out there that are different. I’ve mentioned before that TekSystems is the most professional firm I’ve ever worked with. As part of their business model they take the time to understand the culture and environment at their clients. They spend the time to ensure they understand the projects and the needs so that when they send a candidate profile/resume over you can be sure it truly meets the requirement. Further, they meet their talent and check references before they ever submit them. Once the talent is on site, TekSystems meets with the talent and the hiring manager regularly to make sure things are going well and to stop issues before they occur.

As I said, I don’t care if David thinks I’m goofy or wrong or whatever. But I do care that he thinks it’s appropriate to lash out at me in such an unprofessional manner as a representative of York. I also think there needs to be an awareness in the staff aug industry that client’s expect more and better for their dollars and you can only provide that if you have professional recruiters who are following best practices – something York Solutions – or at least Daivd Herr – isn’t doing.

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