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  • EEVblog #47 – Recruitment Consultants Suck, and Engineering Evil

    Posted on December 1st, 2009 EEVblog 38 comments

    100% pure rant time.
    Dave cuts lose on recruitment consultants, local component suppliers, and companies that make you register to get datasheets.

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    • Alvaro

      There are a lot of “Mr. Head” with jobs in the semicon industry, it is incredible stupid to put obstacles to get datasheets…unbelievable.
      The best use for gmail and hotmail accounts, also for trial versions.

    • Michael L.

      To avoid unnecessary registration, I use http://www.bugmenot.com. Works excellently for most popular websites. (:

    • http://www.danielbjohnson.net Daniel / septer012

      I want to rant. I want a flux capacitor shirt. but 45 USD!!!!! now you gotta be kidding. $14 max including shipping (maybe $20 to support the blog). Your supplier must be a joke.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        @ Daniel
        That’s for the top of the line T-Shirt, made in Downtown LA, there are many other styles, colours and options available that are cheaper. You don’t have to pay $45, play around with the options and see. The lowest priced one is $12.95. The white/light coloured shirts are generally cheaper than the dark coloured ones.
        http://www.zazzle.com/flux_capacitor_the_equations_tshirt-235975034046020076

        I don’t know anyone who offers fully custom t-shirts with a referral/affiliate program for $14 delivered! If you do then let me know.
        Zazzle are not a joke, they are one of the biggest custom T-Shirt businesses on the net. Only CafePress would be bigger.

    • http://www.freeduino.de Jan

      i never been contacted by them, but isn’t asking for an advice just a hidden try to get you for a job? just that i head this story before somewhere.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        No, they don’t have a job for me, they really do just want me to explain stuff to them and do their job for them. They even have list of questions to ask me! like “what does this term mean”, and “what does the client mean when they say they want such-and-such skill” etc. Madness.

        • Lionel

          The correct response to idiots phoning you up with technical questions is: “My hourly consulting rate is $XXX/hour. Send me an official P/O, & I’ll be happy to help you.”

    • Alessandro

      First of all…
      Wonderful end!!!
      …No it’s a good day… Normal…
      ROTFL!

      Also for me take me off company that force you to get datasheet and manual… I think it’s very stupid. Whit manual of a product that you are looking for, you can find if is it suittable for your application, and maybe find some other usefull things that this product can do.
      Many time, in my work, I lose time to register (and of course wait for the actovation of the account) to get manual of thing that I have already bought…

      If i can add some more, even pay for the software to use some product (maybe not only electronic) Just for example PLC (But also other things). Why I have to pay something more just to use your product??? I can’t use the same software for other product…
      It really take me off, and I try to avoid this company…

    • Katie W

      Dave,

      Your blogs are getting funnier and more entertaining but the content value is waning. How about a humerus video on the perils of insufficient use of bypass capacitors? :) Or, well anything that has to do with actual engineering would be great!

      [In my first electronics job in college (1977) I spent weeks trying to figure out why my 4 channel scope plug in would latch up once in a while. The people in my lab who were using it were giving me a really hard time about the random failures which made for a memorable lesson for me about using enough bypassing.]

      -Katie

      • Lionel

        Diagnosing problems related to insufficient power bypass can be a total bastard. My solution is to go nuts with bypass caps. I put a 100nF monobloc on every chip, & an electro or tantalum every 10 chips or so. Probably overkill, but caps are cheap, & I can’t remember the last time I had an intermittent problem from bad power rails.

        • Pedro

          Totally agree, although sometimes I have doubts if I’m not going too paranoid ;)

    • Harald

      Ask for an e-mail address and send them a boilerplate contract with your consulting fees for consulting to headhunters.

      US$300 / hour, four consecutive hours minimum, payment upfront.

      Ask them to send back a signed copy and a cheque and you will happily start working, once the cheque cleared.

