Monday, November 14, 2011

Dysfunction: Headhunters & Short Time Contracting

I blogged before about the desolate state of our industry.

Here is one clear symptom underlining once more that there is something wrong:

Regularly when a government IT project here in Switzerland has an open vacancy for some months, I am getting calls, emails and XING requests from headhunters from Germany and the UK that want to mediate me for this job.

Marten van Valckenborch Tower of babel-largeThere is so much wrong in this setup...

For a start, the whole setup represents the idea that constructing software is like putting bricks on top of each other to build a pyramid. You can hire some more hands and you will finish sooner, because once a brick is laid, somebody else can put the next brick on top of it. This analogy is completely wrong (and that is not an expression of the unprofessionalism of our industry)!

On the other hand what does anybody expect when he goes through headhunters like this (I even have seen cases where several hierarchies of headhunters were involved)?

Do develoers think they don't get jobs without them? Do employers think they do get better developers through those headhunters?
What added value does a headhunter provide in this case? He hardly even looks at my CV, which is online anyways, and...? The employer wants to do an interview with me anyways, and the headhunter does not provide any guarantees, does he?

The result is that another layer of indirection is introduced that legitimates just another bureaucratic overhead. Headhunters like this are neither interested in the project nor in the developers they mediate.
Also (probably as a consequence) developers recruited in this manner usually are not very committed to the project. Why should they? The next recruitement is already waiting around the corner...

I strongly believe we should stop this headhunter/short-time contracting in IT projects. Hire developers for goals not time-periods. Cut the middle-men and get developers committed and responsible.

Further reading:

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