You Must be a Realist

In full disclosure it must be stated up front that I, ComputerRecruiter, once was a successful software developer. Lest you mistakenly conclude that I lost my tech groove, couldn’t tell the difference between < and >, and was forced to turn in my keyboard in disgrace – let me set the record straight by explaining that I dutifully trained my replacement, and was so bitter and disillusioned at the thought that any avatar with a mouse and 98.6 could replace my stellar SQL that I walked away from my beloved DB2 forever.

It was very difficult for me as I wallowed month after month, as many of you may have, thinking ‘this is not the way it should be!’ It was only when I was able to say ‘this is the way it is’ that I have been able to move on to the next successful phase in my career life.

It may be that some of you will have to embrace this Realism as well, before you can land your next assignment. You must be a realist to survive in today’s market.

  • Rates are going down. Way down. Multiple times in the past week I’ve had to call the account rep to ask “Is this a typo? Is this actually the bill rate?” Charlotte, Chicago, Richmond – and oh my gosh, Columbia. It has reached a point that I am embarrassed to call my candidates to bring valid opportunities for submittal because the rate we’re able to pay after eking out the tiniest of margins is almost insulting. Candidates are righteously insulted. And decline to be submitted. And I, as a former IT person myself, cannot blame them. However – this is reality for today. You must be a realist.
  • Jobs close at light speed. A consulting opportunity may only be held open for submittals by the hiring manager a total of eight business hours. From open to close in eight business hours. Factor in how long it took your recruiter to become aware of the opportunity, to search her database to identify valid candidates, to rank the candidates, and to begin calling, there may only be three hours left when you get the call. And the recruiter still has to put together a digital package to submit you. It is imperative that you be prepared to take calls and prepared to say yea or nay when you get those calls. No time to think, no time to negotiate. In order to land a position, you must move quickly. You must be a realist.
  • You may need to rewrite your resume. Industry wisdom regarding resumes is a rapidly moving target. Make it 2 pages, make it 6 pages, make it chronological, make it functional, blah, blah, blah. The fact is, hiring managers are looking to find a 99% match for her job – and she has to see that 99% reflected in your resume – preferably on the front page. Another relevant evil that you must embrace is that the Vendor Management people (the Gatekeepers to the hiring manager) are checking your resume for specific words – they are not considering concepts, they are not thinking ‘if he knows X, then he obviously knows Y’ – and if they don’t find those words, your resume is rejected. So, your recruiter may ask you to rapidly rewrite your resume for every job. You must be a realist.
  • Your recruiter must choose between returning calls and submitting candidates. Sad but true. While we’d love to be able to touch base with every candidate, our time is best spent busting butt when each and every job order comes out to submit as many of our deserving candidates to that job order as possible. There are so many candidates, and so few job orders. When you factor in the three points above, you can see that we have to work hard and fast to get people placed. I know I make too many commitments to call candidates which I can’t keep. But please understand that I sacrifice calling you for trying to put you (and others) into jobs. You must be a realist.

While becoming a realist will require you to relinquish the righteous indignation that comes with knowing how things should be, you’ll find that you’re able to move much quicker into new assignments when you flex and move into the reality of the moment. You must be a realist!

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