What part of "no agencies" do you not understand?

This post is more than 16 years old.

Posted at 13:00 on 30 May 2008

Now if things carry on the way they are going, one of these days, we are probably going to get an application for our developer position from Zefram Cochrane. He'd be more than welcome -- I'm sure that someone smart enough to invent the warp drive should have C# pretty much figured out by now even though he hasn't been born yet, though I shudder to think what his penchant for loud heavy metal music would do to our score on the Joel Test.

Of course, Dr Cochrane is just trekkie fantasy, but even so, reality at the beginning of the 21st century does occasionally send us applications such as one (with no CV attached) from someone claiming "Ihave 34 year experience in asp.net c#" (sic). Given that in the absence of time travel and warp drives, no-one will have 34 years of experience of C# until 2035 at the earliest, I think we'll wait until then before sending that guy the coding exercise we use as a screener. However, by that time, chances are that C# will be the new COBOL, having been replaced by something more esoteric.

It also sends us ones such as this e-mail the other day that was simultaneously funny, annoying and at the same time rather sad:

This Email is to introduce my company and to ask, if you can give us a chance to prove ourselves and provide our recruitment services to your company.

My name is ______, I represent a Recruitment consultancy called __________. I am attaching my company's Terms of Business for your consideration and rates wise we are flexible like 12 - 15%.

We mainly work in IT sector e.g, (Web Developers / Designers; Software Developers, Testers, Business Analysts and Project Managers).

You have written that you wont accept calls from AGENCIES so thats why I am emailing you to try my luck.

Please consider and respond positively & if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

In other words, "I see you've said no agencies, so I thought I'd write to offer the services of my ... agency."

It boggles my mind to think what was going through this guy's mind when he drafted this e-mail up. Did he think that because we aren't taking calls from agencies that e-mails are fine? Sorry, we don't say "no calls from agencies" -- we say "Strictly NO AGENCIES please." That means no phone calls, no e-mails, no letters, no carrier pigeons, no agencies, period.

Or does he think that because he's called his company a "recruitment consultancy" that somehow exempts it from being an agency? Sorry, it doesn't.

If you are a recruitment consultancy, whether you like it or not, you are an agency.

If you are a headhunter, you are an agency.

If you are enquiring on behalf of anyone other than yourself, you are an agency.

(Strictly speaking, that means that even if you are somebody's girlfriend, calling on behalf of your better half, you are an agency, though that is admittedly probably stretching the point. Okay -- strike that, if you are getting paid to enquire on behalf of anyone other than yourself, you are an agency.)

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with agencies per se, other than that the quality of developers that they come up with can be pretty unpredictable, but as with all things such as these, we have a strict company policy in regard to these things of "don't call us, we'll call you."

However, that aside, does someone who doesn't understand that "no agencies" means "no agencies" really have the right stuff in his head to find us a competent developer? Methinks not, somehow...