Thoughts from recruiting for php developers in London

by oneafrikan on June 4, 2008

I’ve spent the last week or so busy with recruiting, and I’ve learnt some interesting things. So thought I’d post something small just before I take the tube home…. I’ll try not to be too sarcastic.

  1. Most recruitment agents seem to be early 20 something bottom feeders who don’t or can’t read, and have no industry experience
  2. Most of the agents don’t really know the difference between the various technologies or just do a search on language (instead of focus), so therefore send you crud which you still have to filter out – I received a Linux systems engineer CV for a php role
  3. Warning signals include:
    • “I called you earlier”
    • “so you’re hiring a developer, what’s he going to be doing day to day?”
    • “I’m sure he’s great for your social application, he’s got loads of enterprise Java experience”
    • and my personal favourite of today “an excellent web2 ASP Javasphere candidate” (*note, not knocking Java)
  4. There are some gems who know their stuff, who listen, and who actually have good candidates = these are gold
  5. Most developers don’t seem to know how to communicate why you should hire them, so learn to ask good questions that lead to what you want to find out
  6. Your ear is going to get warm, so get comfy
  7. Take water to phone call
  8. Update:Agents seem to get surprised when you contact previous employers to get feedback on candidates (surely this is something they should do??)

That’s it – hope that helps, and I’m wondering whether you’ve had any experiences with agents and recruiting? ;-)


I’ve been on the receiving end of that ‘agents’ — and I did realise they don’t have the knowledge of what it is — they have a generic understanding of what IT is — the minute you start penning down a ‘technology’ they get lost.

I think, when I was seeking employment, I lost of a lot of jobs that I was qualified for — not to brag: but how many of these agencies know what a Computer Science degree (an honours one even) means?

It’s sad, coz I think inasmuch as you get a lot of ‘un-qualified’ people you also loose out on those who might have the ‘aptitude/ability’ to do what you want a ‘developer’ to do.

my thinking is — use them to get a general idea, but also force them to give you all the candidates CV’s that respond — that way you don’t miss out on what they filter.

my 2cents — one day, I too will be an employer. ;-)

by lebogang nkoane on June 4, 2008 at 7:54 pm. Reply #

I’m sure you will ;-)

Problem is, if you get all the CV’s, you may as well be doing the recruiting yourself… which defeats the purpose…

Persistence dude, all I can say! ;-)

by Gareth Knight on June 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm. Reply #

True — I suppose that is what they are there for: to filter.

But, I don’t know — the pysche of a developer is normally hidden in the code they read/write — i’d doubt an agent would be able to pick that up.

Come to think of it — I don’t know how one would do it — or maybe there is niche market in there — say if an IT company decides to set a ‘recruitment service’ then — they would have an insiders perspective of what is a good candidate, based on experience.

by lebogang nkoane on June 5, 2008 at 2:12 pm. Reply #

Recruitment agents are just evil creatures. I refuse to speak to them anymore.

by DrewPreston on June 6, 2008 at 5:21 pm. Reply #

I am an IT Recruitment Consultant myself and have found the comments above to be an interesting read but also very true about some agents which then gives the ones that work hard to learn their market a bad name.

Unlike myself, the vast majority of agents and consultants do not work niche verticals and thus do not have the technical knowledge required. I personally only recruit for Developers mainly focusing in Java/J2EE though we have specialists in my company that cover all developments languages being used to date. This helps us to recruit efficiently for our clients and maintain strong relationships.

So please be nice, as some of us do take our jobs seriously and have proven reputations :)

If you would like to find out any more information please contact me on

by J McGuire on July 8, 2008 at 6:01 pm. Reply #

Hey Jay,

Good for you, if only there were more like you… ;-) I’ll send your details to people looking for java skills in the future.

by Gareth Knight on July 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm. Reply #

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