Updated: Dec 16, 2019
More people hate recruiters than love Raymond
My journey with Robert Half starts about 6 years ago. I was in a pretty good position at a multi-billion-dollar corporation. In a short time I went from a contractor to pretty much the manager of IT as I was the only IT guy there & the official manager let me make all the business decisions while they just "worked" from home. I was planning to leave that company as my contract was up for renewal again when Robert Half contacted me.
"Her response was 'well...lucky them.'"
Laura K. spoke with me & setup an in-person interview with me about a "position" she had. Since she worked down the street from me I went in during my lunch break the next day. Upon looking over my resume she became confused & it was clear she didn't know IT AT ALL. Using keywords I structured my resume to center around a systems admin/data center engineer/network engineer, a position with typically makes $25/hr as a base. She seriously looked at my resume & told me she could only see me in intern positions from minimum wage to $12/hr & nowhere near $20/hr minimum I requested.
At that point it was clear I'd been bamboozled. She had no job to offer me & just wanted me to come into her office to fill quotas, fish for information, etc. I laughed & told her that not only was I making more money than that at the time, but I had friends, associates, etc. that barely knew anything about computers yet were making $26/hr at places like the Federal Reserve. Her response was "well...lucky them." At that point I said out loud "why am I even here?" & walked out. The next day I got a call from a software company that wanted to hire me. I passed their screening & interviewed for a $60k position A FEW DAYS after RHT. The hiring manager ended up getting hospitalized & that job fell by the wayside. I found out a couple of weeks later Laura K. of RHT ended up leaving IT recruiting as a whole and focusing on other areas which is good since she was a terrible IT recruiter.
"After two weeks of doing nothing... the other senior tech & I took over the entire project"
7 months later I ended up getting another call from RHT. Once again they wanted me to come in for another in-person interview. I went in & they made me fill out a ridiculous amount of forms. Not only that, but once again I was just meeting with a recruiter to do something that could be done over the phone or on Skype which infuriated me because if I'm going on interviews, I want to speak directly to the hiring manager, not a recruiter looking to fill quotas. The recruiter could tell I was irritated & decided to speed things up, but I had to take a drug test. I went for a drug test the next day & shortly after they set up a phone call with the hiring manager. The phone call was 5 minutes & shortly after that they told me I landed the 4 week contract at a rate of $20/hr.
Its a desktop refresh project where they were going from Windows XP to Windows 7 & giving 1200 users new machines. The contract team consisted of me (a senior tech), another senior tech, & a guy we later found out was a cab driver who never even used a computer before nor had a job working with computers. The first two weeks on the job we sat on our behinds doing nothing as the client had no idea how to do a refresh & wasn't ready. When we got there they were still trying to setup the imaging server. They also had ordered the extra memory separate from the machines so we had to install extra ram on at least a few hundred machines as they came in (they hadn't even been delivered.) There was no plan from the client & they were afraid to ask users for their passwords. After two weeks of doing nothing... the other senior tech & I took over the entire project, drew up a plan then forced their IT department to grow a backbone.
Halfway through the project we found out the cab driver had anger issues when he tried to bully as well as fist fight us after a meeting where the client divided up the work. The senior tech & I elected to work on the next department's machines while the cab driver would work on the backlog. It literally didn't matter who worked on what as it was all the same, but the cab driver took offense to this. Not to mention the cab driver had never worked in IT or any professional position before so it's not like his input would be of considerable value if any. He also got enraged & tried to start a fist fight when the other tech was cleaning a PC a few feet away from him. A small amount of dust got into the room...he wasn't even allergic to dust. I reported him to RHT who was more concerned if the clients saw what he did than about our safety. Keep in mind, the cab driver was 6'5 ex-Romanian military. After no word for 2 weeks the cab driver just randomly quit & told us he found another job.
"This is when I learned that they didn't make him take a drug test. He looked at me & called racism, but at the time I gave RHT the benefit of the doubt."
The project was extended 2 weeks. I kept calling RHT to see if they had anymore jobs lined up before my contract ended & received no response. During that time I had a recruiter from Google contact me. I interviewed over the phone a couple times with their IT team. I also interviewed for a $80k position with CDW which I passed on after receiving an offer because the travel turned out to be more than they initially said. I also interviewed for a company in Europe that wanted to hire me. So much for "Only $12/hr or less intern positions" as Laura K. told me. I also found out the other senior tech was making about $17/hr on that project which was less than my rate & he had 10+ years of experience over me.
The contract ends & its a few weeks before I hear from RHT. They offer me another job, but I have to come for ANOTHER in-person interview with them & drug test. I tell them I just did a drug test for that last position, but they ignore me. I go along with it. The contract was 3 days for a movie production company. I specifically told RHT not to give me small contracts like this, but they did it anyway.
I show up to the production company & meet the other tech... a young, fresh-faced white guy (this comes into play later) whom still lives at home. Once again the client is unprepared & this time they didn't even know we were coming! We waited for about 2 hours while the receptionist tried to get in touch with RHT then were told we can go. While walking to the train station me & the other tech got to talking. This is when I learned that they didn't make him take a drug test. He looked at me & called racism, but at the time I gave RHT the benefit of the doubt. We both received a call from the recruiters saying the client cancelled the contract, but we'd get paid for those days anyway.
