How (not) to be a Recruiter…

I deal with Recruiters a lot. Some of my best friends are Recruiters. Well, maybe not, but as a Contractor that changes jobs, Clients and even Sectors every five minutes or so, I rely on Recruiters. And they rely on people like me too. So I tend to get on reasonably well with them. Even when there might not appear to be a mutually-beneficial deal on the immediate horizon, the chances are we’ll be discussing something at some point in the future.

I even partnered up with a Recruiter (who originally contacted me about a role I wasn’t ultimately interested in) to set up a Motor Racing Team and have previously posted an article that might be of interest to Recruiters to understand what we (or I, at least) expect from the collaboration (“In response to all the ‘advice’ from Recruiters…”).

So, it’s not as if I’m one of those potential candidates who dislikes being contacted out of the blue by a Recruiter. It happens maybe 30 times a week and I accept its part of my ‘ways of working’. Even if I’m not interested (or available), I usually just ask for details so I can review them in case one or other of my peers might be a suitable match. But, occasionally, a Recruiter comes along with an air of such self-importance or with such an anti-collaborative ‘F**k you” attitude that it just makes me smile.

Below is the thread of a recent conversation with one such individual. After this, I did 5 minutes of research online and discovered that the Recruiter below (let’s call him David… because that’s his name but I’m not including his 2nd name!) appears to be a one-man-operation, based in Ireland – a small Country in terms of interpersonal and Business networks – and not even based in one of the major towns or cities that Recruiters mostly frequent. It’s worth bearing in mind that ‘David’ is a real person, trying to forge a career for himself as a Recruiter… and that we Contractors often exchange notes on the Recruiters we’ve dealt with…

  • David: We have a Senior Product Owner position in Dublin if you are open at the moment.
  • Me: As per previous emails, it all depends on the contract / role. Please send on whatever details you have
  • David: It would be a permanent role, would you consider such roles?
  • Me: Yes, but it would need to tick a lot of boxes. Again, without details, how would I know
  • [after this, there was a missed call on my phone. I guessed it was from David. It was]
  • David: Shall we have a call to discuss the position and whats on offer?
  • Me: No, thanks, David. I’m currently away on holidays so I’m not taking business-related calls. Also, given the number of emails I get about roles, I always review the details before arranging a discussion. They’re usually not very well suited to me (or vice versa). If you have details, please send them on and I’ll review. If it’s of interest, we can arrange a call. If it isn’t, we will have avoided wasting each other’s time.
  • David: What salary are you seeking ?
  • Me: OK. This conversation is over if you have nothing to actually send. I don’t waste my time on email tennis and I certainly don’t get into negotiation before I even know if I care enough about the role
  • David: I would prefer not to work with you. Passive aggressive and very very rude, not much has changed since i spoke with you last.
  • [when we last spoke, it was about a role that was maybe 5 levels too junior for me and paid about 50% of my current rate]
  • David: If I dont hand over everything you request out goes the dummy. I prefer not to work with people like this. Try and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
  • [Well, at least he hoped I would enjoy the rest of my holiday. Maybe there was sarcasm involved. I prefer to think that’s unlikely 🙂

The interesting thing is, I still don’t know what the role was. David may be so busy that throwing a tantrum and potentially losing a ‘sale’ is not a problem. But I wonder if his Client would feel the same way, knowing that they are potentially losing candidates simply because the Recruiter wants to keep the details of the role a secret because… well, I don’t really know of any realistic ‘because’. Maybe he thought he could sell it to me on a call but not in an email… like I’m going to ‘sign up’ without seeing the details…?

That’s the kind of thing that ‘cold calling, hard-selling’ salespeople did about 20 years ago. It doesn’t work these days, especially not in my Business… Maybe ‘David’ and all the other ‘Davids’ will eventually understand this. Maybe not. Maybe they can move over to hard-selling Insurance, Investments or something equally suited to it.

How to be a BA – become a Scientist.


How to be a BA – become a Scientist.

The number of Blog posts, articles and discussions that ask or attempt to explain “How to be a BA” is a good indication that nobody really knows the ‘silver bullet’ answer. If you think you’ll find the perfect answer here…. don’t waste any more time reading on: I don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ answer either!

This is not because nobody actually knows what a Business Analyst is or does (although there are many Recruiters and Hiring Managers who obviously don’t!). It is perhaps because there are so many different types of BA, who do different things, in different roles, for different Projects and in different Organisations.

Click button to Read more…

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Conducting and facilitating virtual meetings.

Warning: this is a lonnnng post so please excercise due discretion – or read it in your spare time! I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble for reading it in work… although you could at least argue that it has some workplace relevance 😉

First, this video will give you a giggle if you’ve attended many virtual meetings… but don’t forget to read on afterwards..!

Click to view on YouTube

At this stage in the evolution of business technology, virtual meetings are an integral part of the day-to-day activities of a huge number of Organisations and work forces. Many Organisations would simply not be able to continue to exist (or would need to adapt radically) if virtual meetings were no longer possible.


At least the technology (whether video or voice-only) is better than it was way back when multi-location meetings started to become common. I agree that they are not as easy in some ways as face-to-face meetings when it comes to the non-verbal stuff like body language, attempts to contribute, noticing lack of participation etc. However, virtual meetings can also be better, especially when they involve remote / offshore participants.

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Updated: If a picture paints 1000 words, what if you have only one thing to say?

Updated in February 2016 after I discovered the recently-launched ‘Textografo’ (here). It’s an excellent, intuitive online tool for generating quick flow charts (other diagrams are apparently on the way). I recommend it even for non-technical people because it makes flowchart-creation so quick it can easily be done on the fly in meetings etc. almost as quick as pen-and-paper diagrams (but without the hassle of turning them into digital diagrams later). There is a free version (limited to 5 diagrams at any one time but otherwise fully-featured) and the Pro sunscription is not particularly expensive. I also can’t wait until there’s a Mobile version, maybe with shape rec0gnition and stylus support (maybe that’s just being greedy!)


In recent times I’ve been involved in a number of conversations in various contexts where the subject of minimalist visual representations of simple concepts has been discussed and it often appears that some Business Analysts think they are… well, too simple to be valuable.

I disagree.

If the purpose of communication is to present information to others in such a way that they understand it, and this can be achieved in a given context (but not always, of course) with a simple graphic, then why would you want to make it any more complicated than that…?

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In response to all the ‘advice’ from Recruiters…

I was asked recently for my advice on how to approach a face-to-face meeting with Recruiters… I guess I was asked since I never seem to be overly stressed about changing jobs (in fact, I quite like the new environment, new people and new challenges). As a result, this makes it seem like I know what I’m doing (which I probably don’t!) when it comes to dealing with Recruiters.


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