Going Down The Recruitment Rabbit Hole

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
6 min readOct 29, 2023

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Some over extended countryside metaphors decrying the dreadful state of the recruitment landscape.

“Image generated using OpenAI’s DALL·E.”

If you’re one of those people who wonders why things are just the way they are, then this missive is most probably right up your street.

If you’re one of those people, albeit in a smaller proportion, who thinks that the universe (and everything in it) is fundamentally mathematical, thinks that block transfer computation¹ will definitely be a thing someday, and that by understanding a bit of basic mathematics you can play better moves in the Grand Game then this growing wall of text is most definitely right up your street.

For a long time now I’ve drawn quite a few comparisons between the Grand Game of Software Engineers and the apparently “real” world — in terms of psychology, philosophy, and mathematics.

Today, let’s take a look at biology (with a significant dose of mathematics, of course) to understand how the shambolic and self-interested world of recruitment functions, with a specific focus on recruitment agencies and the commission driven individuals that make up the vast majority of their ranks in the modern world.

The recruitment industry stands as the general and classical middle-man between employers and employees, with the (at least) initial aim of helping employers find great employees and employees find great employers.

If we just get the laughing out of the way right now, as a result of that last statement, we can safely draw the conclusion that this is not exactly how that relationship functions in the modern world.

For, the recruitment industry is today is firmly ensconced in a terminal race to the bottom of quality, rushing to turn over as many appointments as possible in as short as time as possible, without a view to anything except maximising profits.

Dealing with clients they’re abrupt, facile, and impatient (see this amusing occurrence), and dealing with employees they’re unresponsive, aloof, and most often “missing in action” due to their habitual reaction of ghosting anyone who refuses a conversation before getting a job spec or who is found to be unsuitable for some reason for a particular role.

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.