A few days later I get a call from the same recruiter with another job, but I have to take ANOTHER DRUG TEST! At this point I tell them no thanks. A few days after that I get a call from the other RHT office in the suburbs. This time the recruiting lady wanted to take me out to dinner. I fished for information & it became obvious the dinner was a cover for her to fill her in-person interview quota for a job that didn't exist. After that I started refusing all calls from RHT & denied all in-person interviews from recruiters entirely. Two months later I got hired by the Blackhawks/Wirtz Beverage as a lead engineer for their infrastructure team, once again making more than TRIPLE the money Laura K. thought I would make and landed a position she thought I couldn't. I had 5 offers from different companies on the table with one being higher than the Blackhawks, but went with the Blackhawks because it was pitched better. All of this was less than a year after meeting with Laura K. from RHT.
'...he ended the interview with a "so you don't have direct SAN experience" after we just had a 5 minute conversation where I explained a technology that incorporates SAN!'
Five years later, I'm a successful consultant after ending my tenure with the Wirtz family & am now enjoying my time vacationing around the world for the next year until I decide to fully return back to work. While I'm on vacation I received a call from Nick whose the recruiting manager currently at Robert Half Technology. With no intention of actually taking a job I decided to review RHT. He immediately ignores my consulting experience (if a recruiter disrespects you like this, don't do business with them especially since a recruiter who ignores independent consulting or business owners will not even try to get you hired so it's a waste of time) & goes into trying to get me to come into the office for an in-person interview. Since I was out of town I ended up just sending him my resume & agreed to do a Skype the next day. I can tell he most likely doesn't have a job & had no interest in actually putting me into a position once he realized I'm a consultant.
The next day I show up for the Skype meeting. About 5 minutes pass & Nick doesn't show up so I close the session & am about to text him when I get a call a few minutes later. It's him trying to see if I'm going to show up. I join the meeting, but there's technical difficulties so we just do a normal phone call. Off the bat Nick lets me know he doesn't know IT very well which became apparent as he analyzed my resume. This was pretty much another Laura K. situation. He questioned a few of my positions as he didn't know Chicago's history like who owns the Blackhawks so he didn't realize that the Wirtz family has multiple endeavors, all of which I took part in due to the nature of my job. Even though my resume is tailored towards data center work he ended the interview with a "so you don't have direct SAN experience" after we just had a 5 minute conversation where I explained a technology that incorporates SAN! I mean my resume clearly says I've WORKED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN DATA-CENTERS FOR MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATIONS for the the past 6 years yet you got from that I don't have SAN experience??? Nick said he'd talk to the hiring manager then give me a call the next day. So far it's been two weeks with no word from Nick so they can consider this me passing on them.
Ironically I did however receive an email from another RHT staff member stating they added my resume to "Robert Half Direct," a database that connects hiring managers directly to potential employees (IE: LinkedIn, Monster, DICE, Hired) It seems RHT has become self-aware of its uselessness & irrelevancy. Executives at RHT have also been selling tons of their stock, a possible sign of no confidence in the company.
I have had several conversations with Google, Facebook & Yahoo where they plead with me, asking "what do we need to do to have you on our team?" I list what I want, they fly me out to San Francisco, Kentucky, etc. on all expense paid trips where I meet the staff & have interviews, etc., but somehow I'm not good enough for Robert Half Technology & my experience is questionable to you? Such a terribly bad eye for talent at a staffing agency is laughable and sheds light on the struggles minorities have to face even in STEM fields. Robert Half is a joke, nobody needs you (as evident by your new database.) My advice to those looking to get into IT or advance their careers... skip staffing agencies. Go into certification programs that offer direct internships or employment (such as CDW's ACE program or YearUp, a program which I myself participated in) If you can't do that find a company that will give you a decent amount of wiggle room to start structuring your career and make the most out of it for 4-5 years. After that you can pretty much write your own check. Most of all, learn how to market yourself as that's the best way of landing a position whether it be through numerous interviews or networking.
Just a few years after my initial meeting with Laura K. of RHT I was interviewing for $120k+ Cisco VOIP engineering positions, making it to the final interview with the CIO where it was just me & one other candidate (who always has decades of experience.) Take that as inspiration & don't let your career fall into the hands of staffing companies.
Oh & Robert Half? Remove me from your entire database.
1 out of 5 stars
Update 04/04/19 -
*RHT reached out in regards to this review in an attempt to try to figure out what happened. From what I learned RHT does not have any record whatsoever of any event in this review other than the fact that they sent me out on the first contract. Whether this is due to poor record keeping or intentional cover-ups it is unknown at this point.
The RHT representative also stated that "RHT drug tests whenever a client demands it." Which doesn't explain the point of back to back drug tests nor why I, a black man, was drug tested for a 3 DAY CONTRACT, but not the white technician who was doing the same job. Something definitely smells fishy at RHT.