A friend of mine is looking to make a career change. She posted her resume to Monster, and was very specific about several things:

  • She wants to stay in her hometown of Denver, but she would consider opportunities in Austin, TX.
  • She is not, under any circumstances, looking for contract work.
  • She likes long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners. Oh, wait, that’s her eHarmony profile, not her Monster profile. My bad.

Anyway, my friend tells me that she could not have been more clear about the type and location of the positions she is interested in. She only put her resume on Monster as a supplement to her networking, not as a substitute. She is looking to give herself as much exposure as possible to the right employers with the right opportunities.

What she’s gotten, instead, is inundated with requests for more information from third party recruiters with Monster accounts. These people are asking my friend if she’d be interested in jobs in places like Topeka, Kansas, and Madison, Wisconsin. Now, I’ve never been to Topeka, but something tells me that it’s not Denver, and it’s not Austin. No matter how sparkly a dress you put on it, it’s still Topeka, Kansas.

And, what about her desire to only be contacted about full-time opportunities? You guessed it – she has only received requests that relate to contract opportunities. And some of the contract opportunities are short-term gigs (4-6 weeks), no travel assistance, with a rate of… wait for it… wait for it… $35 per hour! The going rate for my friend’s skill set, by the way, is at least $75 per hour for contractors, and $100K plus for full-time.

My friend was smart enough to make her resume private, by the way, so at least these recruiters don’t have her real name and home phone number.

In any case, what does this little story have to do with my blog title? Well, it turns out that every single recruiter who has contacted my friend has been off-shore. Yep, 100% are from firms based in India or Eastern Europe who are being contracted by American firms to fill open technology positions. Which, if done properly, may make sense. But the fact of the matter is, this isn’t being done properly. These “recruiters” are simply searching the database for a set of keywords, and then spamming the potential candidates with no regard to the candidate’s situation.

Way back in 2005 (decades ago!), ere.net had an interesting article by Dave Lefkow about the potential for recruiting jobs to move to India. As Lefkow puts it:

The writing is on the wall: certain jobs in recruiting are invariably at risk of being outsourced, offshored or eliminated altogether.

The writing WAS on the wall, and the recruiting functions have been outsourced and offshored. There is an entire industry group dedicated the advancement of Recruiting outsourcing, called the Recruiting Process Outsourcing Association. They have a cute little diagram to show where outsourcing fits into the overall recruiting strategy, and a nice little description of Offshore Recruiting, complete with the following “Issues to Consider:”

  • Managing the off shore operations – issues can arise with respect to infrastructure in terms of finding and maintaining reliable and consistent services, ie. telephone, power, water and supplies.
  • Exchange rates are volatile and those once attractive cost advantages can fluctuate
  • Backlash from local labor groups and unions with respect to job loss

What they completely fail to mention, though, is probably the most important issue – the quality of the results. Since the software development offshoring craze began in the 1990s, companies have learned the hard way that offshoring is not always the optimal solution. Brian Magierski of BSG Alliance recently posted about the failures of offshoring for development work. Will we see the same kinds of posts in two years about the failures of offshoring for recruiting functions?

Recruiting Performance Optimization Worldwide , an offshore recruiting organization with offices in India, Costa Rica, and Bulgaria (and a corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, claims that the 2008 market for outsourced recruiting functions will exceed $30 billion. Of that $30 billion, up to 15% will go to offshore recruiting centers, resulting in a $4.5 billion investment in offshore recruiting. That’s a lot of money. A lot of money that may be wasted, if the offshore centers don’t improve the quality results American companies expect.

And getting quality results in the recruiting world requires you to develop relationships with candidates. It’s difficult to develop a relationship with anyone when you’re just interested in filling a role, and don’t bother to take the time to learn anything about the candidate before you try to contact them.

As my friend has seen, the offshored recruiters don’t know (or don’t care) that they need to develop relationships to secure successful placements. They don’t show a basic level of respect for the candidate, which dictates that the recruiter at least make an attempt to understand and appreciate the candidate’s goals and desires. If the offshore recruiters can’t build the relationships, the quality of their work will be far inferior to the quality found onshore, where (most) recruiters take the time to learn about the candidates and the needs of the client before trying to make a match.

I’ll be watching for the Wall Street Journal to do an expose on offshore recruiting in 2009. It’s coming. It’s just a matter of time.

-Katie

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