Don't be shy. We know you're out there reading, even though you just lurk.
Almost everyday, a recruiter calls our office number, even though we ask people not to on our site. I'll let you all in on a secret--that number is not a real phone that rings. It goes straight to PhoneTag and dumps into my e-mail in a transcription, so you're actually better off just e-mailing me.
The truth of the matter is, you all just kind of seem the same to us startup folk.
You're selling us people...and we're a pretty hyperconnected group. You'd be hard pressed to convince me that you can find anyone that I couldn't find on my own by just putting in some hours on LinkedIn or e-mailing various usergroups. When I look up a recruiters name and they have 123 LinkedIn connections and I have 982, I think "What are the chances of them finding someone in NYC before I will?"
You're not selling screening--well, at least most of you seem like you're not, because the profiles I've been sent from recruiters so far are never really that good of a fit--and my CTO will still have to screen them thoroughly anyway. Plus, so much of screening is about personality and fit, especially for an early stage company, and since the recruiters I talk to don't seem to have much interest in getting to know me as a person, I'm not sure how they could match me with a co-worker personality-wise.
But you know what... I could be totally wrong... and some of you are, in fact, really good at what you do. The trouble is, I hear from all of you in the same way, leaving random messages on voicemail, or responding to my job posts, so you seem like a dime a dozen. Where are you actively differentiating yourselves through branding? Marketing? Perhaps a little transparency in the process so that I could actually see why I could never accomplish what you could would go a long way--because this Web 2.0 world is all about transparency and we don't trust black boxes.
Good startups try and differentiate themselves by blogging--getting their name attached to good thoughtwork and getting into conversations around ideas. Where are the really good NYC technical recruiting blogs? Heck, if a NYC-area recruiter started a blog about hiring in this market, I think we'd all flock to it--and if you were really that good, we'd realize that recruiting is a helluva lot harder than we thought. You could even post candidate profiles. Give us your best tips on finding people, because, at the end of the day, most of your clients simply don't have the time or savvy to do what you do anyway, so you wouldn't be losing business by blogging, you'd be gaining it.
Not only that, why aren't you participating more in the community?
I've met lots of random folks from the nextNY list and the range of people that actively participate here is pretty wide--from venture people to developers, business people, marketers, lawyers, etc... but I can't think of a tech recruiter actively contributing here. I don't mean self-marketing... I mean participating in the dialog. That's partly why entrepreneurs really don't think highly of a lot of recruiters. You act more like outsiders and salespeople, and less like one of us.
Are their NYC area tech recruiters on Twitter? (And not just twittering their open positions or people for hire...) Feel free to follow me at @ceonyc and send me a note!
This community needs strong recruiters, though... not just recruiting people out of banks, but from out of state.
Recruiters can be great evangelists for the NYC tech scene--I just don't really see them participating much in it.
If you're a recruiter, and you're really interested in participating more in the tech community here, maybe this could help elevate your name from the noise in my voicemail. nextNY will have a special event which I'll announce as soon as I sign the paperwork on it that needs some sponsorship. E-mail me at charlie dot odonnell at gmail for details.
Given that you could probably cover the cost of sponsorship a couple of times over with just a single hire, and that there will be 200-300 tech folks at this event, I'd think the math would work out for you to take part, no? I think it would be a really great opportunity to differentiate yourself and to open up a discussion about what you can do for startups, live and in person, not on phonemail.
You all really need to clear your calendars for 9/16 from 6-8PM. Trust me. :) Details soon.