      Most funny part of the posting (it is a posting, not a blog): Google adding recruitment company adds to the video. Muahahaha :-)

      I wish I could hit some MBA over the head for every time I was asked to sign up for a datasheet, tool download or even just to get a brochure. God dam fucking clueless coke snorting pond-scum MBAs, getting a hard one collecting “leads”. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their crotches, and may their arms be too short to scratch.

    • Robert

      Nice Blog Dave, as usual, I must say I really enjoy when I see on my google reader that there is a new video out! When I looked at this video I came to think of a thing I have wondered about and searched for on the Internet and maybe you can make a blog about it.

      I’m a second years engineer student and I think a lot about my future and different types of jobs I might have. Something that creates confusion is all those titles…..

      For example you call your self a design engineer? You do circuitboard? Or whole projects? Then there is “Application Engineer” “Hardware Engineer” “Software Engineer” (maybe the name say some but does this guys never touch any circuits boards? I mean I do software in both ASM, C and VHDL and that coding, but in the work world do they just leave things when the code is done? And some other guys fix the board etc?) “Field Application Engineer” (witch I think I got what it is, it feel like a nice job? does this people get time to work with the hardware or are they mostly sellers?) etc etc…

      So if you have time and want to I think it could be a nice evvblog, maybe go though a “normal” product design from the place where someone gets an idea and do a summary of all the engineer it will go though before the product is finished… Or just tell about the different engineer that are on the company where you work…

      Sincerely

      • Andrew

        In my experience titles mean relatively little outside the particular company.

        In a company someone (DA BOSS) decided we need to organize the work in a certain way, so he or she points at some people and tells them you are a hardware engineer, you a software engineer, and you over there mop the floor.

        If DA BOSS is not totally crazy, he or she uses job titles close to what the employees do. The hardware engineer does mostly hardware, the software engineer does mostly software. That doesn’t mean exclusively. Depending on the situation, the project, the company and DA BOSS it might be expected from one to also do a little bit of the other.

        The next company has another boss, and that boss likely has decided to organize the work a little bit different, and maybe also use different titles.

        When you want to become an engineer you shouldn’t target one of these titles. You should target to become “the one with the clue”. If you end up with a software engineer title but you are still able to do hardware, you are the one with more clue, so you are the more valuable employee.

        When you apply for a job you should match the job description against your skills and interests and ignore the job title.

        • Robert

          Thanks for a good answer, I guess it is very different from company to company… And no, I don’t just look at titles, but is it still an interesting topic.. :)

      • http://www.andrewcraigmackenzie.com Macka

        I just completed year 1.5 (long story) Elect & Mechatronics.

        From what I can tell there is not a whole lot of difference between various electrical engineers (more specifficaly engineering degrees).

        Software Engineers on the other hand, well… The uni degree appears to me to be very “Micky Mouse”, you wouldn’t want a Software Engineer touching your hardware AT ALL.

        I don’t know about other universities, but where I go, software engineers learn GUI design, databases, Java and C++ and other high level languages. I don’t think they look at ASM at all (well apart from a very very basic simulator PIPPIN).

        They don’t seem to be the kind of people you would get to write code for a chip such as a PIC or FPGA or other MCU. They seem to be more about writing apps for a PC ie Word, Notepad, maybe the software you use to communicate with some device.

        The electrical engineers on the other hand could be writing software for PC, for an MCU, they could be designing the MCU, they could be designing the circuitry around the MCU, the PCB layout, they could be testing things in a lab or out in the field.

        I admit, it does seem daunting and I often wonder if I’ll even be able to apply anything I learnt at uni, I’m quite worried I’ll get to the end of the degree and know nothing.

        PS. I hope I don’t sound like I’m putting software engineers down at all, they are very important and do a completely different job; they just seem to get off lightly with course work… much like civil engineers…

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          I admit, it does seem daunting and I often wonder if I

    • Newton

      I

    • Anders

      Your right, the part-suppliers should never speak unless spoken to!

