Can we live without the Dynamics freelance recruiters?

In my last blog I wrote about why I think that the Dynamics recruiters are wasting our time. That cause a lot of people to confirm that they also had that experience. My blog post was primary directed against the recruiters who are mostly working with Dynamics freelancers. Not so much with the recruiters working with the more permanent jobs. It’s my personal experience that they are a bit more serious than the ones only working with freelancers. The funny most thing is that actually many recruiters confirmed that this is how the business work.

But nobody is really happy about the way it works today. It’s not only the freelancers, but also the recruiters who feels that they are wasting a lot of time on each other. The recruiters feel that many of the freelancers are primary lying to them in regards to what their real experiences with Dynamics are, and what they know and don’t know.

Also many of the members here on DUG have asked me that they would love to join a “network” where we don’t need the recruiters. Most people see the recruiters as a unnecessary link between the customer and the freelancers with the only purpose of making more money for the recruiter. Instead they would really just want the customers to contact them directly.

In my blog post I also promised that I would come up with an idea to how this network could be organized. And I’ve been talking with a lot of members, freelancers and recruiters about it. But I’m sorry to say that I have not found out exactly how it can be done.

As I see then most of us will be able to live without the Dynamics freelance recruiters.

But it does require a big network and that you spend a lot of time on finding your projects. Time that you could actually use better on doing your Dynamics projects. If you have been a freelancer for many years (not a contractor) then you most likely already have a lot of customers who come back to you all the time. But if you’re a typical Dynamics contractor who only works on one contract at the time and often for very long periods, then it’s more difficult for you.

First we really need to see at what the recruiter is actually bringing to the table. When we talk about recruiting for a regular permanent job, then the job of the recruiter is really to work with the employer to analyze exactly what they need and then to work with the “market” to find the right new candidates. The recruiting job is very much a mix between a consulting and a sales job. Often the recruiters have a long and close relationship with their customers.

How does freelance recruiters work?

Recruiting freelancers and contractors it’s different. Here the freelancers are most often seen not very different from inventory in a hardware store. If the client asks for a chain saw, then it’s important that the recruiter is able to show the customer a wide selection of different chain saws. And most often the customer will simply pick the cheapest one that can do the job and cut down the trees. The ones that really want quality doesn’t buy it from the hardware store, but know that he usually get better the quality from the logging supply store.

Bringing that picture back to the freelancing market, then it means that for those looking for freelancers via the recruiters, then price is most often a very important factor. Whereas if quality is more important then the customers know that they often can find the freelancers better by using references from their own employees or other freelancers.

So what am I suggesting?

What I think that we need is a our own market place where freelancers/contractors and those buying the services from freelancers (resellers, isv’s and end-users – let’s just call them “partners”) can meet each other.

A place where the freelancers can announce their skills, their prices and their calendars. This way they can put up the time they want to sell, so that the partners needing the services who are available and at what prices.

At the same time the partners can announce their projects and what skills they are looking for and when. The freelancers can then bid for the project.

Some of you might ask what would make this any different from RentACoder or eBay? A long way then it is the same. But here it will be only for Dynamics projects, that will allow us to streamline the setup a lot to pull forward and highlight the real specialties of the freelancers. But even more important to sell the idea to those buying freelancers and contractors. It’s not enough that we maybe can find one or two thousand Dynamics freelancers to join this, if nobody knows about it and like to buy from it.

I’m currently working with some of the most experienced people in the Dynamics freelancing and recruiting industry to see how this can be done in the “real life”, as it has to be setup where it on one hand will be a natural extension of the Dynamics User Group and on the other hand will be a setup that will allow us to get back the big investment we need to build up such a network (software development, advertising, server hosting, hardware etc). But still without sign-up fees for the freelancers or huge % cuts in the revenue for the projects. To make things easier for us (and cheaper for the freelancer) then it would also be the freelancers responsibility to invoice the partner.

So far everything is still on the drawing board and everything can still change. But I would love to hear from you. What do you think about this idea?

 

Comment List
Anonymous
  • It is a very interesting topic! you have the point from every statement. But as for my own opinion, it is also good and we can live even without the freelance recruiter. It is because through this, you may have a direct conversation with the clients.  

  • IN 2005, I decided to go freelance with GP and have done various types of work ever since. It is not easy finding stuff, but everytime I get a recruiter calling it is for a client who doesn't want to pay.  I had high hopes for a web site called Sologig.com. However, for some reason, they seemed anti-microsoft in setting up the groups/tags - think I got one gig.  One thing I have told the recruiters, if you get someone agreeing to do this type of work for $40/hr - they ain't worth it. Pay me $120 and the total cost to the customer will be less in the long run. Right now I am working with a group of like mined folks in that do their own stuff and share the work load with others as needed.

  • I'm coming up on 10 years in the NAV marketspace.  I've worked as an employee for a variety of NAV partners in the northeast, a number of end-users as a contractor, and a few NAV partners as a subcontractor.

    While most of the recruiters I've talked to are pretty nice, for freelance work, I've never gotten a solid signed deal out of talking to them.  I'd be disinclined to bother with investing any time for a tech tool that would do the same job -- nothing.

    But, you are a clever person, so I'll watch where this goes.  I may also email you with a couple of notions related to the question of 'how does one filter the skilled from the liars'?

  • Erik,

    indeed, a customer wants to work with partners rather then various freelancers.

    This I do understand,  but also partners are hiring through recruiters rather then directly seeking via stepstone, monster, etc...

    I wonder and surely hope that a marketplace for freelancers can change this attitude?!

  • @Bert: Most end-users are not using freelancers of that simple reason that they don't know that they can, or that if they do, then some of them think that they will not able to get support from Microsoft (like if you take your car to a non-authorized service shop).

    For most end-users it's all about trust. And they usually trust the partner that sold them the system in the first place. And this continues until the partner have disappointed them just one time too many. This might be because the partner simply pissed on their customer (took their money, never gave any service). Or that their 5th consultant quits the partner and they have to start all over again... There a many reasons why an end-user looses trust in a partner.

    But when it happens then you should be there.

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