Don’t laugh, but I was headhunted last week.
There’s a company in London that, for the sake of protecting the innocent i.e. yours faithfully, we’ll call Ashton Carthorse. They don’t actually work with horses, so that should throw you off the scent entirely. A fellow from there called Ron (again, not the real name) rang my work number—my work number—to see if I was interested in another job, as opposed to the one I was busy doing in an office with other people around quite reasonably flapping their ears. If you’re a carthorse, I suppose you don’t do subtle. If you’re a headhunting carthorse then you’re certainly the sort of animal to go round saying that they don’t do adjectives, anyway, so that would be of a piece.
I managed as politely as I could to get Ron to ring back later when I was free, on my personal mobile. Over the course of the conversation, in lieu presumably of any basic web-searching on his part, I explained to him that among my experiences I could number neither working for banks and/or large financial institutions nor developing large J2EE, C# or .NET projects. Despite Ashton Carthorse specializing in setting up J2EE developers with banks and/or large financial institutions, this didn’t seem to put Ron off at all, and he said I should send him a CV by Monday.
Having already planned my weekend doing things other than my CV, I tried to explain to him that that wasn’t going to happen. Well, he’d send a proforma through and I could fill out that. Well, that probably wasn’t going to happen either. So that’s great, then, I’ll get the proforma to you, great, and then I can show it to one or two interested parties. I’lll see what I can do, Ron. That’s great, I’ll expect it on Monday…. I sighed, and put my nicest voice on, and tried to wind things up. You reach a point where you just have to smile and nod, and aim for the end of the phone conversation like a divining rod points blindly at—well, a clump of inauspicious earth, in my experience. Within an hour or so I had Ron’s proforma. Great.
Monday rolled around, and I’d already decided to take pity on poor Ron and let him down gently, when an email arrived asking me to confirm what time that day I’d send my CV through. Despite the presumptuousness of this I once again put my nice face on—well, my nice typing fingers—and wrote back, thanks Ron, I’ve looked at the website and an awful lot of your jobs seem to have something to do with J2EE, C#, .NET, banks and finance. I’ll keep your details to hand, I said chummily. Best of British! Toodle-doo!
Answer came there none. Never was someone cut dead so swiftly in a quasi-social setting. Over email. By a headhunter.
From the phone conversation, which as I said lasted as long as the Googling he ought to have done in its place, I discovered that I came “highly recommended”. By whom, we’ll never know. And presumably this interest had nothing to do with me registering on LinkedIn a few days previously. I mean, simply trolling through the most recent arrivals on a social-networking site, flailing around on Google until you found a contact point, ringing them on that number regardless of social niceties, ignoring the fact the chap wasn’t at all suitable and then dropping them like a hot coal as soon as they showed lack of interest: that’s the sort of behaviour you’d expect from a temp agency. Not a lovely carthorse.