      Every engineer should firmly agree on never to use any parts were you can

    • Bob

      Next time a headhunter calls for advice, you should charge a lot of money for it.
      Either they accept and you make a quick buck, or they never call again.

    • Joe

      Component suppliers also communicate new and up and comming products…not immedately available on the internet.

      Some component suppliers also provide a end of life notice very early… so the designer is well informed and is often prevented from designing in an obsolete part… I’ve hear engineers cry when they spend 6months designing in a obsolete part.

      Communication is the name of the game.

    • steve

      man, the bit about component suppliers – so true – Ive never seen it explained better!, especially since Dave includes a pretty accurate visual on how it makes you feel when they do turn up to the door with their out of town chums ready to host a semiconductor tupperware party.

    • http://kaqelec.dyndns.org Kathy Quinlan

      I have my component reps trained well, when the ring the door bell, I answer and ask “What samples do you have today?” if they answer none, I send them on their way ;) I have a nice collection of parts that I will use in a customers design one day (actually needed a PCI interface chip the other week and lo and behold, I had five dropped off from a sample rep a while back ;)

      Regards,

      Kat.

    • Jim

      I agree completely. Many head hunters (and a lot of HR people) are terrible. When I do have a good experience with an HR person I always make a point of telling their superiors how much I appreciate their professionalism, and at my last company I made a point of letting management know what a clown their HR person was. So there’s some justice in the world, but as long as there’s lots of money involved and difficulties finding qualified people there will always be a market for poor headhunters.

      I also don’t do businesses who companies that make me jump through hoops to get information or prices. Thanks for the great videos!

    • Dave

      I certainly agree that registering for datasheets is incredibly annoying – even more so when you’re trying to compare devices from different manufacturers. Perhaps we should have a list of offenders to name and shame them!

      I was trying to look at ethernet phyceiver datasheets today, Realtek not only ask for registration but make you sign a NDA – is this normal?

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        I was just looking at Realtek Ethernet chips too and got caught with that annoying NDA rubbish!
        NDA’s are not normal for anything but special purpose devices not intended for the normal market. You can buy those Realtek chips off-the-shelf at Future, so the NDA is just plain stupid!
        I have the RTL8201 datasheet if that is the one you were looking at.

    • http://hackedgadgets.com Alan Parekh

      Just think of all the time you have now saved yourself. All you need to do from now on when one of them call is request their email address so that you can get back to them. Then forward them the link to this post. They will get the hint and hopefully never call you again. :)

      • Frank

        There is a certain breed of humans (I use the word in its broadest sense) that don’t get any hints at all. These breed of humans tend to end up in certain types of jobs.

        For whatever reason they feel entitled and consider you a tool only. They are full of themselves. In the old days I blamed upbringing, education and the TV. In recent years I have started to blame drugs.

        • Qno

          Here is one I read the other day:

          “In the 60′s people took LSD to make the world look weird, now they take Prozac to make the world look normal. “

    • CJ

      I agree, it ludicrous to fill out all this info to get a simple datasheet. Instead of not using the web site, I just fill in fake info like for an email address thisisbullshit at aol dot com, or something really heated in the address line. It does work, one of our part suppliers web site you had to fill out info every time you wanted to see a datasheet. So our engineering department (yes we did have a meeting about it, lol) of 50 people filled in fake info for a month. This only work because as soon as they got the info you were redirected to the datasheet page. They finally stopped collecting info, I would’ve loved to see the face of the person that was in charge of getting the contact info that month. My point is if every one put in fake info or a junk email account that you can access then it would waste the suppliers time and they would stop doing it.

      Another thing that ticks me off, is when you do need info on a product and you fill out you company name and on the side of the text box field it’s says no acronyms. Well I filled out the acronym for our company and I get a call the next day, this sales guy give me an attitude about fill in the whole name of our company. I replied you only gave us 25 spaces to fill in our company name, our company name has 47 letters in it, dead silence. Last time I used them.

