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Conversation With An IT Manager... I Only Want To Recruit Those With Jobs

A CIO asked me to have a chat with an IT Manager who was being a pain in the (BLEEP) because they will not hire... will not speak to anyone who is not currently in a full time job.

The scenario is this:

A member of the development team “Joe” has a friend “Larry” who was let go from “Startup” who was struggling to raise cash. Startup had to let some folks go.

Larry is a very talented .Net developer and works easily in large/small groups and is someone you can put in front of an internal/external client and feel comfortable he can talk both business and tech.

IT Manager will not interview Larry.

IT Manager thinks there has to be something wrong with someone who was let go. Why was Larry let go and not someone else? Larry must have been expendable.

It’s worse than this...

IT Manager will not interview anyone who is currently doing contracting or consulting work. IT Manager believes that they will only stick around for a little while until they can find another high paying project.

Apparently this has been going on for more than a year but CIO only just found out about it and asked me to “educate” the IT Manager.

It was not pretty...

We had the usual conversation I have with managers like this showing why, from my perspective, they are being a fool.

No I don’t use fool in the conversation and yes, I try to leave my “I can’t  believe this” attitude” at the door.

IT Manager was not buying what I was selling and had an objection to everything I had to say.

IT Manager also dismissed the hiring stats, surveys and articles I had about this being a tight IT labor market.

I always do homework on who I am meeting with and I know that IT Manager and I have a friend in common “Sally”. Sally is a SQL Server DBA who this summer was let go from a large employer in town.

  • Me: Hey, we have a friend in common “Sally”.
  • IT Manager: How is she doing? She is fantastic and I would love to recruit her over here. She would be a huge “get” for us.
  • Me: Yeah?
  • IT Manager: Absolutely.
  • Me: You don’t know she was let go in July?
  • IT Manager: (looking confused) No.
  • Me: Yeah, her company outsourced some stuff and they let most of her team go.
  • IT Manager: (curious) What is she doing now?
  • Me: She took August off... spent time at the cabin and visited friends in Silicon Valley and did a consulting gig in September.
  • IT Manager: (hoping) Is she available?
  • Me: She was. She took a job at “Widgets”.
  • IT Manager: (highly annoyed) Why didn’t someone tell me this?

(long pause)

  • Me: My guess is that Sally did not meet the hiring profile the recruiting team has for you. Why would they have passed her on to you? She was let go from her job and was doing a consulting gig.

(I should have stopped there but no, I had to take a shot at IT Manager too)

  • Me: How many folks like Sally have not been passed on to you?

(IT Manager stands up and while walking out)

  • IT Manager: I’m done with this conversation.

I head back to the CIO’s office, sit down and am staring at the floor:

  • CIO: How did it go?
  • Me: (awkwardly) Well, I don’t think I was of much help. Worse, it did not end well.
  • CIO: Don’t worry about it... let it go. Hopefully they will see the light. And soon.
  • CIO: (laughing) Hey, you wanna talk about the Gophers?
  • Me: (as I grab my bag and head for the door) NO!!!

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Has the IT Manager ever been let go? Probably not. Most people with jobs do not know what the unemployed are going through in this market.

Kathy Fleetham

Most of us who have been in Recruiting for any length of time have had similar (but maybe not quite so "in your face") conversations. Guess that's why some hiring managers get attention and results and others just keep waiting.

Brie Stoll

SO much yes! In Houston it is even worse dealing with O&G , they act like if you haven't been doing O&G , you can't! And I mean even the administrative assistant?! You can have all the experience in the world and they only want to know " which of our competitors are you taking them from?"

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