RFPs and Why They Suck

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It's been a few years since I've been in the job market, but when I was I always refused to fill out job applications. If you really want to hire me, you won't ask me to waste my time writing down my address, and I only wanted to talk to people who really wanted to hire me. It's also a decent way of annoying recruiters.

I think that Joel Spolsky is correct about RFPs for the same reason:

RFP stands for "Request for Proposal." It's a request by a large company for a custom proposal from a small company. The small company works on the 200 page laser-printed proposal like mad for three weeks and Fedexes it in great expense and at the last minute, where it gets put in the trash because the large company has their favorite vendor who takes them on a helicopter to Atlantic City on junkets involving blackjack and strippers, and who is going to get the contract no matter what, but someone in purchasing for some unexplained reason, maybe he's bucking for a promotion is insisting that the proposal be opened up to "competitive bidding" and the small company has been chosen as a victim to write up a proposal that has no chance of being accepted just to make the process look a little bit less corrupt, and if you're a small company, I would recommend that you don't fall for it and don't spend any time responding to RFPs unless it's already understood that you're going to get the contract.


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