I stopped getting paid some time in late January of 2010. My "former" company still paid for my health care while they hoped to bring me back on "very soon." Between then and roughly the beginning of July I kind of just hung out and piddled around. I wrote an Android game for the hell of it (still haven't bothered publishing it), read a few books, and played a ton of Call of Duty.
Around the beginning of July my company decided it "wasn't fair" to me to pay for my health care any longer. I think it took them that long to realize that I have an amazing ability to sit on my ass and do nothing as long as I have health care.
Since the beginning of July I've been looking for a Java developer position in the Austin area. That is, I put my resume (sans funny accented characters) up on a couple of job sites and have been mostly waiting for recruiters to come to me. Okay, so I was only half looking. Through an ex-coworker I landed a 100% telecommute contracting job for the time being. Meanwhile, I thought I'd write up a brief summary of what it's like to deal with the recruiters that find you on both Dice and Monster (soon to be referred to as "D&M").
One Job List to Find Them…
Apparently 95% of the recruiters on D&M get their jobs from the same source. They just spam emails and calls to any candidates that even come close. That means for any one position you will receive calls from about a dozen recruiters trying to fill the very same position. Given the recruiters' often complete absence of any kind of technical understanding they can't even screen me properly. I'm not sure what value they're adding or if they ever even successfully place a candidate.
Hi! My name is.. (what?) My name is.. (who?)
The next thing that gets me is that about 75% of the recruiters using D&M are located in New Jersey and are originally from another country guessing from their accents. I'd guess from their names (Adwait, Aneesh, Kaushal, Kavitha, Prashant, Raghu, Raj, Rajiv, Susheel, Tervinder) that it may be India. This means they apparently 1) don't know how big Texas is, 2) don't know how big the United States is, and 3) can't read the words "I am not willing to relocate" on my resume. As such I get a lot of inquiries about jobs that would require anywhere from a 3 hour commute all the way up to a whopping 27 hour commute. That's a hell of a drive. They seem honestly surprised each of the 12 times a day that I explain to each of them that Austin is 3 hours away from Dallas. It's an honest mistake.
The other thing is that I typically get an email followed immediately by a call from the same person. They're really hot and heavy to talk to me. Once I explain that I'm not interested I get a call back from the exact same person about 10% of the time. I guess he lost his place on his call sheet.
The Crown Prince of AT&T Needs My Help
And finally there are those impossible to fill jobs. AT&T and Bank of America are hiring in the area. Due to their complicated, highly corporate rehire screening policy all recruiters with thick foreign accents are required to get social security numbers from all prospects as soon as humanly possible. For some reason this feels weird to me so I've never gotten to see what happens if I actually give my SSN to them. But since these jobs must pay a premium to the recruiter and are all but unfillable due to the SSN requirement they account for about 10% of all calls by themselves.
But You Seem So Normal
On the plus side I get about one call per week from someone that honestly seems to know what they're talking about regardless of where they're located or from. They can ask all the right questions, seem to understand my answers, and actually ask what it is I'm looking for. Unfortunately they just don't have any opportunities in which I'm interested. If you are good and are willing to work (yet again) for a dysfunctional organization you can get a job in about 4 weeks. If you're willing to work a little cheaper than what you're worth then you can probably trim that down to 2 weeks.
So in case any of you were wondering, it seems to be a pretty okay time to be looking for software development work in Austin.