    • Sean

      My take… Might have been different if I knew how to crack the code…

      Two instances of dealing with consultants have taught me:

      1) The consultant needs to interview everyone to find out how your particular business operation functions. You hope after listening to the questions that they really have real-world knowledge on how a business needs to function.

      2) The consultant quickly cues into the people who have knowledge and starts asking them what needs to be done to make things work better, something that most of them have been trying to tell management for the last decade.

      3) The consultant packages together steps one and two with some of his practical knowledge (if he has any that pertains to your industry) and makes a presentation to management. And then collects his fee…

      4) After some time, you hear what management paid, and come to realize that with better internal communications, management actually listening and a little education the company could have paid one six hundredth for better results.

      And the second time didn’t work out any better than the first, because management still isn’t communicating to the right people. Clue, consultants aren’t your workforce, your employees are.

    • http://blog.wickedengineer.de tobi

      hilarious !

      that’s why i love the aussies so much…
      direct talking and no shitting around :)

    • http://none Colin

      Hi Dave,

      Employment consultants are parasitic pond scum. Play nice, get job. It’s a nasty compromise but if you’re contracting, you have to play their stupid game. I want to wash my hands now.

      Data Sheet access forms are irritating. James T Kirk of Starship Enterprise seems to want a lot of data sheets! If we all put Jim’s name down they’d soon stop. Like you said, “do you idiots want to sell something or not?”

      Electronics people actually make things work. You can bullshit all you like, but in the end, if you turn the on switch, it has to work. Everyone else works by selling bullshit, we make things actually work. It’s a fundamental difference in world view that cannot be bridged. Breed with the cute ones and hope our genes are dominant. *laughs* Cheers, Colin

    • Steve
    • http://msp430launchpad.blogspot.com/ NJC

      I actually like vendors! They bring cool free things and always buy the lunch (at least in my experience) Though on the flip side, I have dealt with bad vendors who are just annoying and won’t leave you alone. Though when I had most of my vendor experiences it was in the Space and Defense industry, so they weren’t legally allowed to ask what I was working on let alone see what I was working on.

    • Casey

      In response to your blog.

      I’m no engineer but have completed an Electronics Certificate some years ago and did not bother to take it further into university etc.

      Anyways my gripe with manufacturers in Australia is how they close the door in your face if you want to repair a friends or family’s appliance.An example is a washing machine that cost a nearly $1000 dollars a machine that was 3-5 years out of warranty.

      We phoned the company or manufacturer parts & service support only to have the phone put on hold or hang up because I believe I was not a registered or this and that technician. Because they would always ask etc etc.

      Anyways my father thought he’ll try NZ. Yo behold an immediate response. Changed the controller board and RPS saved the folks alot of money for a common fault that the local service tech where I live tells everyone the machines F#@$# and makes them by another one!.

    • Al Martin

      ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!

    • Rafael

      Hi,
      I’ve been in the other side of the equation – yes, a supplier that had to do cold calls to developers around the continent (South America).
      In the beginning it was very difficult, but the management put pressure for you to “go out” and fish new designs.
      Being a developer myself, I actually enjoyed discussing the designs with my customers, suggesting parts (you wouldn’t believe how many people are afraid of the massive selection guides) and never tried to BS them with designing out a better competitor part to put mine instead.
      That is something the field technical people need to always be aware: people are not stupid and your integrity as an engineer cannot be tainted by pressure.
      Unnecessary to say that this approach did not agree 100% with my management at the time (I didn’t BS them as well), but as time went on (years) and the customers started to see me as an actual helper (not a bugger), the questions, phone calls and designs naturally came to my basket and that agreed with both my management and with my own personal desire to help people.
      I left this position several years ago but still have some good friends at my former customers.
      Therefore, although several people are simply “sniffers” of prospective sales, in the long run they do not succeed and become target of this nice rant from Dave.
      (BTW, it is 2012 and the video is from 2009. I just discovered this blog, therefore sorry for respawning an old discussion).